When Specialization is Critical to Growing Your Real Estate Business

Eden Sunshine
Vice President
Realty Executive


Katie has short, spiked, fire red hair. As you might imagine, her personality matches her looks. When Katie walks in a room, she lights the place up, commands attention, everyone knows her, and she knows everyone. In a word, Katie is a spit fire.

As one of the top agents in Minneapolis, with over 47 years in the business, she and her team have done over a billion dollars of volume in her career. Katie’s support team affectionately refer to her as the rainmaker and, in the same breath, wish they could keep her out of the office and leave the paperwork and the details of the business to them. “Katie,” they say, “brings us the business and we handle the rest.”

Katie is the company rainmaker and admits to struggling with being organized. She told me her battle with disorganization has been her greatest challenge for 47 years. It has plagued her career. As successful as she has been, she has made two fatal mistakes a lot of team leaders, business owner and realtors, who want to grow their business, often make.

First, she did not accept and focus on building upon her strengths but rather fixated on her weaknesses. Secondarily, she never fully trusted others to cover her for her weaknesses.

I have met agents with great potential that have neglected to focus on their strengths. They had a difficult time trusting others for support. They try to do everything themselves because they don’t trust others to do the things they are not good at doing themselves.

If an agent is a great rainmaker and business creator, like Katie, that is where they should be putting their time and energy. At the same time, if they are weak with paperwork and details, they need to find someone who can support them in that area. The problem is, they are afraid to give up control.

When Katie and I last spoke here is the advice I gave her.

  • Embrace Your Strengths – I told her to stop trying to master being organized. “You have been trying to make it work for 47 years,” I shared. “Let it go and embrace your strengths. Katie, you simply are not a detail-oriented person. You can make improvements but focus on your natural gifts and talent. Go get more business.”

Katie looked at me with sense of relief and freedom for a moment. I think she also realized, despite her great success, she could have done more had she focused on her strengths. Before she had a moment to ask the question that was on her mind, I began to share the next point.

  • Trust Your Support Team – “Katie,” I said, “you have to learn to trust your people to support you. Just as you have talent for rainmaking and getting business, they have talent for managing the details and providing great customer service. I know it is tough to trust your people but that can be resolved quickly. You just need to have two critical things in place: great systems and accountability.”

Systems, which are documented actions steps, checklists, standards, policies, and guidelines, will ensure that your people are doing things the right way to get the result you want. Well documented systems will ensure that people are doing things the way they should be done.

Accountability establishes the environment that will ensure your people are following your systems.

So often agents get stuck growing their businesses because they become jack of all trades rather than leveraging their strength. Great agents know and operate within their strengths and delegate tasks that others can do better.

Many agents are strong at building relationships, networking and generating leads but find themselves bogged down managing transactions and paperwork. My advice to those agents is simply to find a strong transaction coordinator, make sure their systems line up with your expectations and get agreement that they will follow the systems you create together. You will easily make up the investment in new business.

Agents who lack in marketing and lead generation skills, would be wise to find a great marketing company who can help them develop and execute a proven and successful marketing, social media, and lead generation strategy.

Being a real estate agent requires a wide range of skill sets. Great agents understand the things they are good at and enjoy doing, delegate tasks they are not best suited for, and ensure quality support comes from people following well documented systems.