Success is a team effort

Through the years, there has been much created around the subject of how to recruit the right people into our rather unusual profession of real estate sales, how to keep the good people, and how to let go of the people who are not up to scratch. If you have had no luck recruiting “seasoned” real estate professionals from competitive agencies, then you may need to look at the subject of recruitment with a fresh pair of eyes, says Bill Robertson.

The task of recruiting the right people, then training /coaching, mentoring, rewarding, and retaining those whom you want to keep can actually be rather difficult to do. Could it be because those who are very successful in real estate (especially sales) seem to reach a point in time, where the automatic next step is wanting to own and run their own business? If you look at this in another way, it is much like a great cook deciding to open their own restaurant, or a very good motor mechanic buying a vehicle service centre. What is lacking in the examples above is perhaps sound business experience – which is what is normally lacking in the top sales agent.

When it comes to the real estate profession, often added to this lethal mix is the fact that most principals / managers are so busy with their own personal production, they physically do not have time to ‘manage’ the existing team, let alone the newcomers. Why? Because they know sales backwards, and they are the best person at listing, marketing, negotiating, and selling property in the office. If you deducted their personal production, the bottom line would look terrible. So they keep at it day in and day out – until they are hit by a bus or a serious illness, or just become worn out. There must be a better way – and there is.

Strictly talking sales, when it comes to production in our real estate profession, the sales that are made are a combination of the ‘quality’ of the listing, the ‘number of quality listings’ actually taken, plus how good the sales agent is at ‘marketing, negotiating, and closing sales’.

For a sales agent to be successful at both listing and selling, they need to want to be successful, need to be motivated and committed, need training, mentoring and support, need to be supervised well, need real estate tools and systems, need to feel part of the team – and – need to realise they are in business for themselves with applicable long hours.

Therefore, if a manager could employ a person, with or without real estate experience, who possesses most of the above attributes, in reality, all they have to provide is on-going motivation, on-going training, mentoring and support, on-going supervision, real estate tools and systems, plus a professional real estate environment for them to work within.

From this, could we then assume that the main reasons for failure in real estate sales, seems to be that the person did not have the noted desirable attributes, or the manager did not keep their end of the bargain – or both parties let each other down.

Therefore, we must focus on getting in front of the motivated and committed category of individual, and not persisting with individuals who have a shot at everything else and, last on the list, is ‘getting a job’ in real estate.
Could we prospect for those with experience, as well as the non-experienced, in real estate sales?

Yes – but be warned – the experienced sales agent will be currently with a competitor and if you can poach them across, they could be simply be looking for greener grass, and they will demand a higher commission split. In reality, most good experienced people cannot be recruited because if they do ‘cross over’, they want to leave something they don’t like, such as accountability.

In our current business climate, there could be many professional individuals who have been successful with a previous, non-real estate career, and due to circumstances, are looking for a new career in sales within another spectrum. All that is needed is to get in touch with them, hire them and teach them the business of real estate.

There are also individuals who have something to prove, and are very committed to becoming successful for other reasons. Perhaps a member of your local community who knows their area well, or who are members of local sporting and business clubs, mums who have time for a re-booted career, career-change dads – all that’s missing is the real estate knowledge and skills. They have the ethics, the drive, the energy and the enthusiasm to have a good crack at a new career. Why not capture these people?

They have the ethics, the drive, the energy and the enthusiasm to have a good crack at a new career. Why not capture these people?

It is not difficult to find such people as they are normally within the professional business circles that all good real estate principals / managers move in. Surely this is much better than placing an advertisement in the local newspaper for a ‘motivated person’ with real estate experience to come and work for you?

A manager must discover if the person not doing well is a ‘cannot do’ or a ‘will not do’ type of individual. If they are a ‘cannot do’ perhaps responsibility lies with the manager for not coaching them, not mentoring, not finding out what exactly gets them up in the morning. However, if they are a ‘will not do’, it becomes easy, because the mistake was made hiring them in the first place, so it’s ‘shake hands and go separate ways’. If this appears a little harsh – remember, a professional real estate sales manager is not running an Adult Day Care Centre – they are running a real estate business! How does a manager keep the good operators? They must have things in place that keep the good operators with them for as long as possible. All good people will leave – it’s just a matter of time – we must enjoy the journey while they are there with us.

Coming back to you – the working principal / person-in-charge / manager or sales manager – whatever your title is, you are the person responsible for the sales production of the ‘team’. You will rarely have a team of top agents – however, you can have a well-balanced team consisting of some exceptional and high producers, some middle producers who are consistent and loyal, and perhaps one new person progressing through the ranks – plus, you as the senior ‘I only list what I want to, and when I want to’ member of the team.

Finally, remember – it is how good your people are at prospecting, listing, marketing, negotiating and making sales plus how good you are at recruiting, training, managing, mentoring, holding accountable, retaining the good ones, and letting go the people you should never have employed in the first place.

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