Back in the nineties we estimated that for every dollar invested in training a real estate business owner saw a return of approximately $30. With the size of selling fees today, the return on investment in training would be closer to $100 for every dollar invested.
This is a big return for a small investment. So why does our industry show little regard for training? Are they short sighted? Stingy perhaps? Or do they know it all?
Whatever the reason, smart leaders know that trained people produce more results than do untrained people. They know that training begins with the leader and continues throughout the team. To a smart leader, nobody is exempt from training. Smart leaders, and their teams, train to win.
Recent changes to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in New South Wales illustrate this contempt for training. A real estate person in NSW can renew their qualifications with 12 CPD Points from Learning Category 3, which earns points at a rate of 3 points per hour, or a total of four hours’ training for the entire twelve points. That is all the training required for the year.
While four hours’ training (in Learning Category 3) satisfies the legal requirements, this does not come close to the training needed to reach, and remain at, a high level of competence. Every good leader knows this, but this concept appears to be lost on the greater industry.
On many occasions I have visited offices whose teams were struggling. You are always given the usual excuses – “We’re not getting called in“, or “We can sell anything we list, but we just can’t get the listings!“, or “The training programs aren’t working“. No doubt you have heard similar excuses over the years, and that is what these are: excuses.
With teams in this situation I always take the same approach. I play dumb. I pretend that I do not know what the problem is. I tell them that we will have to use a process of elimination, test things one by one, eliminating what is not the problem, which should leave us with the one thing that is causing the problem.
I say, “Let’s begin with you – let’s see if you are the problem. Let’s test your knowledge“.
And then I take out examination papers and issue one to each salesperson. I ask them to complete the examination. This examination tests the salespeople’s knowledge. It tests what they know about their sales programs. It tests communication, closing, time management, listing, working with buyers, presentation skills, among others.
You have to test knowledge because you need to know if knowledge is the problem. And nearly every time it is.
It is not draconian to give your people examinations. They get examined at every listing presentation. If a seller said to YOUR salesperson, “Stephen, why should I list with you?“, Stephen has just been given an examination. Do you want Stephen to give the best reply? If you want the right words to come out of his mouth, you have to put the right words in his head.
You must test occasionally to see if the right words are in your team members’ heads.
Without adequate knowledge, you have an incompetent salesperson representing your company. Get him or her to work as hard as you like, prospect until blue in the face, but if knowledge is low, all you have is:
A HARDWORKING IDIOT.
Once the team finishes their examination papers, I give them a short break while their leader and I mark the papers, and then we call the team back into the room.
I sort the examinations into order, grading the salespeople from highest to lowest. Then I go to the Control Board, where the salespeople’s sales production is displayed. I point to the fee production, and grade the salespeople according to fee production from highest to lowest.
Now if this does not convince you that you must train to win, nothing will. Never have I seen this any different:
- The highest in dollars is the highest in knowledge.
- Second highest in dollars is second highest in knowledge… and so on all the way to the bottom.
You should believe the saying, “The more you learn, the more you earn“. I have seen undeniable evidence of this in the field.
Incompetence costs agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Every listing your salesperson misses is a selling fee lost to your agency.
Only winners thrive and survive any market, because winners train to win.