SmarterSelling

Happy 2016!  Another new year to start our collective journeys to new goals, new lifestyles, new professions or perhaps just minor tweaks to our current lives. If you make New Year’s resolutions, remember it is a promise to yourself. So to keep that promise, make that resolution realistic. Whatever applies to each of us, may the journey be a successful and enjoyable one. 

For those in sales and in sales management, our professional journey in 2016 mandates a reflective yet objective assessment of where we are, where we need to go and how we get there. Most of us have learned new techniques and approaches over the years but as the age-old saying goes, the only constant in life is change.

A sales leader is responsible for helping each salesperson achieve their personal best. You have to find ways to keep the sales team energized when the sales team would rather not deal with unpleasant challenges. A sales leader must work closely with their front line to ensure they are able to perform at their highest level.

If you are in the one in the sales trenches, you also have responsibilities beyond showing up and touring models. You have sales pro formas to meet. You have to represent your company in the best possible light. You have to find ways to stay enthusiastic each and every day no matter what the professional or personal challenges you face. And you have to do your best to prevent client problems from escalating to the point where you have to send those problems to management.

So the question each new year is how do we get there? There are many approaches, philosophies and proven techniques that each of us can explore. For the purpose of this article, let’s summarize general categories for both management and sales agents to consider.

Leadership
Managers:    Sales managers must be leaders. Effective sales leaders work with their agents to evaluate, mentor, and coach them. They recognize even the best sales people gain value from outside perspectives to achieve sales effectiveness. We have many resources within the housing industry to help all of us improve. However why not explore effective practices in other industries to see if they can be incorporated into our industry’s sales process.

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Effective leaders must deal in the real world. While achieving organizational goals is part of your position, you must also see things as they really are. Frequently talking with your front line sales team and listening to what they encounter in their day to day dealings with prospective buyers, will give you that reality check. Perhaps there is something in your company’s sales practices that is just not working for either a particular community or a particular agent. Feedback from our customers is the greatest reality check. Who better to tell you what is important in current and future housing needs than the customer? Do you use any outside services to provide customer feedback? Do you listen to your agents who are receiving critical customer information every day to give you product and/or community feedback? What about tweaking that customer registration card a bit to get a brief customer ‘impression’ of your product vs. some of the other questions that customers might find intrusive on their first visit?

Sales agents: You must take the initiative to seek outside perspectives to achieve the highest level of sales performance. Your reality check is to seriously ask yourself, is everything I am doing effective? Does it work all the time? What do I need to change or add to my sales presentation to excel? There are many sources you can go to including management, online sales courses, training seminars, etc. And don’t forget other top sales producers both in and outside the housing industry. Never cocoon yourself into a world of sameness.

Teamwork
Managers: The effective sales leader creates sales cultures that are competitive as well as collaborative. Great sales professionals should be highly competitive. But they should not be cut throat.  Beyond screening for sales skills, effective managers need to hire sales people who are good team players, instill the value of teamwork, offer sales tools to excel, and hold their agents to performance goals. While rewarding top producers is essential to keep the sales professionals motivated, you must insure your rewards program does not create a negative environment for the whole team.

Sales Agents:  Veteran salespeople should share best practices with new hires and less seasoned agents about prospecting strategies and overall sales techniques, particularly closing. Never be concerned about losing your ‘top gun’ status in the company. After all, the competitor is outside the company, not within, correct? When best practices are shared and consistently used, sales will happen and pro formas will be met.

Certitude & Enthusiasm
Managers:  Top sales managers must believe in their company and what they’re selling. If you are not 100% sold on your company and product, your lack of conviction and enthusiasm will filter down to the sales team.  Since we take on the moods and attitudes of those around us, positive energy and enthusiasm must start at the top.

Agents:  Every single day sales agents must convey that same conviction and enthusiasm in their sales centers. If you are not excited about what you are selling, why should your prospective buyer be motivated to purchase? How can you sell value and sell the dream if you convey the attitude you don’t value your product or company?

Attitude
Managers:  A great sales leader is willing to do what it takes to succeed and to make their sales team succeed. You need to demonstrate the selling skills expected of their sales team during sales meetings. If you want your agents to be team players, then you must insure they feel part of a team. Sales leaders must emote that ‘can do’ attitude and put systems, processes and people in place to get the job done…and done right.

Agents:   You must also have the right attitude. If you have been around long enough you should understand sales is not always about you, your needs and preferences. You will not always click with every prospective buyer or even other agents in your team. But you need to find ways to make it work. That is the definition of a sales professional. Define and acknowledge why you have chosen this profession. Beyond making money, are you taking the high road to achieve your goals? In our last edition I referenced Jimmy Buffet’s song ‘Changes in Latitudes and Changes in Attitudes’. Make sure your new year’s journey brings you to the right latitude. You must enjoy what you do and believe in what you do.

Managers – when you need to evaluate and assess your sales team as part of your overall training program, LeBlanc & Associates is here to be your partner in the process. Give us a call!

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Top 10 Safest U.S. Cities
Neighborhood Scout looked at American towns with at least 25,000 people to see which cities are the safest to live in. They ranked them based on their number of violent crimes and property crimes per 10,000 residents (see below). Three Massachusetts towns made the list, including Franklin in the top spot. For comparison, the national average is 39 violent crimes per 10,000 people, and 286 property crimes. Here's your top 10:
VC / 10K PC / 10K City / Town
1. 3.7 52 Franklin, MA
2. 7.0 54.7 Bergenfield, NJ
3. 6.9 55.7 Parma, OH
4. 3.7 59.4 Greenwich, CT
5. 5.5 65.1 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
6. 5.4 65.7 Johns Creek, GA
7. 4.1 70.6 Lexington, MA
8. 3.4 72.7 Sammamish, WA
9. 5.9 70.9 Ballwin, MO
10. 1.7 75.7 Shrewsbury, MA
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