“2000 - THE YEAR OF A THOUSAND OPPORTUNITIES”

Introduction

The hoopla is all over – 2000 is here. Despite all the predictions of the bureaucratic doomsayers and the techno-opportunists things are as they were. Except for the calendar.

Many of us will have now taken the opportunity to review last years business experiences, reflect of the good and the bad, and set new targets for 2000. It’s time to look forward – the media have wanted us to “remember” and be nostalgic about the last 1000 years – that’s nice, but it won’t necessarily help your business success in 2000.

2000 is where you will make your success this year – so lets treat it as “The year of 1000 opportunities”.

As you prepare to invest more energy, time and drive into your Real Estate business or career, it’s perhaps time to ensure the foundations for your success are solidly established.

The four cornerstones are:

1. A clear map of where you are going and the plan to get there.
2. Systems that keep the pathways open.
3. People to walk the pathways with you.
4. The skills to cope with the tasks on the journey.

There are other factors to be taken care of too, but these four really lay the foundation for business growth and development.

1 The Map

If you know where you are going it’s much easier to get there. If you made some New Year resolutions or plans for your business it’s important to have spent some time to detail how that will all happen.

Now is not the time to debate the value of goal setting and planning. It simply needs to be understood that if what you are doing isn’t bringing you the results you want, you’d best change something.

A Business Plan provides the map:
It shows where you are going and prescribes the pathways for the journey.

Your plan needs to contain:

1. A clear description of your long term goals over the next 5 to 10 years
a. This could include the value you’d like to place on your business.
b. What you would like your lifestyle to be like
c. The income needed from your business to “fund your life”.

2. The outcomes you will deliver in the next 2-3 years. Specific Business performance aspects that will have you on target.

3. An honest appraisal of your current reality
a. Internally- your strategic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
b. Externally – your competitors strategic advantages etc and your market environment

4. Key performance indicators required to deliver the new outcomes

5. The success strategies that will create the changes & deliver the new outcomes.

6. Action plans for the success strategies.

7. Implementation & monitoring plan.

2 Systems that Deliver.

In commission based enterprises all too often the quality of service delivery is left to the individual contractors. To continue to rely on this paradigm for business growth and success is at best, an abdication of quality management by the business leader.

Those businesses that have grown over recent years have made the quality of service delivery a company responsibility. Not a discretionary option of sales people.

There is an ability to guarantee service levels once this approach is introduced – the approach is called – “It’s the way we do it around here - every time!”

You need to be able to guarantee that;

The vendor receives all the communication that is promised at the listing presentation.

The letters from the manager and the sales consultant go out
The one week follow-up is done.

that sales consultants provides weekly feedback,

That review meetings are held,

That you ring after 10 days to check all is going as planned etc

And all the other tasks your system delivers

No matter which type of listing, can you be absolutely certain that all tasks take place for each Listing.

Fortunately computers have made this much easier. There are now several software packages that provide you with the opportunity to create a set of tasks that must take place for any listing or sale, every time.

Have you prescribed all the actions that must take place for all the activities that surround a listing or sale?

Do you have standard letters and forms to ensure your minimum standards are always met?

Do you have a task management system which ensures effective and accurate delivery of this programme?

Core Systems MUST exist for

Induction of new staff
o Clearly spell out expectations, resources & provide skills.
Listings
o Core tasks to ensure nothing is overlooked, no matter what type of listing. Have you written down all the tasks that must take place once a New Listing is obtained.
o Checklists which are simple for sales consultant to complete and have the marketing desk take over.
New Sales
o Have you a set of standard letters & tasks that automatically begin one a contract is signed and the sale settled.
Prospecting

Marketing

Recruitment

Disbursements and Payroll

Database Management

It’s not the purpose of this article to detail the systems, but simply to prompt us to check not only have them but, there is a certainty of delivery.

Check also the competence of the people performing the administrative functions. So much time is spent coaching and training sales consultants that we too often overlook the competence and delivery of the people delivering the systems. Check for bottlenecks, which cause frustration and delays. Sometimes there are tasks best described as, “that’s what we’ve always done”. Are all those long established actions really useful or just habit?

3 People to walk the pathways with You

The most successful businesses not only ensure their people know what to do and how to do it, they know whether it’s being done and how often it’s being done.

Your Business Plan spells out what has to happen to achieve the success you want.

In successful businesses the owner/manager is a great coach, with the ability to get alongside their people and work with them. They nurture their people assets and help them manage their time, to ensure they work a plan.

This plan is usually a weekly quota of key dollar productive tasks. The top coaches have their sales consultants on a “plan” – a detailed schedule of events that record what they do and how often they do. If you don’t have this sort of detail then how do you help people to improve their performance.

People need to be held accountable for:

their time

the use of the resources you provide

the servicing of the contacts and client leads your business generates and provides to them.

Your task now is to create an environment in your business where people can succeed. This is where your leadership and management skills really are put to the test. As a leader you set the tone, you set the rules and your ethics provide the foundations for the team’s conduct.

People work much more productively in environments where there is:

o Positive, fair and decisive management
o Clear policy and procedures
o Systems that deliver effectively and efficiently
o Clear expectations
o A bottom line of performance that is enforced
o Clear rules
o Encouragement to grow
o No negativity and secret agendas
o Where the rules apply to everyone, including the top sales consultant
o Fun and energy

You will find you need to recruit new people as you address the issues of non-performance, non-competence and non-compliance.
Don’t overlook the need to be viewing this as a long term and on-going project. As I’ve said in previous articles you need to compete with other industries for the people you want now. Take a longer-term view, consider younger people and how you have to pay them while they get them established. Whatever you do, there must be something in your diary each week for recruitment.

Your focus must also be very clear on the induction of your new recruits. Induction is the process of ensuring they know how its done around here, that they know what is expected of them, and so the removal of any excuses to not succeed.

4 Skills to Perform


Another of your key responsibilities is to ensure all your personnel have the skills to perform their tasks superbly. You charge Vendors the same fee level no matter the competency of the sales consultant, so ideally they should all be delivering at the highest level.

Not only must you know how to train, have an on-going training programme and sales/technical skills, you must be able to train on – the-spot and in-the-field.

Take some time to review the skills of your people and compare them to those required for your business to prosper. Remember you chose your personnel and if they don’t have the necessary skills it is also up to you to fix that situation.

Core competencies to be excelled at are:
o Communication – listening, speaking and writing
o Technical skills – pricing, contracts, property information, technology, property law, paper work etc.
o Empathy – gaining clients trust and confidence
o Learning basic scripts
o Know the market
o Awesome listing presentation with full menu of offerings
o Can sell – close the sale on
o Property
o Listings with your company
o Auction
o Other controlled listings
o Benefits of additional marketing
o Negotiation – too often overlooked, especially when you consider the fine line we walk, representing both parties.
o Self-management
o Open Homes
o Vendor reviews
o Buyer counseling –the forgotten art
o Marketing – if you don’t have a department to leave it to

To lead your people forward you are responsible for ensuring their competencies are strong enough to meet the needs of the business.

If the results in your business or career are not yet what you want, then take a look at the skills level for the above tasks. An honest review here can create that relevant and effective training programme you really do need.

Summary

Establishing high competence and delivery in these four factors will provide you with a powerful and rewarding year. All that we have set out to do in this article is to encourage you to take some time to review and plan so you have some clarity on where you are going and what to do to get there..

As you embark on this path there are two more vital attributes you need to maintain.

1 Awareness:

The ability to see what you are doing, and to see the results you are getting.

2 Flexibility:

The preparedness to do something different. If you see what you are doing is not bringing you the results you want then do something different.

The ability (& willingness) to monitor and review your progress, and to amend what you are doing, is critical. Not only have I suggested you take some actions to clarify your business goals and outlined some skills you must excel at, there is the issue of focus and personal discipline. – The ability to do things that will build the business (not just maintain it) on a continuing basis.

Perhaps its time to consider a business mentor or coach. Find someone you respect, someone you’d like to emulate, someone who can teach you what you need to know and have them keep you on track. It’s amazing how our performance can improve when we make ourselves accountable to someone we respect.

An investment in time and planning right now could be the most important thing you do this year. Whatever course of action you select you will get to experience the consequences – nothing is more certain than that.

IAN KEIGHTLEY


Salescoach Ltd
PO Box 9058
Newmarket
Auckland
Ph: 64 9 524 0302
Fax: 64 9 524 0303
Mobile: 64 021 968 108
Email: ian@salescoach.co.nz


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