Just What a Rookie Agent Needs - CHARM SCHOOL!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul


Okay, I've heard it all.

I have a friend who just started selling real estate. She hired on with a Big Name company that promises lotsa training. So far, my friend is underwhelmed, but the other night she called me almost hysterical.

My friend can't get anyone to help her role-play writing an offer, yet she was encouraged to attend "Charm School." Charm School? Yes, Charm school. As part of her training.

What, you ask, is charm school?

Well, as far as I can tell, it was a corporate-sponsored training class where agents were instructed on the niceties of life. Such as,  "Get a good haircut." "Make sure to wash your car before taking buyers out." "Don't swear in front of customers." "Dress appropriately." And my favorite - "Make sure your fingernails are clean. "

Are you kidding me? Seriously, someone in power thought it was a good idea to ask grown-up professional men and women to attend a class on fingernail maintenance?

To make it even more comical, my friend's office is in a rather ritzy part of town - one where I doubt it's necessary to encourage the local adult human beings to spend money on personal grooming. This is an area where the cheapest car in the lot is a Lexus, and $600 handbags on sale for $399 are considered a steal.

I can't imagine that this presentation didn't offend every real estate agent without shouting distance.

The training offered to newbies in our industry never fails to entertain me.


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Jim Palmer
Chipola Realty - Chipley Office (850) 638-2777 - Sunny Hills, FL
Washington County, Florida

Unbelievable beyond belief. I would encourage your friend to find some one to mentor them and guide them. I'm sure that there are veterans (or even not so veteran) agents in the office that would be more than willing to share their experience. And if they have to go outside the company to find one...oh well...so be it. I for one am always eager to assist another agent. That way I make an ally instead of an adversary.

Aug 26, 2009 02:18 AM #4
Patrick Randles
Nova Home Loans - Tucson, AZ

Too funny. My guess is that if a new agent needs to go to "Charm School" this isn't the career for them. It's the veterans that get a little too relaxed that I worry about!


Aug 26, 2009 02:28 AM #5
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

I can tell you that there is a book, the death of common sense.  Some people will probably need this course, but I think that it's ridiculous nonetheless.  It's too bad that people need this.  Soooo funny.

Aug 26, 2009 02:33 AM #6
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

But Jennifer, I am sure you have met a few people that certainly could have used some Charm School Training!  But more in Mannerisms than Finger Nails!

Aug 26, 2009 02:39 AM #7
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I can see the other side of this story or laughter if you call it that way. Where I come from, we have "Finishing" schools where girls are taught to act like ladies, know which forks to use for which food, learn to sit like a lady, walk and talk like one. I see that this is "somewhat similar".

Some people dont know these things you mention, "Get a good haircut." "Make sure to wash your car before taking buyers out." "Don't swear in front of customers." "Dress appropriately." And my favorite - "Make sure your fingernails are clean. " It doesnt come to them naturally.

But I dont think it should cost $399. It should be a part of the training - paid for by the commission splits the broker charge.

Aug 26, 2009 03:26 AM #8
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Loreena - don't you think you'd be offended if you took a class where it was assumed that you don't know any better? I mean, if you don't know any better, I doubt some snooty teacher is going to change your mind... if you do know better, I think I'd be insulted that anyone thought I didn't!

Robert - Oh, yes, I agree! Even if someone needs help with their fingernails, I don't think it's appropriate for a brokerage to spend their agents' time on it.

Larry - Some people may need it, but those who don't can't help but be annoyed, I'd think.

Patrick - True!

Jim - I told her the same thing. So, she's doing it. I guess I should charge $399 for that tidbit of helpful advice.

Susan & Missy - Glad I made ya laugh!

Erik - my friend is quite the tea-drinker... but she did tell me that she dropped the f-bomb in the office last week, so maybe that's what this was all about!


Aug 26, 2009 03:37 AM #9
Lori Gilmore
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Joliet, IL
Realtor - Will County Illinois

Jennifer. . .we see a horrid lack of training in most brokerages in my area. . .and thus, lots of yahoos running around out there who don't know the first thing about writing a contract.  (Unfortunately, I know a number of agents who could use a little charm school!!!)

Aug 26, 2009 04:16 AM #10
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Wow !  Amazing indeed !  The things you hear every day... have not heard that kind of training in awhile.  Reminds me of that movie with Bridget Fonda when she was training to be a spy and killer : )

Aug 26, 2009 05:07 AM #11
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

It'd be really funny if it weren't so sad!  I can imagine a few of the old companies in our office holding classes like this.  We had to spend one  whole day learning how to hold an open house! (bake cookies!).

It all boils down to the fact that since we're independent contractors, nobody want to share any of their great "secrets" or waste their time helping a new person. Time is money, when you're not on a salary or being paid by the hours.

Aug 26, 2009 06:19 AM #12
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I see your point, but there are some people that dont know better. We have plenty of people walking around. It's like a DUH moment. i dont think anything could charge for common sense though.

I have seen an agent to unlock the door for us (because it was not on a SUPRA lockbox). She told us that she's in the middle of painting her house. She came to unlock the door with a cap and painter's cloth. She's beyond just having dirty nails. No, I didn't catch her in the middle of something. I called her the day before the appointment and I also called 2 hours before our appointment to confirm.

Now...... I'm not sure if I would be offended. I think it has alot to do with how the message is crossed and message is received. There are people who will be offended by the smallest things, then there are people on the other extreme.

It never hurts to teach the BIG stuff and it never hurts to talk about the small stuff too.

Like agents chewing on a gum while showing. Now, that's not very professional, isn't it? We still have people doing that.

Aug 26, 2009 06:58 AM #13
Bob Murphy
Keller Williams Realty Consultants - New Albany, IN

HI Jennifer,  I don't guess "Charm School" is all that bed, but, how is that kind of training going to make you a success as a newbie especially.  I wonder if that big outfit is offering any classes or training actually relevant to what a real estate agent actually does?

Aug 26, 2009 07:23 AM #14
Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

I'm dying to know the Big Name company that offered this class.

Aug 26, 2009 09:49 AM #15
Barbara Heil-Sonneck
Design2Sell - Atlanta, GA
Home Staging Atlanta

Hi Jennifer, I guess there is education on everything and all area's of life. Dress for success might be a good suggestion in some cases. What I red in your blog that was not really addresses.  So smile :-) someone got a laugh

Aug 26, 2009 03:16 PM #16
Kim Brown
Keller Williams Realty - Keene, NH
Keene, NH - New England at its Best!

I don't need no stinkin' charm school.  I always hose out the back of the ol' pick-up truck before loading my buyers in. I even provide them with bungee cords to keep them from bouncing out.  My mama taught me right!


Aug 28, 2009 01:51 AM #17
Mike Mitchell
Real Living Kee Realty - Saint Clair Shores, MI

Jennifer - that is too funny! Now I've heard of everything. Thanks for the morning laugh!

Aug 29, 2009 02:01 AM #18
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

I've seen plenty of agents, and not just rookies, who could use a whole semester at charm school. Great post, Jennifer!



Aug 31, 2009 01:26 AM #19
Lois Kubota
Keller Williams, Walnut Creek, California, DRE#01865028 - Walnut Creek, CA

If people don't know the basics, they will be weeded out naturally.  If I were the friend Jennifer is talking about I would have been insulted.

Aug 31, 2009 12:32 PM #20
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

I would think it's the broker's responsibility to tell agents in that office what's appropriate (or not appropriate) because the agents represent the brokerage.

Sep 03, 2009 12:12 AM #21
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Jennifer - You mean a class on keeping your fingernails clean and hair cut is not as important as role playing in order to learn how to write an offer?  Where are our priorities? ha, ha.

I would have to say from what I have seen, some people who enter the real estate industry probably do need to go to charm school, as they just don't know any better.

Sep 06, 2009 06:34 AM #22
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

What a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Dec 31, 2009 06:34 AM #23
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Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

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