How To Do It: Step 6 – Accountability

(This is an elaboration of ‘How to Rule the (Real Estate) World in 10 Easy Steps‘)

One of the hardest things  self-employed people must do is to hold themselves accountable.  We’d all like to believe we’re ‘self-starters,’ but the truth is:  that’s a rare individual.  You, as an entrepreneur and business owner, may even have difficulty at times getting yourself to do the things you know you need to do.  That’s why coaching can be so effective.  Just knowing you’re going to have to report to someone else provides enough push to get most of us in motion.

As a broker in control of your business, you have to take on this coaching role with your staff.  Having clear job descriptions and well defined expectations is essential for everyone on your team and that, by itself, should be enough to keep your administrative staff on track.  But salespeople need a little more coaching.  Let’s start with expectations (I’m going to lay them out right now;.  You may choose to alter them and that’s ok, but I believe this is fair and reasonable):

Minimum standard of production for buyer agents:  6 closed sides in the previous 3 months (That’s 2 per month and really, if they can’t do that, they’re probably costing you too much in fumbled leads and lost business).  New agents get the first 3 months to ramp up, so we begin to hold them accountable at the end of their 6th month, for months 4, 5 and 6.  It’s a rolling 3 months, so each month we add a month and drop off the oldest month.  We do the three month look-back at the end of each month, and the first period in which they fall below 6, they are reminded of their commitment and offered increased coaching.  Two months in a row and they must commit to a remedial program designed by the broker (design should be easy:  I’d simply go back to Science to Sales).  Three months in a row and they are de-hired.

Using the three month look-back allows for the peaks and valleys that are typical of a productive agent’s career and considers production over a longer period.  If they fall below the line three months in a row, that’s a pretty good indication of their capability.

Expectations and minimum standards are a good start toward accountability, but there’s more to it than that.  Saying we expect a number of closed sides is great but you can’t manage ‘closed sides.’  You can’t make them happen.  They are an event, not an activity   You manage activities — the activities that lead to closed sides.  So part of your office culture should be an activity planning/commitment and accountability process.  Each buyer agent should commit to a certain number of activities every day and then report what they actually did.  This way, if they fall below the production expectation, we have something to go back to that might show us why.

Here’s a picture of the activity tracking sheet John Powell uses with each of his buyer agents.

And here’s a summary sheet he uses for an at-a-glance assessment of his entire sales team.

Step 7!

Both of these are available in the Download Library under ‘National Sales Meeting,’  ‘July 28, 2010’.  They are called ‘Tracking Sheets.’    You’ll note that each agent commits to a certain number of activities and then reports how many they actually did.

As broker/owner of a marketing oriented company, you also want to keep careful track of how each of your buyer agents are doing with leads.  In a perfect world, your admin answers every call and routes buyer leads to your team of buyer agents.  It’s the admin who logs the call and gives you a basis to go back to your agents and ask, ‘what happened to this one?’ and ‘did you do a Buyer Data Sheet on this one?’  The metrics you want to track are:  How many leads each agent received, how many resulted in a complete Buyer Data Sheet with contact information, how many Buyer Data Sheets resulted in appointments, and how many appointments resulted in sales.  This information becomes a management tool.  It will help you spot the one who needs more work on taking control of incoming calls and completing Buyer Data Sheets.  It will help you spot the one who can gather information but can’t seem to get an appointment.  It will also help you spot the one who works lots of leads but only closes a few.  It’s all about identifying areas for improvement and then working on them.

So, you get your entire office functioning in a culture of clear expectations, firm commitments and accountability . . . all’s right with the world, true?  Maybe.  But what about you?  Who’s holding you accountable?  Just like the best agent you’ve ever had, you at least need someone to run your ideas by, someone to remind you what you said you wanted to accomplish and get you back on track.  You could pay a coach — there are dozens out there and many swear by the results they get.  But I think you would be better served by staying in-house and getting involved in a structured coaching program at Help-U-Sell.  John, Ron McCoy, Jack Bailey and I are here and would welcome the opportunity to help you plot and scheme.  All it takes is a call . . .

And now, for Step 7!