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Three Realtors tell what works best in choosing the right sales-driving education

By Kayla O'Brien

RISMEDIA, Feb 12, 2007-Mentor. Coach. Trainer. Although one job has many names, they all strive toward one mutual goal: to accelerate your business plan by way of a structured guidance system. Training brings associates together, ensuring productivity and seamless service, but with today's changing market, Realtors have a variety of methods at their fingertips. So, which method works best-in-house training programs or outside training coaches?

What works best for your company-in-house training programs or working with outside training companies or coaches?

Annette Davis, Prudential Georgia Realty: Realtors, regardless of time in the business, can never have too much training. In-house training is good primarily to keep an agent aware the philosophies and ethics of the company. It allows agents to see what the company is offering. Outside training and working with a coach helps refine your business and keeps you on track. A coach gives you insight that will help you work better with your clients. The coach looks at your profile from an objective viewpoint and gives you objectives to work toward that as an individual you may be unaware of.

Jay Kinder, Coldwell Banker, Crossroads Realtors: For us, in-house training works because II have always been trained by outside coaches, bought the tapes, etc. but when you have an outside coach they don't take it to heart that it's the way it should be done in your particular business. For me, I do the training myself. I show them how I do it. You get a better buy-in from your team of the strategy you're recommending. It's hard to be a good leader if you're not doing what you're teaching.

Rosie Poree-Hogin, ERA Pacific Properties: We prefer in-house training. We use the ERA Acceleration Course. We are able to have a more "hands on" approach working with the agents. New agents work at different levels and at different speeds with the in-house training we are able to customize the training.

How do you track return on investment from training?

AD: If you track your numbers by the month or quarter, etc. year to year, you can identify peaks and valleys. Those peaks generally follow either a class or seminar that gave you a new point to follow or energized you to speed up your business. When your business falls off, you may think you cannot afford the additional expense of training, when in fact, this is the time to do more training and get new energy or techniques to go forward. In the coaching program, we are taught to track numbers and define success by the number of referrals we get from our current clients.

JK: The more face-to-face appointments you make, the more likely you are to make a sell. We track the number of contacts, phone calls, and personal visits made, which leads to the number of appointments you get. For every call you make, you set a certain number of appointments, and for every appointment you make, you will sell or list a home. We understand it's a numbers game. The people who are successful are those making calls and tracking numbers. We have an unbelievably awesome team, we all work together so well towards the same goals.

RH: During the training if the agents do all of the homework, and everything we ask, he or she should have a transaction (either a listing or open escrow) during the training period. Agent production is the easiest way to track our return on our investment of time and energy.

What's the best idea/tip/strategy you've received from a coach or training program?

AD: The best thing I have been turned on to in the last three years by my coach, Darrin Jackson from Buffini and Company, is having a business and personal budget and business plan every year. We set goals, both long and short, to work toward to achieve success in all parts of our life, which if you really work toward them, you will achieve success. There are many tips passed to us by our coaches as to books to read, tapes to listen to, Pop-By gift ideas, time management techniques, client party ideas, and the list goes on.

JK: We generate tons of leads from our Web site, but our team recently really looked at how long it takes to call back a lead. The way I look at it, you wouldn't show up for a job interview six hours late and expect to get the job. Web Agent Solutions provides coaches when you buy a site, so they recommended text message alerts. We get notified via text message, converting a higher percentage of leads. About 50% of prospects expect a response within 30 minutes and with the average agent taking six hours to respond, they're not converting. We're notified immediately that a buyer wants information, so we call them while they're still online looking at the listing. It makes a huge difference in the conversion rate.

RH: Make the agents accountable. If the agent is not going to do the homework or what we ask during the training, then they are wasting our time, the other agent's time, and their time.