Real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says, “Real estate agency owners have the options to build their companies into success environments, or do nothing and create mediocrity environments by default”. In this short leadership session, Gary shows how to create a success environment – always the most profitable option.
A lot of leaders and salespeople are complaining about the ‘tough market’. But is the market really the whole problem?
The advice I’ve been giving to Pittard clients is that we can’t change the market – it’s the hand we’ve been dealt – and so instead let’s concentrate on what we can control. MORE
My friend, Peter O’Malley, author of Inside Real Estate, said:
“When markets change, salespeople need to re-skill.”
Techniques that worked during the boom, no longer work. Conversations at the listing presentation are different to boom-time conversations. Price must be discussed carefully, and sellers must understand that the longer they wait, the lower the price they will eventually get.
Do you know how to make listings saleable in down-turning markets? If not, it’s time to re-skill.
You must be choosey with the clients you take on in challenging markets. List sellers who aren’t serious about selling and they will consume masses of your time and office resources for no result.
Even worse, they can shatter your confidence and morale.
Sometimes it is better to be the second agent that takes on a listing and not the first. And it is never a good idea to take on those sellers who say things like, “If I get my price I’ll sell”.
You can wallow in the difficulty of this market, or you can rise to it. It’s your choice.
It follows that if you intend being selective with the clients you take on, you had better be prepared to do a lot of prospecting. This will increase your opportunities of finding sellers who are serious about selling.
If you have not set clear goals, calculated the income you need to achieve and designed a plan to achieve that income, you are probably drifting downwards with the market.
Goals and targets give you focus – and in a challenging market you need focus. You must know how many people you will speak with each day. Thanks to the goals that you want so badly, your actions will be focused. Results are just a matter of time.
You Are Better Than the Market
Before you are tempted to blame the market for poor performance, remind yourself that this thinking can send you broke.
Look to your skill, focus and client selection.
What are you reading right now? What audio or video programs have you studied recently? Are you learning material that will help your career?
Your results will improve when YOU do.
You are better than the market. Now go and prove this to yourself.
Are you the type of person who does just enough to get by at work, or does quality work mean something to you? Real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that a love of quality work is one thing that differentiates winners from their mediocre counterparts.
This is not ‘going the extra mile’, it’s doing what you said you would do, in the manner you said you would do it, when you said you would do it.
How much better would many salespeople’s careers be if they delivered quality work? If you love quality work, you will deliver it.
Many offices struggle and so do their salespeople.
In the nineties, salespeople wrote on average $135,000 in fees. Since 2010 we have seen little evidence that this average has changed much, despite selling fees trebling over that time and markets booming in many regions. MORE
Pittard salespeople are well trained – they are inducted with a solid foundation of training, testing and practical work experience prior to them being appointed permanently to the sales team.
Yet, despite this training, we still see that salespeople need a coach. Left to their own devices, many salespeople will drift toward the easy tasks, those tasks that do not put them at risk of facing rejection, tasks that are usually low on productivity.
All salespeople, but particularly those who have not yet reached winner status, need a coach. And the person best placed to coach salespeople is their leader.
Keith Rosen, author of Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions, released his latest book, Sales Leadership in late 2018. He surveyed business leaders and asked what values they compromised most due to the pressure to perform.
Instead of compromising in these areas, would your business be more profitable if you embraced these values and stepped up to the duty of coaching? You know it would!
Myth of micromanaging
People often say, “I don’t want to micromanage my people”. I say, “Why not?” Some people need micromanaging.
When salespeople are new, they need to be micromanaged. And this micromanagement must continue until they reach a minimum performance standard – in Pittard offices, that’s $300,000 in gross fees. After that level, they don’t need to be managed as closely.
Coaching sessions must never be about pointing out what the person being coached is doing wrong and what he or she needs to do to remedy the situation. That’s lecturing, not coaching.
Good coaching begins with a clear goal, what is to be achieved from the coaching session, a clear agenda to give structure to the session and clear agreement that the actions uncovered during the coaching session will be followed.
The coach leads by asking the right questions, rather than offering opinions – the coach ‘draws out’ the actions necessary for improvement instead of forcing the coach’s ideas of the right actions onto the person being coached. Good coaching is collaboration, not lecturing.
Leaders who have attended Pittard’s Agency Profit System® have a Training & Coaching manual packed with plenty of tips to turn a leader into a coach.
I recommend that all leaders read Sales Leadership by Keith Rosen. I guarantee that it will help you to become a better coach.
The reward will be a happier and more effective sales team, you will feel more fulfilled as a leader, and your agency will be much more profitable.
That’s a win for everyone!
The number one asset for all leaders is their integrity, their character.
Real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that integrity and character lead to trust, and when your people trust you, they will follow you and help your company grow, no matter how tough the market.
Little things make a difference. For example, asking the receptionist to tell a client that you are not in, when you are, erodes your integrity in the eyes of all team members present.
“Little white lie” – there’s no such thing.
Let me introduce you to Joan Carter, who retired on 30 June 2018, ending a successful twenty-four year career in real estate sales.
Before real estate, Joan was a school teacher. Throughout her career, she was often in the Top Ten Salespeople in the Pittard rankings. She was part of a very impressive pool of winners whose results far exceed typical industry averages. Joan was often in the top three. MORE
Throughout her long career, Joan set a standard to which many people would never have the guts to aspire. She was a shining example of everything a real estate salesperson should be – a person of character who’d never lie or stretch the truth to make a sale. She was a winner who wrote high figures consistently from the beginning to the end of her career. Joan was no ‘one-hit wonder’.
I’ve heard salespeople say things like, “I’ve been in real estate for thirty years” as though it’s supposed to mean something. What does it matter if you’ve been in real estate that long if your results are poor?
These people will say, “I don’t need to prospect – I get plenty of referrals”. But they have seldom nurtured their networks and the truth is they don’t get that many referrals. Some of these self-appointed superstars write little over $130,000 in fees per annum.
Competence doesn’t just happen. Time in the industry is no guarantee of competence or high results. Nor is it a guarantee that you have joined the ranks of true professionals.
Champion cyclist, Anna Meares once said, “True success is measured in longevity”.This certainly sums up Joan Carter, who enjoyed a long career with high results and happy clients.
Not a person to cruise toward retirement, Joan decided to finish with a bang. In her last year in real estate, she produced $815,327 in fees, all in a country town with a population of 3,800 people – that’s people, not properties. In her last quarter she produced $188,446 in fees.
Now that’s a winner!
Ask Joan the secret of her longevity and success and she will tell you that she is a product of consistent training, dedicated practice and large amounts of competent action. Joan was never too busy to attend training and never once uttered the famous loser line, “Been there, done that” when referring to training.
The reward for competence is high levels of client satisfaction, trust, and a high income.
It’s worth working for – competence doesn’t just happen.
“Bye Darling, I’m off to work”. Salespeople say this every day, but what exactly are they talking about?
Real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that work is a verb, and not a noun. We do work, we don’t go there.
That place we call ‘work’ is your office. And when you’re there, let’s hope you DO work – work that takes you closer to your goals. Work is a verb!
Leaders often complain that their salespeople won’t do the right actions. It’s one of the biggest complaints that leaders make. They fear putting pressure on their salespeople to do the right actions out of fear they will leave.
These leaders have no control, and without control they will never develop winning teams.
A large part of this problem stems from the reward structures these agencies use – commission-only definitely, but debit-credit is no better. When salespeople are in credit, they are fundamentally the same as commission-only salespeople. In their minds, they work for themselves and will resist leaders asking them to do any actions they don’t want to do (like prospecting). MORE
Reward schemes aside, as an agency leader, if you can’t establish control you can’t direct your team to do the actions that will make them, and the agency, successful. Effectively, you will be a leader without followers!
The way I see it, sales is not a democracy. If you are going to call yourself a salesperson, whether paid by commission or by salary, you must do the actions required of the role. All salespeople use up offices resources and all must pay their way. The right actions make salespeople more profitable.
What consequences are there in your office when salespeople won’t do the actions?
Are you prepared to terminate those who won’t do the actions? Are you afraid to do so because if they leave you have nobody to replace them? If you think of this way, think about this:
No people are better than the wrong people!
Are you prepared to hire, to look for those who will do? A good hiring system is an antidote to salespeople who won’t do the right actions, in ample quantities, consistently over time. If you can’t change your people, change your people.
What would you do if the receptionist refused to answer calls because he or she were ‘too busy’? Would you find another receptionist?
Why should sales be any different?
In many offices, it is different, but why? If you develop the mindset that salespeople in your agency are going to do the actions, or you’ll find somebody who will, you will be one step close to taking back control of your agency.
A word of warning, however. If you start, be prepared to follow through. You may have to do plenty of hiring as you weed out the “Won’t do’s” and replace them with the “Will do’s”.
The reward will be a more profitable agency and a lot more enjoyment of your leadership role.
The right people do that for you!
Whether a real estate agency leader, or a salesperson, good habits propel you toward success, while bad habits hold you back.
Real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, believes that repeated actions become habits over time. Repeat the right actions and good habits form. Unproductive actions, or inaction, also become habit – bad ones.
Habits reign supreme – wouldn’t it be better to develop habits that lead to success?
During the boom, I heard many salespeople talk up their results. Many of them are quiet now that the market has turned. Now I see many leaders and salespeople in a state of panic. They’re not making sales and they’re blaming the buyers.
It’s time to get out of panic mode and get to work. You need to get into the mindset of what a seller wants by reading guides like this.
Do you have listings? How many are you personally managing? If you have stock, you can talk to the owners about the state of the market. If they want to sell, they must understand that their properties are commodities on a market. Overpriced properties don’t sell. MORE
Are you prepared to recommend that people withdraw their property from the market if they won’t reduce to a price that sells? What good is overpriced stock and stubborn clients? They demotivate you and give you false hope. Some sellers need to be politely ‘fired’.
Are you prepared to prospect to increase your chances of having motivated sellers to work with? Inaction has consequences. So does action.
Don’t blame buyers. They will buy properties that are priced fairly for TODAY’S MARKET. You are not paid to get yesterday’s prices.
If you want to motivate your buyers, motivate your sellers first!
Properties that are priced right sell.
The days of “If we get our price, we’ll sell” are over! This is not the market to ‘try’. This is print-age mentality. In the days of print, about 1 in 30 used to buy the properties they enquired about. In the age of digital advertising, it’s more like 1 in 6. Sellers who sit on the market overpriced, burn good buyers.
Consider the Digital Footprint – if buyers see an overpriced property sitting on the market, they begin to wonder either of two things: What is wrong with the property, or
What is wrong with the owner?
They think that something is wrong with the house, or that the owner doesn’t want to sell. Either is not a good reputation for sellers to have, about themselves or their property.
In the days of print, sellers could sometimes find a naïve buyer who would pay over the market value. They don’t exist anymore. Buyers do their research online and know current market prices as well as agents. Holding out for a price is an outdated strategy, especially in a falling market where the longer you wait, the lower the price you will receive.
The skills you needed during the boom are different to the skills you need when a market turns. Now you must have those tough conversations with you sellers. Put price on the table and address it head on. Avoid those conversations and you’re sure to fail.
Sales success still comes back to this one question:
“If your listings were half price, would they sell?”
A good question to ask your sellers, too.
One of the biggest waste of a salesperson’s time is to spend it with the wrong people. This applies in business and in our personal lives.
In this short sales session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, suggests that the right people – buyers and sellers – make life easier. Higher income and work enjoyment are the reward for being choosy.
You may have read about the highly publicised court case in South Australia where Harris Real Estate and agent Arabella Hooper were ordered by the court to pay $750,000 in damages. The judgment cited that after leaving Toop & Toop for Harris Real Estate, Hooper used data to develop business using data taken from her former employer.
It’s refreshing to see that the courts are now taking data theft seriously, but if you find yourself overly concerned with this, ask yourself, is data theft a disease, or is it merely a symptom? MORE
Sure, data theft is serious, but there could be some underlying issue that is more serious.
To illustrate, think about this environment:
Many years ago, I visited an agency and noticed a dot matrix printer (I said this is was many years ago!) that periodically burst into life and printed a quick line then stopped. A few minutes later it did the same thing. It did this for the entire time I was at this office. I asked the leader what this printer was doing. I was told that it recorded every outgoing call, “So we can check on who the staff is calling”.
This air of suspicion pervaded the whole agency. Later, I conducted a sales meeting with the team and asked a salesperson, “What do you have cooking?” I was asking him about the sales he was working on. He replied, “I’m not telling you!” When I questioned him further, he said he didn’t want “the others” (not colleagues!) to know what he was working on.
Suspicious leaders, suspicious team. The culture of distrust thrived in this agency and the culture was determined by the agency leadership.
Now let me ask you a question: would you be surprised if any person from this team left and stole data?
For some leaders, data theft is not a concern. They are careful with the selection, induction, training and monitoring of their salespeople. They jump on unacceptable behaviour as soon it’s detected, never allowing bad behaviour to become permanently embedded into their agencies’ culture.
I believe that data theft is a symptom of a poor culture.
Data theft should not be as big a concern for leaders as poor culture.
Agencies that have an ‘us versus them’ mentality, who have salespeople who gang up on the leader, who refuse to do the right actions or who leave and steal data, didn’t suddenly become that way – they were part of a culture that allowed this behaviour to flourish.
Don’t let that environment become your environment.