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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
In this short leadership session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, explains that a team will never exceed its leader’s public expectations of the team. If the leader aims high, the team will do likewise. If the leader has low, or no, expectations the team will almost certainly be mediocre.
Great expectations lead to great results.
Agents who inflate the likely selling price with sellers in order to win the listing – who ‘buy the business’ – might get away with it during a boom market, but in a down market this horrible practice no longer works. Many agents paint themselves into a corner.
In our sales program, Winning Ways – A Smarter Sales Career, we teach real estate salespeople that when an agent quotes two figures to buyers by way of a range, the lowest price in that range becomes the de facto list price. MORE
Say an auction property is passed in with only one bidder. The sellers’ reserve is revealed to be $4.5 million but during the inspections buyers had been quoted $3.6 to $3.8 million.
The agent that quoted $4.5 million to the sellers while quoting $3.6 to $3.8 million buyers now has a negotiation gap of $700,000 at best to $900,000 at worst.
The agent has created the self-imposed problem of The Impossible Gap.
Let’s be clear: if you are not a good enough negotiator to tell the sellers the truth at the time of listing about their likely selling price, and take on the listing on a foundation of honesty, you are not good enough to negotiate a $700,000 price gap, especially in a down market.
No doubt I’ll be howled down by those who say this practice is not widespread, just a strategy used by a few ‘bad apples’. But let’s get real. In Victoria, many high-profile cases have seen agents fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for this practice. One day NSW and QLD will follow suit, if they are serious about stamping out the practice.
But integrity aside – from a salesperson’s perspective, why would you resort to tactics that create a no-win situation for you and your clients?
The truth is a wonderful sales tactic if you know how to deliver it with tact. I cannot recommend it highly enough.