Training Woes

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

I was having a discussion with a fellow Training Director for a real estate office, and he shared some training woes with me.  I tried to help him with his predicament, drawing upon my own experience in training.  As the Director of Training for my market center, I am tasked with the responsibility for making sure that our agents receive awesome training.  We take our commitment to training VERY seriously.  In fact, as a whole, Keller Williams Realty has been called "A training and consulting company cleverly disguised as a real estate company."  Between our team leader, operating principle, the agents and myself, we've come up with some great topics for training, and have SOMETHING on the calendar for every weekday.

His problems are all with the instructors.  Instructors show up late.  Instructors forget they're teaching that day.  Instructors put the book aside and say "let me just show you how I do it" (in a highly structured training class).  Instructors come in unprepared and "wing it".  Instructors talk about getting "wasted" in front of the students.  Instructors tell the students that they are "taking their valuable time" to teach, so the students had better listen up.

Frankly, a lot of his newer agents are getting fed up with this, and I can't blame them.

These instructors are all mega-agents, who are highly successful in the business.  What he's trying to reconcile is HOW to get these problems solved, while still preserving the relationship that he has with these agents (i.e. not his personal relationship, but his training relationship, where they are happy to come and teach). 

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Any trainers out there go through the same problem?

To me, it comes down to personal integrity.  When I teach a class, I usually get there 15-30 minutes early to make sure myself and the facility are prepared.  I read the material ahead of time and get myself mentally prepared before I even head to the classroom.  Training is a very powerful committment, because the new agents that we train are highly affected by what happens in that classroom.

Any suggestions?  Comments?  I'm glad to hear from any of you, and I will pass on your advice.  Besides, I'm sure that SOMEWHERE out in the 'Rain community, someone is going through this same thing!

Take care, and enjoy your long weekend.



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Joeann Fossland
Advantage Solutions Group - Tucson, AZ
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents

Sounds like these are not trainers but agents that have been asked or volunteered to train. Being a trainer has it's own set of competencies and communication the expectations and level of compentency before asking someone to do training is important.

That said, it seems incredulous to me that these people are showing so little integrity, because I have found in my coaching practice, integrity is usually one of the values of mega-producers that has helped them achieve what they do!

Sep 01, 2007 06:44 AM #1
Bill Kennedy
Keller Williams Realty - Greenville, SC
Homes For Sale Greenville SC

Joeann, I completely agree with you.  Knowledgeable agents who are asked to teach are not necessarily trainers.  I have been doing training for years, first as a law enforcement trainer, then through real estate, and I have seen a wide range of training competencies.

That being said, we do need to encourage people to step up and share what they know with the rest.  Perhaps what would solve this is if the instructors go through some training of their own to show them how to train.

Thanks for the comment!


Sep 01, 2007 07:05 AM #2
Patti Ann Kasper
Blaine & North Metro Minneapolis St Paul Real Esta

Some people!!!  That is so sad.  New agents need good mentors and good training - they don't need jerks who don't give a darn.

I think that maybe a trainer needs to have a vested financial interest in the success or failure of the new agents.  If they have to take a financial hit for being a bad trainer...  And on the flip side, get a financial incentive for being a good trainer...  Base it on the success or failure of the new agents they train.

Maybe your friend needs to check into the trainer's personality as well as their sales ability.  Not everyone who can sell can teach others to sell.  What is the trainer's reason for wanting to be a trainer?  If it is strictly financial, forget about it!  Try to find soft-hearted people who want to help others for the sake of being helpful and professional.

My first broker's training was similar.  Many of the trainers were there just to make a few extra bucks or to placate their broker.  Their training often revolved around their sales "system" which they would so generously offer to the new agents - for a discounted price (yeah, right)!  Some new agents paid between $80 to $100 for a listing presentation that amounted to 16 pages printed in black and white in a notebook.  Others paid up to $300 for the latest marketing idea - a box of 200 sponges with their name, phone number, and the company logo imprinted on them.  I was surprised at how eager new agents are to spend their money on things that the trainer says will "guarantee" success.  Newbies are too vulnerable to be exposed to these kinds of predators.  Most just don't know any better and they are not aware that they are swimming with the sharks.

That's why I left my first broker and am now with EXIT Realty.  There is more of a team atmosphere and attitude.  Everyone helps everyone else.  Our team is small, but good.  Our broker does most of the training himself.

Sometimes I think brokerages get too big to even care about what happens to their new agents.  I've seen brokers charge outrageous fees for things agents can purchase elsewhere for less - and they promote these items in their "classes".  I really think some are just want to milk as much out of the new agents as they can.  Why else would they recruit a hundred new agents in the spring - then by fall, there might be 10 left.  Its like they throw them against the wall and see who sticks.  I hope this isn't the case with your friend's brokerage. 

Ok, sorry for ranting...  I am pretty passionate about this issue - can you tell?

Sep 01, 2007 07:08 AM #3
Bill Kennedy
Keller Williams Realty - Greenville, SC
Homes For Sale Greenville SC

Patti, I'm glad you're passionate :)  I am the same way when it comes to training! 

His brokerage is not quite that way, but it is close.  Of course, my solution for HIM is simple.... he just needs to join my company! :)

Thanks for the comment,

Sep 01, 2007 07:12 AM #4
Daniel Sundberg
Crystal Springs Real Estate - Kentwood, MI
The best way is to train by example, and those instructors are no example at all.  I am with a company who has no training program, but will not accept agents with any less than 3 years experience and so many deals closed in the last 3 years.  I may have had the best training anyone has had though.  I was entered the business as an assistant for my father, who at the time was a 28 year veteran of the real estate business.  As far as I am concerned, classroom training can only do so much.
Sep 01, 2007 07:18 AM #5
Julie Chapman
DR Horton - Lakeland, FL
New Homes Sales Lakeland Florida

Brokers and managers can only lead by amount of training will change the conduct of those who don't have a leader who is an example.  Your staff does not have to like you as long as they respect you......

Sep 01, 2007 07:29 AM #6
David Spencer
Keller Williams Northland - Kansas City, MO
Show Me real estate in Kansas City
I do pre-license training, Continuing Education training in my KW office, however, its via my own school. If Team Leaders want professional instruction through qualified trainers, pay them. How does that go? "You get what you pay for". All Real Estate Board classes require a fee, and all KWU seminars require a fee.
Sep 01, 2007 07:56 AM #7

How much do you think the average real estate agent, new and experienced, WILL and SHOULD spend on training per year?

Thanks for your help.

Sep 09, 2007 04:26 AM #8
Bill Kennedy
Keller Williams Realty - Greenville, SC
Homes For Sale Greenville SC

Jesica, good question.  I think that it depends on the availability of resources for that agent.  For instance, my company provides a humongous amount of training and coaching for new and experienced agents at no cost.  If you are with a company that doesn't, then I think it's reasonable to pay at least a thousand dollars a year for training.  You should constantly be going to seminars or classes to keep your edge sharp.  FOr example, when I was with my previous company, I paid about a thousand dollars in one year to get my GRI designation - not for the designation, but for the fact that there was so much good training to go with it.  Now I pay between three and five thousand dollars a year for training.  I go to at least four or five events ouf of state each year, plus several in my region.  The highest productivity agents understand that they constantly have to earn, but they also need to learn. 

If that didn't answer your question completely, I'd be glad to email you or answer you further on here.


Sep 10, 2007 05:20 AM #9
Patricia Clink
Watson Realty Corp. - Saint Marys, GA


I am licensed to teach the pre-license sales course in my state (Georgia) and I love it.  I generally average two to three hours of prep time before each class.  I sit in the back of the room and review the power point presentation and also review my handouts to ensure that the information is up to date.

I have experience training adults from my time in the Navy when I had to prepare my sailors for watch station quals and advancement exams.  Some people are more hands on and some people are more book smart.  You just have to understand that and not take it personally when someone doesn't grasp the information.

Also, it is difficult for some people to adapt to a classroom environment whan it's been awhile since they were in school.  Test phobia seems to be the biggest "headache" for students.  I try to quiz after each topic to get students used to test taking and also a review to see how many of the class understood the topic.  I've only had to go back once, and that was the first class I taught.  Feedback from the students has been that they like it because it also gives them a study guide for the topic.

Hope I wasn't too off topic.

Nov 11, 2007 10:54 AM #10
Kirk Westervelt
Van West Realty - Greenville, SC Realtor -Short Sale Expert! - Greenville, SC
Kirk Westervelt, Broker In Charge, Van West Realty - CDPE - Short Sale Agent - Home for Sale - Greenville, Simpsonvil...

Hi Bill,

Well, speaking as someone who has been in one of our/your structured training programs it is a joy to stay on topic and follow the structured course outline. Our structured training programs are equivalent to going through a college course. You need to stay on topic and absorb as much as you can.

Now, the funny and ironic thing about this is the fact that even when the mega-agent trainer is on their's great, and when they're off still learn a whole bunch!  I guess that's just the culture of our company.

 However, my vote is to stay on schedule and stay on topic, for the on-going, structured training courses.

You do an awesome job! Thanks for being there for all of us!

Kirk, Greenville, SC 


Feb 23, 2008 03:02 AM #11
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