Dave Panozzo is the co-founding owner of The Panozzo Team-HomeSmart, a real estate team in Phoenix, Arizona.
Throughout my years as a real estate agent, I have been asked a lot of questions and usually, one of the top questions I get asked after revealing to someone that I work with my wife is, “How do you work with your spouse?” Some people say that there is no way that they could work with their partner, and what I found over the years is that making a successful business with your spouse takes work. If you are looking to start working with or are already working with your spouse or significant other and want to become a real power couple, here are three things you should know.
Define your roles.
At the beginning of your working relationship, it is vital to establish what each person’s role is and identify the key things that they will be responsible for. Once you have established each individual’s role in the business, you’ll begin to operate more harmoniously. With the Panozzo Team, we split our roles to where I handle the front-end of the business, sales, training, motivating and marketing whereas my wife handles the back-end of the business, completing contracts and communicating with lenders, our support staff, our listing coordinator and our transaction coordinator. If you are thinking of getting into business with one another, take a piece of paper and write down each of your strengths and each core responsibility of the business, then use these lists to assign roles. If there is a skill you share, split the corresponding responsibility down the middle. Remember, just because one person is good at one thing, it doesn’t mean the other person also has to be good at it.
Stay in your lane.
Once, our transaction coordinator asked me about something on the backside regarding a contract, I jumped in thinking I was being helpful and misspoke. I got in a lot of trouble for that one. Another time, an agent mentee asked my wife what the plans were for social media, but since she doesn’t have any business with that, she didn’t answer because, even though she knew the plan, she wouldn’t overstep her bounds. Since then, my wife and I have learned how important it was that all team members are on the same page and that each of us stay in our own lane. What I’ve found is that by staying in our lanes, we end up having these unbelievable moments where our roles overlap a little bit on each side and that is where the magic happens. This resulted in doubling our business because we each excelled in our individual roles — our business as a whole saw the biggest benefit. Once you have set expectations and defined your roles, if you have any personnel working with you, make sure they know what your roles are, too, so that they don’t have any miscommunication or confusion regarding who to report to.
Improve your communication.
Just like it’s important to know one another’s love language, it’s also super important to know each other’s communication style in work environments. My wife and I have even gone to the extent of doing DiSC profiles and really studying what one another’s profiles mean. From the assessment, I learned that communication-wise, I am the type of person that can make decisions on-the-fly whereas my wife needs more time to process a decision. Although we both end up coming to the right or same answer, it is just a difference in timing and processing. After taking the DiSC assessment, I now know that if I’m going to propose something new, I should put it in a written format since my wife is a visible learner. I know to be patient while she thinks things through and makes an educated decision. To improve communication with your spouse, both of you should take some time to take some sort of communication assessment and completely understand each other’s communication styles. Another communication habit to adopt is to sit down and sync up your calendars every Monday morning so you know what everyone will be working on. If things change throughout the week, simply adjust accordingly and adapt to the change. By doing so, you will always know where everyone is and what they’re working on so you never miss a beat.
Separate the professional and the personal.
After all these years of growing our real estate business together, my biggest takeaway is how important it is to schedule time apart from work, as business partners, and make time for being husband and wife. After creating momentum in your business, you’ll find that you both genuinely enjoy discussing business and will find yourself in the business-love boat all the time. My wife and I schedule a date night once a week and always try not to talk about business for the entire duration — even though we quickly end up talking about the most recent client transaction after 10 minutes. We’ve realized how much we truly love what we do and how doing it together is what makes it all worthwhile.
By following the tips above, your relationship with your life/business partner will become stronger and your work experience will be more meaningful than the commission checks.
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