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Refocus Training for a More Competitive, Challenging Marketplace

Real Estate Broker/Owner with NP Dodge Company

By Mike Reidmann, CRB, GRI

Facing fundamental changes in our market, we decided to refocus our in-house training on skills our sales associates would need to survive in the more challenging and competitive marketplace. Many of our associates had never experienced the kind of market conditions we are currently facing and lacked basic skills; others needed to refresh their proficiency to thrive. Prospecting was one of the first basic skills that we identified where there was a lack of knowledge or ability.

We developed a prospecting training program that we present in each office with a new topic every month. Sales associates who miss the program in their office can attend at any other office's presentations. Topics include basics such as sphere-of-influence marketing; open-house techniques and skills; reverse prospecting through the MLS; and telemarketing just listed, just sold.

Most of our associates already were using social networking sites but lacked the basic tried-and-true skills of one-on-one prospecting. We began measuring sales associates' prospecting activities such as open houses held and direct mail sent. This way, our managers can spot a problem with a sales associate's activities before it hurts his or her production. The greater awareness has helped keep all of us focused on activities and their results.

The next area we concentrated on was training our associates on the available company tools and programs that we offer, some of which they had never taken the time to learn or fully utilize. We also increased our technology training on tools such as virtual tours, mapping and pulling virtual showings and hit reports for sellers. We also offer training for smartphones and the excellent applications available for these devices.

At NP Dodge, we have also done a better job of reminding our associates of our value proposition and what it means to them and their clients. I have also increased the budget allowance for agent retention in each of our offices. We use this for in-office lunches or holiday events. Managers have gotten creative with tailgate parties, pie-baking contests or "bring your favorite childhood dish for lunch" days.

I believe it is important to rally around each other in tough times so that we can better support each other. Having more office functions not only has helped with retention; it has also attracted sales associates from other companies who want to join us because of our culture and support. What these times have taught us is that ours is a people business, and if you take care of your people, they will take care of the customers - and you both will benefit.

Mike Reidmann, CRB, GRI currently serves as President of Residential Sales for NP Dodge Company Real Estate in Omaha, Neb.

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