How many real estate agents are committed to going above and beyond at work?
I’d wager about 10 percent, as this number takes the ease of getting into real estate and earning money from it into account. Sadly, both these things can undermine an agent’s commitment to excellence.
Cream-of-the-crop agents stand out because they’re always working to expand their knowledge and become leaders in their field. They often do this by continuing their real estate education, and in-person training makes all the difference here.
Why In-Person Training?
One huge benefit of in-person training is the ability to interact with instructors and other students, but I don’t think this is enough of a draw for the average real estate agent.
To make training worth the while, agents need to have opportunities that increase their bottom line. Students can meet agents from outside their marketplace and get referrals, and this also provides tax benefits. In this instance, the initial draw of in-person training is the chance to increase an agent’s income.
Along these lines, peers and instructors also have the opportunity to mingle. Instructors, for instance, can chat with students during breaks and gauge their understanding of complex topics.
From there, the benefits expand to include personal feedback from instructors and peer accountability. Because students can learn from each other’s experiences and exchange ideas and solutions to common challenges, live training is similar to a brainstorming group that meets on a regular basis.
Besides all of this, a live class setting eliminates the distractions that come from finishing course work at home and provides structure as students move through the material together.
There Are No Shortcuts to Success
Why do so many agents opt for online training, then? The answer is often poor time management. Agents might wait until the last minute to take a class, and an online course that’s estimated to take seven hours can usually be completed in, say, four.
Online courses also tend to be less expensive than their live counterparts, and this rings especially true when a student needs to travel to attend in-person classes. Online courses can be completed anywhere — whether that’s from the comfort of an agent’s living room couch or at the office — which is an added convenience factor.
Finally, in-person courses are often specialized and can take additional time to complete. Top-tier certifications require a certain amount of transactions in that particular field to complete training, and this adds to the overall course length.
With real estate training, though, you’ll always get out what you put in. Personal interaction is crucial for a business centered around nurturing client relationships.
The Ins and Outs of Incentivizing
So, with all the benefits of in-person training, how can you nudge agents in this direction? If you said incentives, you’re right on track.
Programs that encourage healthy competition between employees have been successful in the past. For example, when students earn badges as they complete learning programs, they often display these on their online profiles. This allows them to showcase their accomplishments and inspires individual agents to build up their repertoire and stay ahead of the pack.
Although incentives such as badges are powerful tools, they can turn stale with overuse. If you’re running a training program or class, be sure to switch them up every once in a while to keep things fresh and exciting. Experimentation is also key here: You should be able to track the success of your incentives and how students respond to them so you know which approaches to recycle and which ones to toss.
We should always be expanding our breadth of knowledge. And as real estate professionals, hitting above average in our field requires dedication and learning from others’ experiences.
As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In real estate, in-person training gives you what you need to go that distance.
Jeff Thompson is managing partner at Windermere Group One. WGO is a member of Windermere Real Estate, a real estate network comprised of 300 offices and more than 6,000 agents throughout the western United States. Jeff is truly passionate about helping build companies by building their people. He leverages his 25-plus years of experience in real estate to coach other managers and brokers. Jeff credits much of his success to hard work and a willingness to partner with good people.