Stop talking about the good housing market. Think about how deflating it is to your sales team when you give this credit to the market. You’re implying the sales success is not the mark of the employees. You’re actually telling them, “Hey, it’s not really you.”
If you believe they are just taking orders and not responsible for making sales, then you need to shift your thinking…now.
“The Market” doesn’t have to deal with daily challenges, like price increases and construction delays. This vast entity doesn’t need to juggle phone calls from anxious buyers. It’s not accountable to buyers or sellers. That’s the job of your new home sales professionals who are working long hours to meet the unprecedented demand we’ve experienced over the past year.
Look at it from another perspective. When the market turns bad, no leader ever says, “It’s not your fault. The market is bad.”
A cold, hard slap
When you keep talking about the good housing market, you’re discrediting the work of the team. It’s a slap in their face. Some sales people will push back and others will go silent. The quiet ones are thinking about all the time they’re giving up to their job—time they could be with their families—and getting no credit or respect in return. You might think that they’re being rewarded for the sacrifice and, yes, they’re making good money. But I promise you, they’ll resent your callous disregard. Your company culture will take a hit. Is it worth it?
Our words have meaning—explicit and implicit. Employees are listening to what we say. We don’t realize the damage we’re doing when we start every conversation with “The market is great.” The market is producing more buyers BUT in a “great” market, there is plenty of inventory and everyone has money. Neither is true right now. The decreased inventory makes it a hard market for a buyer. It’s also tough for the first-time buyer who saved up for a down payment but with price increases, no longer has enough.
Instead of the great housing market, talk about market-proof conditions. Their behaviors make the difference between getting contracts and losing out. In any market conditions, they are always 100% in control of their behaviors. As a sales leader, it’s your job to coach, inspire, shape, and reward winning behaviors that drive their success.
“Congrats, you had a great sale.” “What are we doing today to touch our buyers? How are you talking about price increases?”
Divorce the outcome of the market and fall in love with the behaviors.
Go the distance with them
Long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in 2019 and finished in 1:59:40. As a marathoner myself, I can tell you that’s a staggering achievement. However, it didn’t count as a record because this was a special event on a closed course, not an official race. The wind was at his back and he had pacers who ran ahead of him and blocked the wind. The conditions were perfect in every way.
Does that mean anyone could do the same performance under these conditions? Kipchoge still had to run at a 16 mile-per-hour pace, and he had to do it just days after completing the London Marathon, which he finished in 2:02:37, the second fastest official marathon time. He trained relentlessly to achieve his goal of breaking the two-hour barrier.
There’s always going to be a prevailing wind in one direction or another. The good housing market creates a temporary situation. Your sales people are running this marathon with Kipchoge dedication. Keep leading them to achieve their personal best, regardless of market conditions. Appreciate the hard work. Coach for success. Results will always go where your culture takes it.