How to Retain Real Estate Sales People: What Things Work

Roseberg, L. Joseph; Gibson, C. Kendrick; Epley, Donald B.
March 1981
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;Spring/Summer81, Vol. 1 Issue 2, p36
Academic Journal
This study has explored several areas of particular interest to the real estate industry. Justification for the study results from the fact that little research has been done either to determine what motivates the salesperson in this career field or upon retention of commissioned salespeople. Two groups were compared concerning preferences for job rewards--the sales manager and the salesperson. Credibility of the results is enhanced due to the in-depth interviewing conducted. The results of this exploratory study indicate that preferences for job rewards in this industry are similar to preferences reported in previous research. (Swan, et al, 1978) In addition, differences in the sorts of rewards that are considered important for motivation and retention support the concept that industries would benefit by first determining which rewards are relevant to the members within that career field rather than by utilizing any widely accepted reward lists. (Robinson, et al, 1968) It was interesting to note that pay and accomplishment were considered very important by both manager and salespeople. In commissioned selling the desire for a sense of accomplishment is rarely satisfied and salespeople constantly set higher monetary goals. Contrary to the idea that money ceases to be a motivator, commissioned salespeople appear to have a much higher need for recognition through pay than for individuals within other career fields. The interviews also determined that managers did not realize how important social and interpersonal sources of job rewards are to the salesperson. Successful salespeople rely upon these non-monetary aspects of the firm to enhance their performance and satisfaction. Even though money received the most mentions, the majority of both salespeople and managers felt the firm would neither acquire addition; all salespeople nor obtain better production with an improved compensation plan. The responsibility for satisfying the money needs rests with the individual salesperson. Perhaps as important as the motivating force of monetary rewards is the influence that non-monetary rewards exerts upon retention of competent salespeople. According to the respondents, the ability, to satisfy the monetary need is most important for career stability. However, salespeople seem to be telling managers to pay more attention to the individual personally by being fair and honest, improving working conditions, and developing a spirit of teamwork among the sales group. This indicates that salespeople need to belong to a group and do not desire to be totally independent producers even though they may be independent contractors. Affiliation needs are important.


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