The Top 3 Reasons Real Estate Teams Fail: Kathleen Black

Kathleen Black believes in the power of team environments; knowing that the success of a new member has more to do with the team environment, then the member themselves.

Through my experience coaching teams, I have found three reoccurring difficulties facing Team Leaders; compensation, training, and recruitment.  They aren’t entirely roadblocks, because to every problem there is a solution, however, they are the most common obstacles facing a Team Leader.

With team-building being a challenge for agents here are some strategies I recommend to solve these common issues up front:

1. Compensation Structure

After making the transition from a Realtor on a top producing team to an Elite Coach, I was able to pinpoint the first, and most prominent, of the three mistakes made by team leaders as being the compensation structure.  I see a lot of team leaders not setting themselves up to be compensated for their new role as team leader.  A lack of compensation for that role creates a broken equation where the team leader returns their focus to sales, instead of working to grow their team business and nurture the people on their team.

I like to emphasise the need for a connection between building the business and being compensated for the role of team leader.  It is essential for the team leader to see the value in being the leader and to recognise the need to compensate themselves accordingly.

In determining what works best for compensation structure, I reinforce the idea of compensating for your value, what you bring to your team, as well as, considering the future of the team. With KBCC coaching clients, we evaluate every influencing factor when approaching the structure, but what makes the custom structures so effective is that it is always targeted towards the goal of where the team will be in the future, instead of where the team is currently.

10 years down the road, the team will not be composed of the team leader and one team member, so capping at a 50/50 split is extremely restrictive.  I always recommend taking into account the vision; if your team will have a lead conversion partner, and a licenced assistant, and a manager, prepare for that from the beginning.

I also remind to account for a team’s expenses, such as marketing, overhead, and any additional costs that the team carries.  This way, the team has the resources to continue to grow and build, which is in the best interest of everyone involved.

2. Training

The second difficulty that team leaders face when building a team is training.  A top producer doesn’t necessarily make a top trainer, I have identified with that personally from when I first made the change to being a coach.  I did find a way around this particular challenge with the implementation of many training certifications and systems.  When training, shadowing is generally the path taken when showing someone the ropes, but the mistake here is that every person does it differently every single time.

This inconsistency doesn’t work to effectively prepare an agent for success when they are on their own.  The team leaders that I coach work on the idea of mastery, everyone follows the same steps, so everyone knows what it takes to be successful.  At that point, the agents approach the situations with their own personalities and interpretations, but they have been empowered with a set system to be successful.

When it comes to enforcing the training, anyone who has talked to me about it, know this will be my answer, “Know it so well you can’t forget it,” so learning it all with intensive training and weeks dedicated to the art, ultimately, pay off more than any other implementation of the systems.

Working with Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting’s model, you move beyond learning and memorization, to having it become part of who you are.  The effectiveness of this strategy is reflected in learning it once and never having to think about it again.  This comes back to the idea of being empowered to be successful.

3. Recruitment Systems

Recruitment, or lack of recruitment systems, is the third major difficulty faced by team leaders.  The lack of recruitment systems has team leaders not looking into the business they want ten years down the road, but recruiting people who ultimately don’t compliment the direction they want to take their team.

One common example of this is taking someone on who is easy and comfortable; there won’t be a push from them to help to achieve the levels of success that the team leader had envisioned.

When looking at recruiting, a team leader isn’t just faced with a few interested candidates; they’re faced with the decision to invest what we equate to 20 to 25 thousand dollars of training into someone with no guarantee in return on that investment.  Though there is no perfect equation for selecting the ideal future team members, I do think that you can get pretty close if you use the right filters.

When our clients look to recruit, depending on the size of the team recruitment could be monthly or as required, we start with a DISC personality profile review, because, team leaders need someone who both upholds the team’s standards and values and can contribute to the team’s continued drive to succeed.  That is by no means the last step, but with further tests and questionnaires as part of our process, it is a telling starting point.

Ultimately, I encourage team leaders in any stage of growth to keep in mind compensation structure, know their worth as a Team Leader; training, implement systems; and recruitment, know the direction you want to take up front, otherwise the best laid plans will sabotage your growth in the future.


Kathleen Black is a coveted Coach, Mentor and Speaker. She has taken her experience as a top-producing Realtor and built it into a dynamic, results-driven consulting company, Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, where she serves as CEO, Speaker, Trainer and Coach. She has recently moved forward to pursue KBCC (KathleenSpeaks) as her prime en devour. Contact Kathleen at info@kathleenspeaks.com.

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