His thoughts on why agents succeed and failBTW: Did you know that Gino sites Mike Ferry as one of his real estate mentors?
We recently spoke to Mike Ferry, founder of the Mike Ferry Organization, who is recognized by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) as one of the most influential people in the real estate profession today.
He had some interesting things to say about how the lack of training is playing out in today’s slowing markets. We thought we’d include some of his thoughts here. After all, when someone like Ferry speaks, people tend to listen.
When markets get tough (like now), who are the first agents to fall to the wayside? Is it the less trained and non-experienced, or is that just a myth? Does it depend on the individual?
Absolutely, it is the less trained agent that falls off first. The turnover in the industry now is at the highest it’s been in the last 25 years. Agents are coming in for economic reasons and going out for economic reasons, because they lack sales training.
A brokerage must have a strong sales-oriented training program. If it doesn’t have that, then it needs to get one. You have to teach it (ongoing) for agents to succeed. The stronger the sales training program, the more successful your agents will be.
The hang up in real estate is apparent. The broker is afraid to tell agents what to do because they’re afraid the agent will go someplace else, but there are very few natural born sales people. Most have to be taught.
What is the minimum training an agent should be seeking each year?
There is no minimum training. There’s maximum training. A professional football team practices every day, six days a week between games. They’re training virtually all the time. A real estate person should be involved in training during the life of their career. Continuing education classes are not the answer. Those are the laws of the state, not sales training.
We take a different approach to training. As an agent, you have to know certain skills to be successful, like a professional athlete or actor. The industry tends to teach the old fashion, traditional, non-productive skills: hold an open house on Saturday and Sunday and wait for someone to show up and then try and sell them a home. No, you’ve got to go out and find someone who wants to buy or sell a home.
You need to know what to do to find that buyer or seller. You need basic communication skills and sales skills. If you went through IBM’s sales training, you’d be taught skills for pre-qualifying leads, qualifying sales and closing sales. Those are the things agents need to know.
Here are the things agents should focus on:
- They have to practice and roll play and learn (sales) scripts and dialogue everyday.
- They need to spend a portion of their time everyday to find potential leads. They need to know basic prospecting techniques that go beyond the traditional ones of going to open houses, geographic farming and mail outs. We say go out and find clients. Knock on doors. Check expired listings. Contact “for sale by owners.” If you know what to say, you can confidently talk to them.
- Commit that you will make a selling or listing presentation to several people each and every week.
We tell people all the time to allot 3-5 percent of their revenue to education. If they did this, they would be really smart people. And, they probably need to go to 2-3 very strong sales seminars per year to keep sharp.