For many years my colleagues and I have urged real estate principals to give hiring and developing their people more attention. Often this falls on deaf ears. A large proportion of real estate business owners were formerly salespeople, and the sales habit is hard to kick.
Chris Lytle, author of The Accidental Sales Manager, says that the biggest challenge salespeople-turned-leaders face is to lead instead of selling. He says that instead of managing sales:
When you don’t see success in the field, you are very quick to jump in and get your hands dirty—to the point where you’re doing the lower level tasks that you’ve hired other folks to complete.
He believes that Sales Managers are The Forgotten Rookie.
Smart leaders train new salespeople, but when a person is promoted to Sales Manager it is presumed that because they know how to sell, they automatically must be good leaders.
Selling and Leadership are different skills.
To think that a great salesperson is capable of leading a team without any leadership training is just as stupid as presuming that a great Flight Attendant can pilot the plane.
More from Chris Lytle:
The new sales manager is almost always the forgotten rookie – forgotten because the person who promoted you considers you to be an experienced hand. And of course, you were an experienced hand – in sales. Now, however, you’re an inexperienced sales manager.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a Sales Manager. What applies to a salesperson promoted to Sales Manager equally applies to a salesperson who acquires a real estate business. I might be talking about you.
If you were in Sales but now have a real estate business, a question you should consider is:
HOW MUCH LEADERSHIP TRAINING HAVE YOU HAD?
And a second question:
IS LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR YOURSELF AN ONGOING PRIORITY?
Far too many leaders, if they answered these questions honestly would say, “Not much” and “No“.
If we lead people, and if we have managers who also lead people, make it a mission to study leadership and ensure that your management team does too. The quality of your team, and the magnitude of your team’s results, depends upon the ability of your team’s leader(s) to LEAD.
We know that leadership as a skill is underrated – even to the point of disdain – by many business owners, and not just real estate business owners.
Last year I attended two great seminars presented by noted leadership teachers John Adair and John Maxwell. I was stunned at the low number of leaders who attended both events. Yet how many of the leaders who stayed away from these seminars would have at some point had difficulties leading their teams?
I say, learn to overcome your leadership challenges.
Chris Lytle says that some of the characteristics that make a great salesperson actually work against you as a Sales Manager.
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Drives self
The Skilled Leader: Finds out what drives his or her team and uses that.
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Feels a constant sense of urgency to sell.
The Skilled Leader: Practises patience and uses pressure sparingly.
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Wants and gets recognition.
The Skilled Leader: Gives recognition and often gets very little in return.
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Is a Lone Ranger (self-reliant)
The Skilled Leader: Relies on the team.
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Builds customer relationships and loyalty.
The Skilled Leader: Builds relationships with team and fosters loyalty to the company.
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Perseveres.
The Skilled Leader: Cuts losses quickly.
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Nonconformist and freelancer.
The Skilled Leader: Sets standards (works by the book).
- The Salesperson Sales Manager: Is a doer.
The Skilled Leader: Is an organiser/strategist/coach/facilitator.
The Accidental Sales Manager by Chris Lytle is an excellent place to start if you have not studied leadership very much. Even if you have studied a lot of leadership, keep going! Read this book if you haven’t done so already.
Nobody should be a Forgotten Rookie in your organisation. Not your sales team, your Property Management team, your support team, your management team, or yourself, the leader.
And don’t use being busy as an excuse for not studying leadership. If you use that excuse, your team will too.
Your team won’t get better until you do.
Even when it comes to education and self-improvement, YOU lead the way!