- New agents need a structured onboarding process, and millennials especially value authenticity and education.
- Contract and transaction training are integral to an agent's success.
With the pre-licensing class and the state real estate exam behind them, most newly minted real estate agents believe they are ready for prime time — when nothing could be further from the truth.
The pre-licensing class was just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, the pre-licensing class provides little, if any, education on what it takes to be a real estate agent, let alone a successful real estate agent.
Success is expected
After having a successful career in the corporate world, many agents naturally have the expectation they will be successful. The only thing standing between them and success is training.
The issue with real estate, though, is that much training is on-the-job. Every transaction is different, and transactions don’t happen in an A-to-Z sequence.
This is why onboarding is critical.
Realtors have a high failure rate
Major corporations have had onboarding procedures in place for decades, yet structured onboarding is a relatively new concept in real estate.
A great onboarding process can help eliminate — or at least minimize — the number of agents who drop out of the industry because they couldn’t figure out how to be successful.
It can also minimize that “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing” feeling that so many new agents experience.
Millennials becoming agents
Think back to when you were a new agent. In hindsight, do you wish you were better prepared for the job?
The 2016 NAR Member Profile study showed that 5 percent of its members were under 30. Although this may seem like a small number, it was only 2 percent in 2015.
Millennials will soon be a larger generation than baby boomers. It’s not unreasonable to think there will be an increased number of millennials entering real estate. A clear path to success, which onboarding provides, is valued by millennials.
My top 5
New agents — and agents who have been in the business for a while, but haven’t achieved the level of success they were looking for — need to search for a broker who will offer systems and support that enables agents to achieve their goals.
Here are my top 5 onboarding qualities agents need to look for when shopping for a broker.
1. Awesome staff
It sounds crazy to put this first, but it’s critical to have an awesome staff that will support the agents.
Many times the staff has more interaction with agents than the managing broker.
New agents don’t know how a real estate transaction works, let alone how the systems in the office work, so they will be asking a lot of questions. They may even ask the same questions a few times. Have a staff that is patient, caring and makes agents feel comfortable asking for assistance.
New agents are inundated with information, much of which has no context; a helpful and friendly staffer can help ease their anxiety.
2. A road map
Just like agents need to manage the expectations of their clients, the broker needs to manage the expectations of their agents.
Let agents know what they will learn during the onboarding process. Remember, they don’t know what they don’t know, so they need to be told.
Give them a list of activities they should be doing for at least their first 30 days or six weeks — and be specific. Include everything from ordering business cards to what they should know about the neighborhoods in your market to additional training opportunities available in the office.
Help them visualize how they can be successful by affiliating with your office.
3. Contract training
Although we are “only” real estate agents, the contract is a legal, binding document and can be intimidating with all of its terminology.
In many jurisdictions, the sales contract is the foundation of the transaction. Agents need to understand everything that is in the contract so they can represent their client well.
Reviewing and learning the terms of the contract inside and out will build agents’ confidence. Plus, they will have a better understanding of the contract when it comes time to explain it to their client.
4. Transaction training
Transaction training is critical for new agents and should begin as soon as they become affiliated with the broker.
If the broker doesn’t offer this type of training, they need to contract it out or have a list of preferred trainers so the agent can understand what actually happens during a real estate transaction.
Their pre-licensing class taught them the legalities of being an agent, with very little focus on what they need to know to have a smooth transaction. Again: They don’t know what they don’t know.
Being a real estate agent is much more than showing a few houses, writing an offer and going to closing.
5. Back up
Whether it’s the broker, the manager, a mentor or a coach, the agent needs some back up. Someone they can count on to be there when they have a “stupid” question, when they need help writing an offer or when they need assistance with negotiating an offer.
The back up needs to be dependable and responsive because issues arise at the most inconvenient times.
According to a 2015 study conducted by Forbes Business and Elite Daily, millennials value authenticity and education, but first they have to trust a company. With a structured onboarding process, brokers can show new agents and millennials the value they add through systems and education.
Actions speak louder than words — show the agents that you genuinely want them to succeed by giving them the guidance and support they need.
Candy Miles Crocker is the founder of Real Life Real Estate Training. She is a firm believer in managing expectations and her goal is to elevate the perception of real estate agents among the general public through education. Candy is also an active Realtor in Washington, D.C., and holds licenses in three jurisdictions.