‘Keeping the Sales Force Motivated in a Recession’

The recession has hit the property industry hard and having 20 telesales people on our sales floor has been fun to say the least. At the best of times you can motivate salespeople with the money but when the recession makes everything twice as hard and twice as long whilst giving you half the certainty it requires some new thinking.

I spent a great deal of time communicating with the sales team. The first and most important motivational factor in any market is keeping them in the big picture. If you start with a big picture of what’s going on they are more likely to stay motivated when the little things go wrong. In doing this you can also be honest with the negative things that happen as they feel part of the problem and will work hard for a solution.  This one point of sharing the problems has actually bonded the team together incredibly.

I have always been a big believer in scripting everything to do with the sales team, as the market changed I provided written scripts on how to handle the negative feedback from clients.  I would also produce educational material aimed at the clients that explained the issues in a much more positive light. This supported the sales team to deal with the problems. It worked really well and they felt a lot more confidence using the scripts and knowing that I had already pre-framed the solution for the clients.

We did focused sales sessions in two-hour blocks where the whole team would be on the phone calling clients with specific questions that I had pre-written.  The fact that everyone was calling about the same thing gave the guys the confidence and motivation to stay on the phone.  This created many sales opportunities just because they called.

We also do a lot of little things that combined just add the finishing touches and motivate all the team.  Things like; having a Sales bell so they ring it every time a sale is made and the response from the team is that everyone claps and cheer, it’s small but effective.  Giving small bonuses for first sales, most new clients, most improved and many others. In most cases the rewards are a single as a bottle of champagne or chocolates or perhaps just a congratulations email or team meeting recognition.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Big Picture, Little Detail, Big Picture…

Hey guys,

This is an example of big picture, little detail, big picture. You could be mistaken for thinking that she wants my opinion on which is better and a detailed analysis but really she just wants to be lead and have confidence in her own decisions.

Notice how I start with big picture, go to detail, but end on big picture.

I tell her that it doesn’t matter. This is essential to the big picture, you are effectively telling them that their emotions don’t count and they should focus on the big picture.

Her City Centre question was based on emotions, Her, this option or that option was also based on emotions but notice how she was providing her own solutions to the question. It’s important not to jump in an offer alternative solutions here, work with her own solutions unless they are totally wrong or you do have a much better solutions. This is akin to shutting up once you close, let them solve their own problem if you can.  Use questions to achieve this.

In emails you must use a softer language as emotions aren’t conveyed via email very well, you also cannot actively listen, you can however read into their language and subtext. In fact this is essential.

Live with passion,
Brett Alegre-Wood

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HERE’S THE EMAILS BELOW.

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—— Forwarded Message
From: Brett Alegre-Wood
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 23:00:57 +0000
To: Helen
Conversation: Highfield chase/ echo central
Subject: Re: Highfield chase/ echo central

Hey Helen,

To be truthful, property is so cheap right now that it doesn’t really matter which you take. Personally I would go for the bigger one as you will make more money (as an amount) but either will do.  City Centres are fine now, prices have dropped and stock is in short supply so its open hunting season on these now.  A lot of people who talk about city centres actually are using old information, the market changes constantly.

In terms of rentability, it makes absolutely no difference, after selling and letting over 1500 properties I still cannot tell which plots will let out better. In truth they will all get let within 6 weeks.

So either doesn’t really matter, the important thing is that you are getting into something. Times are already looking up as the supply decreases and demand returns.

Hope this helps, if you have more just give me a call or email me 🙂

Live with passion,

Brett

On 10/03/2009 22:18, “Helen”  wrote:

Hi Brett

Hope you are well.  Now that Boston road is not going ahead we do want to transfer to another property so I’ve been talking to Roy about highfield chase and echo central and I had a few questions.

Bascially from what I can tell we need to put a fairly similar amount in to get either one but we would end up with a bigger mortgage and higher value property in highfield chase but with negative cashflow, or a smaller mortgage, lower value property in echo central but with a postitive cashflow.  So initally i’m tempted to go with Echo but in the long run isn’t it better to have the place in which we would have more equity (which i think would be highfield, mortgage 76,000 ish, value 130,000 as oppose to Echo, mortgage 55,000 ish value 88,000) for when we come to remortgage and take cash out?

Also are out of town developments a safer option for long term rental prospects than city centre ones?  You always hear things about there being too many city centre apartments.

Also do rents rise quicker/relatively more with apartments with more bedrooms or does it not make a difference?

Sorry for all the questions, I’m sure I should be able to find this out on the internet somewhere but don’t seem to be able to.

thanks so much
Helen

—— End of Forwarded Message

Sell me the Pen…

Hey guys,

If you were asked at an interview to “Sell me the Pen” and the interviewer handed you a Gold and Platinum Mont Blanc pen worth around £500, engraved with their name. What would you do? How would you sell the pen?

It’s this exact question that I ask all of my potential Property Consultants. So what would you say?

Perhaps something like: “It’s a great pen with gold and platinum, clearly expensive and a twist top that means that you are not going to get pen all over you. Best suited to someone who wants to impress those around them.”

If you did you would be like 95% of the sales people that I interview, oh and you would be 100% wrong.  That’s right a failure for this part of the interview.

You see the mistake most people make when I hand them the pen is to concerntrate on the features of the pen rather than the needs of the client.

If you took the pen, put it on the table and started by saying something like “Well Brett, how can I help you today, it appears that you’ve come looking for a pen?”

“Absolutely, I am after a pen.” I would say.

“Fantastic, have you got anything in particular in mind, Brett.” you would say.

“I am actually here to buy a pen for a work colleague, it’s their leaving do and we want something that I can engrave.”

“Great, and how much are you looking to spend?”

Hopefully you have gotten the hint. Before you ever introduce the pen into the presentation you need to know that I actually want a pen. Always, Always, Always focus on the client’s needs and you will be surprised how easy it is to sell a pen. Focus on the pen and you will always struggle.

Worst still you may even fail your interview. Hopefully it’s a lesson that you won’t have to learn.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

The best ‘Non-qual’ ever…

Hey guys,

Ignore the title of this subject, it was the email subject that I received from my IT Director, Murray who had discovered that one of our leads had been marked unqualified, for… in their own words…wait for it…

“nonqual, unable to contact”

This was after trying for precisely….. 3 days.

In truth the title should have read – ‘The worst of all sales crimes.’

Now as the Hardcore business owner of the business who pays somewhere between £20 and £80 for each and every lead we generate. This kind of makes me a little agitated to say the least.

As a Hardcore Sales Director I begin to wonder how many other leads have been thrown away in such a vial and fifthy manner.

Moreover, as a Hardcore Salesperson this lead could have been mine to sell to and make money for my family. A true hardcore would simply not allow this to happen, ever

The facts are that 95% of salespeople give up within 4 contacts, leaving 90% of the leads for the 10% of hardcore salespeople who continue to make contact. I cannot explain how important it is to follow every single lead until they either buy or die.

The actual stats from the Harvard Business School study are as follows:

  • 48% Give up after the first rejection…
  • 25% Give up after the second…
  • 12% Give up after the third…
  • 5% Give up after the fourth…
  • Leads are some of the hardest things to create, in today’s competitive marketplace it a massive effort to create any lead, let alone enough leads to generate a continuous funnel of sales, so waste them at your peril.

    Needless to say the culprit knew they had stuffed up and now have to live with this blog entry as well as a kick up the *&^% from me for their incompetence.

    Live with passion,

    Brett Alegre-Wood

    Subtext… The subtle art of listening between the lines.

    Hey guys,

    Research has been shown that approximately 8% of the message you deliver is in the words you say, that leaves 92% for all the other factors involved in communicating… We can therefore assume that if you master these other factors involved, your ability to both understand and listen to others would increase dramatically.

    Subtext is the word we use for these other factors. Put simply it makes up all the other factors besides the words we use. It is where the true meaning or subtext of what others are saying is hidden. You may have heard that we never say exactly what we mean, this is simply saying there is a deeper meaning in everything.

    The trick to communication is finding this deeper meaning, discovering the real subtext amongst all the fear and ego.

    Once you discover the subtext you can truly support your clients to the solution that is right for them… So next time you’re listening to a client, your family or anyone for that matter, read their subtext and then use it to your best advantage…

    Live with passion,

    Brett Alegre-Wood

    3 hours call time is the minimum requirement successful sales

    Hey guys,

    3 hours on the phone which is vitally important to your success. In every sales director position I have ever known a minimum of 3 hours meant you will earn a good wage, 4 hours will be a great wage. The difference between 3 and 4 hours is application and discipline and most importantly the discipline to do it day after day. I don’t expect you all to be at the 4 hour mark yet but make no mistake this is were we are heading. I want you all to focus on the 3 hour mark each and every day at this stage.

    If you run out of people to speak to then you have the cold call database there, this may not allow you to speak for 3 hours each day but in this case you will be aiming at 200 dials. This will put enough calls downrange that you will begin to get through to enough people who you can speak to which will in turn get your call times up. The 200 dials is a short term thing until you get the qualified clients to speak to.

    The trick to being a great sales person is simple understanding the process of making sales – 200 dials leads to 3 hours which leads to 2 appointments per day which leads to a quantity of pitches per month which leads to a quantity of sales per month which leads to repeat sales which leads to referrals. Sales is very simple once you break it down into it’s basic components.

    So look at the area that you are falling down in and focus on that area, enlist the support of your sales manager, discipline yourself, but most of all pick up the phone and make that next call…

    Remember that success is always the next call

    Live with passion,

    Brett Alegre-Wood

    Let’s be really honest…

    Hey guys,

    In order to really be successful as a hardcore salesperson you must completely understand at both a logical (left brain) and an emotional (right brain) level the product, business and also the psychology of the human species.

    The only way to truly achieve these things is to research deeply your topic and then experience it in the real world.

    Remember that your clients buy with emotions but justify with logic, they need enough of both in order to see the sale through to the end thereby ensuring your commission gets paid.

    Live with passion,

    Brett Alegre-Wood

    The most powerful question in the world…

    Hey guys,

    Some people have some really strange ideas…

    At some stage we all decided that asking for help was a sign of weakness… Which is just about as wrong as it is possible to be…

    Deep down we all know it’s a sign of great maturity to acknowledge that you need help. So, put simply, the most powerful question in life consists of just five little words –

    If someone asks you this question, what would be your immediate answer without thinking?

    ‘Can you help me please?’

    Asking for help can leverage your time and enable you to achieve anything you desire in life. And one of the nicest things is that it is in our nature to want to help others any way we can.

    In fact, human nature makes us passionate about helping. So knowing you can’t be an expert in everything, it is only common sense to ask for help from the most appropriate person. They are most likely to be happy to be of assistance, and if they are not able to help, will normally suggest someone who can.

    The most important thing is simply to ask the question and to do it often. Make a habit of it and you will be amazed at the results.

    Live with passion,

    Brett Alegre-Wood

    Competitive (ego) Statements in your sales pitch…

    Hey guys,

    Comments that are based on your product being better than the competitions will generally attract argument from your prospect or suspect. Each product is, was and always shall be attracted by the unique individual searching for that product. To try and change their mind or force them to buy your product is simply manipulation.

    The only strategy you should employ is building a relationship and educating them of your products benefits. They will eventually discover the benefits for themselves at an emotional level and turn to your product.

    Adapt your thinking about competition. It should be seen as a positive that evolves your product and systems as unique and makes life easier for all of us…

    Some points to ponder…
    * Customer Satisfaction is not enough… You must delight them
    * Make it as easy as possible to buy from you
    * The most important three letter word in business… ASK
    * The focus of sales is to get advances
    * The second most important three letter word in business… FUN
    * Who is doing the talking…
    * WIIFM… The most important radio station. (What’s In It For Me)
    * People don’t buy from a company they buy from you…
    * Don’t close a sale, open a relationship
    * Focus on Purpose
    * Remember the power of testimonials
    * You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that order.
    * Consumerism has been a venture in variety and innovation
    * Research outside your industry

    Live with passion,

    Brett Alegre-Wood

    You can lead a horse to water but…

    They will only drink when thirsty…

    A funny thing about people is how much like horses they can be. As the old saying tells us, no matter how hard you try, they will only drink when they are thirsty.

    A funny thing about some salespeople of the old school is that they behave as though this was not true. Using high-pressure tactics they try to convince their prospects that they really are thirsty, even when they are not. A lot of potential business can be lost this way.

    There is a way around this problem, and it is simplicity itself. All it takes is a little patience.

    Eventually, everyone becomes thirsty again, and when they do, that is the time to offer them a drink.

    Don’t assume you always have the perfect solution. By asking the right questions you can often discover a way of providing solutions to your client’s problems. And what may seem like a small matter at first can sometimes develop into a large project.

    Take the time to nurture your prospects. Develop a relationship with your clients and educate them about what you can offer them.

    When a need arises, they will call you, ready and willing to buy.

    Live with passion,

    Brett Alegre-Wood