Motivating Letting Agency Teams
Letting agency teams are no different to any other teams, except that as a business, within a letting agency, you will had extremely diverse teams, made up of people with completely different character.
The staff in the “NEW BUSINESS” or lettings department which are responsible for the lettings and sales, will be the outgoing, loud, entertaining and motivated bunch, whilst the team members in the management department will be more serious, quiet and cautious and can easily get overlooked next to the front end crew, but these guys may seem positively eccentric compared to the accounts guys, where the phone never rings, the spreadsheets get stared at all day and hardly anyone ever speaks.
When creating and forming any team it is important that the team feels loved and appreciated, as well as having clear expectations of each team member, the groups a whole, with a firm understanding of the “what ifs” involved… if we achieve that then xyz, if we don’t achieve that then xyz.
An effective well-oiled team is a thing to be admired, just like an orchestra, with everyone having their place and everyone in time together, but remember the team is only this effective because of the conductor, so make sure you have an experience and effective manager, to keep your team running and in tune.
If you have multiple teams, you will also need someone to manage the managers of the multiple teams too, and this can be an even more complex task, and the best place to get such senior management is from within your own company, so it is great practice right from day one to start to develop, train and work your team members to really get the most from them and help them grow… you never know they could be your group, area or managing director of the future.
Here are a few things to consider when either putting your team together or managing one:
Just as an individual needs to understand where they sit in the hierarchy a team needs to understand this too, where are we in the big picture, what is our level of importance, what outcomes do we effect.
Within the team itself, you must always make sure that one person takes ultimate team responsibility, a team without leadership or management can create disastrous and frightening results.
All teams need to know what their collective purpose is, and what each of the individuals roles within the teams role is towards that goal. So clear instruction as to what they need to achieve and when they have achieved it. A great way to get that EXTRA 10% performance of any team, I find is to add an “extra special” performance bonus, such as “if the team achieve 10% over target all team members get £100.
So many organisations are scared of sharing their income figures or turnover results with staff, but this really can give them a clear definition of what results they generate and what that means to the company… how else are you going to communicate that.
Why not give them a “focus” for the quarter, such as a “increase RGT sales by 10%” challenge or “reduce complaints by 20%” quarter… giving them new and fresh challenges every quarter, gives them a “focus” and something to get stuck into.
The power of 7
They say a team should never be larger than 7 people, and in my experience this seems to be true, at more than 7 people, the team segments itself, and you run the risk of people being alienated or separated from the group.
Team love a bit of competition too, some fun, so either within the team or against another team, if you have one, how about offering some level of competition, the team that generates the most sales, gets a spar day out or a race track day for example.
It’s a great idea to foster the relationships within the team and find ways to pull them together and get them working together like a family, things like a regular night up the pub, to the local PIZZA restaurant, or maybe even a BBQ after a particularly stressful day or after a successful day.
BIG success is normally made up of lots of small successes, so you need to celebrate the small successes too, give them mini target and a prize for achieving them, such as if we get 16 appointments booked by lunchtime I will buy you all lunch, or a bottle of something for the first negotiator to get 10 viewings booked today.
Employees very often get criticised for not caring about the company, but how can they if you never tell them what’s going on within it… make sure that every employee can repeat the companies vision, its plans for the future, where it is going, why it is doing what it is doing, what is its mission statement and key ethos. Having a vision and purpose, will help employees make decisions, as they can always fall back on “customer always comes first” if that is your mantra and therefore , make the decision easier on how to handle such a complaint.
Train, Train and then Train some more…
Training is a great way for you to demonstrate in your actions that you value them and their career progression, if you are prepared to spend the time and money training them then you must value them. Let them see other team members grow within the team itself and the organisation, so they can see the path they too can follow if they wish.
Promote from within
When an opportunity arises, I find that you are generally better off, promoting someone within your team that is NOT quite ready, but is embodied with all that is about your company, than bringing someone in with the right skills, but used to doing things differently. Employing senior management from outside can be disastrous, leading to mass rejection and noses being put out of joint, so if you must do it, then this is a step that needs to be taken cautiously, with lots of explanation and discussions to get the team on your side.
Maybe with some clear communication, you could get the team to tell YOU that you need to recruit from outside, that way, they have made the decision and will accept the new manager more easily
BIG rewards for BIG achievements
We have all seen on the “apprentice” some of the rewards that Alan Sugar gives his team and how they respond to them, teams love to be rewarded, and think BIG. If your team have just had a record breaking month and pulled off some amazing feat, then you should seriously be looking at getting very excited with them, and rewarding them big time.
This feeling of praise, reward and excitement, is actually what will make them want to do it again, and again… so ignore success at your peril.
Watch out for the quiet ones
It’s hard when your busy, but very often it’s the LOUD, demanding team members that get the praise, the pay rises, the promotions, because they ask for them, but they might not be the ones that deserve it, keep having regular reviews with all of your team members to ensure that you know exactly who is performing, who is doing what and where the rewards and recognitions should sit.
Deal with disagreements FAST
Upsets and fall outs can be a cancer in a team and can destroy them, the disagreements may be between team members, or it may be you yourself that has upset the applecart, whichever it is DO NOT LEAVE IT, jump on it straight away, or else you may be recruiting hard next month…
Give promising team members responsibility and monitor how they deal with it, if they do well, give them a bit more and then a bit more, this is how you start to develop your rising stars and next managers.
Support NEW manager
When a team member is made up to manager, quite often the remaining team members feel jealous and may react unkindly, if this is the case, work with the new manager. Quite often a great member of staff is promoted to manager and then starts to fail fast. Management is a completely different skill to performing a task, and therefore the new manager will need to learn all the skills they require, such as delegation, monitoring and management, task allocation, training and support of team members and the art of complex communication too.
Being a team manager or the manager of multiple teams is no easy task, you need to ensure that you are always positive, in fact the most positive person in the building, you need to be able to motivate and drive people by selling your dream and how it fits in with theirs, you also need to be the mother or father, there to nurture them, develop them and care for them too…
Get the team management role right within your letting agency branch or branches, and you will quickly reap the rewards, high level of lets each month, new properties being listed, happy landlords and tenants and happy property managers and the accounts team? Well they will be happy too in their own quiet way.
But YOU? You will get rewarded by being able to have holidays and enjoy the freedom of a business owner, rather than being bogged down with the details of complex property management and lettings queries… simply put? HEAVEN.
I think it’s fair to say, one of the most difficult jobs on the planet, but one definitely worth persuing.
Good luck and let me know how you get on
UK lettings business professional