The Right Amount Of Pressure
Many leaders seem reluctant to pressure their people to perform. This is a big mistake. While nobody loves constant pressure, true winners thrive under regular positive pressure to perform. Mediocre salespeople, on the other hand, detest it. But do you really want mediocre people in your company?
Winning actions, when performed in high and regular quantities, produce consistent results. For too long, some leaders have allowed their salespeople to do what they like, instead of insisting that winning actions become a part of their salespeople’s daily work rituals.
Why would leaders do this? There are two likely reasons:
- The leader is weak, and lacking in leadership skill;
- The leader is afraid the ‘salespeople’ will leave.
Unless the leader makes a conscious decision to overcome his or her weakness, the only options for such people are to learn to be comfortable with mediocrity, or close the business and do something else – preferably something that does not involve leadership.
For leaders who are afraid their people will leave if pressure to perform is applied, this can be overcome by instituting a hiring program. Have a pipeline of potential replacements and you will never be held to ransom by any team member, regardless of their present production.
Dave Anderson, in his great book, “Up Your Business” said: “Your best people will respond positively to a continuing pressure to perform that keeps them sharp and brings out their best. Your weak people will find it stressful, will become disabled, and may leave your organization. Alleluia! Because either way, you win.“
Think about those words, “keeps them sharp and brings out their best“. Isn’t that what you want for your people and for your company? I’m sure it is. Being soft and having low expectations for your team does them no favours. People admire leaders. Good people are happy to be led – as long as it’s toward something great.
Hold your people accountable for the actions they do or do not do. If a person wants to call themselves a salesperson, then they must do the actions that winning salespeople do. And they must perform those actions in sufficient quantities to produce results that satisfy you, the leader.
First of all, you must lift your expectations. Do you remember the days when salespeople regularly achieved ten or more exclusive listings a month? Nowadays, ‘salespeople’ set targets of four or five listings and their leaders are happy if they hit such pathetic numbers.
And do you remember the days when salespeople used to sell at least one property per week? Why don’t they do so now? Two reasons:
- They don’t have enough listings. They don’t prospect enough. Therefore they list lower numbers than they used to twenty years ago.
- They don’t have to. Selling fees are three times higher than they were twenty years ago, meaning that salespeople can get away with only one-third of the sales and still bring in the same amount of money.
If you doubt this, try a simple test. Be warned, this test requires you to apply positive pressure to perform and you many lose team members – perhaps the whole lot.
Insist that for every working day, and for the next three months, every team member performs the following actions:
- Speaks to 40 potential sellers every working day
- Sets 1 listing presentation with qualified sellers every working day
- Sets 2 appointments with qualified buyers every working day
- Visits 1 listed seller every working day and obtains a price reduction
Assuming that your team is trained, do you know what will happen? Over time you will see your office’s results climb. You will see that the reason for low performance has been a low level of actions, and not the market as you were led to believe.
I may be accused of being ‘old school’ but is it too much to expect that people who work in our companies, and who have the job description of ‘salesperson’, are required to do sales actions every working day?
We live in an age of excuses. It’s not compulsory, however. As the owner of your business, you don’t have to accept excuses. You can apply positive pressure to perform, and you can expect results.
Note this important difference: positive pressure does not mean threats. Poor leaders threaten non-performers, they don’t apply positive pressure.
“End of the month, Sunshine. If you don’t produce results you’re outta here!”
“Winners do large amounts of winning actions every day. I want you to commit to do these actions:
- Speak to 40 potential sellers every working day
- Set 1 listing presentation with qualified sellers every working day
- Set 2 appointments with qualified buyers every working day
- Visit 1 listed seller (vendor) every working day and obtain a price reduction
Can you do this? Will you do this? Do you promise?”
Do you see the difference? By setting actions and gaining commitment, all you now need to do is work with those who keep their promises and fire those that don’t. Inspect what you expect. And if you have a hiring program you will have replacements for those who do not do what they promised to do.
It’s simple, but not easy. It’s not easy because it involves people. Be kind, but be resolute. Set your action standards, and keep only those people who live up to them. These people will earn a high income and so will you.