Effective Sales Management: It’s All About Them

HOW DO YOU GET THE most from your sales team and keep them motivated to achieve outstanding results? Elite Agent Magazine talks with experienced Sales Director Craig Gillies from Coronis to determine the necessary factors for getting the most from your sales team.

IN THE LATE 1980s Craig Gillies was studying to become a lawyer. However, his friendship with Andrew Coronis and desire for success inspired a change of direction. Twenty-three years later, Craig now directs the sales department of Coronis, one of Australia’s largest and most awarded real estate businesses.

Evolving from one office in Stafford consisting of two sales agents, Craig and Andrew, the Coronis sales department now employs more than 100 people across 20 offices in Brisbane, Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. In 2015, the sales team at Coronis transacted more than 2,000 properties worth over $950 million.

Having crafted the department himself, Craig firmly believes the basics are the same whether you’re managing a team of 20 or 100.

“You need to know ‘why’ your team members are in real estate,” he said. “Your role as a leader is to help them achieve their goals. At the end of the day, they are selling properties for their reasons, not yours.

“Goal setting is difficult for most people, but in real estate you can have anything you want. Step one is to set the right goals, which are realistic and really mean something to the person; things that will really put a smile on their face.

“We work with our team to set S.M.A.R.T goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals in order to get their ‘why’ right. For example, if someone’s goal is to earn $150,000, we sit down with them one-on-one and work through the numbers required to achieve that income.

“The numbers come from three key ratios, which are:

  1. Call to appointment ratio
  2. Appointment to list ratio
  3. List to sell ratio

“Once you know those ratios, you can realistically set your targets based on your goals, identify the required behaviours and actions, and mentor and support your team members.

“It won’t always be easy. Sometimes you will need to coach and push them; other times you will need to be their friend, but the important thing is to decipher what kind of support is needed.

“There will always be an element of tough love. If you’re not upsetting the applecart, you’re not pushing them enough. Going the extra mile is the thing people don’t want to do, so when you point that out it can be uncomfortable; but it’s coming from the right place to get them to their goals. That’s tough love. But if they genuinely want to achieve their goals, the pushing will get them there.”

Further to knowing your team members’ ‘why’, Craig believes you really need to know your team, including their circumstances, partners, kids, lives – in fact, the whole lot.

“To be a good leader you need to stay across the numbers, but you also need to connect effectively with the people in your team and genuinely care about them.

“When someone comes to Coronis, we essentially ask for two years of their life to get them up to a high performing level; so it’s only fair that when we hand their life back it’s in a better condition than it was two years before.”

When asked how he motivates his team, Craig says he doesn’t motivate them: he inspires them.

“If you have to motivate a team or person, there is something wrong,” he said. “Think of a leaky tyre. If you have to pump it up continually, it will inevitably go flat. Real estate is tough; if you have to be pumped up or motivated, it’s not for you.

“But if you want the nice house, the flash car, the annual overseas holiday, funds to build an orphanage or whatever, you will endure the tough times and persevere.

“At Coronis we have a lot of healthy competition. To be recognised as an elite sales specialist is a big deal here. We help it along through several initiatives, including monthly sales specialist rankings, quarterly and annual awards, monthly training seminars with REA, our own two-day training conference and Rev Up, a three-month competition where we give three cars away to our top performing sales specialists.

“I think training is an essential part of inspiring the team. I have been doing this for 23 years and I still walk away with at least one new idea or tip that I can implement from every session I attend. The minute you think you know everything, you’re in trouble.

“I read books and study leadership styles so I can continue to evolve as a leader and I seek out opportunities to meet other leaders, both in and out of our industry.

“I also try to bring a bit of humour to situations wherever possible; you have to be the first person to laugh at yourself.”

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