Editor’s note: Please welcome David Fletcher, a veteran Florida real estate broker, as the latest addition to our team of expert real estate columnists. His column will appear every other week at Inman News, and we welcome your feedback.

The vast majority of agents entering real estate have little or no sales training.

I understand, very clearly, that most real estate agents work on straight commission. No draw. No salary. No benefits. No unemployment checks. No closing. No income.

But no standardized sales training? I don’t get it.

Real estate sales as a sales career offers no standardized sales training, yet most of the agents coming into the business have no real sales experience of any kind and have never had to prospect for a living.

Many agents previously held good, high-paying jobs where they were highly respected, with occupations ranging from schoolteacher to airline pilot to engineer. But some would be hard-pressed to sell water to a thirsty man in the desert … with a two-for-one coupon.

Certainly, there must be concern within the ranks. But then again, after decades in use, there are still members of the National Association of Realtors who cannot properly pronounce the word "Realtor."

Hint: It’s not "Real-a-tors," and they are not in the "Real-i-tee" business. It’s "real-tor" and "real-ty."

Did you hear about the attorney who, after the closing and in front of those around the table, reportedly complimented the agent on being "the best ‘Realtress’ " he had encountered. She was not amused. It was not funny.

It seems to me a creative campaign could be fun and effective to not only help its membership learn how to pronounce Realtor correctly, but to help the public better understand why working with a Realtor is so critical. (Though, it should be noted that some Realtors do brand themselves as "Realtresses.")

NAR continues its undying effort to explain the difference between a Realtor and a common, everyday, licensed real estate agent who is not an association member.

So the non-NAR-member does not have accountability to the Realtor Code of Ethics, which may prevent access to the MLS in some markets, which, if he needed it, would force the non-member to become a member of the local association, whereby he would be immediately reclassified as one fit to do business with the public …?!

I don’t go to my doctor because he is a member of the American Medical Association.

And the only real reason I should work with a Realtor is in case an ethical issue arises? Even if the Realtor is brand new in the business and my trusted, non-Realtor broker friend has 25 years experience? That makes no sense to me.

A fundamental truth is that we make our living with the words we speak or don’t speak, and how we speak them. But ask yourself if you believe this and abide by it. Do you really, honestly believe this? If so, how’s your script training coming along?

Once I finally learned that the saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me," was a lie, I figured out that if I don’t learn how to prospect, and what to say when I get a prospect, my words could cost me a sales career.

I am a commission salesperson. I must prospect, learn how to build trust, establish needs, make a professional presentation, and resolve concerns — all of which require the right words at the right time, or I will not be successful.

In upcoming columns I’ll be discussing technology and how much it costs you — not in terms of "price" but in terms of lost time and sales.                             

If we are not careful, "technology" may become the next perceived reason our lack of production is not our own fault.

Now I am getting personal, so I’d better quit.

What’s your opinion?

A note from the author: Inman News offered the opportunity become a regular columnist, and to write about topics that would help real estate brokers and agents become more productive. Frankly, I am a little nervous.

To quote feature writer Saul Pett, on an assignment to write a feature story about feature writing: "I feel about as comfortable as a condemned man lecturing the firing squad on marksmanship, because everything I say can be held against me."

However, just as any good commission salesperson knows, how we feel does not matter. What matters is talking in terms of our prospect’s interest, not our own.

Why am I doing this? Because I like to write, and I enjoy challenging the status quo. Why should you read anything I write? I’m hoping you’re a fan of edgy opinions based on 35 years of experience by a broker who has survived five Florida recessions.

I can relate to your battles for security, balance and respect in the most difficult commission-based business in the world.

I write to help commission salespeople do the right things right. If they do so, the money will come.

David Fletcher has been a Florida real estate condominium and new homes broker for 30 years. He is the founder of New Homes Niche, a builder-certified co-broker training system designed to assist prospective short-sale buyers move into new homes. You can reach him by e-mail: davidf@newhomesniche.com.

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