What do you think about our industry training. I'm embarrassed

By
Education & Training with Real Estate Expert Witness Support

First of all,  let's talk licencing training.  In most states, it is just adequate at best.  Much too easy to become an agent when you consider the risk that we take on for our clients.  Also,  that there is not some added criteria if you want to sell commercial, land or some other more exotic part of the business.  And,  if it is anything like California,  what you learn isn't that revelant to what we do on a daily basis.  Don't remember the last time I had a client ask me about avulsion.  If you forgot,  look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avulsion

Then there is new agent training,  assuming it exists at all.  Larger companies have a one to two week class. I have taught these and if you are doing it right,  most agents have their eyes glazed over.  It is too much.  Then,  when they go back to their offices,  few if any office managers are really committed to training.  Some have occassional workshops or turn it over to their agents.  Not a bad idea but how many managers hawe the whole year laid out so that agents can know what is coming and attend again and again.

Then there is the smaller offices.  I am sure that some of them are fine but most don't train well.  Most are owned by Owners who ae still active agents.  So, not only do they compete but are really not available for in the office to help the agent with the nitty gritty.

Then there is outside trainers.  I can speak to this because I am one.  The great majority of the training is Sales oriented.  Little if any is dedicated to learning the technical and legal side of the business.  Most agents do not really feel comfortable explaining the contract to their clients or effectively countering an offer.  That is not their fault since most of them have not had the training or practive.  It is hard work.

And, because most of the major trainers were really selling products or other programs,  they gave them away for free.  BTW,  it alwas amazed me that agents would attend a free seminar then complain that the presenter spent too much time trying to sell them product.  Duh!  The result is that the industry seems unwilling to pay a fair price for programs.  If mine get over $30 or so,  the boards tell me that agents complain.  Training in industy starts at about $100 for 1/2 day.

With most of the classes focused on sales,  I feel we have lost priority.  Clients are never going to thank you for giving such a fantastic Listing presentation or how well you answered their objection.  Obviously,  sales skills are important but isn't product knowledge more important.  How many agents really know how to handle a probate sale,  a back up offer,  the risks of Seller financing,  how to write a credit in lieu of repair counter, what to do differntly if you ae selling a 4 plex instead of a house, understand a 1031 exchange, etc, etc, etc. 

Do you think that this is OK with our clients.  I think not. Clients expect us to know everything.  Wait, you say.  Is that fair?  Ask yourself this.  Do I expect my Doctor to know everything or at least to know what he doesn't know. Do I expect the same from my car mechanic,  tax guy and every other professional I hire. Absolutely.

So,  what are we going to do about what we don't know. The only thing I can think of is that each of you reading this blog to make a committment to attend every class that is on the product knowledge side of the business.

Good learning.

 

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Guy Berry

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Comments (6)

Ron Moore
RE/MAX Professionals/Regal Builders - Retired - Florence, SC
MOORE Thoughts

I feel your frustration, Guy, but I've come to realize that the agents who really want to excell at what they do will seek out the necessary training.  It's the ones just wanting to do the minimum to keep up their continuing education units that complain the most.  I've paid a lot of money for good training and believe it is well spent.

Jul 25, 2008 11:52 AM
Larry Story ALC
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Beneath it all is the Land, Covering all of NC

Guy that is why way back when I went with Coldwell Banker was for the training and support. 

Jul 25, 2008 11:54 AM
Terry Lynch
LAR Notary and Closing Services - Saint Clair Shores, MI

Until the states mandate training beyond just the law and the basics we will have the problems we have now. The local boards are powerless to enforce laws that don't exist.

Jul 25, 2008 01:37 PM
Cheryl Willis
RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI - Mount Vernon, MO
MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law

I for one enjoy taking classes and learning new to me things.  I would venture to bet that most of the active people on AR do too.  Any time I hear an agent complain about needing a CE class, I know they are on their way out of the business.-  cheryl

Jul 25, 2008 01:45 PM
Frank Jewett
tech4REpros - San Jose, CA

Guy, the challenge for agents is that real estate has a technical aspect and a marketing aspect.  Which is more important to brokers and agents?  Clearly the marketing aspect.  I know plenty of brokers and agents with decades of experience and strong technical knowledge who are starving because they lost touch with the marketing aspect of the business during the boom years by relying too heavily on a shrinking referral pool.

When it comes to the technical aspect of a transaction, Agents can rely on their broker, their transaction coordinator, and even their escrow officer for help.Who helps them with marketing?  Plenty of vendors have their hands out, but the results are unimpressive.  Based on this environment, it behoves the agent to focus on marketing, even at the expense of technical knowledge.

What can we do as trainers?  Emphasize the marketability of technical knowledge.  I've started introducing each class by mentioning what I call "The Tao of Real Estate", the duality between technical knowledge and marketing skills.  I explain that marketing is 75-85% of the business and I explain how the material I will be teaching them applies to that model, even if it's technical material.

I teach classes on WINForms.  I used to think the value was obvious.  Who doesn't want to save money by using free forms?  The problem is that an agent who doesn't have a transaction doesn't see any need to apply what I'm teaching.  Why "practice" on WINForms when you could be out calling on FSBOs and expired listings?  Now I explain how creating a transaction template for listings will allow the agent to respond more quickly to inquires by saving time spent selecting forms and filling out broker and agent information.  I'm showing them something that relates to technical execution, but I'm making them think about how it relates to the marketing process of preparing for a listing presentation.

The same theory can be applied to RELAY, SureClose, and other TMS platforms.  I emphasize how the benefits of the platform can be used in a listing presentation to generate a competitive advantage over agents who don't have an online transaction management platform.  That gets their attention.  Tie what you are teaching to winning business and they will respond.

My pitch to sell technical training to new agents would be something like this:

Imagine you are competing for a listing with an agent who has ten years of experience.  He's going to be talking about designations like GRI, CRS, and ABR and explaining that most agents (like you) don't hold these designations.  You can win that listing by using your technical knowledge to explain the process in terms that your client will understand.  Clients are more interested in how contingencies will protect their interest than they are in industry acronyms or which committees you chaired at the local AOR.

Let's boil that concept down to a couple of class titles:

Win more listings by becoming an RLA expert

Win more buyers by becoming an RPA expert

What I'm hearing in this discussion is that technical knowledge should matter.  I couldn't agree more.  But, given the importance of marketing to success, the best way to make technical knowledge matter is to show agents how they can use it to gain a marketing advantage because they only have to look at their bank statement (or credit card statement) to see the importance of marketing in real estate.

Jul 26, 2008 08:54 AM
Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate - Los Gatos, CA
CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley

Guy, you're the best in the business for teaching "what does the contract say?" and getting kids agents to read, understand, and make sure that their buyers and sellers understand the contracts too.

I would add that in MANY brokerages, company training is sometimes not done with the agent's best interests in mind so much as the company's.

The best classes I've taken are the ones I've paid for. Alongside your classes, I would add CRS classes and Howard Brinton as good real estate courses overall. I understand that GRI is a great place for new agents to start but I have not taken those.

You get what you pay for.

Aug 19, 2008 03:55 AM