In my 30 years as a real estate agency management consultant, one of the biggest challenges I see agency leaders face is when the leader is too busy to lead. This can be the agency’s “Achilles Heel”, which stifles growth and profit, and much more.
This problem is particularly acute for leaders who list and sell, and who have few, or no, salespeople.
The combination of a busy leader and a small team can create for the leader a situation where the leader is working hard but has little free time. Although making money is good, if you do not have time to enjoy it, you’re on a treadmill and going nowhere.
Too busy to lead
If you have a business with staff, you have an obligation to lead your team.
This particularly applies to salespeople, who can easily become distracted, and because of the amount of rejection that goes with this role, discouraged.
Salespeople need leadership. The newer the salesperson, the more leadership and coaching he or she needs.
Fail to lead and, although you might be bringing in income, your salespeople may be underperforming. You work hard to pay the salaries of people who aren’t selling. Not a good position to find yourself in. It’s the costliest expense for an agency.
It’s quite common to see a high performing leader, perhaps one other high performing salesperson and then two or three salespeople who are not getting results.
Our industry has come to accept that that’s the way it is – one or two at the top, and then a big gap to the pack of mediocre performers at the bottom – but this is false.
Underperformers are that way because the leader tolerates underperformance.
Tolerate it long enough and it becomes normalised.
Every salesperson should be held accountable and required to perform actions that achieve results. There should be no ‘passengers’, no matter how long they have been with the company. Whether they are commission-only or salaried is irrelevant.
Too busy to coach
Leaders bring out the best in each salesperson through team training combined with one-on-one coaching. It is during these sessions that the leader bonds with each salesperson and guides the salesperson in setting goals, formulating plans, and committing to actions that produce results.
If this sounds time consuming, it is. But the rewards can be great. Instead of a leader and perhaps another high performer, imagine how much more profitable your business would be if your entire team performed at high levels.
The sure sign of a leader who is too busy to coach is a prevalence of underperforming salespeople.
Coach correctly and the reward is higher profit and more free time.
Too busy to train
Coaching and training are not the same. Training is all about education. Coaching is about implementation. But you cannot implement what you don’t know. This is why training is so important.
Leaders who are too busy to train their people doom their businesses to mediocrity. Often they are so busy that they never wake up to the fact that the cost of lost business far exceeds the cost of training and time out of the office.
Good training that is compatible with your company’s culture pays huge dividends. Never be too busy to train.
If you want some good training for your team, check out Adam Horth’s The Winners Circle Real Estate Podcast. New episodes are released on the second Thursday of every month. This outstanding training is free.
Too busy to recruit
At some point leaders lose team members, either through termination or resignation. Leaders who are too busy to recruit deplete their sales teams and lose business.
The lower the number of performing salespeople on a team, the lower the profit can be. Not always, however. If the leader lists and sells, the income from those sales can be highly profitable, and this is why so many leaders sell.
But are you a salesperson or a business owner? If you are a salesperson, who is leading and managing your business? And how do you take extended leave from the business if the business depends heavily on you?
Leaders need followers. Sales businesses need salespeople.
If you are too busy to recruit, expect to stay small and work hard selling to keep the doors open. Recruits are your future.
An old excuse
“I’m too busy” is one of the oldest business excuses there is. Salespeople use it all the time – “I’m too busy to prospect” is an old chestnut.
But are you busy working on the right activities? As a leader, your primary duties are to lead, train, coach, and recruit. Those tasks form the bulk of your job description.
Fail to perform the actions necessary for success in the role – for whatever reason, including being too busy – and you devalue your business.
Be busy by all means, but be busy on actions that will boost your profits, increase your free time, and give you a business that is a joy to own.