In today’s virtual, work-from-home environment, agents are seeking training and coaching in entirely new ways. In August, we’re laser-focused on what defines good coaching today and how to get the most out of it.
Floyd Wickman started working as a real estate agent in the late ’60s, and moved on to create a robust coaching career through developing various training programs and hosting mini-seminars starting in 1979. However, when the National Do Not Call Registry came out in 1999, Wickman was faced with the difficult decision of selling his “Sweathogs” program, a training program built on cultivating clients through cold calls, which had gained quite a name for itself by then.
Mike Pallin was the first trainer to teach the Floyd Wickman “Sweathogs” training program. After 9/11, Wickman and Pallin got together to reinvent a coaching program for real estate agents and came up with the Floyd Wickman Team as it stands today. Pallin became president of the company in 2002 as Wickman transitioned into semi-retirement.
Inman recently spoke with Pallin about how he approaches coaching, and what tips he has to share. Here’s what he said.
Inman News: How did you get into coaching?
Mike Pallin: [Floyd Wickman] wanted speakers to teach, so that’s always been our forte, and one-on-one coaching has always [seemed more] like therapy to me.
In 2009, we were in Detroit, and we had a room full of people, and everyone’s freaking out about the economy and the real estate market. The question was, “How am I going to hit my goal?”
I told the audience how at the beginning of every program we put our students into teams and they share their numbers for the week with each other, and we used this interactive technique called “ask the experts.” I said if I can get eight people who are interested, I’ll get on the phone with you, we can share ideas, and anything you have a problem with, we’ll act like a mastermind group, and help each other.
I said we would meet for six months, and we’ll see what happens. And much to my surprise, 32 people joined.
So we formed four teams, and we tracked their progress toward their goal for six months. Team chemistry started building, and these relationships started building, and we started to rely on each other. When a group of people working in harmony put their minds together, they create a third mind — and that’s where our unique approach to coaching came from.
[Participants] go through in teams of eight all over North America. I’ve got a team that’s been together nine years now. They’re all over the place, so you get a real cross section of ideas, markets, perspectives and viewpoints. And if one person has a problem, someone else will solve it for them.
I’ve been at this for 11 years now. Every Friday I’m on calls, all day, so is Mary [Pallin’s wife and co-coach]. We have four other coaches.
Floyd [still] does specialized coaching himself, one-on-one for people who want to build their business, or for life coaching.
Our team coaching is a unique approach. We want every call, every hour to be interactive, and everyone gets a chance to participate.
We have an 11-year track record of 103 percent of goals achieved, on average. I’ve looked at the landscape out there, and it looks like people are paying $400 to $1,200 per month for coaching. I think that’s too expensive, especially today. So ours is $165 per month.
So, it sounds like your coaching format is primarily in small groups, is that correct?
There’s something magic about the number eight. When we teach the program, we do a role play that’s called “Circle of Eight.” And [participants] do a dialogue and hear it seven different ways from seven different people. In an hour’s time, every person gets to participate.
The coach’s job is to keep the flow, not steal the show. We’re not there to pontificate, we’re there to trouble shoot.
There’s a little alchemy there. We rearrange the teams every six months, but a lot of teams want to stick together. We try to get similar production and experience levels together on a team. But that’s not as important as the character or the willingness of people to be with the group.
If you’ve got people who are willing to give everything they have, then they always get what they need.
When you’re doing the mastermind group problem-solving technique, it all boils down to being mastermind. What you say is not as important as what thought you might strike in the mind of the person who asked the question.
There’s also a sharp focus on numbers. Floyd always said, “Mike, it’s numbers or it’s nothing.” If you’re not experiencing measurable progress toward a goal, it’s next to impossible [to track progress]. Everybody has a target, they have a specific goal.
What does a typical coaching session look like?
Everybody calls in or Zooms in and the first thing we do is each person reports their numbers for the week — leads, listing appointments, buyers appointments. Then they report their production numbers, and then we measure that against what their goal is and how far they have to go. Then it’s the coach’s job to call each person by name, and ask questions. “Do you have a technique to share with the group? Or a question you want to pose to the group and get advice on?”
Do you ever see recurring issues in your clients?
There’s maybe three major areas where the same problems continue to come up. The first is motivation. Being an independent contractor is not an easy thing. You have to be your own boss, you have to be your own motivator.
And with brokerages changing their models to an online, hands-off approach, motivation is up to the individual and most people are not all that money-motivated. Motivation has so many different flavors and hues. It’s a roller coaster. Commission sales is a difficult way of life and not everyone can thrive under those conditions. A lot of people this year are facing disappointment because the things they were looking forward to have been canceled, so you have to find substitutes.
Second is, “How do I compete against the tech giants, the discounters, the disintermediaters?” You know the people who want to blow up real estate. That’s why our focus is helping our students build a scaleable book of business … So they have a repeat, referral base service while still using prospecting of sources. So that’s the second thing.
The third problem is more dialogue than anything else: “What do I say in this situation?” That comes up every week. “How do I compete against that?” It’s not even the specific words, it’s what you accomplish with what you say.
There’s also, “How do I balance my career and my life?” Especially with mothers that’s a big juggle, so balance becomes really paramount. When you’re out of balance, it’s tougher to stay motivated.
If you could share one piece of advice with real estate agents, what would it be?
Focus every day and every way on building close personal relationships with your clients. That’s how you build a business, it’s how you stay competitive, and how you don’t have to reinvent yourself every January 1.
We all know the formula — it’s very simple. You learn what to do, you learn how to do it and you do it consistently. Real estate is not rocket science.
If you’re going to teach people selling skills, teach them character at the same time. Unless you have character, your selling skills will be short-lived. So work on your business, but at the same time work on yourself.
I want to express my gratitude to anyone who’s every been in our program and trusted us to keep them on track. I’m very grateful to those people, and there’s thousands and thousands of them. My No. 1 gratitude is to Floyd himself. He’s semi-retired, but years ago when he took me under his wing, he said, “I want to show you how to help people, how to be happy helping people.” He really gave me a purpose in life, and my purpose now is to preserve the legacy he’s given to me.