Commercial real-estate giant and former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach sold his Addison, Texas, brokerage company, a five-time Inc. 500 honoree, for $613 million in 2008. Here, he advises an entrepreneur on how to integrate sales with the rest of an organization.
Q. How can I make my salespeople and the rest of my staff feel more like one team?
Owner of a mediation company in Dallas
Roger Staubach answers:
At a car dealership, the person who sells the car is the hero--and also gets the commission. But if the mechanics at the dealership don't service that car well, there's a good chance the customer won't return. In the commercial real estate business, we have brokers--our version of salespeople--who spearhead major accounts. But they wouldn't have the customers they have today without the people who, say, oversee construction. There are a lot of people who touch the customer. And even though they are paid differently, everyone has to feel appreciated.
When I founded my company 28 years ago, that was a really difficult concept to teach; our brokers thought it was all about them. So we developed a system that stresses the importance of teamwork. Clients grade us in reviews. The managers who monitor those reviews take into consideration not only the broker, but also the entire team involved in any given project. If, say, a client praises the team that helped design a building, we thank those team members and reward them with cash bonuses. By doing so, we make them feel appreciated and also send a message to brokers that they need their co-workers to make customers happy.
Every few months, we have a bell-ringing ceremony to recognize employees who find ways to save customers money. Employees explain how they cut costs and receive a percentage of those savings. We've also gotten a lot better at hiring. We emphasize teamwork during interviews and at a two-and-a-half-day orientation. By the time people start working, they understand why they should appreciate what other people do for them. It's okay to have personal ambitions, we tell them. But when you drive in the HOV lane, you have to take someone with you.