Re-engineering the Real Estate Sales Process

The real estate sales model is broken—and in more ways than one. Think about how many areas of expertise must be mastered to not only to sell one house, but also to thrive with consistent deal flow in one of the most competitive sales industries. Among the specializations required are knowledge of local inventory, financial analysis, prospecting, negotiating, marketing… Just look at the categories covered in NAR’s field guides and you will catch my drift.

Photo: kakisky, Morguefile

Photo: kakisky, Morguefile

That’s a ton of pressure for someone new entering the business and just trying to make it through their first year. But how does a true professional carve out the time and investment needed to serve a prospective homebuyer or seller at the highest level? Sometimes we need to look outside the industry to see what’s working in order to model success for the future, which is why the Sales Development Playbook should be your next read.

Author Trish Bertuzzi lays the smack down on why sales organizations need to re-examine their strategy and operations. It’s time to stop doing what isn’t working. Beyond leadership, execution, retention, and recruiting, let’s dive deep into the specialization required as highlighted in her book, and figure out how it applies to selling real estate. To clarify: We are not talking specialization in expertise in the sense of developing a niche in new construction, investment properties, or green homes. The focus is here is on building a team to field the roles that make a transaction work. These include:

  • The lead research role is responsible for streamlining the pre-call process.
  • Sales development reps make introductions, set appointments, and create opportunities.
  • Inbound sales reps are responsible for lead qualification.
  • Account executives close the deals, drive revenue, and are the highest compensated out of the four.

At the traditional real estate brokerage, these roles are one in the same. The agent must generate new leads, qualify them, and close for either the buyer agency agreement or listing contract then negotiate the sale. But to assume all of the roles listed above is unrealistic if sales productivity is the priority. Compensating each role the same isn’t fair either. So how do brokerages make the transition from the agent-centered model to the team model with the least disruption? Bertuzzi recommends the following:

  • Agree with specialization. Until you understand “the why,” you will never be able to delegate “the how.” Once the team has more than four members, then you can start to specialize.
  • Attitude affects the role. Different people handle rejection and interruptions in different ways. Being able to bounce back from a failed listing appointment takes much more resilience than rebounding from a hang-up of an unqualified lead on the phone.
  • The salesperson’s comfort level with the consumer shapes the role. It’s one thing to target your sphere of influence. It’s another to target a relocation portfolio of a Fortune 500 company.
  • Messaging matters. An inbound sales rep asks, “How can I help you?” whereas the agent in the field helps the customer think differently about the value proposition.

If you are new to real estate, join a team. If you’re up to your eyeballs in paperwork and want to continuously grow your business, start a team. The Sales Development Playbook is an excellent guide demonstrating how companies have successfully changed their model and I hope it does the same for you.

Doug Devitre

Companies bring in Doug Devitre, CSP, when they want to improve sales and marketing using the latest technology with quantifiable metrics. He is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® Business Specialties Hall of Fame and earned the Certified Speaking Professional award, which is bestowed upon the top 10 percent of professional speakers worldwide. His new book, Screen to Screen Selling—published by McGraw Hill and available in October 2015—helps executives and sales managers increase sales, productivity, and customer experience without being physically present.

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