Sales Manager or Professional Plate Spinner?
Our job as New Home Sales Managers, and as head coaches of our franchise team, is to evaluate, recruit, train, and keep your team accountable on an ongoing basis.
All of these activities are interlinked and should be occurring simultaneously. Sadly, we just can’t afford to relax and accept the status quo, meaning we can’t only focus on one of these areas and forget the rest.
The best metaphor for this concept is a plate spinner. Trying to keep all four plates spinning at the same time is challenging, but you should always be engaged in all four of these activities. Not only will this allow you to develop a championship level sales team, but also sustain consistent sales success.
I created RATE as a simple acronym to help remind us of our management responsibilities and activities. However, as managers, we may not always follow the steps in this exact lineal order. Concentric circles sum it up perfectly, as these endeavors are constantly overlapping. Based upon my experience, both with my own sales teams and helping builders all across the country, it makes more sense for me to start with Evaluation as the first step to understanding RATE.
In his book, Basic Marketing (published in 1960), E. Jerome McCarthy is credited with creating the 7 P’s Marketing Mix. Here is his original formula:
Incredibly, this simple way of looking at our sales and marketing team is still as applicable today as it was way back then. As thoroughly engaged managers, everything we do should be managing all of our relevant Ps on a daily basis. If some of the Ps aren’t working effectively, or even worse are ignored, who will pay the price?
Exactly, we will be missing out on sales and eventually will receive the blame for lack of sales. Conversely, our goal should always be to create a “well-oiled sales and marketing machine”, so that we can create consistent success that is replicable.
The First P is Your People
Typically, a manager only measures a salesperson’s efficacy based upon their sales results. However, there are essentially six ways that a new home sales manager can evaluate the strength of a salesperson, their ability to implement a replicable process that will create long term success for their builder, and whether they are an asset to the team and a good fit with your company’s culture:
- Inter Company Communication
- “MBWA” (Management by Walking About – Sam Walton)
- Video Shop Review
- Sales Results
- Conversion Ratios
- Measurement and Prediction
After evaluating your sales team using these methods, you should perform monthly Salesperson Maps to ensure each salesperson is fully contributing to your team. Ideally, a complete franchise player will not only provide consistent sales success, but will also be internally motivated with a winning attitude.
The Salesperson Map is broken down into four categories using the following guidelines:
M = Motivated – Manageable
A = Attitude – Aptitude
P = Process – Persistence
Using the quadrant as a guide, you place your sales people into one of the four boxes. This map is a visual way of displaying where each of your salespeople stand and what you can do to improve sales.
Training and Accountability
Logically, Training and Accountability go hand in hand. Whether you invest in an outside trainer like me, handle training by yourself, or a little of both, keeping the team accountable to the training is essential.
In fairness, there are two types of training programs. The first, treated by some like more of an event, is where the trainer comes in for a day and provides entertainment wrapped around some training ideas and concepts. Almost like a Cirque de Soleil with some metaphorical lessons entwined. The other, typically taken a bit more seriously, is attended by the whole executive team and is often considered the turning point in the transformation of both the salesperson and the company.
Please don’t get me wrong, I try to keep my training fun and interactive, but I certainly favor lineal training, whereby salespeople of every level learn processes and systems proven to work, that creates both transactional sales successes, as well as progressive development of their communicating, connecting, and sales skills.
With this in mind, we as sales managers need to commit to be the company’s chief coach and ensure that we love our salespeople enough by following up with them and providing them strategic coaching and training in the areas where they need to develop. I take great delight in being able to help salespeople at every level, from Essential to Advanced and Mastery.
So, with your Coaching Accountability Program (CAP), we have to remember that “Training is not one size fits all”, and we have to be flexible with how we approach the ongoing training. So, another A, after Accountable, would also be Adaptability. As with all connection, we have to ensure that we are flexible and adapt our teaching style and methods to create the greatest connection with our salespeople.
In order to keep training our team, help keep them accountable and, eventually, evaluate their participation and progress in your team’s success, we have to meet with them regularly. There are two essential meetings and a third that some managers utilize:
- “One on One” Meetings
- Sales Meetings or Rallies
- Daily Phone Huddle (Optional)
Finally, we should always be thinking about recruiting and adding sales talent to our team.
One of the worst times to go looking for salespeople is when you feel compromised and have to hire too quickly. Likewise, we shouldn’t be keeping sales people just to provide coverage and plug a gap on the schedule. During the webinar, we discussed the benefits of “building a bench” and having an “Associate” training program.
Having been a manager for so many years, I know how hard this is, but we have to love ourselves enough to not settle for second best and should Always Be Recruiting (ABR).
Following the principles learned in Topgrading for Sales, the excellent book Bradford D. Smart and Greg Alexander wrote on this subject, and provided a simple 12-step plan. I employed this recruiting system not only for myself when managing my own sales teams, but for our many builder clients all across the country. We have hired literally thousands of salespeople, and this system is proven to find potential sales champions.
How Do You Rate?
Being a sales manager has its challenges, but I hope that you find the RATE system helpful. For more information, contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) or watch the on-demand recording of the webinar.
New Home Sales Coach
For more information about Roland Nairnsey and his coaching programs, visit NewHomeSalesCoach.com.