Why Commercial Real Estate Professionals Don’t Move to Teams

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In the past two installments of this series on Commercial Real Estate Teams, we explored how teams are a competitive advantage and the six fundamental shifts in our industry that require you to be part of a formal team. However, there are still many commercial real estate professionals who reject this notion of working on a formal team.

For several years, I’ve been talking, intensely and intently, to all kinds of commercial real estate professionals about teams. A number of people have told me that they understood all the reasons switching to teams was a good idea, but they didn’t think it was for them. They cited lots of reasons, which fell into four groups.


“I tried it and it didn’t work.”

Maybe you got burned by a partner in the past. Maybe you trained juniors who left and took your clients with them. Maybe you felt like you were pulling the train and everyone else on the “team” was riding. Or, maybe you were a team member on a dysfunctional team. It’s hard to overcome the emotional impact of a bad experience, but I hope you’ve learned some things from these past experiences that will help you try again.

“We’ve never done it that way before.”

Some market researchers call this the “The Gravity of the Familiar.” Human beings seem wired to want to stay with the familiar, even if there might be a better way. Think about the specific things that you don’t like about the way you’re doing business now; many of them might be better in a team environment.

“I’m worried about giving up income or status or freedom.”

Those same market researchers call this “The Anxiety of the New Solution.” We’re wired to worry about things that are different, even if they might seem better. If you’ve succeeded in your career so far, you’ve mastered all kinds of new situations. You can handle a move to teams if you decide to make it. And you’ll never reap the positive benefits if you don’t.

“I don’t know how.”

You can know that teaming is the right thing for you and still not make the move if you don’t know what to do. There’s no one way to get from wherever you are now to teaming. So, there’s no “best” first step. But there are things the most successful integrated teams do. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog posts in this series to learn more.

Whether it is a bad past experience, an unwillingness to give up control or money or a lack of how to best leverage others, many commercial real estate professionals simply do not see the benefit of working within the framework of a team.

What about you? If you work with others on a formal team, please share with us the primary benefit to you. Likewise, if you choose not to work with a formal team please share why.

3 Responses

  1. I recently purchased a residential property that was represented by a ‘team’ and it was an utter disaster! No one person on the ‘team’ knew everything; this person knew this and that person knew that. So what do you do? Sue the whole ‘team’ when things go south??

  2. I think one of the big benefits of a team is accountability. Working independently, some lack the discipline to ensure they do the most productive items each day. A team can help you identify the items best for you to be doing, and the accountability to be sure they get done.

  3. Working as a selling team helps to leverage expertise, improve efficiency and drive revenue. Delegating responsibility for action items to the person with the appropriate strengths best serves the customer. Effective team selling should also make 1+1=3. If 1+1= 2 (or less) back to the drawing board. Lastly it allows multiple perspectives to ensure everyone is hearing what the client or prospect is actually saying.

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