In the following interview, Tom Gale, GRI, CRS, leader of Team Gale with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage in North Carolina, discusses adapting his model, operations, and more.
Years in Real Estate: 12
Region Served: Wilmington, Hampstead, Leland, Wrightsville, Kure, Topsail Beaches and Surf City, N.C.
Team Members: 11 agents and 2 staff
Honors: 2017 Salesperson of the Year by Cape Fear REALTORS®
Secret Weapon: Behind every great agent is a great office staff. They keep me and the rest of the team in check.
When did you first form an agent team?
When I joined my father, Jack Hale, in 2005, we started our team. He started in real estate in Wilmington in 2000. I took the helm of the team in 2015.
Why did you opt for the team model?
It just seemed logical in order to have economies of scale; everyone on the team benefits. We put the team first, as opposed to Jack Hale or Tom Hale. There are plenty of teams where the rainmaker is the key person and the team members get the leftovers. But we try to all help each other and create a synergy and culture of support so that the team takes on a life of its own.
How many team members do you have, and what are their various responsibilities?
We have 11 agents, two full-time support people and one part-time support person. We’re not a typical team—we let everyone do everything. I understand the appeal of having dedicated buyer’s agents, but when you’re working both sides of the transaction, you know what it’s like when the shoe is on the other foot. Our agents are well-rounded and know how to handle either side of the transaction.
How have you had to adapt your approach as the team grows?
I enjoy helping people. That’s why I love being a REALTOR®. And as our team has grown, I’ve had to get out of the trenches and get out of my own way. I had to let go in order to help more buyers and sellers by helping my agents. When we were smaller, we could all do our own thing, but as the team gets bigger, my job is to troubleshoot and help our agents.
How do you market the advantages of working with a team to clients?
A team is going to be able to take your call more easily than I am as an individual. I’m trying to prioritize meeting with people face-to-face, not letting myself get interrupted with phone calls. I don’t care how good a single agent is—a team can better help our buyer and seller clients. A team also helps our agents achieve quality of life for themselves as opposed to having to be available 24/7. A team allows us to compartmentalize our lives.
How does your broker support the team?
Coldwell Banker has been great—very supportive in every way, whether it’s mentoring, problem solving or providing training for new agents. Coldwell Banker is very education-driven and the culture is all about helping people. Our president says, “Do something nice for someone every day”—that mirrors what we personally try to do as a team.
What are some of the biggest challenges of running a team?
We’re all REALTORS® and independent contractors—no one has to be on a team. It can be challenging to bring everyone along—sometimes people resist what we’re trying to do, but they come around. We’re always trying to get that buy-in.