What Leaders Do For Salespersons

What Leaders Do For Salespersons


I was recently caught by surprise and off guard when a broker told me that my company’s sales training program would put his authority over his agents at risk.

Totally stunned, I asked what he meant by that. The broker stated his agents “signed up” to work with him and he, the broker, was ultimately responsible to help his agents, not an outside vendor.

I politely and professionally ended the phone call because there are deep issues at play here.

Without going into what I thought of the broker’s response, let me tell readers what the manager’s responsibilities are for those in charge of personnel. But, before I list these responsibilities, I will tell you about my past corporate job.

When I worked for a Fortune 500 company, headquartered in Los Angeles, 80 people worked in my Account Services department.

My job was to assist the Sales department in keeping large accounts (5,000 or more employees or $150,000 or more in monthly incoming revenue on the books. I eventually got a promotion to the Sales department and developed and closed a $3M account in Ventura County.

Since I was responsible for 80 employees X 173.33 hours or $700,000 in monthly employee salaries, benefits and technical equipment, I had to work hard to keep $6M in monthly revenue (and higher) on the books. In simple language, $700,000 in expenses maintained $6M monthly and more in company business.

If any operational or technical problem could put my department at risk, I was expected to identify the problem and find solutions. Often, I needed to communicate challenges preventing my department’s success to upper management. Upper management welcomed any and all communications about challenges potentially jeopardizing the $6M/$700K structure.

Based on $6M/$700K, my department was operating a 8.5:1 ROI ratio.

If there were ever a day that I felt I would look bad in the eyes of my staff or upper management, by admitting I needed help resolving a problem, I would immediately be fired. There is no way one person (with 80 staff members) can do all the work and solve all the problems. There is no way.

So, when the broker told me that he would look bad in the eyes of his Realtors, and he would feel like his authority is in jeopardy if my company helped his agents sell better, this can only mean one thing. And, I am not going to say it here in this post.

However, I will say that the real estate broker’s job is hard. A broker has to be many things to their agent staff. The broker hires, instructs, and motivates. The broker is responsible for agent actions, compliance issues, and contract management. The broker items mentioned in this paragraph are task-based activities.

But, even before a real estate transaction is officially in escrow, agents need to identify contacts and convert prospects into buyers and sellers so escrows can be opened.

For brokers who feel task-based agent activities are tough, let me tell you from professional experience that managing sales performance and productivity (effort-based activities) are 10X harder than task-based activities. Try telling upper management that you lost a $150K revenue per month account. Or, you messed up and did not win a $75K revenue per month account.

Effort activities find buyers and sellers to open escrows. Task activities close escrows.

In real estate, it’s almost as if there needs to be two brokers:

  • a broker to train agents to find buyers and sellers and,
  • a broker to help agents successful close escrows.

My company’s job is to help brokers increase agent performance so more escrows can be opened.