Zeroing in on skills development and action are the most effective ways to ensure your brokerage or team stays productive during a down market, Verl Workman said Tuesday at Inman Connect Las Vegas.

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Lisa — the imaginary agent whom real estate coach Verl Workman summoned for illustrative purposes during his presentation at Inman Connect Las Vegas on Tuesday — got into real estate around 2017 and started off making a killing.

The fictional agent started off strong, making $100,000 her first year and $250,000, eventually convincing her husband to quit his job and come work with her by her third year.

But by 2019, cracks had begun to form in her business’ facade, and by 2021 she was looking to join a team, because her income had dropped sharply and her husband had given up on real estate and left to find another job. By 2022 and 2023 Lisa is thinking about finding a new job herself.

While Lisa’s story is made up, it’s reflective of far too many real estate professionals who entered the business during a boom cycle and were unable to form the skills needed to make sales when the market was challenging, according to Workman.

“If you could fog a mirror in real estate in the last four, five years you could sell houses. If you had a great attitude and you had some integrity and you had a good connection ability, you could sell houses,” he said. “Lisa had all of those things and she did just fine. But all of a sudden business has changed and she has to go back into skills.”

According to Workman, zeroing in on skills development and action are the most effective ways to ensure your brokerage or team stays productive during a down market.

The challenge lies in moving from an “action” based market — one full of activity — to a “skills” based market — one where agents have to work to generate business — is that there’s very little in the way of effective skills-based training offered to real estate agents that actually teaches them how to sell houses, Workman argued.

“As brokers and owners and as team leaders we have a great opportunity right now to recognize what’s going on in the marketplace and change the way we develop our people,” he said.

Workman pointed out that it took him just ten days to obtain his real estate license over 25 years ago. At the same time, he observed his sister-in-law studying for a year-and-a-half to obtain her beautician’s license.

“What is wrong with this picture?” he said.

Workman presented a picture of the average agent as being moderately skilled and a moderate planner but faced with low action, forcing them into what he called the “void” of fake work that eats up time.

“It’s the pretending of busyness that doesn’t actually do anything that moves you closer to your goal,” he said. “Fake work is when we have leaders that are doing $20-an-hour activities instead of focusing on activities that are real money-making activities. It’s the pretending of busy without doing anything.”

Doing so represents a lack of integrity — presuming that integrity is defined as doing everything in your power to be the best provider you can be for the people who depend on you, according to Workman, the founder of Workman Success Systems.

“Integrity happens when you do everything you can to move the needle financially, and I think the average agent doesn’t know how to do it,” he said. “They don’t mean to lack integrity, but they don’t know what to do because they lack skills.”

The solution? It’s up to leaders to make sure the people working for them have the skills they need to be successful in all varieties of markets, Workman said.

“If we want to increase production, we have to develop people at a much higher level, we have to do skills development,” he said.

Email Ben Verde

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