The New Manager: Here's How the Story Ends . . .

We've been tracking Mark Levering, our rookie sales manager, for so long that he's not a rookie anymore.

December 1, 1996

In the year that we've followed Levering, he has tried to find new office space, acquire another company, recruit new salespeople, and get his current salespeople more comfortable with technology--oh, and increase the company's sales and profits. Tall order for a new manager.

In this issue, we check in with Levering one last time to see how his year turned out and to hear what he's learned during his first full year in the management ranks.

Dear Diary:

Our plan to acquire another company is dead.

We got to the point where we agreed on all the terms, but the sale was contingent on the company's franchise releasing it from its franchise agreement. The franchise wasn't willing to do that because it didn't want to be without a presence in this area. Apparently, it tried to solicit other companies; none were interested.

I thought that when you were selling houses, you could be on a roller coaster! But being on this roller-coaster ride with our acquisition was even a bigger strain. Each day there was something new.

The year was tough personally, too. I live about 45 minutes away from our office, and every time we got close to finalizing the acquisition, my wife and I looked into moving into the area. We found a house we were really high on, but we held off because the acquisition wasn't final. Of course, that house is now sold. And it was one of those houses that just aren't available that often.

Now that the acquisition is dead, we're going to create our own destiny by relocating the company. Yes, we'll still try to acquire another company, but if we succeed, we'll absorb it into our new space--3,000 square feet in a shopping center. We plan to move in by Jan. 1.

In our new space, we'll have two-line telephone capability at each desk for modems and incoming calls, and there'll be network access at each desk. We'll also give all salespeople access to contact management software at their desk. Our salespeople have become a lot more computer friendly, if for no other reason than that our MLS is now fully computerized. So people who weren't comfortable with computers are taking the time to learn.

Now that we'll have double the space, we'll also recruit more salespeople.

Despite the roller-coaster ride, this has been a good year in terms of production. We've increased our volume by 22.5 percent.

Do I like management? Yes. I really enjoy being with the salespeople here and helping them achieve their goals. I miss sales, too, but there are rewards on both ends. It's truly rewarding to be able to help salespeople move up. We have one salesperson who's $26,000 ahead of last year's production, and it's pretty exciting to feel as though you've contributed to someone's success.

There are disappointments, though. We had a new salesperson who was on target to earn $40,000 this year. In the previous six months, she'd earned only about $6,000, but I gave her some tools I’d used when I was in sales, and I watched her progress. Then she had to move to Colorado! That was a big letdown.

We're definitely moving ahead in terms of technology and recruiting, though not at the speed I’d anticipated. I guess I've learned that I needed some serious patience to get through all this. And I've certainly developed it!

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