The Art of Managing Sales People


The measure of success is directly related to the level of ownership that is inherent in the business plan, plus the consistency with which you deliver it to your team. Focus on that and success will follow. Managing a team that openly approaches you with challenges and solutions is far less stressful than those who come with problems, no solutions, and an expectation you will solve it. Replace traditional “sales meetings” with “productivity meetings” and one-on-one discussions with your sales people and you will be far more likely to achieve your desired results, says Brett Robinson.

One of the definitions in The Macquarie dictionary defines ‘Art’ as ‘a skill or knack of’. Therefore, if you were to insert that phrase into the title, you may well cover the parameters of interpretation regarding the managing of salespeople. It remains one of the greatest challenges facing real estate Principals.

Whether it relates to the traditional passage of career, or from another industry, it remains a constant topic of discussion at all levels of principal interaction. So why does it remain on the agenda? We are all aware of the risk factors, the productivity peaks, and troughs. Staff turnover. All of which contribute to your bottom line.

I would suggest it is directly related to how you operate your business. Do you treat it as a hobby, a job, a business, or a profit centre? For all these four stages of a business cycle, have ascending levels of involvement that relate to the importance of managing a profitable sales team.

This scenario is directly linked to having a business plan together with the discipline to implement, constantly measure, and review the performance of your team.

Some Factors contributing to successfully managing Salespeople

Look at your current approach and ask yourself is it working? Is there any structure and methodology in how you approach managing the team? A business plan, which includes targets for the business and salespeople, is a starting point.

If your approach does need changing, it could be directly linked to your inability to attract salespeople. They notice factors like inconsistent listings and sales, low market share, plus turnover of salespeople.

The right mix of salespeople is fundamental to managing a team. The selection process is critical and I believe that often the Principal does not have the right combination of skill, time, and attitude to recruit effectively. This is where I believe there is a place for recruitment organisations.

Successful offices talk about the high level of ownership their team has. This factor is a major plus for these individuals are highly motivated, willing be accountable and bring resolutions and results to principals, rather than problems.

The level and implementation of a ‘System’s and Procedure’s Manual’ is very important in terms of ensuring maximum productivity of your team. A systemised office will allow them to improve their time management, eliminate any confusion as to their role, and support them in attaining their goals.

Another factor often overlooked is your role with in the structure of the sales team. Clarity and consistency is essential .The balance (if applicable) between your productivity and leadership and support of your team is an often a subject of debate by both parties.

Key points in the approach and methodology of managing salespeople

I would suggest you complete a business plan for the business and each individual within the team. Principals who involve their team in this process, by way of discussion, agreement, formulation, and implementation, have a much higher success rate in terms of achieving goals and targets. The major win, however, is their ownership of the plan. This makes managing a team so much easier on a Principal. The plan would comprise all the important business sectors that make up the operation, including the key performance measures, and units of, along with a tracking system to measure the results.

How many times have you heard the statement, “You must know your numbers!”

In addition, the sales team must not only know the numbers, but also understand where they fit within their business plan. Then they must be held accountable for achieving them.

Facilitating regular and measureable sales meetings that focus on the accountability of your team is paramount. This includes a commitment to be accountable for taking actions, achieving results, and outcomes. Why we have historically conducted sessions under the title of a sales meeting? Who is selling what to whom here? (Promises and excuses). I suggest to my clients that they should be called productivity meetings.

A regular review process is essential for everyone to keep on track. I believe two meetings per week have value for the team. A productivity meeting relating to prospecting, market appraisals, listings, pending sales, exchanges and settlements is the focus. There are different names for the components, but it is the same process. The second meeting is conducted on a one on one basis with each member of your team. Here both of you focus on their productivity, the strengths and weaknesses in relation to that, the challenges of their role, and personal matters that are linked to productivity. This meeting must be conducted in a positive and conducive environment, with subject matters, the actions, and deadlines being agreed to.

How do you measure success in terms of managing your sales team?

Fundamentally, it all comes back to your business plan. The measure of success is directly related to the level of ownership that is inherent in the plan, plus the consistency with which you deliver it to your team. Focus on that and success will follow. The ways to achieve this accountability are both the productivity meetings and the one on one sessions.

Success can also be directly measured by who in your team is an Internalist and who is an Externalist. Managing a team that openly approaches you with challenges and solutions is far less stressful than those who come with problems, no solutions, and an expectation you will solve it.

So what should you watch out for?

Inconsistent productivity levels and effective time management are two of the major concerns. The regular one on one meetings will address these and provide outcomes that are understood and agreed to by both parties. Remember there are only two factors governing people’s success – attitude and skill.

Sales people’s unrealistic business plans; circumstances in their personal life, an inability to adapt to a changing environment within their workplace and what the relationship with their support team is are all things to watch out for.

In summary, I go back to my opening comment about the art of managing sales people. Is it a skill or a knack? I believe it is the former. From knowledge comes skill and hopefully the content within this article, will add to that.

Let us not forget that most salespeople desire to be part of an environment where the Principal shows leadership and direction, provides support, and creates a sense of involvement – all of which govern the level of success of salespeople.

Brett Robinson’s career has spanned more than 25 years incorporating many aspects of real estate. From an agency perspective, it has included roles such as a property officer/manager, salesperson, sales manager, and general manager. From a corporate perspective, his experience has included state and national positions encompassing regional management, national franchising, and business development.












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