The days of betting everything on your quarterly quota are over.
And if recent research is anything to go by, that might not actually be a bad thing. If you’ve been hanging out here on the Sandler Blog for any amount of time, you may have already heard that a whopping 57% of salespeople don’t expect to hit quota this year.
It’s a sobering statistic, to say the least.
If you want to outlast the competition and claim your position at the topic of your industry, you need to be ready to outthink the disruptors and build a steady stream of loyal long-term business. It’s a challenge, for sure. But not an impossible one. Here are some forward-focused approaches to help you stay ahead of the game.
1. Become an influencer.
Don’t worry. We’re not talking about the kind of influencer that spends hours posing for Instagram pictures and wears T-shirts with the word “influencer” printed on them.
But what if you were the kind of person your prospects could count on to deliver the best insights on what’s happening in their market? What if you were the go-to source of info and yes, even inspiration about how to win in their industry?
2. Become the person leads can go to for consistent advice and motivation — and you can bet they’ll keep coming back.
Debra Beagle and Gary Ashton are the leaders behind the #1 RE/MAX team in the world — and they got there by leveraging their intel. Agents at the Ashton Real Estate Group get access to internal and external experts — experienced pros who cover everything from land sales to new constructions and commercial real estate — via roundtables, masterminds and task management training. The goal is to bring the entire team to reach a level of mastery in the real estate business so they can serve customers better than anyone else.
In Baltimore, Ron Howard of the leading Ron Howard & Associates team is taking it a step further. Ron’s creating an internal marketing agency that will help his agents become influencers in their own right.
Before you brush this off as just another fleeting social media phenomenon, remember that 92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know. The reason influencers are effective in the first place is because they know how to deliver the kind of insightful intel you’d expect from a true expert using an authentic communication style like that of a trusted coach or friend.
3. Lead a rock star team.
Transformative times call for adaptive strategies. You may find you need to pivot your team faster and more dramatically than ever before. But the harsh reality is, most change management programs fail.
According to a Towers Watson survey, only 25% of employers succeed in implementing long-term changes, with the biggest gap in the system being the connection and communication between the leadership team and ground-level players. While 87% of employers feel they do a good job training their managers for change, only 22% of managers feel they were properly prepped for change.
That’s just not good enough. Your team needs regular hits of empowerment, backed by a solid system for accountability in order to not only keep them on track but also keep them engaged when you need to shift gears.
Barry Jenkins leads the #2 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate team in the US. He’s accepted the leadership struggle as part and parcel of managing a team in a changing market. “I’ve inspired them to try harder and created systems that assist them in following up and giving them intel on the leads. I also keep them motivated with a daily huddle,” says Barry of how he protects his team from overwhelm and keeps them on track with follow ups and prospecting.
4. Outsmart automation.
The thing about technology is that if you don’t run it, it runs you.
We’re facing the biggest wave of disruption, maybe ever, and the sales reps with the best chance of making it out the other side will be those who find a way to use these tools to their advantage.
In real estate, this is a problem agents are well familiar with. From publishing home listings in print to competing with disruptive tech like Zillow and Trulia, Realtors know all too well how quickly things can change.
According to Joshua Smith, coach, mentor and host of the #1 Most Downloaded Real Estate Agent Podcast GSD Mode, “There are several things happening in our industry currently. First, we have a market shift that is taking place, but this is nothing new for our industry, just remember: ‘There Is No Such Thing as a Bad Market, It Is Always Good for Someone’. We need to identify who the market is good for and adapt to serve their needs. That’s how you thrive in shifts.”
We know you’re busy with your day-to-day grind. But if you do just one thing next year, make sure you carve out some time to sit down and really think about what your prospects need from you. Then, set up your tech tools to deliver on those expectations better than anyone else.
5. Choose your strategy wisely.
As technology continues to change the game, the question of which tool you’re using matters less and less.
What matters more than anything else in the new game of sales is how you use those tools. And in our opinion, when others go hard on the tech side, it’s a good time go hard on the human side. Line up your tech stack to help you save time on the things that take you away from your customers. Transaction management, lead warm-up and admin are all things that should no longer be on your plate in this day and age.
The question is, how will you reinvest that time to get more business?
The answer to that will always vary based on your unique strengths and industry niche, but despite the hype, the answers are out there for those who are brave enough to seek them.