You need to make a change. Your sales team has fallen behind the competition. Maybe you’ve lost the competitive edge you had on everyone else, and now you’re at serious risk of becoming irrelevant. Maybe there’s a new player in the game who has swooped in and grabbed market share in a way no one saw coming. So here’s the question: what are you going to do about it? Maybe you’ll choose to go head-to-head with a competitor or to free up a transcendent talent to blow past existing records.
You need to make a change. Your sales team has fallen behind the competition. Maybe you’ve lost the competitive edge you had on everyone else, and now you’re at serious risk of becoming irrelevant. Maybe there’s a new player in the game who has swooped in and grabbed market share in a way no one saw coming. So here’s the question: what are you going to do about it? Maybe you’ll choose to go head to head with a competitor or to free up a transcendent talent to blow past existing records.
If you’re going to go toe to toe with a competitor who has consistently stayed on pace with or outsold your team, you’ll need to work smarter and harder. Start by crunching the numbers. Collect market-wide data on new home sales in your market(s). If your team is outselling everyone else, give them a pat on the back, then brace for the counterattack and continue sharpening your game. If not, get ready to climb in the rankings by zeroing in on whatever competitors are directly ahead of you.
Once you have the data, present it to your team as a challenge. If Competitor X sold five more homes than your team last quarter, put your team on a mission to turn the tide and run up the score on them by committing to outsell them by twenty-five next quarter. If the gap is larger (maybe they lapped you by 250), focus on gaining ground so your team can be within striking distance next year. Whatever your situation, there’s real value in supplying your team with a clear target to shoot for.
Integrate data collection into everything your team does. If you lose a customer to the competition, ask for feedback about what sealed the deal for him or her. Look for trends, but don’t settle for easy answers that pin the blame on marketing, pricing, or any other factors outside your control. Can your team improve in countering the competition’s top selling points? Are they following up with prospects and instilling a sense of urgency? It’s your responsibility to coach and train your team in any areas where the data says they’re deficient.
Say you’re buried in the sales rankings, hundreds of sold homes behind the leaders of the pack. Don’t get discouraged. Even as you set your team up to compete with the competitor or cluster of competitors directly in front of you, spend some time considering how you can better leverage your high performers. Something historic just happened in the NBA, and while it was a team effort, one transcendent talent really made it possible. Whether you’re a basketball fan or not, it can teach you some important lessons about how to get the most out of your team. The Golden State Warriors eclipsed a record many thought would stand forever by winning one more game in a season than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. In the process, Warriors’ star point guard Steph Curry scored 402 three-point baskets, a whopping 116 (or 40%) more in a single season than any player in NBA history.
If you already have a transcendent talent on your sales team, do whatever it takes to free him or her up from anything that’s not sales-focused to maximize the positive impact on your team. This seems obvious, but it also flies in the face of a lot of conventional wisdom about treating everyone fairly. “Conventional wisdom” tends to produce conventional results.
Steph Curry made 126 more three-pointers than anyone else in the NBA last season. He also attempted about 230 more than anyone else. You won’t hear Curry or his coach issue any apologies to the team for his unusually high rate of scoring, and given the connection between individual success and team success in the Warriors’ case, you won’t hear the team complaining one bit. If you have a dead-eye shooter, you let him or her shoot.
Collectively, the Warriors went toe-to-toe with a legendary team from the past and emerged with the narrowest of margins of victory—a single game. They did it largely by maximizing the impact of a player with game-changing talent, whose annihilation of the old record (which he set last year) would be roughly on par with your team’s top salesperson converting a year-and-a-half’s worth of new home sales in a year.
Don’t have a person or two on your team who is head and shoulders above everyone else? Recruit and hire sales all-stars to round your team out. Can’t get the green light to hire additional salespeople? Create a culture that doesn’t tolerate mediocrity, and any low performers on your squad will seek out easier gigs with less successful companies.
Staying ahead of the competition takes hard work and sustained effort, but if you keep at it, results will follow. They’ll come faster if you lead in such a way that you empower your best salespeople to change the game. Your top performers win, your team wins, you win.