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Falling for the Red Herring

In this short leadership session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard advises leaders to be sure that they aren’t falling for red herrings – excuses from their teams about the training they attend. Take a salesperson to training, and you should expect results.

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The Wrong Focus

On an agency visit I spent time with a salesperson who had fallen short of target for the previous two quarters. When I asked what her goal was for the coming quarter she replied, “Hang in and keep my job“.

I told her this was the wrong focus. Fear-based thinking is always the wrong focus. It’s a terrible way to work – there’s nothing inspiring about it, nothing to look forward to. MORE

Focusing on keeping your job robs you of focusing on something better.

This salesperson needed a holiday – she was running on empty. I suggested that the holiday should be her goal. Work hard until Christmas and focus on earning $10,000 for a decent holiday with her husband.

I discussed planning with her. I asked what she needed to produce in fees, and then sales, listings, and the amount of prospecting she’d need to do in order to achieve the fee production target. Once the planning was done, it was time to get to work.

When I spoke to her one month later, she was already halfway to her goal. She was booking her holiday. She sounded like a different person.

Fear-based thinking causes you to second guess yourself. It robs you of confidence, decision-making ability, and it prevents you from seeing opportunity

By changing her focus, and then planning how to achieve it, she took control. She produced the results necessary to achieve her positive, worthwhile, goal.

She had the skill – it was there all along. All she needed was to focus on the right goal and a change in attitude.

Falling victim to the wrong focus can be easily cured by daring to focus on something better, a worthwhile goal.

If you are ever tempted to focus on the negative, change your attitude and thinking. Other people are making great incomes in real estate sales. Why not you?

The Hard Way


In this short real estate sales training session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard explains that when it comes to success, there’s the easy way and the hard way. The hard way is to work without something to focus on. This leads to erratic actions, and low results and income.

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It’s No Surprise

Every real estate business has a Break Even Point (BEP). The leader might not know what it is, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the office needs so many sales to break even. Beyond BEP, the office begins to make a profit. It’s that simple.

Smart leaders know the break even point for each department in the agency – the BEP for the rental department, the BEP for the sales department, and for any other department operated by the business, strata management for example. If you don’t know your BEP you’re flying blind. MORE

But knowing your BEP and exceeding it are not the same. I often see leaders who reach the end of the month and are surprised that the sales team has performed poorly. Profit should never be a surprise, nor should falling short of your BEP. As leader, you’ve got to know how your agency is doing at all times.

There are two tools that are vital for keeping your agency on track to achieve its listings and sales targets: the sales meeting and the action sheet.

In every month there are four sales meetings. They don’t always land on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of each month, but your sales meetings roughly divide the month into four. This gives you four opportunities to correct results if the agency, or any salesperson in the agency, is behind target.

You don’t wait until the 21st to act – that’s too late. You begin correcting from the first sales meeting each month. If you are behind on the 7th, or the first sales meeting of the month, increase actions so that you are back on track by the 14th, or the second sales meeting of the month.

Set actions with the team to get back on track and record those on an action sheet:

  • You might agree with a team member who is short of listings to increase his or her prospecting in the coming week, increasing the prospecting calls to 300 for the week, for example.
  • Or you might have your best lister, whose stock isn’t selling, to visit four vendors and obtain price reductions.

I’m sure you get the idea – don’t wait for results to happen, and certainly don’t hope. DRIVE results by focusing on the actions that lead to those results.

Decisive leadership, dynamic sales meetings, and actions that are committed to by salespeople, recorded on an action sheet, and carried out by the salespeople, put the focus on the right actions. Those right actions bring results.

Making profit or falling short of target – it’s no surprise.

Gary Pittard

Worth Keeping Worth Coaching

In this short leadership session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, asks “Are you coaching your people?” Coaching doesn’t mean telling them what to do – that’s lecturing. Fail to coach and you risk losing a lot of money through the incompetence of your team.

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Your Ideal Day

If you had to describe your ideal day, would you describe a day where you made a sale, perhaps two?

While this is understandable, and certainly a good day, it is far from ideal. Unless you achieve other vital results, days where you make a sale will be few. How often do ‘sale’ days happen for you now? Would you like more? MORE

You can make more ideal days, rather than waiting and hoping that they will happen.

If not a ‘sale’ day, what, then, is an ideal day?

      • For the sale to occur, you need stock. No stock, no sales. Low stock, low sales. Big sales months are preceded by big listing months. So an ideal day must also include a listing result.
      • There are no listings without listing appointments. To get the listing, you need an appointment. Therefore, an ideal day must include a listing appointment.
      • You won’t get the listing appointments by waiting around for sellers to call you. There must be marketing material going out from your office regularly, and you must prospect for new business. Do the marketing and the prospecting, and you will get more listing appointments. An ideal day must include a healthy amount of prospecting and outgoing marketing.
      • You won’t sell your listings if they are overpriced. Therefore, giving regular feedback to your vendors, with specific and honest feedback from buyers, is essential to having a seller understand the likely selling price of their property. You must regularly be giving price recommendations to your sellers, repositioning the price where necessary.
      • Lastly, of course, making a sale is certainly part of an ideal day.
  • If you think about it this way, it gives the ideal day a new complexion. For a winning salesperson, an ideal day is one where:
      • The prospecting target has been achieved or exceeded – minimum 40 calls per day
      • A listing appointment has been made
      • A listing has been obtained
      • At least one vendor has been given honest price feedback
      • A sale is made

Ideal days like this might be rarer than ‘sale’ days, but if you want more days where you make a sale, add into every working day the actions that lead to sales.

Prospecting –> Listing appointments –> Listings –> Seller feedback (price reductions) –> Sales

It’s the chicken-and-egg question, only easier to answer. There are no sales unless you attend to the actions that lead to the sale.

Want more ideal days? Do the ideal actions.

Gary Pittard

Hard Truths


No doubt you do your best to look after your clients, but does this include telling property sellers what they need to know – those hard truths? In this short real estate sales training session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that truly caring for your clients means telling the whole truth, especially around the likely selling prices of their properties.

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You Don’t Whistle For Winners

I couldn’t begin to estimate how many times real estate agency leaders have commented about another team saying something along the lines of, “She is lucky – she’s got a great team”.

It’s almost as though they think that all you need do is stick your head out the window and whistle, and winners will come running. You don’t whistle for winners, and luck has nothing to do with building a winning team. MORE

The first step to building a great team is to commit to doing so. It requires hard work over several years to develop a team of peak performers.

After commitment come systems. Your recruitment program must be systemised, methodical, and stringent.

It’s crucial you get this right. You can lose a lot of money very quickly by paying salaries to salespeople who don’t make it. Your recruitment process must help you identify likely winners and reduce the risk of hiring those who won’t make it.

And if you think that commission-only is the best option, let me ask you one question: “How has this worked for you so far?

Attracting commission-only people is no easy task. Unless they are competent, write great figures (most don’t), and are paid a fair split on the commission – a split that allows you to cover expenses and still make a profit – you will lose money on them, too.

If you want to build a winning team, don’t think hiring, think RECRUITMENT.

The Business Dictionary defines hiring as:

The act of giving someone a job; an employer taking on a new employee.

Building a team of competent winners requires more than that.

Here’s the definition of Recruitment:

The process of finding and hiring the best-qualified candidate for a job, from within or outside the organisation, in a timely and cost-effective manner. It includes analysing the requirements of a job, attracting candidates to that job, screening and selecting applicants, hiring, and integrating the new employee to the organisation.

Recruitment is a systemised process that weeds out unsuitable applicants and assists in selecting those who are most likely to make it.

Here are the elements of a successful recruitment system for real estate salespeople:

  • Attraction – you need to fill your recruitment pipeline with candidates looking for a career in Sales. There is far more to this than just advertising on Seek.
  • Sorting systems – you need systems to help you sort those who won’t succeed from those who possibly could. Nothing is definite but sorting systems will help you identify the best candidates.
  • Pre-start testing – don’t leave it to ‘gut instinct’ – test candidates to see if they have the temperament and aptitude for Sales.
  • Selection systems – you must be decisive and offer employment once your systems identify a potential winner. Winners won’t wait for procrastinating leaders.
  • Induction systems – bring recruits onboard with clear guidelines on what you expect from them in actions, study, and responsibilities.
  • Ongoing training and coaching – after inducting your recruit properly, training and coaching is an ongoing responsibility for all leaders. Neglect this and your promising recruit will likely become a mediocre experienced salesperson. And our industry has too many of those!

If you are too busy selling real estate, you will ignore recruiting, recruiting systems, and leading the team. This is sure way to build a mediocre team, if indeed you build a team at all.

Would you take on a seller and not nurture that relationship, consciously moving the listing toward a sale?

Then why would you take on a recruit and not nurture that person, working him or her toward greatness?

You don’t whistle for winners. But they are out there, waiting for you to attract them.

Gary Pittard

Train To Win

When a team shows little regard for training, that lack of regard eventually manifests as poor results. In this short leadership session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, explains that you don’t train for the sake of it – you train to WIN.

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A Matter of Integrity

I was talking with a Diamond member of Pittard’s Winners Circle recently. The topic came around to telling sellers the truth about the likely selling prices of their properties.

This million-dollar producer said, “I tell sellers that in this market their properties will sell for $x. If they aren’t willing to price near that, I won’t take on their listing.” He hastened to add that he explains this to sellers more tactfully than that, but his point is that sellers must be told the truth about the likely selling price by their lister. MORE

“It takes courage to tell the truth and jeopardise the listing”, I said. The top performer replied, “It’s more a matter of integrity”.

Of course, he’s right – avoid the truth, or alter the price to win the listing, and you tarnish your integrity and your reputation. So why are agents known for lying about the price, or lying by omission and avoiding price completely?

The answer is skill. It takes superior presentation ability to tell the truth in real estate and still win the business. If you intend telling the truth – and you should – you’d better be an outstanding presenter. And I mean outstanding.

But there are rewards, aside from the well-being that comes from knowing you tell the truth.

As an example, I attended an auction where the agent quoted $4.5 million to the sellers at the listing, and $3.5 million to the buyers during the open homes. He came unstuck when there was only one bidder at the auction. Now he had a $1 million gap to negotiate. Trust me when I say that he wasn’t that good a negotiator. It was passed in.

The property eventually sold for around $4 million, which was about the right money, but it could have sold months earlier had the truth been told at the beginning. And although the agent made this sale, will the sellers ever use him again? Will the buyers sell with him when the time comes? I don’t like his chances.

You see, integrity matters. You can’t be honest most of the time – it’s an all or nothing concept. Sure, it takes tact and finesse to deliver it, but the truth is an underrated sales tactic.

Why take on listings that aren’t going to sell? Why take on sellers that won’t listen to the truth, who don’t trust agents anyway, and who price so high that nobody enquires? Why take on sellers who aren’t serious, who consume your time, energy, your company’s money and your morale. When they leave to go to another agent, they don’t even sincerely thank you!

Even if you use the sellers’ money to pay for advertising, rather than your company’s money, it does your reputation no good when you take clients’ money and fail to sell the property.

Perhaps your market is so hot that properties sell anyway. But it won’t always be like this.

Gary Pittard

Show Ponies


In this short sales session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, explains that while agents must look and act professionally, true sales success is not about looking flashy, but backing up ‘show’ with substance.

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The True Cost of Incompetence

Leaders often think that the cost of having an incompetent salesperson on the team is the wage paid to that person. But there is a lot more to lose. The salary is just the beginning.

Let’s say you pay $50,000. In Australia you add 9.5% superannuation so now you’re at $54,750. For this exercise we’ll ignore payroll tax and other on-costs. MORE

Business lost through incompetence

Now let’s look at loss through incompetence. Is it reasonable to expect that an incompetent salesperson will lose 1 listing a month? That’s conservatively 6 sales lost per year. At an average selling fee of $15,000, that’s $90,000 per year. Add that to the lost salary and now your losses are $144,750.

In 1993, the average production of a salesperson was $135,000. In 2019, despite a recent boom, there was no evidence that it was much higher. It’s fair to say that incompetence is alive and well!

Real money

It is easy to dismiss these losses because you never see the money. Only the salary is money that you had, and then paid to your incompetent salesperson. You never had any of the other money, hence the tendency to not take it into account.

But you’d better believe that this is real money, even if you didn’t get it.

Imagine I walked into your office with a briefcase containing $145,000. I tell you that this money is all yours at the end of the year, BUT I will be deducting the equivalent of one selling fee every time I detect business lost through incompetence by one of your salespeople.

A salesperson walks into the office after two hours on a listing appointment. “Did you get it?” you ask? He replies, “No, but I’ve got a good relationship with them. If they list with anybody, they will list with me”.

And right then, I reach into your briefcase and remove $15,000. Would you believe then that incompetence is costing you real money?

This is the point – money you had, but lost, always hurts more than money you missed out on, but never saw. It’s the same money, and it buys the same things, IF you can get it.

Four incompetent salespeople can easily cost an agency $600,000 in expenses and lost income. Do you want some of this for yourself?

Then train your people. Make incompetence a thing of the past in your agency.

Gary Pittard

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