In an industry where your sales team mean the difference between success and failure, and the talent is so highly fought for, attracting and retaining salespeople is a constant challenge.
As having an adequate sales force is an important factor for gaining control over sales, the challenge is just as relevant for the agency and branch/franchise level.
In this article, we explore how to attract and retain your sales talent whether you’re an agency or an individual owner/manager.
How to Attract and Retain Sales Talent
The good news is that attracting sales talent is much like selling houses.
You need two things:
1. To have a genuinely great offer – one that you can (and do) honour
2. To make your offer known
So, how do you create a great offer?
In short, make sure it matches what real estate salespeople fundamentally want.
- Respect (within the team and the market)
- Money / Results / Success
- An enjoyable team culture
- Freedom / Lifestyle / Ease
- Help / Support / Opportunities
- To work for a brand that matches their values – and that they can sell
Considerations when building your offer:
Here are six considerations to think about to build an offer that matches what salespeople want:
1. More than anything else, people don’t leave companies – they leave managers
Focus on becoming a genuinely exceptional manager – one that people want to come and work for. Support your people. Work actively with them to build their capability. Be kind, respectful – and generous of spirit. Develop your leadership capability. In short, be the kind of manager that makes it easy for people to join you – and to stay with when faced with other options.
2. Your people need exposure in the market
One of the reasons salespeople fail in real estate is that they don’t gain the exposure they need to become an agent of choice. Sometimes they don’t spend enough on developing their profile (or they spend it ineffectively). Support them to become visible by investing in the profile of your office and team. If they’re visible enough to gain market share, it’ll be a win-win for their effectiveness and results – and your ability to recruit more talent.
3. Doors are easier to walk through when they’re open (or at least ajar)
Support your team by thinking of lead generation as a team effort. Hunt for local lead generation opportunities for them. Think about what this could look like in your local area. Maybe you could build relationships with local developers, or invest in a well-considered cold calling program to help to generate leads. Be willing to get creative, brainstorm with colleagues and try ideas out. Opening doors for your team will pay dividends.
4. People will follow the path of least resistance
We all love parts of our work – and other parts, not-so-much! Salespeople are no different. In addition to opening doors for them, invest in innovations that make their job easier. This will have you rise above the rest, with a promise you can market.Yes, there will undoubtedly be an investment you need to make – in time, effort and money – to make your offer stand out from the competition. But, if you get it right, the return you receive is hopefully many, many times over – not only in talent you’re able to attract (and retain), but also the results they’re able to produce. (And if I don’t do the work, you can bet your competition will!)
5. People love being part of something great
Part of being a great manager, is leading a great culture. If you don’t have a genuinely fantastic team culture already, go to work on creating one. Envisage and define the culture that you – and people want to be part of – and invest in building that. Set standards. Expect professionalism, integrity and teamwork. And be sure to reprimand people – and where need be, let them go – when they behave in ways that are contrary to the culture you’re building.
6. Your people have income goals that (really) matter to them
Another part of being a great manager is supporting your team to achieve their goals. Depending on their time in the industry, their reputation and capability, it’s likely they need your leadership and support to achieve them (and, less aspirationally, to survive the early days and times when cashflow is tough).
In the last edition, I wrote about talent development, I shared that it’s important that coaching and training is targeted. Offer a supportive, personalised program that addresses the specific competency gaps and development needs of each individual – and helps them to lift their capability and achieve their goals. (If you want a copy of the article, email me and I’ll send it to you).
Of course, it’s not enough to have a great offer, if no-one knows about it….
Next step: Making Your Offer Known
Once you’ve got your offer nailed, it’s time to get the word out there. Come up with well-considered, creative ways of letting people know you see them – and that you want them. And put dedicated consistent time and focus into talent attraction.
And remember, there are two types of recruitment: Active recruitment and reputation recruitment.
Active recruitment is the active work you do, prospecting and interviewing potential new team members.
Reputation recruitment is the attraction of talent that happens through word-of-mouth, and naturally develops from your everyday work building and consistently delivering a great offer. Get the ‘offer’ part right, and your salespeople will hopefully rave about you to their colleagues at other agencies!While you can’t manage how people talk about you, you influence it every day with everything you do, and the choices you make. So be a leader that your people rave about!
One final thought on the importance of your offer…
While talent attraction is a challenge for real estate managers, retention is an equally significant challenge.
The bonus of getting your offer right – and honouring it – is that you’ll be much more likely to hang onto the people you’ve worked hard to develop.
This article was written for and published in the latest edition of the REINZ magazine (Winter 2019).