Team Building

Problems With Training Today

In talking to real estate Brokers, owners, and executives, I hear this comment frequently, “My agents don’t come to training.” There are a number of reasons why it’s never been more challenging to drive attendance. The agents might feel the internal training is not as valuable. That is either just a perception or could be reality. I have reviewed a number of large international brands’ training courses and there is a high percentage of them that are lacking in instructional design, organization, and content quality.

Let’s assume that the content and value are high for your company’s training, but you still are lacking the attendance numbers you desire. The problem is most likely in the delivery methods of the training. Quality training and skill improvement programs can be segmented into three categories:

  1. Synchronous
  2. Asynchronous
  3. Blended Learning

 

Better than 90% of all training conducted in the real estate industry, whether internal in companies or external providers, is synchronous training. Synchronous training is defined as classes or courses that require the students or learners to be present at the same time as the instructors. The training happens in the exact same hour. Frequently, the synchronous training requires the same location as well. Because most agents’ businesses have shifted to almost 24/7 days due to the technology advancement and open access, some agents plan to attend and then have an emergency come up or become side tracked. Those agents tend to miss your offerings of training. Creating the ability for the synchronous training to be accessible, live without being present in the office, can open doors to agents. Using a live, virtual classroom can increase attendance numbers and participation. Through the proper instructional design, the training can be interactive, fast paced, skill improvement oriented, and fun.

At Real Estate Champions we have done more than 5,000 training sessions in our live, virtual classroom. We have done more than any company in the real estate industry. As good as a live, virtual classroom can be, it’s still synchronous training. Less than 4% of all real estate companies are offering quality asynchronous learning. Asynchronous allows the learner to take a training program or course on their own schedule. Quality asynchronous courses include engagement, feedback loops, contribution and collaboration strategies to create both individual and group learning.  They incorporate scenario learning, gamification, and quizzes.

In today’s learning environment, it is imperative to offer both avenues of learning in the creation of a blended learning environment. The blended learning where there is a clear marriage of synchronous and asynchronous in the design phase of development of the learning is the secret sauce. It’s moving out of the event or “brain dump of information” into spaced or incremental learning. It creates opportunities to implement new technologies and skill sets where agents can at times work independently based on their timeframe, but report results at intervals in the synchronous segments of the blended learning design.

The barrier for most companies, especially smaller companies, is the high cost of development of asynchronous training. Most Brokers and companies can design and deliver synchronous well enough.

It’s when they are faced with building new content, hiring a skilled instructional designer, video production, post-production, integration of games, scenario learning, quizzes and measurement metrics, that’s where the budget can go off the rails.

Companies must create asynchronous and blended learning for their agents. The millennial agents that all brokerages are working to recruit are demanding it. They are natives to online learning. The next generation of agent expects quality, accessible online training and education.

If you are recognizing a donut hole in your training, let me suggest the first step to fixing the issue is awareness. If you understand that your offerings are in one category, synchronous, you know a problem exists. If you want to explore a few solutions to broaden your training offerings into the asynchronous or blended learning categories, I am sure a quick discussion would be in order.

If you would like to understand the ins and outs at a deeper level of asynchronous and blended learning, click on this video link so we can provide you additional guidance in your development of your learning and skill development programming to recruit, retain, and improve your agent’s performance.

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Real Estate Industry Caught Behind the Learning Curve

The real estate industry and how we develop our most important resource, our salespeople, is archaic. The learning and performance improvement methodologies are stuck in the 70’s. Most real estate companies and outside subject matters experts (SME) are still caught in delivery methods that have proven to be less effective. It reminds me of my good friend Zig Ziglar’s classic story:

A little boy asks his mother as they are preparing a holiday meal why she cuts off the ends of the ham. She says, “I don’t know. My mother always did it this way.” Now this four-year-old boy said, “Let’s call Grandma right now and find out.” So they call Grandma and ask why she always cut the ends off the ham. Her reply: Her roaster was too small!

It’s easy to design and deliver the wrong training solution because “we have always done it that way”.   Successful training programs for sales force development are instructionally designed differently in today’s information and mobile agent age. Yet they still must utilize these 5 core principles for success.

1. Incremental:

Personal development, personal and career growth, success, progress and potential concepts. Coach (human resources officer, supervisor) help employee with his growth symbolized by stairs.

Any successful sales enhancement or skill building process is not an event. An event is defined as a one time or even multiple-time training opportunity but delivered in a short duration of time. The attendance live at a 3 consecutive day training program is still an event. This process immerses the learner in a volume of information beyond what can be retained. There is value to events from a motivational, community building, and best practices sharing. They fall short when the intended outcome is in skill development or sales force development. It’s the incorrect instructional design to create learning and new skill development and implementation.

Incremental instructional design is where the learning is spaced out. The salesperson has the opportunity to try strategies, techniques and new skills. Then come back with questions and feedback. If they encounter challenges it creates a vastly better salesperson in skill, strategy, mindset, and execution. The volume of information and skill is not delivered in a one day to multi-day consecutive brain dump event format.

2. Activity Based:

Training and skill improvement, especially in sales, must align with activities. Without activity as the basis for the training and improvement, we are creating professional learners. In a sales based business as real estate, we want to create professional doers. We want to create a culture of learning within our organizations. That learning must connect to action or new actions.

It’s not entirely a salesperson’s fault for not taking action on what they have learned. They leave the typical training program and are inundated with the pile up of email, text and servicing people that was not done for the last few hours or days. The biggest reason is in the instructional design of the training process. In the design process did the creator or speaker:

  1. Create specific activities for the salespeople to do?
  2. What’s the exact order of the steps so a system can be created?
  3. Were those activities aligned with the training?
  4. Do the agents understand the results to expect? How long does it take those results to be realized?
  5. What benefits will the salesperson receive from the activities?
  6. How will success be measured? These need to be set, taught, confirmed then evaluated for success to be ongoing.

 

3. Accountability:

iStock_000078317931_Medium

In the process of performance improvement, accountability is a buzz word. Most salespeople, when you say accountability, they get the mental image of a drill sergeant. Most people don’t actually respond favorably to that type of external motivation; with someone in their grill yelling at them to make another call or to get their sales up. They don’t seek out training opportunities where they might be exposed or embarrassed.

Drill Sgt

In many of our live, virtual classroom programs, we create accountability models and systems. We are very clear in the 1st session how accountability is defined in an adult learning environment. We assure them that the drill sergeant model is not the right style for anything other than an 18-year-old going through basic training in the military. That doesn’t mean there is no accountability; far from it.

Because we have done more than 5,000 training sessions in our live, virtual classroom (yes, you read that correctly. More than 5,000 in the last few years alone). We understand that when performance is measured, performance will improve. When you measure and report performance, performance will improve faster. Accountability is about reporting. The rejection to accountability in many salespeople is based on over-reporting; the requirement of too much tracking of numbers. One of the keys to accountability is to connect sales success in your company to less than a half dozen numbers at the introduction of accountability. When you go from zero tracking to 20 number tracking, you will lose most salespeople. They will reject all this extra work. They feel that tracking is a waste of time until you can tie in analyzing the ratios. The ability to teach them their repeating pattern of success is illuminating.

4. Recognition:

Good job written on a memo at the office

The largest portion of salespeople work hardest for recognition. They want to be recognized as an elite top performer. They want their manager’s recognition, both in sales and service success. They want recognition when they complete training or acquire or demonstrate new skills. What are you doing to recognize all your agents’ contributions?

Because of the more mobile enabled sales force in the last few years in real estate, a sales force meets less frequently in groups or one-on-one with their managers. The recognition opportunities have been reduced. Designing recognition opportunities pre, post, and during training programs is essential for motivation and retention of your sales force. Most people need a 5 to 1 ratio of positive recognition and feedback to negative or corrective feedback. Are you giving recognition enough to your salespeople?

5. Sense of Completion:

Horizontal portrait of a confident businesswoman smiling at the camera with arms crossed

To increase self-worth and self-confidence in a salesperson, they have to feel a sense of accomplishment and completion. As a salesperson’s confidence goes up, their competence goes up in direct proportion. While we want a training culture or continuous improvement culture, we must design completion moments, stages, or levels in our training curriculum.

When you are progressing through a university learning experience to achieve your degree, you take classes in a progression from 101, 201, 301, 401. At each completed course, or even section of courses, as the student you feel a sense of accomplishment because you have moved beyond the 201 courses to the 301 courses.

With the right instructional design in courses and curriculum, your sales force will receive both recognition and a sense of completion. This outcome creates learning implementation and skill based momentum. It fires up the desire for your salespeople to move on in their skill development journey. It refines skills in your agents far beyond what the typical motivational speaker, trainer, or subject matter expert (SME) can design or deliver. When a program incorporates these five elements, it moves the needle significantly in the sales force development area.

Most companies lack the expert knowledge in instructional design to be able to incorporate all five in their training programs design phrase. Unless you incorporate the help of an outside expert, you might only be able to address one of these areas at a time. If that’s the case, then which of the five is first? Which is the largest bottle neck to improving your training systems, strategies, or methodologies? Create an order based on your newfound knowledge. Before you do another thing, rank these 1-5 for your company. Then what can you do this week to bring your #1 issue more in alignment? Success is in the progression or movement…its activity based. We need to create the incremental, activity based, accountability model. Where agents are rewarded with recognition and a sense of completion.

At Real Estate Champions we’ve delivered over 5,000 sessions in our Live Virtual Training classrooms, and from that success we’ve developed a new system that excels in these 5 core areas.

If you want to discover how it will be a true game-changer for raising the sales and performance of your agents, click on the link below to watch the video and get a free backstage pass to the system:

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BUSINESS VISION . . . IS WHERE IT ALL STARTS

Being able to establish a business vision for your company separates you from the other agents who are in real estate. When building a team, you must pause and work to define your business vision. Enduring, successful people and successful companies establish their core values and core purpose. They then remain fixed on those core values and purpose throughout their business life. The changing elements are their business strategy and tactics due to the marketplace changes and competition influences.

Successful people and companies know that it is critically important to know who you are and what you stand for. In many cases, knowing who you are, as a team, will be more important than where you are going. We all will change and adapt as our world changes and adapts. This change is inevitable. The only part about change that is in question is whether it will be evolution or revolution.

Evolution is defined by Webster as: A process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage).  We want to engage in the small, gradual movement or change over a period of time. This type of change only comes from clarity of values and purpose. More effort, energy, and resources can be used to increase success, sales, and production in an evolutionary mode, rather than a revolutionary mode.

Revolution is defined by Webster as: A drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.  The change in revolution is more violent, sudden, and potentially damaging. The vast majority of resources will be used to keep up with the revolution at hand or trying to get out of the revolutionary process. The stress level is significantly higher, and the probability of success is much lower in revolution. By having well-defined core values and core purpose, you can avoid the forces of revolution more effectively.

There has been a prevailing thought for sometime on the value of mission statements. The thought is that you have to build a mission statement for your team. When I ask many experts why they have that view, their answers are less than stellar: “Because good companies have them”; “You just do”; “Your people need something to guide them.” There are a host of others that I have heard regularly.

I have personally coached hundreds of the most successful agents in the last fifteen years. I always ask if they have a mission statement. When they say “oh yes”, I ask them what it is. The phone always goes dead silent. Then you have this rustling of papers as they try to find the document that has their mission statement on it. Once they can’t find it, they try to recite from memory some garbled version of it.

I personally feel that mission statements have little value, and we should abolish their use. Most small business owners’ (like real estate agents) mission statements are treated as something you have to have or do, but you don’t know why you have to have it or do it. The most common practice of building a mission statement for small business owners is to scalp what they like from a large company, like Nordstrom if you have a service mentality or Nike if you like competition or Wal-Mart if you want to serve the ordinary or disadvantaged consumer.

We aren’t building it from within our own views, tenets, and principles of excellence in life and business. For most, we are building the mission statement based on what sounds good, looks good on a brochure or marketing piece, or is made up of the components that another successful company articulates in their mission statement. My best advice is to scrap the whole exercise and start focusing on what you stand for.

What do you stand for?

We can’t look for what we stand for in others. We have to discover it in ourselves. It is not outside in the world around you; it is in your inner world, in your mind and heart. In order for what you stand for to be authentic, you have to search for it. You aren’t asking yourself what you should stand for; you are asking yourself what you passionately stand for.

Let me share with you an example of what I mean. At Real Estate Champions, we stand for hard work and continuous self-improvement. We believe passionately that the quest of self-improvement, both personally and professionally, is one of the noblest callings in life. I personally toil long hours weekly in the quest of self-improvement and building tools, training systems, scripts, materials, strategies, tactics, theories, coaching – the list is endless. I spend additional hours reading, writing, praying, and listening to podcasts to keep my personal development in high gear. I have other people on my team, as well, who contribute to this effort.

There is no one in the real estate field who has produced more quality systems, tools, strategies, skill improvement, and business master systems in the last fifteen years than we have at Real Estate Champions. You can pick any name, speaker, trainer, or coach, and most are still selling the same material they were ten years ago! We have 15 distinctly different coaching programs, over fifty different training programs and audio CDs, DVD training, internet subscription-based training, and ten books written on sales success. We don’t do it because it’s good business; we create new intellectual property and deliver it in many different ways because it’s what we stand for. It is born out of my personal core values and beliefs.

We passionately believe that we need to engage in our own journey of personal self-improvement to impact the world. Once we take on that challenge, we will be able to impact the world around us.

What do you stand for?

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