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Doomed to Fail

In this short sales session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that salespeople who will not train are doomed to fail.

There are no new objections in Sales. It is possible to learn every likely objection and learn how to prevent it from becoming a barrier to a sale.

Sure, training is expensive. It might cost $2,000 to attend a seminar to learn how to overcome these barriers. But have you ever calculated the cost of incompetence?

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Talent Scout and Coach

To maximise profit, two of the leader’s most important roles are Talent Scout and Coach.

Gary Pittard

In my 25 years as a real estate agency profit consultant, one of the greatest ‘sins’ I’ve seen leaders commit is holding onto the wrong people for too long – often despite their better judgment.

When an underperforming team member leaves, or is eventually fired, I’ve lost count of how many times the leader has said, “I should have done this long ago”. MORE

An Arabian proverb says, “When the horse you are riding dies, get off!” If you believe you have the wrong person on your team, you should heed this advice.

The easiest way to detect whether a poor performing salesperson has any hope of reversing this trend is to ignore their words and look at their actions.

  • Give them a book and ask them to read it, or ask them to listen to an audio program. If they don’t, that is enough reason to terminate their services. They are unteachable.
  • Ask them to commit to a high level of prospecting – 40 a day for a month. If they refuse, or if they say they’ll do it, but don’t, that’s enough reason to terminate their services. They are afraid to prospect.

Some people are not teachable. Some will not do the actions required by their job descriptions. Keeping these people on your team will lose you the respect of the good people. If you can’t turn these people around, it’s time to put your energy into finding the right people. It’s time to put on your ‘Talent Scout’ hat.

One reason leaders persist with wrong people is because they don’t have anybody to replace them. That’s why good leaders are constantly looking for winners, the right people to join the team.

Once they find good people, they induct them into the company the right way, with induction systems designed to train the person and get him or her productive almost immediately. Culture and action are taught, and standards set. Ongoing monitoring is implemented. All team members know that they are accountable for the actions they are expected to complete.

The leader then moves into the role of coach, working with the team to bring out the best in each person.

These leaders always remain on the lookout for prospective winners. In the best offices, there is always room for a winner but there is no room for a mediocre person with a poor attitude.

I am not suggesting ‘Churn and Burn’, which some ruthless leaders are known for. I do suggest, however, that you quickly part company with people who will not meet your standards of culture, training, presentation and activity, and find salespeople who will.

Many leaders do not have hiring problems; they have firing problems. And because of this, their teams contain people who have little hope of success.

Be a talent scout and coach. Then tell me if your profits don’t soar!

Gary Pittard

Leadership: Not Just Bossing People About

In the 21st century, employees work with leaders, and not for them. “Generational differences have changed the face of employment” says real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard.

Respect must be earned. In this short leadership session, Gary discusses how leaders can achieve this.

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Pipeline of Prospects

“The 30Day Rule states that the prospecting you do in this 30 day period will pay off for the next 90 days. It is a simple, yet powerful universal rule that governs sales. Ignore it at your peril. When you internalize this rule, it will drive you to never put prospecting aside for another day

Jeb Blount – Fanatical Prospecting

Where is your next listing coming from? If you don’t know, you’re heading for a performance slump. All salespeople should have a full pipeline of prospects – warm leads that will soon germinate into listings, then into sales, then into income. MORE

Many salespeople believe that their stock levels, and the saleability of their stock, are at the mercy of the market. This thinking leads them to believe that when the market turns down, so too will their results.

Leave market-driven thinking to your competitors. Fill your pipeline with prospects and you will have a regular flow of incoming business.

Some real estate trainers appeal to the mediocre many by saying that prospecting is dead, that prospecting in the modern age is done through social media. Be careful of listening to these gurus – they will send you broke.

Social media is a marketing tool, best left to your agency to set up and maintain. If you are a salesperson, your most effective method of self-promotion over the long term is face-to-face or voice-to-voice – that is prospect at doors or prospect by telephone.

In other words…

TALK TO PEOPLE!

Prospect – 40 potential sellers every day, or 200 per week –follow up diligently and over time you will have a source of warm leads. Whenever you sell a property, prospect harder and find a listing to replace what you sold. This is a great habit to develop and will insure you against running out of stock.

In the absence of a pipeline of prospects, generated through constant prospecting in high numbers, you will always be desperate for listings. You will always be ‘looking under rocks’ for listings.

The Winner’s Creed is:

“Whenever I make a sale, I will not congratulate myself until I replace the listing I sold”.

Make it your mantra. Talk to people. Fill your pipeline with prospects. Your reward will be a high and consistent income.

Gary Pittard

Price and Time

In this short sales session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, discusses the danger in allowing sellers to stay on the market overpriced for too long. Gary believes you have two weeks to get your listing priced to sell. Fail to do that and you risk losing the best buyers.

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Marketing

When the market turns down many agency leaders wisely cut expenses. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Cut the wrong expenses and you will quickly lose profit.

Some expenses can be cut without affecting your income. We call these ‘fat’ expenses. Things like publications you don’t read. Stop expenses like this and you will be more profitable. MORE

Other expenses are ‘muscle’ expenses. Cut these and you will lower your income. Marketing is one such expense. Downturn or not, cut down on marketing and you will miss out on listings and new managements. Marketing is a classic muscle expense.

The best offices Pittard® works with are ‘marketing machines’. You can set your watch by the precision of their marketing. They are little marketing factories.

There are three ways to market your business and, as the leader, it is ultimately your job to ensure that marketing in these three areas is a regular occurrence.

    1. Print

Print covers leaflets and direct mail. The best offices regularly cover their service area with leaflets (preferably delivered under doors and not into letterboxes) and direct mail – letters hand-delivered by walkers. (Post is too expensive). Direct mail is personally addressed, with as few generic greetings as possible.

Blanket your service area with some form of print media every month.

    1. Digital

Digital marketing is email, SMS and social media marketing.
The best offices regularly hit their clients’ email inboxes, phones and social media channels with good information that their clients will want to read. Home Alerts with new listings are always of interest to buyers. Current market information interests property owners, investors and buyers.

    1. Personal

This is face-to-face or voice-to-voice marketing.

The best offices stay in touch with clients and potential clients by phone or door prospecting, and regularly follow up all leads.

Follow your own advice

How often have agents told sellers at listing presentations, “You can’t afford to keep your property a secret”?

We should follow our own advice. Our agency shouldn’t be a secret either.

Profitable offices don’t keep themselves a secret. They market constantly.

Always be sending out good messages to your client base. Make your office a marketing machine.

You can starve waiting for word-of-mouth to bring you sufficient business to achieve your profit goals.

Gary Pittard

PS Pittard periodically broadcasts a webcast entitled How To Make Sales In a Tough Market. This webcast is free and designed for agency principals. It is by invitation only, as we cannot accept some agents owing to contractual obligations to our current members. For more information and to check your eligibility, please follow this link.

The Forgotten Rookie Syndrome

Many salespeople either become sales managers or move into a leadership role as owners of their own real estate businesses. Gary Pittard, CEO of the real estate agency profit consultants, Pittard®, believes that author, Chris Lytle, is correct in calling these people, ‘the forgotten rookies’.

Leadership and Sales are different skills. To think that a great salesperson can lead a team without any leadership training is just as stupid as presuming that a great Flight Attendant can pilot the plane.

For salespeople-cum-leaders, the sales habit is hard to kick. But if you’re too busy selling and don’t spent enough time leading, you are on a fast track to low profit.

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Hard Tasks Pay

In 30 years I have interviewed countless winners, and have noticed one big difference between winners and their mediocre counterparts:

Winners do the hard tasks. Winners understand that the hard tasks pay.

In truth, the ‘hard’ tasks aren’t hard at all. Simply, salespeople don’t like doing these tasks so they avoid them. In their minds, they make these tasks seem harder than they really are. They invent excuses for not doing them. When asked by their leader, “How much prospecting have you done this week?”, they reply, “I’ve been too busy”. This is nonsense, and a fundamental cause of low results. MORE

I doubt that there is an occupation where people love every task they are asked to do and this is certainly true of Sales. Salespeople do not like certain tasks, but like them or not, some tasks are important and must be done.

How much better would your results be if you did more of these important tasks?

  • Chasing new business – good old-fashioned prospecting.Speak to 40 potential sellers every working day. This would lead to more listing appointments – an activity salespeople love to do.
  • Practise your listing presentation – winners practise their listing presentation and constantly tweak their presentation materials. Listing isn’t about getting signed authority; it’s about listing property under the right circumstances. Market price needs to be discussed openly and honestly, with sellers set up for the need to price their property to sell.

    Gone are the days when we take on sellers who say, “If I get my price, I’ll sell”. Leave those clients for desperate salespeople who don’t prospect. Choose motivated clients and give effective listing presentations. The better your listing presentation, the more saleable your listings will be.

  • Coaching sellers – passing on market feedback to your sellers, discussing the current asking price and whether it’s working. Recommend repositioning the price as necessary: this would make more of your listings saleable. Overpriced stock does not sell.
  • Qualifying buyers and conducting property presentations with buyers who are motivated to buy now. Qualified prospects buy. Nosey neighbours and lookers, prevalent at open homes, don’t buy. Devoting more time showing qualified buyers through properties at market price is a sure-fire way to more sales.
  • Negotiating sales – salespeople love doing this activity, butto be involved in more negotiations, you must do more of the activities that lead to negotiations.

This brings us back to prospecting – talking to people – delivering good listing presentations, better seller coaching, and working with qualified buyers. One activity links to others, and all lead to more negotiations and then to more sales.

The Reward

The reward for doing the actions that most salespeople avoid is that you get results that most salespeople don’t get. The hard tasks pay!

The market often gets blamed for poor results, but it’s not the market: it’s low knowledge, low skill and low action levels that cause poor results.

I can’t control the market, but I can control me. I can study and learn. I can practise and hone my skill. I can do more of the right actions – those tasks that mediocre salespeople call ‘hard’.

And so can you!

Gary Pittard

Make the Most of a Golden Opportunity

“This is truly a great career. I wonder how many real estate salespeople actually appreciate the golden opportunity their real estate career offers them” says real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard.

Gary believes that when you landed a position as a real estate salesperson, you won the lottery. Are you making the most of your winnings?

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Think Profit

With another financial year behind us, it’s a good time to ponder: “Are you happy with your profit?

Stating the obvious: Profit is the money you keep after expenses are paid. I’m compelled to mention this because the real estate industry and its systems focus on turnover. Turnover is not profit. MORE

Profit is seldom mentioned in typical real estate training.

So, are you focused on profit? If not, you should be.

There are two ways to increase your profit.

The first is to grow your business – increase income.

Without money, you have no funds to grow your business. Growth needs cash, and if you want to build a winning team, which will give you more profit and more free time, you need money to do so. It is far smarter to grow from profit than it is from borrowings.

My friend, Dave Anderson, author of Up Your Business, says, “You cannot shrink your way to Greatness”.

Building a team requires a foundation of intent and purpose. Set up attraction systems to increase your incoming hiring enquiry. Set up sorting systems to help you determine the winners and eliminate those who won’t make it. Set up training systems to bring out the best in your people, and set up induction systems to get your recruits off to a flying start.

Also set up sales management systems to keep the team focused on results over the long term.

Don’t have those systems? Pittard does. Let me know if we can give you a hand.

The second way to increase your profit is to reduce expenses.

Know your Break Even Point (BEP). How many sales do you require to break even?

Profitable businesses are built on a platform of solid financial foundations. The most fundamental of all financial foundations is to know the point at which all expenses are covered and you begin to make profit.

To maximise your profit, you should do both – increase your income and reduce expenses.

Sometimes leaders are too busy listing and selling to focus on profit. The trouble is, you can be busy bringing income into the business while large sums go out.

It’s like filling a bucket with holes in it: you pour the water in at the top, only to have it leak out at the bottom.

Think profit. May your next financial year be profitable!

Gary Pittard

PS Pittard periodically broadcasts a webcast entitled How To Make Sales In a Tough Market. This webcast is free and designed for agency principals. It is by invitation only, as we cannot accept some agents owing to contractual obligations to our current members. For more information and to check your eligibility, please follow this link.

Succession Planning All Talk or All Action

In this short leadership session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, discusses Succession Planning. Many agency leaders talk about it, but when questioned about what they have done with their succession planning, Gary finds that often very little has been done.

Selling Rent Rolls is a relatively straightforward process, but sales departments can be a little trickier, mostly because outside buyers do not expect them to be profitable. Therefore, you don’t have people queuing up to buy them. So, what’s your plan?

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Short Attention Spans

A common complaint from leaders is that their salespeople lack focus. It has a been constant theme in my 30 years as a real estate agency profit consultant.

One leader said his salespeople had the attention span of a gnat.

A short attention span is not a problem for most people. Watch people doing leisure activities – things they love to do. They have no trouble giving these activities their full attention. MORE

When they watch a film at the cinema, they’re not fidgeting or walking in and out. If the film is interesting, it gets their full attention.

When the activity is interesting, it has no trouble garnering focus. Salespeople who aren’t focused on the job have managed to turn selling into a chore. Simply, they don’t find the work interesting.

Most salespeople love to do listing presentations and put sales together – who doesn’t? – but won’t do the more mundane tasks that increase the likelihood of them getting to the interesting tasks. Prospecting is a classic example.

Because they avoid prospecting, they do fewer listing presentations. And so they hop from task to task, working on the easier, less productive tasks.

Jeb Blount said in his excellent book, Fanatical Prospecting, that the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipeline, and the root cause of an empty pipeline is failure to constantly prospect.

Salespeople who have clear goals and written plans seldom lack focus. They have fun at work, and they get results.

They might find some tasks more interesting and enjoyable than others, but they do the tough tasks because they are working toward something bigger: they are working toward meaningful goals, something they WANT.

With a bigger picture to focus on, they understand that by working on the right tasks they will not only achieve their goals, but also derive huge satisfaction from the process of getting there.

Goal setters know what I am talking about.

Studies have shown that when somebody sets a goal – a goal that they have a 50/50 chance of achieving – they immediately feel happier. They are then happy to do tasks that would be otherwise judged arduous or mundane.

Short attention span? That is for goalless drifters.

Professional sales is not a lottery. It is not a matter of luck. You can control your results. You can achieve meaningful goals. And you can focus, over the long term.

Gary Pittard

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