Real estate careers epitomize the entrepreneur’s dream—those willing to work hard can build success and reap significant financial rewards. A key component in making this dream a reality is remaining committed to learning and professional development opportunities. The best sales associates seek a brokerage that offers an environment with a winning culture, knowledgeable support staff, and resources to help them build their independent business, including training and technology. In many multi-office companies, it is the responsibility of the sales manager to lead these efforts.
While most brokers understand how and where to recruit sales associates, where do they find good sales managers? The industry lacks resources for identifying high-potential candidates for this essential role. Smart brokers do not want to take top producers away from sales, nor do top sales associates want to earn less or be constrained by the structure inherent in a managerial role. A few brokers have hired experienced, non-real estate sales managers, but such managers may struggle to earn respect from agents.
Leadership Talent Assessment
Real estate sales managers are our industry’s “front-line supervisors,” but there are insufficient development resources and a lack of training for these managers who play such a critical role.
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a global real estate community of 550 premier independent real estate brokerages, recognized that identifying and hiring high-performing sales managers was a significant, ongoing challenge and set out to find better ways to address this serious and growing need.
In partnership with The Staver Group, LeadingRE conducted a performance benchmark study to create a tool for identifying, coaching, and developing top sales managers. The first step was creating a focus group to develop trait criteria and to engage a sample group to validate the criteria. The focus group included brokers of all sizes who built consensus on performance criteria. The Harrison Group, an expert assessment developer, scrubbed the data collected, validated it, and generated the results.
The main criteria identified for great real estate leadership surround three key pillars:
2) People Development
3) Financial Growth
LeadingRE tested nearly 300 real estate sales managers at 60 companies from three performance groups, identifying traits with significant relationship to sales manager job performance. The Harrison Group validated these essential traits and created a “suitability score,” which identifies a potential level or fit for the sales manager role. LeadingRE brokers have access to this exclusive assessment tool as part of the hiring/selection process and as a development/training tool. LeadingRE staff has been trained to interpret, communicate, and coach on assessment results.
The assessment has shifted the way participating brokers develop and recruit leadership talent. Immediately, numerous brokers ordered assessments for everyone on their senior management teams as a way to gauge if the “right people are on the bus and in the right seats.” Numerous companies pre-purchased bulk assessments to utilize in hiring and selecting new sales managers, and 100 percent are reporting significant improvement in hiring “right” with less early attrition. Utilization of the assessment tool has doubled in less than a year.
MAESTRO™ Leadership Certification
LeadingRE took what it learned a step further, utilizing the study results to create a new sales manager development program, MAESTRO™ Leadership Certification, piloted with 25 sales managers from June to December 2015. MAESTRO™ consists of three in-person, interactive three-day workshops covering the three “pillars” of great real estate leadership — culture, people development, and financial growth—with a robust, relevant agenda.
Taught by a diverse team of real estate industry leaders led by LeadingRE Chief Learning Officer and leadership coach Mike Staver, the six-month program includes the behavioral assessment tailored for sales managers, homework and interim webinars between sessions, pairing with an “accountability partner,” and extensive reference materials, all designed to empower MAESTROs to apply what they learn to create effective, tangible outcomes. Attendees of the “beta” program regularly post stories about what they now are doing differently and their results via a closed group on Facebook.
LeadingRE collected key performance indicators from the pilot attendees and will compile year-over-year comparisons in third-quarter 2016 to measure the long-term impact of the training. To meet demand, LeadingRE is offering two MAESTRO™ programs in 2016 for managers, which include an applicant approval process.
By focusing a universal professional development need and creating multiple solutions utilizing a targeted research set, LeadingRE has created a vital tool that has been a welcome addition to its full-service brokerage solutions available to its member brokerages.
Cecelia Chott, CRB, CRP, GMS is Executive Director, Institute Content Services for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
For more information, visit www.LeadingRE.com.