Barbara Corcoran: Build Your Sales Team

Investor and Entrepreneur
In this lesson, learn Barbara Corcoran’s counter-intuitive strategies for recruiting and maintaining top talent on your sales force. By the end of it, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the no-nonsense approach that enabled her to turn $1,000 into a billion dollar business.
  • Transcript


Hire Well

I am very good at hiring because I’ve made a lot of mistakes.  I’ve learned to look at the specific individual and look for the most important traits and then ignore everything else, especially the resume.  It sends you in the wrong direction.  I learned through trial and error what makes a great manager, what makes a great salesperson – and that’s who I always hire.

If you’re going to hire a lot of salespeople for your organization, I found that I look for the same three things in every single person I hired.  I wanted someone who was insecure with something to prove.  If somebody walks in there cocky, they never become your great salespeople.  My top ten salespeople making millions of dollars a year, every year came to my office in December swearing they would never have another good year.  Why? It was ridiculous.  But they were insecure enough to think it could never happen again.  You want an insecure person if you’re hiring a salesperson with something to prove.

You also want someone who has a positive attitude in every way because you know what happens? A positive person when they get hit – and sales is all about getting hit and knocked down.  They spend very little time feeling sorry for themselves.  They get right back up. They’re back out.  You almost need a low IQ, like, “Hit me again, hit me again, hit me again.” That’s a great salesperson.  And then you need the work ethic to go with it.  Nobody is great in sale unless they work like crazy.  So those are the three traits I look for in every great salesperson.

Fire Well

Nobody’s happy doing what they’re not good at.  You want to get a great job you love?  Do something you’re good at.  When a salesperson isn’t producing, they’re not happy.  And so you must have a system to make sure that they can move on to something that’s going make them happy.

In the real estate sales field only one in four salespeople ever succeed at selling enough to even meet their overhead.  So in my business I need an ironclad system to make sure I had an exit strategy for every single would-be salesperson who didn’t have the talent.  So what I did was fire 25 percent of my sales force every year because we needed to move them out and make the desk available to take another shot at someone who might really be talented in sales. I never fired a salesperson who didn’t love me for it because I allowed them to move on to something potentially that would make them happy.  When you have a sales organization with unhappy salespeople as a large percentage of your population, it drags down the energy of the company, drains your financial resources and so you can’t take care properly of the salespeople at top.

So you’ve got to come up with a firing system that always happens, and the reason it has to be a system is the very managers that are great at hiring are terrible at firing.  Nobody’s good at it.  Nobody wants to do it so you have to make a system of doing it.  My system was simple: I ranked every salesperson from the top producer to the bottom whether I had 50 people or 500 people and always the bottom 25 percent were not making it.  And so you must have a system where it’s mandatory that if people are not making it that there’s a system for dismissing them after a period of time of trying like crazy to help them.