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Keep sales associates motivated and give them a boost with these tips.

“It’s a real tap dance for brokers and office managers right now,” says Darla Furst, managing broker for Michael Saunders & Co. in Sarasota. She and other brokers and managers are struggling to motivate and inspire sales associates who, within a short period, went from being overwhelmed with business to fighting for every sale.

“Our biggest task is keeping agents engaged in the business through education and motivation.” Furst says that in September her 75-agent office posted its best month for new business in the last 18 months, so “something we’re doing must be working.”
What can you do to keep your sales professionals on track in this challenging market? Here are some tips.

Acknowledge Success.

In this market it pays to recognize pretty much every sale or new listing that an associate brings in, according to Sheri Wetzel, broker-owner at RE/MAX Midway in Fort Pierce. “Every transaction that closes in this market is a big deal,” says Wetzel, who every month presents top producers, top listing agents and top selling agents with certificates suitable for framing.
At Realty Executives of Jacksonville, Gary Harlow also bestows the honors on his 12 agents, preferring to do so on a weekly basis. “That’s how I manage to keep the flow constant,” says Harlow, who every Friday morning at 9 a.m. posts the “top executive of the week” (for most listings taken or sales closed) on a sign in the office. “When agents come into the office on Friday,” says Harlow, “it’s the first place they look.”

Start a Professional Series.
Every month, Furst gathers her associates for a two-hour professional series seminar. It’s voluntary, with the topic chosen based on what’s happening in the market that month. “We look at what the hot buttons are, and what our associates are dealing with,” says Furst. If, for example, an associate is very good at negotiating low-ball contracts, then the company will assemble a four-person panel (made up only of that associate and three others who are good negotiators) to host a seminar on that topic. All seminars are videotaped, so even if the series reaches the 100-person capacity—as it often does, according to Furst —all associates have access to the material.

Huddle Up Once a Week.
About a year ago, Furst came up with a way to get her sales associates into the office and thinking about work on Mondays at 10 a.m. She calls the voluntary powwows her “Monday Morning Quarterback Meetings,” and says they are part education and part group therapy. About 20 sales associates typically show up (both veterans and new licensees). “We talk about everything—from how their open houses went to how politics are affecting our industry,” says Furst. “It really charges everyone up.”