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UK Estate Agents - How to keep up moral when its tough

Transcript of an Interview between Christopher Watkin and Tony Morris

Tony, how do you keep up the morale of the Negs and the Valuers and the branch managers as a boss when it's tough out there in estate agency land? Talk to me.

Tony Morris:                 The key thing you just said there is, as the boss, you are the leader, you are the captain of the ship. How you come to the office, how you act during turbulent times is absolutely critical to your troops. You're going to be stressed, you're going to be under pressure, it's part of being a good boss. But the first thing is, are you setting the right example? If they hear you bitching and moaning, you are giving absolute permission for them to bitch and moan. That's my first point. Point number two is, it's a mantra that we talk about in our sales management training to branch managers and it's something that is so easily forgotten. Catch them doing something right. How often do we see them and go up and say, "Look, why didn't you get the mortgage appointment? Or why didn't you talk about conveyancing? Or why didn't you do this?"

Tony Morris:                 But why don't you talk about the things they did do very well? Wherever you can, catch them doing something right. But then I think the third and most important is about ... You use the word morale, which is obviously motivation. Motivation comes from a Latin word, motivus. Reason for action. As a manager or a leader, do you know the real reason every single one of your team do what they do? Because the best managers do. They actually understand that this negotiator's working 12 hour days, six days a week because the parents don't have a pension and they want to support their parents. Another one is looking to buy their first home with their partner and they're four grand away from a deposit and they're putting away every penny they get. They're not even going out on weekends to buy the deposit.

Tony Morris:                 As a manager, if I knew that, I would make them have a picture of their property they're buying, I would have made sure they sat down with our mortgage expert to make sure they're getting the best deposit or mortgage possible. I would be ... That's all I'd be talking about to that individual on a daily basis to keep up that momentum when times are tough.

Christopher:                 Yes, you're almost putting it what motivates them.

Tony Morris:                 Always.

Christopher:                 And turning it into, not your advantage but a carrot or stick.

Tony Morris:                 You're helping them because what motivates you as a boss isn't what, sometimes, isn't what motivates your team. And often we get into that false-

Christopher:                 Because there's an awful lot of bosses that say, "My team don't get where we're going." Well, if-

Tony Morris:                 If they don't know, you know, if they don't know. And it's about ... Some suggestions I do with my best clients is, it's not just that commission.

Tony Morris:                 Yeah, commission is a byproduct of doing great work. But it's also about sales ladders. It's competition. Some of my clients, we create a sales letter. We have every KPI you can imagine. Mortgage appointments, conveyancing, insurance, referrals, Google reviews, Yale Rate An Agent reviews, landlord's details we spoke about in other videos and so on and so forth. And you have all the picture on the top of the boards. You've got all the KPIs I've just spoken about and more and viewings, valuations, et cetera. Down the side is pictures of your team because it's fun. And every time to the person, the negotiator, who gets the most of, let's say, mortgage appointments that week gets points. Let's say they get five points, on the end of the month they've got 20 points. At the end of three months, they now got 80 points and a point is a pound.

Tony Morris:                 But rather than give them a commission, because that's what the commission is for, turn that point into a prize. Say to me, you've now earned 80 points, 80 pounds, go out and buy something you want for you or your partner or your children for the value of 80 pounds. What you're doing is you're rewarding success.

Christopher:                 It's not going in the pay packet and being lost?

Tony Morris:                 And it's going things that they'd probably either couldn't afford or wouldn't want to spend ... wouldn't want to spend their money on. They see it as that added extra. And it doesn't just have to be financial, it can be. Duvet days, you've smashed it this month on conveyancing, come in Friday at 11:30 if you wish so you can go take your kids to school or you can go on their sports day.

Christopher:                 It doesn't cost you anything as a boss, does it?

Tony Morris:                 Costs nothing. And it's about ... It's having that healthy, and I ask the keyword, healthy competition because times are tougher at the moment but they're always going to be.

Christopher:                 Because, let's be honest, most negs are going to be millennials.

Tony Morris:                 Yes.

Christopher:                 And again, a lot of people said to me that, quite often, yes they want the commission but they also want the experiences.

Tony Morris:                 Absolutely.

Christopher:                 And asking them what they want as opposed to you imposing your 1980s, it's all about salary and commission.

Tony Morris:                 Correct and one agent of mine that does this brilliantly is Prospect in Reading. They've got 11 offices now, I believe. And they have the Prospect ladder. It's very clever. When you join them, it's a very clear step by step of how you're going to reach Director level. If that's your motivation, some people it isn't. And then you know very clearly and your manager will help you with this of what you need to achieve every three to six months to get up the ladder to director level.

Tony Morris:                 And they do things like, for the guys they'll have a Bespoke suit made for them if they hit certain points. For the ladies it might be a day in the spa or a Bespoke suit for them, whatever their preference is. But it's just, again, that keeps that motivation because if your motivation is progression and you don't have a ladder of sorts, you're not getting that drive out.

Christopher:                 It's quite nice, isn't it? Because you know exactly where you are because there's a lot of values out there thinking, I'm waiting the dead man's shoes, what do I need to do?

Tony Morris:                 Correct, correct. And I think 16 steps is probably overkill, but I love the premise and it's ... And what I love about, say Prospect, is a great example, is you go in their office and they've got top performer of the month up the whole staircase. Everywhere is top performer of the month, different person sometimes with their picture and it just is that recognition, you know? And some of that again, as a motivation that some of my best clients do is, they've got all these testimonials, they've got lovely cards that have been sent in, but they're just put away in a box. I call it your wall of success. And I would put, if I was running an agency, a wall that's visible to anyone walking in, wall of success.

Tony Morris:                 And I'd have all these beautiful cards framed because this is what our clients say about us. And that's quite nice to be surrounded by that on a daily basis of, look how bloody good we are. You know? But if it's in a box somewhere, it's not doing it.

Christopher:                 True. Yeah, cut them in half and then you can turn the front bit that says thank you and the other part, which has the message part.

Tony Morris:                 Great idea, great idea. That does, if you do all those things on a daily basis the motivation will remain.

Christopher:                 Thank you Tony.