Okay. That’s a pretty blunt statement. But, good agents resent the ‘dead wood’. Non-productive agents waste their time and it puts out the message that management doesn’t care about work ethic. Yet, managers are reluctant to cut anyone loose.
Managers: Grab the evaluative tools that Coach Carla Cross offers to decide whether you should keep that dead wood or not.
Everyone has a Joe (or Josephine) in their office. Joe’s been a sales associate for six years. He’s the guy who makes coffee every morning. He’s the guy who takes people’s open houses (although he never picks up a client.) He’s even the guy who steps in when someone in the office can’t make their floor time (but he has never converted an inquiry to a client.) He’s also the guy who doesn’t sell a stick of real estate. Well, he did sell one home once. It was during the on-fire market. Joe was on floor time. He got a walk in: A buyer who found the home himself, had cash and was willing to write it up at Joe’s convenience. (After closing, Joe didn’t follow up with the client again. After all, the sale is over, isn’t it?)
What’s the matter with just keeping Joe?
Nothing, if you don’t care about your bottom line. Brokers tell me that a poor hire or a non-productive agent costs them nothing. Unfortunately, that’s far from the case.
Here’s How Joe Costs You Money
Joe is a walking billboard for failure—an effective marketing strategy that communicates your office’s failure to make him successful, and your failure to making him successful.
Joe publicizes the outcomes from your recruiting, training, and coaching. Here they are.
Recruiting. You find it hard to recruit. See, likes attract. People see Joe (or lots of Joes) in your office. Sales associates do search the MLS to find out what the sales statistics are in offices. Why would good agents go to an office that has low production? You must get rid of the bad people first, then build on a new foundation.
Training. You’re finding it hard to get agents to attend your training classes. Why? Because Joe attends every one of them—and then doesn’t take any action. So, your class endorsement is actually “those classes don’t do any good.”
Coaching. People say they want help, but they won’t go into a coaching relationship with you. Why? Because Joe tells them it won’t do any good. After all, he’s been in your office for six years, and being with you certainly hasn’t done him any good. Joe also rains on the newer agents’ parades, by convincing them that no lead generating method you endorse is worth their time. After all, the one home Joe sold was a walk-in.
Click here to get my take on how much it costs to hire a non-productive agent. And, do your own math. Are you stunned? What did you learn?
Joe’s Making Your Success an Uphill Battle
You’ve tried to help Joe. You’ve decided you can’t help him. You’re working harder and longer. Yet, your office culture and productivity just don’t seem to improve. Ask yourself:
What percent of “Joes” do you have in your office right now?
Carla’s rule: If you have over 10% seasoned non-producers, you aren’t leading. They are.
Use This Analytical Tool to Evaluate Your Agents
Let’s recognize that not all the value of our agents is in their ability to close sales. In other words, your top producer may not be your most desired agent. There are other valued assets they bring to the table, like:
Uphold the culture
Create stability in the office
Longevity and consistency
What are yours? Write them down. (Use 4-6 values).
Now, give each one of these values a possible rating of 0 to 4 (4 being highest). Finally, evaluate each of your agents with each of your important values. For example, let’s say you are evaluating your top producer. In the production value, that producer would get a “4”. But, let’s say that top producer isn’t much of a team player, and you’ve evaluated her as a “1”. When you’re through evaluating that agent, add all the numbers to get a cumulative number.
Leadership group idea: If you work with a leadership group, ask them to evaluate those in your office you’re unsure of. You may be amazed!
What’s Your Agent’s Real Value to Your Office?
Now, you’ve evaluated each agent on the values you feel are important to the success of your company. To see how they stack up, make a list of them, starting with the agent who scored the highest cumulative number. This evaluation process will give you a very different picture of who your best producers are—and who your worst office associates are.
Bottom-Line Questions to Ask Yourself
I know it’s very difficult to terminate people. In fact, one manager asked me to advise him on how to do a ‘graceful termination.’ Really, behind termination anxiety lurks these questions. They need to be answered for you, as leader, to take the actions that your good agents are expecting from you:
Can an agent be a noteworthy negative to your reaching your goals?
Can an agent actually provide substantial energy against your culture?
What’s Joe’s value to you?
Can this value be quantified in a business sense?
What are you getting personally out of keeping Joe?
What are your next actions?
Why are you avoiding what you need to do?
Don’t you deserve more than Joe is giving you?
How does Joe feel now?
Does Joe deserve an environment where he can win?
Make a Plan of Action
It could be to get Joe into production within a certain time period, or help him find a better career fit for himself. It could be to help Joe into that new career right now. I’ll bet Joe is just waiting to see what you will do. After all, you’re the leader.
Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is an international speaker, writer, and coach, specializing in real estate management. A National Realtor Educator of the Year, Carla was recently named one of the 50 most influential women in real estate. Join her newsletter community, and receive Carla’s new eBook, Getting to Yes: Ten Tools to Remove Barriers to a Decision. Contact Carla at 425-392-6914 or http://www.carlacross.com.