In any given year, the manager or leader of a commercial real estate agency will be on the lookout for new staff and quality sales people. It can be an ongoing challenge to find the right people to fit the requirements of the local property market and the clients that the agency serves. It is also a challenge to keep good people.
It should also be said that many team leaders do not understand commercial real estate as well as they should. That then makes the selection of staff for the task much more difficult.
There are some real differences between commercial office, retail, and industrial property. Property legislation, sales procedures, leasing procedures, and marketing are all unique to the property type. The person that you employ needs to understand the differences and how to approach them for the best results.
So what roles and rules can you apply when it comes to employing new people in your agency? Here are some questions and ideas to consider as part of that employment interview process.
- How will your sales team and salespeople operate as a group? Do they need to be supported by administrative staff and if so how will that be done? Should they pay for some of that administrative support as some extra deduction by a desk fee? It is a fact that administrative staff can help your agency fast track the marketing and results that you need. The costs of that process should however be suitably covered in the business and recovered. Take a look at the commissions relative to each salesperson and perhaps even consider an administrative levy that each salesperson should pay regardless of how much commission they are bringing in. Administration is a cost before any sales or lease transactions occur. When salespeople use administrative support well, the results come in. So don’t stress about my suggestion of a levy!
- Whilst you may need a single salesperson to fill the role, that salesperson will need to integrate comfortably into the team. For this reason, you need to choose the right person with the right character. There is no point in destabilizing the entire team as a result of employing a single person with the wrong attitude or skills. There are some readily available business character tests that can be applied to a salesperson prior to their employment. It is money well spent.
- Make sure that you talk to previous employers to understand exactly the way in which your candidate worked and integrated into the team. Determine if the previous employer would re-employ that person (It’s a question that brings many different answers).
- Seek references from at least three people that have known the employment candidate for some time. Those people should be business related and not family members or friends.
- The person you employ will be required to prospect, present, inspect, market, and negotiate when it comes to commercial property. In addition to those five factors they will also be required to complete property documentation in a legal, correct, and efficient way. Question your candidate specifically in each of these skills. Make sure they have the discipline to intelligently undertake each of these issues.
- How comfortable is the person in taking orders and instructions as part of your agency? Test them out to see what they say and do.
- It pays to have two or three interviews with the same person before you make the final decision. In each of those interviews should have a separate and different person in the room to assist you with interviewing and any final observation. An extra set of eyes and additional questioning processes will always help your choice of the final candidate.
- The required experience and licensing should apply to your choice of candidate. Make sure they have the appropriate legal licensing to undertake the role of selling, leasing, and managing commercial, retail, and industrial property in your town and or city. Get them to show you the licence or certificate as the case may be.
- Seek evidence from the candidate of previous successes relating to commercial property. Get them to show you how they were successful, and explain the results that were obtained.
- Computer related skills are today a large part of our business. Most salespeople are required to maintain records and information on a database and within an office management system. On that basis you need to be certain that the person has the required skills and intelligence to undertake those tasks and follow the rules.
You can probably add to this list based on your agency business, your location, and the existing team. Do not rush into decisions regards new staffing and employment. When you have found the right person, put them on a probation period and get them to sign an appropriate employment agreement that includes a job specification. Make sure that the probation period and the employment agreement complies with the rules and obligations of employment in your local real estate industry.