Once you have Systems in place to monitor and measure onsite performance, you must make onsite professionals responsible for meeting desired standards – that is Accountability.
SAFE – Systems * Accountability * Focus * Execution
Being Accountable to a measurable set of standards results in higher sales performance levels.
Leasing Requires Accountability
Accountability is the “insurance” used by top sales-performing companies. With well-designed Systems for sales/leasing employee selection and training, good performance is never merely assumed. Just as there is a follow-up system for your rental prospects, you should build into your accountability procedures a follow-up for leasing performance.
The mystery shop has long been held as the primary tool for measuring sales performance of onsite leasing personnel. So developing a routine that gets shopping reports immediately reviewed and forwarded to all parties including the person who was shopped is essential to the accountability process.
Accountability starts with giving the onsite leasing professional a full understanding of the company’s expectations. Employees are responsible to each other to perform to the best of their ability and in the best interest of the organization as a whole. Each person is accountable for her decisions and actions – or the lack thereof!
Accountability is critical to improving and growing any organization. Starting new employees with exposure to your training Systems sets them up for success. From the beginning, everyone knows the expectations and how to reach that standard of performance. Because leasing is the ‘front line’ of the multifamily management industry, many companies focus intensely on the performance and production of their leasing associates.
Accountability – Consistency and Fairness
Clearly communicating leasing expectations is a fundamental objective. These expectations include the shopping score thresholds that the company considers “acceptable” for any leasing professional. Some organizations offer bonus incentives for consistent high scores, but at the same time there are consequences for failure to meet and maintain those standards. Managers or associates who might have earned bonus incentives for lead conversions may in turn forfeit those funds due to a low shopping report score in the same time period.
Many of the leading real estate management companies have a three-strike rule when it comes to shopping report performance. While the third strike may not always result in a termination, certainly there are actions taken to address the situation, redirect the associate or perhaps discuss with them whether sales is an appropriate career course.
Consequences for poor sales performance usually include re-training or counseling at the very least. Some companies utilize forums where seasoned leasing professionals who demonstrate consistent top performance share ideas and tips with those who recently received a less than satisfactory evaluation. These roundtable type events are designed to be fun, upbeat, and DYNAMIC!
Positive Reinforcement is Crucial to Accountability
Positive feedback and upbeat corrective actions are used to instill a sense of confidence. While meting out what might be seen as punishment to a low performer, providing encouragement as well is vital. Try to find something positive in even the weakest presentation!
Try to build on the positives!
Aggressive pursuit of leasing excellence along with high shopping scores should never be confused with intimidation or bullying. When constructive criticism, established consequences and positive reinforcement for perceived strengths just aren’t cutting it – you simply have the wrong player in the position. At that point, you may be forced to rehire.
Set realistic expectations and appropriate rewards and the right person will hold themselves personally accountable. The real driver in accountability is the person’s individual desire to do a good job. They know that when they fail individually, they have personally let down their entire team… and their company.
Accountability and Rewards
Recognition for a job well done is one of the most important motivators to most employees. Top leasing professionals sometimes earn designations like “Superstar” or “Top Shop” and receive recognition in newsletters or other intercompany settings – maybe even on the company’s Facebook page!
Rewards can be monetary, merchandise, or even exclusive invitations to corporate events, special training for VIP sellers, and more. Recognition is a cornerstone of encouraging repeat high sales performance. In addition to incentive, some top sellers are recognized by having highlights from their actual shops printed in company publications or read at corporate meetings. This type of recognition also doubles as a learning tool for other team members as they hear and read the positive (and instructional) comments from the shoppers. Leasing accountability can be rewarded by a call from upper management to congratulate a leasing professional for a great shop or for a record number of lead conversions for a given timeframe.
Competition in Accountability
Accountability of leasing performance continues to heighten, as the responsibility for leasing excellence appears to be moving up the ranks! Rather than simply holding a training director or regional manager alone responsible, now upper management seems to be interested and involved in the constant monitoring of shopping report scores and performance evaluations because they, too, are ultimately held accountable.
Accountability starts at the top! A little healthy competition is a good thing!
Some companies offer a trophy to the manager whose area sales performance outranks his peers. The trophy only stays with the manager as long as their team has the top scores. Some of the more common gauges used for accountability are average shopping score and average occupancy rate. This interesting competition melds shopping performance with actual property operations to produce a number that truly reflects leasing excellence.
Your Systems are only as good as the people who work them! Accountability means everyone has a stake in the overall success of the property. By showing that being accountable not only helps the company but also has its rewards, you can increase buy-in.
Better sales performance leads to higher occupancy rates and a greater ROI, which means everybody WINS!