It’s no secret: we interview a lot of successful team leaders and brokerage owners on our blog. In fact, some might even read our blog and think every real estate agent needs a team in order to be as successful as our interviewees.
But simply gathering a dozen or more agents in one place will get you nowhere.
Creating a thriving real estate team requires a dedicated and systematic approach to training, recruitment, accountability, lead management, and many other things.
But you don’t necessarily need to be a part of a large team in order to be incredibly successful in real estate. As a matter of fact, you can shoot for the stars even when you’re a solo agent.
And Geoff Goolsby's story proves exactly that.
Leading a growing team of 12 agents in Roseville, California, Goolsby realized the team model wasn’t something that worked for him, and went on to operate as a solo agent backed up by two people at The Goolsby Group.
Currently, he’s enjoying the most prosperous year of his 8-year real estate career.
We sat down with Geoff and talked about his transition, the workflows he uses to stay on top of his game, and the benefits he enjoys as a solo agent.
Table Of Contents:
- From Hotshot Team To A Solo Agent: A Quick Story of Transition
- Small Team, Big Systems: Planting The Seeds Of Future Growth
- The Importance Of Data Even When You’re Going Solo
- The Many Benefits Of Being A Solo Agent
Just want the video? Check out our full interview below!
From Hotshot Team To Solo Agent: A Quick Story of Transition
Geoff kickstarted his real estate career eight years ago when he partnered with his cousin, an experienced real estate agent.
“He had been in real estate for a while but was new to Roseville, and I had not been in real estate but was born and raised in Roseville. This is my area,” jokes Geoff about his cousin.
“Jeff and I had similar ideas on how we wanted to run things”, Geoff continues, “And he was gracious enough to mentor me for a bit and we partnered up and we built a pretty good sized team.”
“The highest amount that we had was 12 people on the team, which included support staff, and then eight other agents,” Geoff remembers.
All things considered, they were successful. “We got a lot of accolades, and we were number one in the office and the number one team,” says Geoff. “We had people reaching out and wanting to talk to us about what we were doing and stuff like that, and that was really cool.”
And yet, something was missing. “We were building this cool business and it could have been a very sustainable business if we were both incredibly passionate about growing it more,” shares Geoff.
Geoff was not that passionate.
First, financials were an issue.
“I'm gonna just be super transparent here: it's cool to bring home the little plaque and the awards, but you're not bringing in the income that these awards suggest,” he says.
Even more importantly, Geoff was not ready to take on the leadership role. While his partner spent more and more time coaching agents, Geoff was starting to realize that leadership wasn’t something he had in sights: “I realized that I wasn't the leader that I really needed to be to run a big group. And I didn't want to be.”
“I just kinda got burnt out on that,” he adds. “I love helping people buy and sell houses.”
And that’s when Geoff decided it was time to move houses on his own.
Small Team, Big Systems: Planting The Seeds Of Future Growth
Geoff operates as a solo agent, but his experience and coaching made him realize: you should never be fully on your own.
That’s why he has a small, but a very effective support unit behind him at The Goolsby Group. He also uses the same systems and workflows that much larger teams use.
“I have an admin, who basically does, pretty much everything: transaction coordinating, client support, customer service, marketing, whatever other random crazy things I need support with,” Geoff says.
“And then I have another employee who is a licensed agent. And she's essentially a showing assistant.”
An interesting thing about The Goolsby team of three is that Geoff’s showing assistant, Laura, works with all of his clients— buyers and sellers included.
“She shows up to basically anywhere that I need to be, and does the staging appointments, the photo shoots, which helps free up my time to go on appointments and set more appointments,” he explains.
Geoff understands how important it is for everyone to be doing what they’re best at and what they like.
“I realized that I don't really love necessarily working with buyers all that much,” he shares, ”But Laura, like everybody loves Laura. And she does. She has this huge heart and she likes doing that stuff.”
“It allows us to still serve buyers and do it very well. And I can get them the best deal still,” Geoff says.
The parallels with successful large teams don’t stop there. Even with a small unit, Geoff pays attention to his team’s well-being, helping his teammates stay inspired and motivated.
“We're doing a morning huddle, just connecting with each other on a team level talking about what we're grateful for, what a big win was from yesterday, and how to crush today,” he says, “Even though we all have very different roles.”
The Importance Of Data Even When You’re Going Solo
Even though Geoff scaled back on lead volume, he always has all his numbers right in front of him.
“I use Follow Up Boss to track my calls that I'm making and the lead flow that I have,” add Geoff, “I track most automated things... I know about my numbers if I really need to go back and look.”
Many real estate teams use whiteboards on the wall, but Geoff prefers to leverage technology. He also uses CTE, a real estate tracking system, to track, actives, pendings and closings.
“I use CTE as more like a higher level analytics to see the deals and the commissions and I do put some numbers in there and Laura logs her calls both in Follow Up Boss and in CTE too,” Geoff says. This allows the whole team to monitor call and appointment ratios.
Geoff makes a point of keeping the data actionable while connecting the numbers with his business goals.
“My business plan is there,” Geoff points at the wall, “so I can see where I'm at. Am I on target to reach my goal this month?”
“The plan has seasonality in there so you can see what next month is projected to look like based on previous years,” he adds.
The Many Benefits Of Being A Solo Agent
For Geoff, one of the main perks of being a solo agent is being successful while doing what he loves.
“There are so many people that love what they already do but they feel this extra pressure to do something that their peers are doing and build a big team... and I finally realized that's not what I love doing necessarily,” he shares.
“I love helping people buy and sell houses. And turns out that's a heck a lot more profitable than helping agents help people buy and sell houses,” he adds, “Nothing wrong with that. It just wasn't what I loved.”
And it shows. “I think people that I work with, they feel how much more energetic and happy I am just in general.”
There is another advantage of going solo that manifests itself in various ways: a whole new level of flexibility.
Simply put, Geoff has far more control over his time now.
“Because I have a little bit more flexibility in how I spend my time, I've been spending a lot more time in the community,” Geoff says, “ I'm involved with a School District Foundation Board. And so my big goal is to take them from basically this kind of a board that raised about 50 grand a year to help 10,000 students in the district and I'm trying to get them up to like a half a million.”
Even more powerful is the added flexibility that comes with his business.
Geoff is already actively putting systems in place that can allow his real estate business to scale effortlessly. “Actually at this point in time eight years later, I might actually be ready to ramp back up into something more.”
A big part of Geoff’s success is not rushing things just because you feel pressured by peers or industry to do things a certain way: “I think the big answer is just figuring out, learning a bit more about myself before just kinda jumping into a big plan,” he explains.
If you do what you love and love what you do, the sky's the limit. Establish processes that grow with your passion, and your company will grow with you.
Are you a small team looking to plant seeds of success and use a technology that will speed up your growth? Meet Follow up Boss.