Who provides training to new sales agents in your real estate office?
- Broker (48%, 15 Votes)
- Another agent designated as the trainer (19%, 6 Votes)
- Office manager (16%, 5 Votes)
- Individual agent training/mentorship (13%, 4 Votes)
- Hired trainer/coach (3%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 31
Each office does it differently. Find the training style that works for your business model by reviewing the following tips.
Why training is necessary
One of the goals of a successful real estate brokerage is to increase earnings by continually recruiting new talent. Once new sales agents are brought on board, what is the broker’s next step?
Unless they come from another brokerage, they are likely newly licensed or they may have yet to obtain their license (read: inexperienced). To get the most out of new agents, brokers need to provide training.
The broker needs to teach new agents so they learn about required paperwork and procedures, how to FARM to grow their network, stay in touch with past social and civic contacts and turn all of those relationships into fee-generating transactions. Without training, a broker’s new agents will likely mine their current collection of contacts, consisting of family and friends, before falling out of the business.
Of course, faced with the idea of all the time and effort it will take to coach green agents to be self-sufficient, a broker may be more likely to forfeit the idea altogether in preference of hiring only experienced agents. But the broker isn’t alone in their endeavor to train — they need to engage their already-experienced agents and associate-brokers who work for them to help mentor new agents.
The first step a broker takes in establishing a training regime is to set the rules. To get started, the broker asks themselves the following questions:
- What forms will the new agents need to be familiar with?
- How long is the timeline for new agents to begin making sales on their own?
- What technology does the agent need to acquire?
- Who can the agent go to for answers to questions?
- What office procedures and policies do they need to know and follow?
- What are some past mistakes that new agents have made, and how can you help new hires avoid them?
- What are the expectations you have of your agents, and what are the consequences if an agent fails to meet those expectations?
The broker gathers the answers to all of these questions in a binder and goes over them with new agents in regularly scheduled, mandatory meetings. The broker impresses upon the agents that their continued employment at the brokerage depends upon them knowing the binder’s contents. They also may consider administering a verbal test at a follow-up meeting, going over the missed answers with the group of new agents.
Also in a follow-up meeting, the broker introduces the idea of a business plan. The agents and broker fill out a form listing the anticipated expenses and income for the year. This is important so the agent isn’t surprised when they find out that copies aren’t free and the broker is due a split on each sale. [See RPI Form 504]
Then, it’s off to the races. One of the more popular methods of agent coaching is on the job training.
On the job training
The broker assigns a new agent to an experienced agent or associate-broker employee in the hopes of developing a mentor relationship. The new agent tags along with the experienced agent on their rounds, meetings and every day office work. They learn from watching and eventually participating in the experienced agent’s work, helping out with the tasks the experienced agent wants to pass on. In turn the agents in some fashion split the fees received.
Meanwhile, the broker checks in with the new agents and their mentors regularly, assessing their progress and ability to function on their own. Once the mentor feels the new agent can practice on their own, the new agent can take the lead and the mentor can assist, while they continue to split the fee. After successfully taking lead, the new agent is ready to spread their wings and practice without the assistance of a mentor.
All of this progress needs to occur on a timeline. For instance, brokers can set the clock at:
- two weeks from the date of hire for the new agent to pass the written test on office rules;
- one month from the date of hire for the new agent to begin assisting their assigned mentor;
- three months from the date of hire for the new agent to begin to take lead with a client; and
- six months from the date of hire for the new agent to complete a sale for which they are the lead agent.
If they miss the deadline for any of the goals, brokers can give them a warning. If they miss several deadlines, real estate may not be the business for them.
Some sales agents are born salespeople. They know just what to say to bring people together and then close the deal. Most are less lucky — but there is a known remedy, and all it takes is a little memorization and a lot of practice.
Most successful salespeople base their initial client interactions on scripts to keep control of the situation. These can be developed by the broker, or more often are purchased from services. For example, Mike Ferry is a popular real estate coach who provides scripts for real estate agents.
These scripts help an agent know the best way to respond to common questions and objections, like “Why don’t you just cut your fee?” and “How are you a better real estate agent than the other agent I met with?”
Instead of fumbling for an answer, with practice an agent will have an immediate response, making them appear confident and experienced — and in control.
In the mentoring stage, the new agent can develop their own listing presentation for potential seller clients. This can be based off a script, which includes:
- a greeting;
- an introduction of the agent and their business;
- opening questions for the potential client;
- answers to common client questions; and
- a call for action.
Practice makes perfect
All agents — new and experienced —ought to devote time to practicing their scripts every day. This internalizes the words, bringing them past the point of reciting and helping the agent to make them their own.
One common mistake for agents who use scripts is to deliver their speech and fail to stop and listen to the client and their questions. It’s important to be able to be interrupted halfway through the presentation and be able to pick up where the agent left off (without having to back up and start over).
For practice, the agent ought to make cards with parts of the script written on them. Rehearse the cards with family members and friends. They can call up their spouse and practice the script over the phone or practice in their friend’s living room.
The point is to keep the script from becoming stale or even sounding like it’s a script. The client shouldn’t be able to tell the agent is using pre-written, time-tested words. It should sound natural, sincere and personal. Family and friends will give the agent honest feedback about their believability and will also think of questions the agent may not have considered, giving them further practice in thinking off the top of their head and returning to their script when appropriate.
Brokers can instruct agents to practice scripts:
- in the car on the way to appointments;
- while getting ready in the morning;
- while they’re waiting for clients to arrive to meetings; and
- with each other in the office.
If at any point in the training process the agent becomes frustrated at not making enough sales or their inability to find clients, counsel the agent to be patient.
It usually takes three to five years for an agent’s FARMing efforts to pay off. This means it will be years before an agent’s efforts are rewarded with a steady stream of clients. Until then, the agent needs to be prepared to live below their desired means or supplement their income. It’s important to tell the agent this in their initial interview — they need to have enough income to support them for several months before they receive their first transaction fee.
Regular meetings with new agents offer needed support— something the broker definitely wants to provide, as all that training effort will have been a waste if the agent leaves due to frustration or impatience. In these meetings, the broker can ask about their efforts to gain new clients and offer suggestions on where they can improve.
Brokers: What are your training tips? And agents: What kind of training did you receive that you found helpful? Share you experience with other real estate professionals in the comments!