Keeping the good people you have Recruited
or for
Salespeople - choosing your office

Managers soon learn that salespeople are a very mobile commodity and that one of the key functions in running a good real estate business is maintaining a stable base of skilled and productive salespeople.

Apart from continually focussing on their recruitment activity managers need to also take a regular look at what salespeople look for when selecting their office or why they consider moving.

Everybody is leaving - you just don't know when.

Firstly recognise that higher commission payouts don’t attract everyone. The fact that the majority of salespeople are on standard arrangements, many with bonuses, suggests that simply offering a larger share of the cake is not the only method to recruit and retain the right people. There are more critical issues for many salespeople than just money. I regularly see salespeople move from an office of higher fee payouts to an office of a lesser base payout because they see other elements as more important in their long-term success, than just the percentage of the fee they receive. Over the years I have been working in the coaching and training world I have asked those who have moved, what has driven them to move and why they went where they did? The smallest group was those who moved after being tempted by a higher fee payout. So why do they move?

Leadership or lack of it is a major reason for changing offices. Salespeople want to work for managers and business owners who are Leaders and who can pass on their vision of the future of their business and how that salespersons business can grow within it. Leadership goes beyond that – it includes being prepared to work on the listing and sales front and sharing the hard work that builds success. Leaders inspire people to happily do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Salespeople leave managers who lack vision and energy to participate actively in the market place.

Ethics are important to the majority. The acceptance by management of unethical tactics by some salespeople, destroys not only any chance a developing a team culture, but encourages the ethical to leave as their sense of values destroys their motivation to perform. The feedback is that they feel un-ethical behaviour only exists because management allows it.

Office Environment ranks high as reason to select an office. The physical resources and layout, is now showing itself as an important criteria, more so now that we see some wonderfully resourced and presented offices take a strong market presence. The corner store with mini-cubicle is fast going to loose attraction.

But environment has more to do with atmosphere and office mood than just physical resources. Whilst it is often said in management training that good managers should have no favourites it is often taken out of context. No-favourites, means that the rules apply to everyone. It does not stop good leaders from recognising and adequately rewarding their top performers.

Nothing upsets sales people more than seeing management allowing the better performers to openly break office rules. They look for consistent and decisive management that applies the rules fairly and quickly. Managers who avoid conflicts hoping they will simply go away simply loose people. Sales people who move, look for offices where management has a strong hand and doesn’t allow prima-donnas to control the office rules in their own interest.
Offices with simmering undercurrents, simply waste energy, divert focus and destroy motivation. People eventually leave and seek a stronger leader. Too many sales people stay too long in these environments thinking it will get better or perhaps all offices are the same. Clearly they are not all the same.

Technology and Human Resources also play a big role in office stability. Access to statistical and property information is vital, and they seek either easy uncluttered access to terminals, easy log into office networks or competent and speedy in-house operators. The next issue is access to marketing resources, great printer and copy services, colour copying and innovative and quality marketing ideas. The ability to use bulk e-mail marketing, easy mail-merge facilities and the rapid and quality production of Pre-Listing and Presentation Packs are critical in the selection process. Having to queue to use these resources or waiting for incompetent or over-loaded administration staff simply leads top performers to perform these tasks themselves, engage a Personal assistant or find an office that is more supportive. The more independent these salespeople become the more easily they can move their business to another facility.

Training and Coaching are other critical selection criteria for salespeople. When starting their careers, salespeople rate training as one of their major concerns. What training will I get? Who will train me? Okay so you have a great induction course, but who will help me after that? Who will guide me day to day once I am back in the office? I often hear from salespeople who have invested heavily in their new careers and attended corporate induction courses, who on their return to a follow-up course, state they have not had a one on one with their manager in 8 weeks. They simply want guidance daily on what to do and how to do it.

The more experienced want training too. The market continually changes and often people are trapped in a mode of operation and the behaviours for a Buyers Market, need major adjustment to cope with the current Sellers Market. Most managers have had no training in how to train or coach their people and this is possibly the biggest weakness of management in the industry.

Appreciation and Recognition play a huge role in maintaining loyalty and longevity of a sales team. Leaving success unrecognised, not sharing achievement and showing appreciation are probably the greatest drivers of sales people to seek an office with higher payouts as they think that may be the only option and that all managers are the same.

There are ample examples in New Zealand of highly successful offices where the team is stable, highly productive and happy, and it’s all down to the leadership and tone provided by the owner or manager. The sales people have their own network – they share what is good and bad within their offices – the recruitment and retention of the right people is influenced more by your management and leadership reputation, than by any fancy recruitment advertisements or commission payout scheme.


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