Measure and Improve
In any professional sport, whether it is AFL, Rugby League or Union, swimming, you name it, teams and individuals compete firstly with themselves.
Athletes know their Personal Best (PB). When athletes beat their PB, this new PB becomes the one to beat. Athletes measure their performances in relation to their PBs – as either falling short of PB, equal to PB, or a new PB.
A Personal Best is a measurement. In athletics or swimming a PB is measured in distance and time. Other sports, such as AFL or NFL, have many statistics: certain players may be encouraged to increase their personal tackle count, for example.
One thing that all coaches and players know for sure is that if you can measure something, you can improve it.
This is just as true in sales as it is in sport. And just as great coaches and players measure their performances, so too do great salespeople, and I don’t mean just in listing, sales, and dollar production.
It is a simple enough matter for any salesperson to keep a record of their main results – for Listings, Sales, Asking Price Adjustments, Sides **, or fee production – these figures are usually to be found in company records.
But there are many other figures that lead up to these results and all too often salespeople fail to keep score in these areas. As a result these salespeople do not have performance statistics that could lead them to massive improvement.
If you wish to improve your performance, begin by keeping statistics on your performance in these areas:
- Prospecting Calls to Listing Appointments
- Listing Appointments to Listings Obtained
- Listings Obtained to Listings Sold
- Asking Price Adjustment (APA) Appointments to APAs obtained
- Buyer Appointments to Sales Started
- Sales Started to Settled Sales
In our Winning Ways – Real Estate Sales program we suggest that you keep these figures as you go along and examine them each month – at the end of each week if you are really serious. Do this and the areas where you need to improve will be obvious.
For example, if you have a low Appointment to List Ratio, this tells you two things: either that the appointments you set were poorly qualified – you should not have attended some or all of them at all – or that your listing presentation needs work. Thanks to the statistics, you now know what you need to work on – qualifying or presenting.
Ratios tell you how much activity is required to produce a given result at your present skill level. A skilled telephone prospector, for example, might find one listing after sixty calls, whereas a person of lesser skill might need to make 120 calls to get a listing. These two ratios of 60:1 and 120:1 respectively mean that the person with lower skill will have to make twice as many calls to get the same result as the person with higher skill.
This isn’t depressing news. It means that even if you have lower skill, you can still get the same results as a person with higher skill if you are prepared to make the extra calls. Even more refreshing is the knowledge that you, too, can improve your skill and gradually lower the amount of calls you need to make in order to get a result.
Here is where your ratios come in. If you don’t keep your ratios, you won’t be able to measure the improvement, nor will you know why you are performing poorly. Without the stats, you are flying ‘blind’.
The reliability of ratios can sometimes astound you. I once saw a person, who had a 100:1 Call to Appointment Ratio (100 calls got him one listing appointment) reach 99 calls and say, “The next call gets me a listing appointment!” He was right: the next call was a listing appointment, and a beauty. He listed and sold the property. It was uncanny; it was a combination of confidence, working the numbers, with a bit of luck thrown in. These factors seem to go together, have you noticed?
For many years I have been talking with salespeople about the importance of measuring their performances in the areas I mentioned above. It appears to me that winners and potential winners see the wisdom in this and are happy to gather the statistics, even if at first they do not know how to read them. At least these people can sit down with their leaders, or call our Winners Circle Hotline, and seek advice on how to improve the stats.
I suggest that if you are going to work in sales you may as well become good at it. Measure your performance and you know what to improve.
Go on, take the blindfold off.
** A Side is a listing sold or a sale started. Each sale has two Sides – the listing side and the sale side. A list/sell results in two Sides being awarded to the salesperson.