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.