Hi everyone, Kimberly Mackey here with New Homes Solutions Consulting. Welcome back to our three-part series, Fantastic Salespeople and Where to Find Them. Today is our second episode. If you will recall, or feel free to refer back to Part 1 on our YouTube Channel or our Blog site (NewHomesSolutions.com/blog), in Episode One, we discussed what to look for when hiring salespeople. What are the right attributes and attitude? Today, we are going to discuss some “secret” locations, where you can go to recruit. Please plan to join us again on August 7, 2019, when we will reveal how to maximize your investment with all this great talent by giving them the tools they need to become successful.
There are other jobs out there, which require much of the same skill set as new home sales, but most of them are nowhere near as challenging, rewarding, or as fast-paced. The key to bringing new people into our crazy industry is to set the right expectations from the start. Let them know that it takes time, dedication, and training to earn top dollar. We experience the largest fall out rates from new hires who aren’t financially equipped to handle all the ups and downs one experiences when getting started in this industry. Also, you should be realistic. You can’t put a brand, new person, with no income into a brand new community, expect them to get it off the ground, and not pay them for nine months until something closes. That isn’t going to get you or them any closer to the desired result. There are many ways to do this, with either a small salary plus commission or perhaps half of the commission upfront and half at settlement to name only a couple. There are many more options. The key is you must set both of you up for success. Create the Win/Win.
Know the real estate laws in your state. Do you need licensed real estate agents or not? Many states, where a broker is not required, still mandate the use of licensed real estate agents to earn a commission.
Here is my list of “secret locations:”
Hospitality (sales/service): Typically I am looking for someone from management or a recent college graduate with a degree in hospitality management, but some concierge services at higher-end hotels may also be a terrific fit. They earn most of their living from tips, so they understand they have to do a terrific job to get paid. The graduates and kids just out of school, with some experience, have now had the opportunity to learn 1st hand that they have a mountain of debt and that it is going to take them quite a while at the low entry salaries to pay that debt off. Look for the problem-solving people at higher-end resorts. We are looking for the folks who seem to be able to balance a whole lot of stuff coming at them all at once while still keep a smile on their face as they solve the problems expeditiously. This is the kind of talent we need!
Apartment Leasing: I am not talking about the property managers here. I am talking about the people who work at higher-end apartment complexes, who have to sell the lifestyle and who show the apartment model homes. There are a couple of things to look out for here. 1. While the job is basically the same job description, you still need to make sure they have phenomenal sales and closing skills (or the aptitude for learning them). 2. Are they capable of working on commission? Because the salaries are so low in some of these positions unless you find an ambitious go-getter, who is looking to grow, this might not be the right fit, but when you find them, wow do they excel!
Car Sales (with caution): Car sales is not for the faint of heart. It can be a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world. However, occasionally I have found some terrific sales talent, who didn’t quite fit into the car sales mold but were a nice fit for us in homebuilding. Usually, the hardest part is teaching them the relationship-based selling techniques, so they learn to nurture a prospect rather than going in for the hard close and scaring them off. We shouldn’t sell homes using car sales methodology, for a reason.
Additionally, if you get someone who has had a long career in car sales, new home sales will probably be too slow, too detailed, and too emotional for their liking. It is best to get those who haven’t been at it for life. I like places like Car Max, and other flat fee car dealers because it is less cut-throat and doesn’t pay as well as some of the other dealership models do.
Furniture Sales (with caution): Furniture sales can be a lot like car sales. It is generally a highly competitive floor, and most people who are in it have been there a long time. Occasionally though, you find someone new, or in a smaller store, who provides terrific customer service and follow-through. Mattress salespeople can also be a smart place to look. They have to do much discovery to help someone to select such a personal item.
Retail Sales (commissioned based—cosmetics or Nordstrom shoes): Retail hours and weekends are not a problem. The really good ones are great at asking just the right questions to make their customers happy in very short order. The biggest challenge here is similar to apartment leasing, can they afford to make the switch and deal with the financial ebbs and flows as they are getting started?
Door to Door Sales (like Vivint Smart Home Systems): If one can knock on people’s doors and have any success in this day and age, this is someone I want to talk to as soon as possible. This takes incredible guts. I have a newfound respect for anyone who can do this type of work since my son went to work for Vivint Smart Home Technology over the past summer. He had to do cold, door to door sales. While these kids can be a great hire, they will take training to learn our industry, and the art of relationship based selling. Any sales process that requires them to rush the prospect with “specials” that expire as soon as they walk out the door will have to be unlearned because we have to build a longer-term relationship with our buyers. I am a big fan of recruiting from this industry though because these young people have moxie and drive. They also usually have charming personalities.
Real Estate School or Colleges: It can prove to be tough to sift through the number of candidates to find the right person, but if you hire a recruiter, they can do the leg work for you, and you only pay commission on the ones who work out. You could even hire through a temp to perm staffing service for these types of candidates, but you would need to teach them how to screen properly for you. Still, if you want to have some folks in a training program “on the bench” as we say, these two sources can be plentiful.
Your Competitors (cautiously): While it can be tempting to recruit only from your competitors, you are generally only going to get those who couldn’t sell at your competitor, so why would they do any better for you? Great salespeople, with a pipeline of buyers waiting to close, don’t leave. Now, there are definitely exceptions here, and I call those Opportunities, with a capital O. Salespeople leave when there is turmoil in management or a leadership change. They leave when one company buys out another, and they find the culture shift too great. And, they leave when they run out of land and have nothing to sell. When you find strong salespeople in those situations, make them a terrific offer!
Always Have at least one trainee/floater: Salespeople can’t work seven days per week, they need to have at least two days off, but you need your model covered seven days per week. The number one rule of selling is SHOW UP. If you have a floater, they can cover two models for your salespeople when they are off (on different days of course). You also need coverage for vacations, illness, events, etc. What better way to train someone than by hiring them to train and to cover for your sales team to keep your models open. The importance of having this person on the bench, learning your systems, and the right way to do things cannot be overstated. How often have you, as a sales manager, kept someone on, whom you knew needed to go for whatever reason, but you didn’t have anyone to fill the void? Or, had someone who quit and leave you short for coverage? It just makes sense. For you sports enthusiasts out there, how often has a player come off the bench only to WOW everyone? It happens more often than one might think.
RARELY: General RE Agents: Please notice that I prefaced this with the word “rarely.” In most instances, general real estate and new home sales are two completely different skill sets. I even know some general real estate agents who refer to new home sales agents as “the shut-ins!” Can you imagine? There are two common challenges with those trying to make the leap from general to new homes. The first is the hours required and the comprehension that you are in a retail business. Your models must be open at the convenience of your buyers, not your sales staff. The second one is that general real estate agents typically sell by process of elimination. What I mean by that is that they haven’t been taught to do a thorough discovery process to fully understand the buyer’s wants, needs, and qualifications. Because they can sell almost anything, they find out the basics, run an MLS search, and start showing until something sticks. In new home sales, you only have what you have, so you better figure out relatively quickly if what you have and what your prospect wants, needs, and is qualified to buy are a fit. Both are relationship-based selling, but the general real estate agent will figure it out as they go and lose many prospects along the way because the prospect guides the process. A new home sales professional should proactively discover, up-front before showing homes. They should take a leadership role in the process to help the buyer to understand what the process is and what possibilities will work for them and once they have found the right home and homesite, the new home sales professional must help the buyer to own it.
Too many builders list their homes and treat them like a general real estate transaction. Those builders sell far fewer homes than those who have a dedicated sales team. Please note that while I prefer an in-house sales force, I understand that there are dedicated teams in some parts of the country who are outsourced to general real estate brokerages. As long as those agents are dedicated only to selling your homes and cannot take off with your hard-earned traffic, and are producing sales and reporting your traffic to you, I do not take issue with those scenarios. I know of a few of them that are working exceptionally well. However, that isn’t the way most builders have it set up, and they are leaving a lot of sales on the proverbial table, but that is a discussion for another time. For most of you, the best advice I could give you is that If you want to outsource something, outsource your sales management to someone who knows how to do it but bring your sales team in-house.
Thank you again for joining us. We will see you again on August 7, 2019, for the conclusion of this series and on July 24th, our guest blogger series continues with Anya Chrisanthon, from the New Construction Marketing Podcast, who will be sharing some innovative and creative ways to be memorable with your follow-up. Why be boring when you can stand out? You can make sure you don’t miss one of our training sessions by subscribing to get SOLUTIONS e-newsletter in your box. Visit: NewHomesSolutions.com to subscribe today!
Kimberly Mackey is the founder of New Homes Solutions Consulting, and has the reputation as someone with real-world SOLUTIONS in a competitive and rapidly changing sales environment–SOLUTIONS like “50 Sales per Year before Any Walk-in Traffic”. Her primary business is that of a Sales & Marketing Management Consultant. Companies call on Kimberly to set up the processes and systems within the company so that sales is the engine that drives the train rather than running it off the tracks. Because she has such a depth of experience in all disciplines within in the building industry beyond the sales and marketing world, she is highly sought after to help companies to create a Customer Experience Process from potential lead to customer and throughout the building process into the warranty period and beyond. In other words, by creating a smooth transition and communication processes, she helps builders to create “Raving Fans.”
She is a keynote speaker and published author of many Sales and Leadership articles with 20 years of experience as an executive in the residential home building and real estate industry. She has a proven track record working with Builders and Developers of all sizes –from the local/regional companies to the publicly traded nationals. She also works with Brokers from across the country and is the architect and director of the highly successful Preferred Builder Partnership with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group where she works with 32 builders, 22 offices and over 650 agents.
For more information, or to book Kimberly for your next event, visit www.NewHomesSolutions.com. While you are there, please be sure to subscribe to SOLUTIONS e-newsletter which comes out twice a month with free training and best practice sharing from across our industry. You are also invited to connect with Kimberly on LinkedIn,www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlymackey; Twitter,www.twitter.com/KimberlyDMackey; and Facebook,www.facebook.com/NewHomesSolutions or on YouTube, www.youtube.com/c/NewHomesSolutions