Real Estate Industry Caught Behind the Learning CurveDirk Zeller
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.
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:
- Create specific activities for the salespeople to do?
- What’s the exact order of the steps so a system can be created?
- Were those activities aligned with the training?
- Do the agents understand the results to expect? How long does it take those results to be realized?
- What benefits will the salesperson receive from the activities?
- How will success be measured? These need to be set, taught, confirmed then evaluated for success to be ongoing.
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.
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.
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:
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: