As the face of every home builder’s company, sales agents are the human connection between buyers and builders. They connect homebuyers to the new home that perfectly complements their lifestyle and help them smoothly navigate the ups and downs of what can sometimes be a lengthy sales process.
In this article, we sat down with Ryan Coates, Vice President of The Advantage Group, to discover how to keep real estate sales agents thriving and making money.
Q: What personality type makes the best real estate sales agent?
A: Generally, there are two types of people who succeed in sales: people who are very detail-oriented and people who are extremely outgoing. Both types of sales agents are essential for an effective sales team. The super analytical types are fantastic at managing details, which is reassuring to buyers. The other types are more personable, creating that “warm and fuzzy” feeling buyers also love.
Q: What’s the number one thing to remember when it comes to keeping sales agents engaged?
A: Agents should feel like they’re part of the bigger picture of the company’s success—because they are. They need to know you understand and care about their experience. I like to get out in the field, interacting with our agents on a weekly basis at their sales office. I also call my sales teams daily to check in. I want to make sure they feel supported and that comes from making myself available. It’s important to let agents know we’re looking out for them.
Q: How can a company set its sales teams up for success?
A: Adequate training is extremely important. Training manuals are good, but as real estate sales consulting experts, we’ve found that actual practice and observation are great for fine-tuning.
At The Advantage Group, we spend a lot of time taking an agent through the full experience of closing deals. This usually involves two stages of training, both equally important. The first stage includes things that are specific to the new home sales transaction, like how to manage contract documents. We then focus on the core elements of customer connection: greeting customers, listening to their needs, determining the customer’s interests, etc. Sharpening both “hard” and “soft” skills are part of an effective sales process and sets agents up for success.
Q: What about sales agents who have been with the company for a while?
A: These people have already developed an effective selling style, so for them, it’s all about creating specific goals and showing them a clear trajectory for professional growth. Great real estate sales agents are naturally ambitious people. They thrive on accomplishment. Whether it’s reaching a certain income amount, number of quarterly closings, or hitting high marks on customer feedback surveys, goals can be unique to each sales team.
Builders also need to provide opportunities for sales agents to advance. This can be through promotions, increased salary/commissions, or both. If the company hasn’t established career paths for its sales team, it’s only a matter of time before sales agents start to look for opportunities elsewhere.
Q: What are some practical tactics builders can use to maintain their sales team’s enthusiasm?
A: Games and prizes are great. We’ve found that sales agents really appreciate being able to see their achievements. Injecting a little healthy competition into the workplace usually gets sales teams fired up, too.
We’ve done things like creating a large cardboard football field around Superbowl time or a horse race during the Kentucky Derby. As each agent or team progressed, their little helmet or horse moved forward toward the end. Winners received a small cash prize. Agents were checking daily to see how close their “team” was to winning.
Q: Are there ways to recognize great sales agents outside of the company?
A: Submitting agents for consideration for industry sales awards is a great way to provide them with recognition beyond your four walls. The North State Building Industry Association (NSBIA) presents annual Major Achievements in Merchandising (MAME) Awards for things like Rookie Salesperson of the Year and Sales Team of the Year. These awards are a great way to provide acknowledgment on a public stage.
Q: How can builders prevent sales agents from feeling isolated?
A: Camaraderie and team building are key. Keeping agents connected to each other and the rest of the team provides important social interaction with peers that helps build close-knit teams. We do things like after-work mixers, family bowling nights, and other activities to let our agents blow off some steam and get to know one another more personally. Real estate sales is all about building personal relationships. Those strong relationships start inside the company.
Q: How can builders get an accurate assessment of how their sales teams are performing?
A: Customer surveys are essential. There’s only so much you can see from inside the company. But buyers will always let you know how their experience went—the good and the bad. When one of our agents receives positive feedback, we’re quick to recognize their great job and encourage them to keep up the good work. Less than stellar reviews are an opportunity to speak with the agent and see what resources we can provide to help them perform better.
Q: Any final advice for builders to build strong sales teams?
A: Don’t be afraid to turn to real estate sales consulting experts for support. Busy builders often don’t have the time to dedicate to their sales team’s professional development. Working with dedicated sales and marketing teams from an experienced partner like The Advantage Group
lets builders focus on building while our proven training and support make their sales team stand out from the competition.
Strengthen your sales team with experienced new home sales agents. Contact The Advantage Group today to see how we can help.