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RISMEDIA, September 8, 2010—Sellers will sell when they’re tired of staying. Buyers will buy when they’re ready. So the only thing left to control is your agents…and it’s up to you, the manager, to change the actions of your sales people now.

You have the power to change the current state of affairs and are the key to this market. Yes, it’s a tough job. You are the coach and mentor who can change your agent’s lives, forever. Produce top producers. Keep them with you. Build rewarding relationships with your agent population.

Over the last few months, I have been asked by hundreds of managers and company owners, the following question, “How do I get my agents to _____?” Fill in the blank with a host of behaviors such as answer the phone, prospect, follow up, go to meetings, watch a video, get a price reduction, find motivated buyers—even just pop into the office once in a while.

As a manager, you are like the trim tab on an aircraft. This small control surface is hinged at the trailing edge of an aileron. When it rotates up, the force moves the aileron down, which moves the wing up and the plane rolls to a new heading. When you alter the behavior of your agents, they will choose more productive sales behavior and the entire company will change course.

Here are some “trim tab” behaviors to help to create a more productive sales force and lead your real estate company to success:

1. Let go of the unalterable agents. If you can’t change their work habits, then change their work place. Decruit them. Let them go. Your bottom quartile contributes a small amount of revenue in exchange for a large amount of additional time, morale and reputation.

2. Schedule one-on-one meetings with every agent in your office. Hang a clipboard outside your office with dates and 20 minute time slots. Ask each of your agents to pick a time and come prepared to discuss their performance and goals.

3. Evaluate their performance. Ask, “How do you feel about your production so far this year?” When your agents tell you they’ve been really busy, ask for specifics. Take a look at their calendar, prospect database, follow up call list, etc. Be sure to avoid generalities.

4. Establish a plan. Ask your agents what they would like to accomplish moving forward. Establish income and transaction goals, convert that goal to a required number of appointments, then calculate the number of required prospecting contacts. This is how you raise their expectations and encourage growth.

Agree upon a list of specific measurable actions, in terms of prospecting methods and quantities that the agents will perform before the next meeting. They must be behavior based, not transaction based items. That is, assign only things an agent can control. For example, your agent is in control of approaching a FSBO, but not getting the seller to list. He can call all his past clients, but can’t make them move. Be sure to schedule a follow up meeting to make sure your agents are on track.

5. Set a feedback accountability meeting. This is when your agents will report their performance relative to the agreed upon objectives. Your job is to direct the agent’s attention to behavioral feedback. If the agreement was to make 30 calls to her sphere of influence and only 22 were made, then you must express your disappointment and discuss the insufficient result. If the agent exceeded her goals, praise the performance as an encouragement. With this method, you’re not telling them what to do, you’re telling them how you feel about what they did or did not do, and that is far more effective.

6. Offer guidelines for skill development. Under-performing agents are failing at one or more of the six key behaviors listed below. As you continue these one-on-one meetings, use this list as a guide to direct their skill development. Determine which area needs improvement and help them improve.

Meet people: prospect and generate leads
Build rapport: be personable and listen
Establish trust: tell the truth
Discover needs: ask questions to uncover motivation
Present benefits: describe the solution
Secure a decision: get a yes or a no, not a maybe

7. Demonstrate the proper performance of a skill using our online training models at Agents need to hone their sales skills and with all that you have on your plate, this is an easy-to-use yet effective helper. Jerry Reece, CEO of Reece and Nichols, said, “The David Knox Online Real Estate Training module has helped focus our dialogue and presentation skills for buyers and sellers. The results? We are at a three year high in market share. Thanks, David, for helping us deliver a remarkable experience.”

Many of you may believe that because agents are independent contractors, you don’t have the right to manage them. Truth is, your agents want to be led. They’re paying coaches to teach them and hold them accountable, they consult with their peers to get ideas. You can be the one who fills their need for leadership and be the hero in their professional life. You are the “trim-tab” for your office. It is a manager’s market.

To find out more about the David Knox online video library, visit, or call 1-800-822-4221.