One of the biggest complaints I hear from business owners, team leaders, or sales managers is that “we could be doing so much better if only we had better people.“
And you know what? It’s true
A team is only as strong as the weakest link.
However, it’s my personal opinion that your training programs should be strong enough to take anyone and make them a top producer.
But that’s a subject for another day — TODAY — let’s talk about how to find and attract people who are already top producers into your team.
To do this, we’ll need to understand the psychology of a top producer. What motivates them? What drives them? Why would they join a team? Why would they leave a team? What opportunities could you provide a top producer to entice them to join you and your mission?
There’s many answers to these questions but today let’s focus on the three most important ones. First, you must understand…
1.) WHY TOP PRODUCERS LEAVE
There’s really only 3 majors challenges in any business. Finding and recruiting the right people, training them effectively, and keeping them once they’re trained.
One of the biggest unspoken fears of team leaders is that they’re worried they’re going to do something to “mess it up”.
Meaning, if they make them attend meetings, if they force them to do training they’ve already been through, if they bother them — they’re going to leave!
“So let’s be extremely careful not to upset them so they don’t go to a different brokerage/company/organization…!”
This is a critical mistake.
I’ll let you in on the secret: top producers don’t leave because of a better split, higher commissions, more money, travel perks, or a company car — they leave because they feel unappreciated.
By “leaving them alone”, you are not building and maintaining the rapport necessary to make someone feel important or special.
And who has the need to feel important or special? Everyone.
If you ignored your spouse, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend like you ignore your top producers — they would be gone in a heartbeat!
And this part can be counter-intuitive because what a top producer says and what they feel are two very different things.
They might say “I’ll join your team if you just leave me alone.”
They’re not actually saying “leave me alone”, they’re more than likely saying… “my last team leader provided so little value in every one of our communications that I’ve developed a belief system that all leaders are just annoying and in my way.”
Think about this: if they really wanted to be on their own, they would start their own company!
But they are conflicted because…
… In the past, maybe it felt like their team leader spoke at them, not to them.
… In the past, maybe it felt like their team leader had an ulterior motive every single time they spoke.
… In the past, maybe it felt like the only reason they were on the team was because they brought in the most revenue.
If you want to attract and retain top producers, you need to prove otherwise. You need to prove you actually care about them.
When I have casual conversations with top producers around the country, I notice they often say things like they feel unheard, unappreciated, or left out.
“Hey Leader, out of curiosity, why didn’t you call John and invite him to the company picnic?”
“Oh well, I didn’t think he’d come — he’s just so busy and he really likes to be left alone, anyways.”
It’s no wonder someone doesn’t feel like a part of the team!
Top producers like to be challenged, they like to be pushed, they have a hunger to hit the next level and if they think you care enough to push them to that level? They’ll happily stick around.
And if you meet a top producer who is considering making a switch, you’ll need to figure out how to make them feel like they are a part of the team.
2.) UNDERSTAND THEY HAVE ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES
Top producers usually have more opportunities than they know what to do with.
But if you are constantly in a state of fear that “this person is going to leave me” or “someone is going to steal them away,” you come across as needy, overbearing, and like you’re after only one thing: how much money they can bring in.
As leaders, we need to be confident and certain in what we offer our people. Leadership is not about people following you, it’s about serving people.
If you are constantly trying to provide more value for your team, people notice that.
Your “product” as a team leader is to create a work environment people want to be a part of. A mission that people can get behind. Something that’s bigger than them. Something that’s rewarding, not just financially, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
Hell, I’ll give you an example from my own life:
I’m one of the top producers for Tony Robbins.
People try to recruit me all day long. I really try to be polite and just say “no, thank you.”
… but in my head I’m thinking “are you kidding me?! Do you think I would ever leave the guy who has literally saved my life, helped me build 3 multi-million dollars businesses, allowed me to reconnect in relationships in a meaningful way, turned my health around …” and that’s just for starters!
Tony has given me so much value and had such an impact on my life I would never even consider going elsewhere — and THAT is the type of loyalty you create by providing more value to your team than anyone else would expect.
Yes, top producers have endless opportunities. But the truth is — the vast majority of them can’t compete when you have a great leader who truly cares.
The last thing we’ll focus on today is probably the most important, and that’s the…
3.) STANDARDS OF YOUR TEAM
That last little bit I mentioned? About “keeping your people once their trained” has a lot to do with two things: appreciation and culture.
Yes, you have to show your top producers you actually care about them and will continue to help them grow — but to get them to stick around long term, you’re going to need to create a culture that someone can be proud of.
All top producers have this high standard for how they work and the quality of job that they do. And if they look around and see that the office is dirty, people don’t show up on time (or at all), the boss isn’t ever around — or if someone drops the ball during one of their deals — they get upset!
And once again… they might not say it out loud… they’ll just start looking elsewhere.
Why? Because they work extremely hard to hone their skills and master their craft.
Because they work long hours and often take their work home with them.
They make short term sacrifices for long term gains.
They consistently strive to be great at what they do!
And if you have a team, an organization, or individuals that don’t meet that standard — they start wondering “what the hell am I doing here?”
We must create and MAINTAIN high standards.
But a high standard doesn’t mean everyone performs at the same level — it means you and your team embrace this mentality and culture of constant and never-ending improvement.
We don’t fault people for being bad at something… we fault them for not trying to improve.
Top producers don’t buy into things like “I can’t, too hard, not smart enough.” — and, as a side note, the best part about having top producers in the office is they’re willing to share their secrets with everyone — but if everyone is saying “yeah, you can do it because you’re special” or “the team leader gives you more/better opportunities” or something along those lines… they start to resent and regret even being around that team.
So your job as the leader is to navigate these relationships but if you want to “nip it in the bud” and fix the challenges before they even show up — it’s easy.
Decide what your team is going to stand for and reinforce it.
If what you stand for matches some of what top producers stand for? You’ll never have to worry about having high-performers on board.
There’s so many paths we can go down when it comes to leadership. Finding strong people. Getting them in the right positions. But ultimately, I hope this helps bring clarity on finding the right people for the job.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
What are the challenges you face when finding and dealing with top producers?