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How to Be an Effective Sales Leader: The Operational Mindset (Part I)

By Star Report 4 min read


So often in our industry, we expect and coach our sales leaders to be an emotional shot of energy. We teach them the importance of motivating a sales team, keeping that team motivated throughout the highs and lows of the year, and how to use situations and events to help drive others to succeed. We focus on the activities that will help motivate the team on topics like sales success, how to sell a tough move-in-ready home, or even how to consistently hit a goal. We even teach how to use negative situations as motivation, such as failing to hit plan for a given month.

To view other parts of the article series, please click on the links below.

As a sales leader in the new home sales industry, we often make the mistake of forgetting the importance of operations behind motivating a sales team. Think about it for a minute, we are good at coaching the critical path of sales, we are good at coaching the importance of backlog management and the importance of community upkeep, but we rarely make the connection between operations and sales motivation. We’re aware there is a direct link, but we fail to bring that to light and promote it to our teams.

A well-managed and operationally sound team will produce a better experience for our customers and will be more profitable to our builder partners. Try and get your head around this statement, “when the operations behind the scene are dialed in and working well, the salesperson or team is motivated.”

When backlog is managed properly with weekly updates, completed paperwork, weekly construction meetings, homes progressing on schedule, informed buyers, and so on, our team is happy. Our construction partners, head office, mortgage partners, outside Realtors, and our buyers are happy! There is no doubt that when everyone else is happy, our salespeople are happy! And we all know that when the sales team is happy, they are motivated or in the prime spot to be motivated.

We also know that when we don’t focus on the operations side of the business, and just let our sales personalities drive our success, we ultimately deal with stress from many areas and produce unhappy buyers. Relying only on your sales personality will get the job done in the beginning, but you will quickly find without the substantive operational items dialed-in, you will be stressed out, unhappy, and most likely feeling like this may not be the job for you. We have all chosen a profession that has ups and downs. It has the spring selling season (awesome) and the summer selling season (tougher), the community that gets too much traffic, and the one that gets almost none. The months when sales come easier (because of your skills, of course) and the months that take until the last day to hit your goal. By putting in place a concrete plan for handling not only backlog but also the full operational side of our business, you will eliminate the majority of the stress. There will always be some stress points, but by having a well-designed plan or set of practices, you will eliminate unnecessary stress.

As a salesperson, remember to operate within your sweet spot by having a solid process that is thoughtful and repeatable. This process should allow you to manage your business in a short amount of time, thus allowing you to focus on sales which will enable you to stay motivated! As sales managers, we cannot forget the importance of a well-executed plan. We have to help newer salespeople develop these habits early and show them the benefits. If you begin to notice that you have an experienced salesperson that is struggling, don’t forget to evaluate their processes and plans. You may spend hours trying to find ways to motivate a team member when it could be as simple as helping them with their processes.

Remember, as sales leaders, we are called upon to fill many roles. One of those key roles is to motivate your sales team. While using all of the traditional forms of motivation, don’t forget to look at how effective your team (or person) is at managing the operational side of their business. You may uncover some low-hanging fruit that will help you to get them back into a state of high motivation without even having to dress up in a costume for your next sales meeting!

Originally published Nov 28, 2018 under Explore the latest topics, updated March 7, 2024

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