Managing an office with administrative staff and the multiple personalities of high-strung sales people is a challenge. The most effective managers have found that the easiest incentive ideas work the best to keep both the administrative staff and agents on track and your business “humming”.

High Fives

The best thing a Rainmaker can do for any administrative or sales associate is to praise them for a job well done in front of their peers. That’s why walk-around management works. You can’t wait for the once-a-week office meeting to acknowledge them, (although that is good too!) but it has greater impact right at the time something was accomplished.

Your staff and agents remember your verbal “high fives” and repeat them over and over in their minds when they are given at the time the person is feeling euphoric about their success.

The key of these verbal acknowledgements is to say something positive when other team members are close by so they can hear it as ell. Something like, “Did you hear that Sandy got her first sale today?” or “Wow! I heard you the property on Albert Drive that’s been on the market for five years. Congratulations!” For your support staff, you might say something like, “I really appreciate you taking the time to help Jason with mailing out the Just Listed postcard. Without your help, the mailing might have been late.” It doesn’t matter what they did, but if it was an accomplishment like saving a sale, solving a big problem, getting a new listing, cold calling and getting an appointment, helping out a team member, let everyone know. Don’t overdo, but definitely say something flattering to your team.

Small, Instant Gratifications

Every month the office should award Excellence Certificates to support staff who went out of their way to do a great job, made that extra trip to get just the right photos of your listing, got that difficult client to calm down and answered their questions which saved you time and frustration.

For agents, celebrate those who have the most listings in units, most listings in volume, the most sales in units, the most sales in volume, most closed units, most closed in volume, the top five sales associates in pending volume, and the SOS agent (one who helped another during the month) as a minimum. The more awards and recognition you give, the greater the incentive for the office as a whole. Of course, if you only have a few agents in your office, you need to have fewer awards to give them meaning. However, if you have a large team (10 or more agents), you should have many awards.

The reason you want to aware the five top sales associates is that you will have more than just one person winning the award each month. Not only do these certificates look great in their listing presentations, but you’ll have all your agents wanting to be part of the team and gaining awards.

Personal Notes

A personal note of appreciation, congratulations or even to say “hang in there” goes a long way. When you write something personal to your staff or agents, you’ll find that it came at just the right time. They will come to you with a simple smile and tell you they appreciate your taking the time to acknowledge them. This is one of those incentives that is quiet, but powerful.

When your support staff and agents are being recruited by other companies, they will remember all the personal things you’ve done to acknowledge their value, making it tougher for them to consider a move.

Unexpected Surprises

When someone on your team does something really extraordinary, acknowledge them with a gift certificate for dinner and tickets to a special event. Who doesn’t love the attention, and it means so much more because it was not expected. A small surprise for someone on your team who is feeling really down like paying for a mailing that month for an agent, or for your administrative staff, paying to have their home professionally cleaned because they’ve been working hard to make sure your clients are being given excellent customer care also has great impact. Make these private indulgences. Watch the results!

Giving praise and recognition on a regular basis will have your bottom line singing a sweet tune. Incentive work! Everyone likes to be acknowledged for hard work, and it makes one want to work even harder. Give to your support staff and agents, and they will give back to you tenfold – just like magic!

Katherine Ross
Director of Coaching