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.
of the process can be improved so that the overall package can be regarded as highly relevant to the clients that we work with.
This strategy of process optimization will allow you to get traction and momentum in your market. It is interesting to note that many of your fellow competing agents will be rather ordinary when it comes to the various parts of the agency process. That is an advantage in itself.
Here are some other factors that can be structured into your professional services and improved to give you the competitive edge as a commercial real estate agent:
- When it comes to listing a property, the right information has to be gathered and checked. As you specialize within the industry, your value as an expert becomes real and relevant. Complex properties require top agents that understand the intricacies of the property package. Promote yourself as the expert relative to a particular property type; get to know all of the variables and factors that make a property attractive. Make sure that there are sufficient listings in the local area within the property type to allow you to gain market share.
- The listing of a property can take many hours if not days. The size of the property, the tenancy mix, the lease details, and the financial performance will all require investigation. The property improvements will require description and qualification. The legal identity and function of the property will need to be checked prior to any marketing commencing. I go back to the point that property specialization will help you with the experience and the profile of a top agent. The clients that we serve like to work with top agents that understand the property and the area comprehensively. Property marketing is not an experiment.
- Given the pressures of today’s property market, you cannot and should not take a generic marketing approach when it comes to a quality listing. A quality property should be exclusively listed. The exclusive listing should be matched to the market and the best method of sale or lease as the case may be. When those decisions have been made, the marketing package can be designed to reach into the property owners and business proprietors that may have an interest. Get personally involved with all of your marketing campaigns. Use each quality listing to talk to other property investors and business owners.
- Understand the local property market when it comes to the seasonal activity in both sales and leasing. Some properties are best released to the market at certain times of the year. The larger and more complex the asset, the greater the amount of care that needs to be taken when it comes to the structuring of the marketing campaign and its release to the local area. Track all of your marketing efforts so that you can understand the things that are working when it comes to attracting enquiries. Repeat the things that work so that every property enquiry is optimized on every exclusive listing.
These four things will give you the best traction when it comes to attracting buyers and tenants. If you are advertising or marketing the property today and simply cannot get the enquiries in the door, then something is wrong. Review your marketing campaign and adjust it to build momentum.
Keep a database relative to all the contacts and people that you talk to. Over time the database will build more momentum and opportunity for you. Keep talking to the people in the market. That is how you find the opportunities and clients to work with.