The market for sales negotiators is changing. The worst years of 2008 to 2011 saw many experienced housebuilding sales negotiators made redundant. Some left the industry for ever, but many have since returned and are re-employed on site with a housebuilder. In short, the pool of readily available experienced candidates has almost evaporated.

But there is a problem: the housebuilding industry is currently operating on half the volumes it produced pre-recession with the numbers beginning to increase. So as housebuilders open new sites where do they recruit new sales negotiators from? There are very few negotiators with industry experience that aren’t already working at a competitor.

There are two routes for recruiting firms. Either pay a salary premium to attract staff from competitors or recruit from outside of the industry. Housebuilding has a history of converting sales people or those from customer service professions in to highly successful new homes negotiators. But it is easier for rookies to be successful when customers are buying off plan and a seemingly continuous rise in house prices means there is plenty of profit to play with in a customer negotiation. That hardly describes selling conditions in 2013.

So non housebuilding sales people are perceived to be a greater risk than before yet the alternative is an un-manned site or a spiralling wage bill.

The answer is in the right combination of recruitment and training. In recruitment terms, it means identifying the key features of your most successful sales people and then testing for these qualities in potential new recruits at interview. Can they provide evidence of tenacity, a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and the ability to build rapport for example?

Then, having taken the best candidates from other sectors, how does the housebuilder give the new negotiator the market and product knowledge they need to succeed? This can take the form of residential training courses, regional training at head office and a little extra attention from the sales management team.

If this all sounds expensive and time consuming, take heart. There are many reports from Sales Directors that these new recruits are often amongst the top performers in their region. They are eager to prove themselves, enjoy the challenge of a change of product and are not encumbered with the fatigue of selling new homes through the hardest years of the recession. In summary, they are more than worth the initial investment.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised here, please contact Simon Edbury on 0161 300 8271 or via