Accountability without Micromanaging

One of the very first questions I often ask sales candidates is, “How do you like to be managed?” Yet the most common response I hear is, “I don’t like to be micromanaged.” At some point in our careers we’ve all experienced the micromanager who wants to tell us what to do or how to do it. And while we all need great leaders, it’s one’s ability to set the expectation, train or empower with the right tools and hold consistent accountability that generates results.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with the great Derek Gatehouse and during our first meeting he told me something that has really stuck with me; “A manager will impact a salesperson’s success more than anyone else.” Derek then followed up by saying a great manager manages results, not activities. Let’s think about that last line again, we are to manage RESULTS not activities, so what does that look like?

First of all, to manage one’s results you have to be consistently look at their results. If your team isn’t reporting at minimum monthly conversions, you need to start here. We’d recommend these basic ones:

  • Inquiry to Tour/Visit
  • Tour/Visit to Deposit – Also, if you want to really challenge your teams to shorten the length of their sales cycle, find out how many deposits did they gather on the first visit/tour.
  • Inquiry to Close

Once you are consistently gathering these conversions you need to set the expectation and communicate the goals to the salesperson or sales team. Let’s take Inquiry to Tour as the example. Our benchmark for this conversion is 75%. If your team is performing under 50%, you need to take a deeper dive into their discovery process. Ask questions like:

  • What’s the number one objection you hear when trying to close someone on a tour as a next step?
  • What questions are they asking the client on the phone?
  • Are they setting the stage early in the process that the on-site tour is the next logical step to see if your community is a fit?

In our experience, asking questions like the ones identified above will empower your salespeople to perform. You will be helping them identify their areas of opportunity based on their results and they will have measurable expectations to determine where and how they need support.


Written by Jennifer Saxman, Director of Integrated Services of Bild & Company.

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