Several years ago I was asked to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project. It was a day when only women were to work on a home that was being built for a single mother in Hartford, CT, and I was proud to participate.
I participated with several agents from my office and upon arrival we were met by the local builder who provided each of us with a carpenter’s apron, a hammer, nails, a tape measure and our assignments. Mine was to hammer floor boards. The builder barked out instructions, demonstrated with a few swings of his hammer and left me to my work which I took on with feverish excitement.
I tapped the first nail with the hammer and it quickly slid from my fingers onto the board then rolled to the ground. I should know how to do this, I told myself. I hang pictures all the time. I tapped harder on the next nail and the next. That worked better, but it seemed I tapped forever until the nails head finally rested in the wood. My excitement waned as I quickly realized how unprepared I was for the job. The harder I tried, the more frustrated I became. By the end of the day, I wasn’t any more experienced in carpentry than I was at 8 AM, and while I was equipped with the tools and I participated, and contributed, I was not at all productive.
I’ve observed similarities with real estate agents. When an agent comes to the real estate business, he/she has a tool box. It includes two things: their license and enthusiasm. When they join a company, the tool box grows. Company tools are added, marketing materials, presentation books and/or programs, scripts and in many cases, training. I challenge you that training alone is not enough. We train dogs. They learn to follow commands – sit, lay, heel, come. People are different.
Preparing agents to succeed is three fold. I call it the ETC approach:
Educate – Teach agents the fundamental rules of prospecting, working with buyers and sellers, understanding motivations, uncovering needs, asking powerful questions, marketing. Without fundamentals, agents will follow commands. Agents need to have a thorough understanding of contracts and representation.
Train – Role play, scripts, case studies, assignments, practice, repeat, practice, repeat to learn and internalize information.
Coach – Follow up with agents for at least 90 – 120 days following the program to achieve at least one listing and one buyer.
Whether an agent comes to us fresh out of licensing school or with years in the business, it is our responsibility to assure they know how to use all the tools in their tool box.