In commercial real estate agency, the sales team forms the central part of the income base for the business. A highly performing team will bring in many commission and listing opportunities over time. That being said, the team really does need to be built, guided and optimised for results.
Here are some challenges to look at when addressing sales team performance issues:
- Some salespeople operate best when they are left alone to get their personal plan in motion. Over time this group can rise to the top of the market using a plan and strategy that works for them. On average this type of salesperson is in the minority. Agents in this group know what they have to do and they make sure they are doing it every day of the week.
- Other salespeople (the majority) are more inclined to take random action in the market place. This group requires constant guidance and redirection from the team leader. If left to their own devices and actions these salespeople will usually underperform and stagnate with listings and commissions. Agents in this group usually experience ‘peaks and valleys’ in listing conversions and commission income.
- The administrative team should support the sales team with back up listing and marketing infrastructure.
So just how do you adjust to this challenging team and get the best out of them? Here are some ideas to help:
- Know who your best agents and salespeople are. Let them work with autonomy on their plan (providing the plan matches that of the business). As long as they are getting results there is no need to interfere. Top agents understand what they have to do and they get on with the process. The income and commissions for these agents will be constantly growing.
- Determine just who your ‘rising stars’ may be in the sales team. They will require special guidance and assistance to grow and improve. Provide them with personal coaching and training so they can achieve set key performance indicators. Each week and each month this group will need shaping and nurturing. They should continue to get the dedicated attention providing they are responding to fresh ideas and showing growth.
- Some of the remaining members of the sales team will be operating in the ‘ordinary zone’ of performance and will be quite ‘happy’ to do so. Members of this team segment usually have plenty of excuses to apply when it comes to a lack of listings and commissions. The income that they generate will fluctuate greatly during the year. Should you tolerate these people in your team? Probably not over the medium term (over 6 months and beyond). Give them some guidance and training to correct performance problems; if they fail to adjust then it is better for all concerned if they move on to another agency.
It is better to have a smaller team of top agent performers than a big team of below average agents. Below average agents drain the life out of the business over the long term. Choose your sales people well by undertaking a ‘sales character assessment’ prior to employment.