Thursday, August 22, 2013

For Management Eyes Only…

My Number One Goal

by Mike Pallin

My #1 goal is to put myself out of business. Now that may seem like a paradox to you, or at the very least, unbelievable, but it is the plain truth.

Isn’t that the objective of training? For the training to be so complete, effective and permanent that no further training is required?  The truth is I only see the vast majority of my students one time. I only get one real shot at them, so to speak. One chance to make a major difference. There are those who repeat the program, and those who join the Wickman family for our events, coaching and social media interaction. Every organization worth its salt has the true acolytes who comprise the amen chorus, to borrow a concept from organized religion. We have even been labeled ‘cult-like’ by some outsiders who experience the zeal and enthusiasm of our get-togethers.  But I am off point here. Let me get back to my two greatest challenges.

Here they are, and quite frankly I cannot tell which of the two is the greater challenge.

The first is that I cannot convince an agent to enroll in The Floyd Wickman Program unless they physically attend a Special Event – our free, three hour introductory seminar. For the student to feel comfortable self-investing, they must know the value of what they are getting. As Floyd has observed many times, “Everything is too expensive until you know what you are getting.” And they must be comfortable with me as their trainer; they must feel they are going to be in good hands. If they are not at the Event, this is next to impossible.

And yet, here is my first big challenge. Too often, leadership within a company decides in advance for the agents by not getting them to the Event. Leadership takes away the opportunity for the agent to make up his/her own mind. Leadership says stuff like:

  • “I know they won’t pay for training.”
  • “I can’t even get them to come to our in-house training, and that’s free.”
  • “They are all seminared out.”
  • “We’re just too busy now.”
  • And here’s my favorite, “I don’t want my agents spending money on training.”

The irony is when I ask the Leader of a company, “Do you want the Program?” They always say, “Yes,” and then the yes is followed with a but.   This is from leaders who on average still have less than 20% of their agents closing more than 80% of the transactions; leaders who lose 2 out of 3 agents within two years; leaders who cannot make a profit from residential resale, and must supplement their income with ancillary services or their own personal production.

The truth is that most companies don’t need more people, they just need more from the people they already have. And my challenge is not that the agents won’t sign up for training when they are in the room with me for three hours at a Special Event. My challenge is that leadership too often decides, “My agents won’t take it,” and doesn’t even give them a chance to sign up. Through good markets and bad, my sign-up ratio hasn’t changed.

Two examples. The leader of the #1 franchise company in Texas and the Carolinas said, “We can’t even get them to pay for our training, and it’s less than half of what you  charge.” So we made a bet. Here was the bet. You put 180 agents in a room with me for three hours, and I guarantee you we will have a program, regardless of how many sign up. They did, and 89 signed up. We had a great program.

The leader of the #1 independent company in Indiana stood up at the Event and asked, “If I gave you a $200,000 relo listing, how many of you would pay me a 25% referral fee?” Every had went up. He then said, “Take this program and get your own listings and it will be less than paying me a referral fee.” Our averaged student gets three listings in 6 weeks. They had a great program.

That is my first challenge.

The second challenge comes after the program. There is a wonderful line in the latest Bourne movie, where the man who created Jason Bourne, the perfect assassin, is chiding the CIA chief for misusing Jason. He says, “I gave you a Ferrari, and you used it like a lawnmower.”

I recently asked a client (one of the largest independent companies in the Midwest, and one of the Top 50 Brokers in the US) how they found their branch managers. He said, “In most cases, we promoted the tallest midget.”

Floyd’s program creates motivated, focused, competent salespeople with great work habits. What happens to a motivated, focused, competent salesperson when you put them back in an environment that produces mostly unmotivated, unfocused, incompetent salespeople? They revert to their old ways, because they are allowed to revert. As Floyd says, “If you give people the option to fail, 70% of them will take it every time. Why? Because it’s a heck of a lot easier.”

My second greatest challenge is convincing leaders that their managers have to manage differently; to adopt the way we manage their salespeople during the program. Oddly enough, it’s not that much of a change. The agents prefer it and are familiar with it. It’s more fun, and ultimately it’s a lot easier than replacing 2 out of 3 people every two years.

Floyd’s personal mentor, Zig Ziglar, used to conclude his keynote speeches with the old water pump analogy. He would take out an actual pump to illustrate ‘priming’ the pump to get the flow of water started. His point was that to get momentum started takes great effort, but to maintain momentum just takes minimum effort.

We get the momentum started during the program. After the program, it just takes maintenance, with a little bit of accountability for activity and results, and a little bit of teamwork. The program is a great model for how to manage salespeople once they are trained.

I believe if a real estate organization brought the Floyd Wickman Program in every two years and (take a deep breath) required all agents in the bottom half of production to at least attend the Special Event, and if they didn’t sign up, explain how they were going to improve their production; and required their branch managers to get their people to the Event and attend every session (by the way, it’s free to them!) to learn the Wickman system of managing salespeople; I believe that organization would flourish and prosper and ultimately not need me.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

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