Thursday, 29 December 2011

Is Your Real Estate Sales Representative Trained or Just Licensed

I'm not sure when writing this who I am actually writing it for.  Am I trying to get a point across to the sales reps or am I trying to reach the consumer.  Being my first Blog ever, I'm going to just go with it and let you decide!

Having a training and coaching background and being a top sales rep, I've realized that there is a large group of sales reps who take basic training at the beginning of their career and then never again.  Their training becomes the consumer and therefore their skills are developed through trial and error while the consumer pays. 

I often wonder, why sales reps stop training beyond the mandatory courses.  And what does this really mean to the consumer. What does it mean for our industry.  Most real estate offices offer great free training and if they don't there are certainly many events for a sales rep to attend including conferences loaded with top talent!  Some brokerages don't even have dedicated training rooms which I'm sure the consumer is oblivious to.   

I couldn't figure out if it was the lack of value in training, or was it the satisfaction with being mediocare.  Or maybe I'm completely off track and it's neither.

Perhaps the consumer is to blame.  The consumer has for years been asking why we deserve the commission we do.  And, for years sales reps have discounted commission and associated it with services.   The consumer has never really been focussed on the skill set of their sales reps.  Skills get developed from training and coaching and the mindset of never assuming we know "everything".   Very rarely does the question come up during a listing presentation about the training behind the sales rep listing a home or purchasing.  In 12 years I don't think this has ever come up.  So why would a sales rep really need to invest in a lot of training if the consumer doesn't even ask or hold us accountable to it?  Maybe the consumer isn't aware of how much more important skills are over commission services offered.  All sales reps can offer staging, photos, tours, cookie cutter marketing, the eleventh hour of negotiating which sales rep has the skills to get you the most money and which one just walks away. 

I'm flashing back to a couple months ago where 2 sales reps gave up on negotiations and walked away from an offer and let it die.  I stepped in, came up with a solution for negotiations and the deal came together and closed.  What makes one able to put together what 2 other reps couldn't?  Lots of training in the area of negotiating.  If you were listing your home.....why wouldn't you want to know how much negotiation training your agent has had?  Get specific and ask the questions.  As a consumer you are paying around $15,000 for that skill, so you need to ask!  Does it really matter that you saved $4000 on commission and ended up with an unskilled negotiator or attempted to do it yourself.

In an industry loaded with discount brokerages offering services for flat fees, or reduced fees to get you on our MLS system let us not get lost in services offered as the association of value to commission.  There is an extreme difference between getting a realestate license and passing 3 courses versus conitinually working on skill sets that will in the end...get more money in the consumers pockets.

So, I challenge every single consumer listing or buying a home in 2012 to ask what was the last training event the sales rep went to and when.   Ask to see a copy of the training calendar of that brokerage from the previous month and what your rep attended.  Do they have a coach to help them get better at their skills.   Don't be so focussed on commission and services or big fancy branding.  Focus on skills.  Would you ever chose a doctor who never educated themselves past their degree?  And I challenge every sales rep in the industry to look at your training calendars and events in real estate and get involved, don't settle into mediocracy.  In the end it will only increase your own business too!