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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.

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.

Hiring Do’s and Don’ts (Part 2)

This is a two-part article on the Do’s and Dont’s of hiring. Last month, we discussed the Hiring Don’ts. This month we look at the Hiring Do’s.

The Seven Do’s of Hiring

  1. Hire for attitude

If you hire somebody with a bad attitude, this will poison your team. Author of Winning the War for Talent, Mandy Johnson, says that people with bad attitudes are hardly likely to suddenly develop a good attitude once they join your company.

Frame your questions around testing attitude, for example, “Can you give me an example of what you think is a good work ethic?

MORE

  1. Hire for skill

The worst way to hire salespeople is to use the typical industry hiring system: poach your competitors’ salespeople. This opens the ‘revolving door of mediocrity’.

If you examine the average production of typical industry salespeople, you will find that it is still around $135,000 per annum. Despite selling fees quadrupling in many areas, the industry production average is still at 1993 levels! So, you would have to be forgiven for thinking that the average industry salesperson lacks skill.

Don’t be afraid to hire inexperienced people. If you have sound hiring and induction systems, chances are that you will get an inexperienced person up to winning levels faster than you will with a typical experienced person currently doing the rounds of real estate offices. That’s IF you have sound hiring and induction systems.

Inexperienced people will not be able to demonstrate skill in real estate sales, because they aren’t in the industry. But they will demonstrate skill in their current industry, and they will demonstrate teachability, a willingness to learn. From that you can deduce whether they will learn all they’ll need to know to become skilled in real estate sales.

Your questions should be targeted at uncovering current skills and willingness to learn.

  1. Hire for practical fit

People who say that they are a ‘team player’’ or a ‘people person’ have just given you a junk statement (see hiring don’ts in the last issue). Their CV will give you a clue as to whether they are a team player or a ‘people person’ as they claim.

Look at their employment history. If they have been in the one position for several years, they probably got along with their colleagues and bosses. But if they have hopped from job to job, it’s likely they have personality defects and don’t get along with people. You don’t want this type in your company.

To build a winning team, you need good people of integrity. You can teach them everything else if this is their character foundation.

  1. Do look for record of past performance

By this I mean past performance in any endeavour. They may have started off working in a supermarket stacking shelves and risen to store manager. They may have captained the netball team.

Parents who have taken time out of paid work to raise a family will be able to demonstrate a record of performance. Perhaps they headed the school fundraising efforts or were active on the P&C. Ask questions – there will be a history of achievement with the right people.

  1. Test

Yeah, sure – they’re brilliant. They say they will work hard, fit in and are willing to learn. Experience hirers have heard it all before.

Nobody will tell you at the interview that they are lazy good-for-nothings who hate authority, don’t get along, and who do just enough to get by. Nobody will tell you that they’re too scared to prospect, or that they never commit to anything that looks like hard work. But have you ever hired people like this?

Don’t take their word for it. Ever.

Test their dedication to learning with a pre-start knowledge test based on your sales systems. Test their willingness to prospect with two days’ paid work experience. After they start, and before they become permanent, test their knowledge again, and test and monitor their actions during their trial period.

Mediocrity can’t hide from leaders who test their candidates, and who regularly test their established salespeople.

  1. Do prepare

In last month’s issue we said, “Don’t wing it”. This means that you must prepare when hiring, and you must have clear induction systems designed to make your new recruit dollar-productive as quickly as possible (in their first month).

Prepare interview questions, prepare tests, prepare start-up strategies, prepare monitoring systems, prepare coaching systems.

You can waste a lot of money in wages paid to people who don’t make it. The better your systems and preparation, the greater chance you have of developing winners.

  1. Have attraction sources constantly running

Remember that you cannot shrink your way to greatness. When the market is being described by your competitors as tough, that is the time to grow your team.

Keep your marketing for winners constantly running as you do with your listings marketing. You want to be talking to sellers about selling and talking to potential winners about joining your company.

The more enquiry, the greater your chances of finding winners. Keep looking. Never give up.

Freedom of Choice

Freedom of Choice means having the freedom to work, or not to work, in your business. To be able to step back and enjoy more free time, and to have money to enjoy that time, you need people to run the store in your absence.

Developing a team is the best investment of time and money a leader can make. Get your hiring and induction systems right and you’ll never look back.

Gary Pittard

PS Pittard periodically broadcasts a webcast entitled How To Develop Great People. 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.

Hiring Do’s and Don’ts (Part 1)

This is a two-part article on the do’s and don’ts of hiring. In this issue, we will discuss Hiring Don’ts. Next month we will cover Hiring Do’s.

First a question: Do you believe successful hiring is an art or a science?

Many real estate agency leaders will say that hiring is an art. Without  effective hiring and induction systems, they’d be right. But with systems, you have more certainty of finding and developing winners, moving hiring from art to science. MORE

To give your hiring increased effectiveness, here are some Hiring Don’ts.

Nine Hiring Don’ts

  1. Don’t believe you are a good judge of character

In many areas of your life, you probably are a good judge of character, but when hiring you are dealing with people who are trying to impress you. Many will say the right things. And you don’t spend enough time with them to form a character assessment with any accuracy. Belief in your good judgement of character can blind you to clues you may have detected had you been more open minded.

  1. Don’t look for another you

I couldn’t manage another me, and I doubt you could manage another you!

You are looking for somebody who can be trained into a winning salesperson. They may not be as good as you, but can they be trained into a winning salesperson? That’s all you should focus on.

  1. Don’t wing it

Prepare before you phone applicants. Prepare before you interview. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

  1. Don’t develop systems ‘on the trot’

The number one cause of high turnover of salespeople is the absence of a hiring system for attracting, sorting, interviewing, testing and inducting candidates.

Hiring systems keep you on track and, most importantly, get recruits started off right. Developing systems as you go reduces your chances of having your new salesperson pay his or her way quickly.

You might think you are saving by not investing in a hiring system, but you’ll spend a lot more in lost wages.

  1. Don’t talk too much

You are interviewing a candidate, not the other way around. Interviewing is like a sale – you are better off asking questions than you are making statements.

Too many statements mean that you are talking about you and your company. You want the candidate to open up and convince you on why he or she is right for this position.

Ask questions and listen. Secondary questions are very important.

  1. Don’t rely on ‘gut feel’

You can ask questions to uncover the attributes you expect your candidates to exhibit (see Part 2 next month, Hiring Do’s) and you may find evidence that this person will be a winner. If you rely on gut feel, your emotions will cloud your judgment.

Gut feel has its place, but it’s a better tool for firing than hiring.

  1. Don’t procrastinate

The idea is to move people through your hiring system as smoothly and quickly as possible. Decide quickly. Winners won’t wait around too long.

  1. Don’t act out of desperation

If you are desperate for staff, you will probably make the wrong decision. Keep only quality people on your team. Seek out quality people to join your team.

  1. Don’t fall for ‘junk statements’

A junk statement is any statement that sounds good but provides no real information. An example is, “I’m a team player“.

Statements like this should raise a red flag. Can they prove it?

When you detect junk statements like this, question further. “You say you are a team player. What does that look like to you?

A second question: “Can you give me an example of a project you were working on as part of a team, your contribution to that project, and a specific example of how you worked with the team to bring that project to completion?

A third question: “When I ask your referee about your contribution to the team, what do you think he (or she) will say?

Drill down. Ask for evidence. The candidate will know that you are serious about finding the right person. The good ones will appreciate your questions. The wrong people will shuffle awkwardly.

This not a definitive list of Hiring Don’ts but if you address the issues in this list, you will greatly improve your chances of sorting the winners from the wrong people.

Next month we’ll look at Hiring Do’s, in Part 2 of Hiring Do’s and Don’ts.

Gary Pittard
PS Pittard periodically broadcasts a webcast entitled How To Find Good People. 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.

Reviews: Your Name in Lights

Here in the digital world of the 21st century, let’s give some thought to happy client reviews and, in particular, how we use them.

Some salespeople appear to be more interested in seeing their ‘names in lights’ on sites like the major property portals and Rate My Agent.

Less, if any, attention is given to Google and Facebook. MORE

Search Engines

When a client searches your salesperson’s name online, they probably use a Search Engine, and it’s probably Google.

Try it out – ‘Google’ your salesperson’s name:

Do the top search results point to your agency’s website, or to realestate.com.au, ratemyagent.com.au or similar site?

Your agency website or a personal profile website controlled by your agency   should be at the top of the search, otherwise you are handing over search prominence to third parties. That’s never a smart thing to do.

Give thought to putting focus on getting Google and Facebook reviews elicited directly from happy clients.

The Reward

Two years ago, a Pittard client in Queensland began a quest to have 100 Google Reviews on his website. To make it easier for salespeople and clients to do this, Pittard designed the Rate-Us quick links for Google and Facebook reviews.

Recently, the leader told me, “I got two listings last week where the clients told me that they called me in because of all my good reviews on Google”. For the effort came the reward.

Discipline

All this cost the leader was a bit of effort, and a lot of diligence and follow-up. Every listing and sale his salespeople made, the leader asked the question, “Where is the Review? Eventually the team got the message and asking for reviews became a discipline.

Focus

The focus on Google and Facebook reviews begins with the leader. We make the decision, we convince the team how important it is, and it is up to us to follow up to ensure that asking for reviews becomes a discipline.

From focus comes consistent results: Listings, sales and profit.

Don’t allow your salespeople’s profile to fall into the hands of others outside the agency. Take control and get reviews in your own right.

Direct enquiry to your website. After all, you own that!

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 due to ourcontractual obligations to our current members. For more information and to check your eligibility, please follow this link.

A Sure Way to Higher Profits: why coaching salespeople pays dividends

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.

They listed:

  • Making an impact by being a trusted advisor and guiding people down the best path for their career
  • Developing people to help them succeed and observing them advance in a career they love
  • Achieving team goals that are bigger than the individual’s
  • Family, contribution, life balance, integrity, patience, living in the moment
  • Helping people achieve things they didn’t think were possible

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.

Clarity

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!

Gary Pittard

Out of Control: What to do when salespeople won’t do the actions

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!

Democracy

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.

Consequences

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!

Gary Pittard

Data Theft: Disease or Symptom?

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.

Gary Pittard

Listing Flow: an essential focus

Pittard clients are spread across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. It stands to reason that they are operating in different markets. Some are in booming markets, some in static markets and some in down-trending markets. But no matter what market they find themselves in, we give all the same advice:

It’s not the market that determines your success, it’s YOU. MORE

It is too easy to blame the market. Seriously, have you got any business problems that a massive increase in listings and sales wouldn’t fix? So why don’t you go and look for listings? I’m sure you agree that this would be a good start.

But not all would agree and, if you are one of those people, I hope to change your mind.

In EVERY market, Listing Flow is ALWAYS the essential focus.

This is a no-brainer in booming markets. When you sell everything you list, it’s easy to understand why everybody on the sales team, and agency management, must make getting listings a priority.

However, in down turning markets, when sales are harder to come by, it’s easy to make sales the focus. I hear many leaders and salespeople say, “I’ve got plenty of listings, it’s buyers we need!” While it might be understandable thinking, taking the focus off listings and putting it onto buyers is a dangerous focus.

For all agencies, always, the essential focus for all leaders and team members should be Listing Flow. You can’t sell what you haven’t got listed.

Overpriced Stock

For those who think they need buyers, there is one simple question: If all your listing were half price, would you have plenty of buyers? If the answer is ‘Yes, of course’, then if you are not making sales, your stock is overpriced.

Now for the “But Gary…”. “But the vendors won’t reduce”. Here we get to the root of the problem:  sellers who are holding out for prices they are not going to get in this current market. I put it to you that these are not sellers – their listings are a waste of your time.

Think about all the listings you have that are overpriced with owners that won’t budge. Take those listings off your books and ask yourself, “Now, do you have plenty of listings?” I’ll bet you are now low on stock.

Stubborn sellers chew up a lot of time for no result. Instead of thinking that you have listings, change your thinking:

Do you have plenty of SALEABLE LISTINGS?

This should be your goal for your agency – plenty of saleable listings. Properties where the owners trust you, who want to sell, and will list at fair market prices to do so.

Instead of allowing your team to waste time on listings that aren’t going to sell, wouldn’t it be better to have the team spend that time prospecting, looking for more reasonable sellers, those who are serious about selling?

Without leadership direction, salespeople will chase sales at the expense of listings, or waste large amounts of time on sellers who aren’t going to sell. Take a stand – put the owners of your listings under the microscope and ‘fire’ those who won’t follow advice and price to market.

Then, get the team prospecting. Send out plenty of office marketing. Chase stock, get that stock to fair market prices, and sales will happen.

Listing flow is an essential focus. In every market!

Gary Pittard

Numbers and Ratios: A Glimpse of the Future

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out when a salesperson is in a performance slump, although many leaders don’t appear to notice until the salesperson has been in the slump for too long – sometimes months.

In aviation, pilots have a saying, “Stay ahead of your aircraft”. There have been many pilots involved in serious accidents or killed because they were flying aircraft that were too fast for their skill. Flying fast aircraft requires thinking ahead especially when landing. Pilots must slow fast aircraft sooner, washing off speed early so that they don’t approach the airstrip too quickly. MORE

We could extend this thinking to real estate agencies – “Stay ahead of your business” and operate proactively, not reactively.

The art form that leaders must master is to recognise behaviour in salespeople that will lead to a slump. Correct the behaviour before the slump and you stop the slump.

A knowledge of each member’s numbers and ratios will help leaders to recognise which salespeople are heading for a slump.

Leaders must know their salespeople’s numbers and ratios in these key areas. These figures are calculated weekly, monthly and quarterly:

  • Prospecting calls. That’s people spoken to
  • Listing appointments set
  • Listing appointments attended
  • Prospecting to appointment ratio
  • Number of listings obtained
  • Current number of listings being managed by the salesperson
  • Number of listings withdrawn
  • Number of listings sold
  • List-to-sell ratio
  • Number of buyer property inspections (BPI). Show 1 buyer 3 properties, and it’s 3 BPIs
  • Number of sales
  • BPI to sales ratio
  • Number of sellers (vendors) appointed for feedback
  • Substantial Price Reductions obtained
  • Sides* obtained
  • Fee production year to date

* Each sale has two Sides, the listing Side and the sales Side. One Side is awarded to the listing salesperson and one to the selling salesperson, when the contract has become unconditional. Salespeople who sell their own listings are awarded two Sides. Sides recognise the company’s good listers. If somebody has a low sales result but a high Sides result, their listings are selling.

Leaders often complain that they cannot get their salespeople to do the right actions, yet many of those leaders fail to measure the actions their salespeople are or are not, doing, and do not calculate their salespeople’s individual ratios. And so, slumps come as a complete surprise.

A major function of leadership is to look ahead, to anticipate.Ratios and numbers give leaders a glimpse of the future. If prospecting numbers are down, it’s only a matter of time before listing results fall and, eventually, sales and fees. It’s simple numbers.

Getting salespeople to count their actions is an ongoing battle that leaders must not shirk. Do you know your agency’s numbers and ratios? Are you regularly getting a glimpse of the future?

Gary Pittard

Essential Actions

If you want to get your new sales recruits off to a flying start, first teach them the essential actions – those necessary to succeed – and then help them formulate a plan loaded with those essential actions. Then follow up and ensure they are being done.

Essential actions are non-negotiable. Do the actions, or leave. Never allow your salesperson to negotiate the actions downwards. MORE

This is exactly what happened with one of our leaders recently. She believed her recruit showed promise. But I wondered if he was just making the ‘right noises’. Until you see the essential actions being performed regularly, you can’t say the recruit is showing promise.

The leader had taken shortcuts with the recruit’s induction. I advised going back to square one, beginning with six essential actions to be carried out in the coming six weeks.

Those actions were:

  • Speak to 80 potential sellers each working day. This number is non-negotiable
  • Study Pittard’s Winning Ways sales program
  • Pass a theory examination on Winning Ways
  • Study two listing presentation videos on iTrain® (Pittard’s on-demand streaming portal)
  • Lay out a listing presentation as suggested in Winning Ways and the video programs
  • Complete a listing presentation role play with the leader

You might think those actions are tough. Paying for mediocrity is tougher.

But the leader compromised, allowing the recruit to fall short of the prospecting numbers. The highest he got was 68 prospecting calls in one day.

The recruit told the leader it was too hard. He wanted to go into Sales where he ‘guaranteed’ that he would do well.

I told this recruit and the leader that under no circumstances should he be trusted with live leads. If he quit making calls because it was too hard, he would do the same at listing presentations, when the client told him that his fee was too high. He’d lower the fee immediately.

My reasoning? If you fold once when the going is tough, you’ll fold again and again.

This guy didn’t have what it took to be a salesperson, yet. Perhaps further down the track, but not today.

His leader was worried about being on her own. This was the only person coming onto her sales team. I told her this: Financially and for peace of mind…

No people is better than the wrong people.

The moment you compromise on the essential action with your salespeople, you doom them to failure.

  • What are the non-negotiable essential actions you expect your sales team to perform?
  • And what are the consequences if they don’t do those actions?

You need to answer both questions if you want to build a great team.

Gary Pittard

Activity

Take a minute and look around your agency. Everybody looks busy, don’t they? But are you making money? Are they making money? If you’re not careful, you may mistake busyness with production. Remember – not all activity is created equal!

In all jobs, including yours, there are only two types of activity:

ACTIVITIES THAT LEAD TO RESULTS AND ACTIVITIES THAT DON’T. MORE

Leaders must be vigilant to ensure that time is devoted to productive activity. The art is to do so without micromanaging.

Activity designed to make people look busy is what we call PTBB – Pretending To Be BusyTo limit PTBB activities, leaders must ask questions like “What are you working on right now?

If the question is met with a pause, or an “Um”, you have probably just caught out a PTBB. When you identify that a person is working on a PTBB activity, give them a productive task to do immediately, like prospecting.

Whether it’s your receptionist, a secretary, a BDM, a property manager or a salesperson, there are activities that will lead you closer to results, those that are routine, and those that waste time.

Results-linked activities are priority number one. Get these done first. Routine is second on the queue, but never at the expense of doing a results-linked activity.

Waste-of-time activities should not be done by anyone!

Often our offices are called ‘work’ – “I’m going to work” is a statement people use to describe where they are going – the office – but ‘work’ in this context is not a noun – it’s a verbYou don’t GO to work, you DO work.

Activities that waste time are not work. They are an indulgence that comes from unclear job descriptions and a warped sense of priority. Leaders, we must look out for such activities and stamp them out. We must get our people focused on results-producing actions.

That is, if we want to make a good profit.

Gary Pittard

Want to reach your profit potential? Contact us now.

Pittard


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