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Many real estate professionals have graduated from the “school of hard knocks” or some form of “OJT,” on the job training, with a trail of successes and failures and a string of transient mentors along the way, months or even years after they have obtained their real estate license.

For better or for worse, this is often the industry learning experience of those entrusted with guiding clients through the largest financial transaction most people make in a lifetime. Sadly, we tend to be a profession that doesn’t always value lifelong learning or continual improvement through practice.

When we take a look at other professionals, such as commercial airline pilots, surgeons, attorneys or even professional athletes, we expect that while they have obtained some practical experience on the job, they have also received a lot of formal education, practice and training before they successfully face real-life scenarios. For example, an Olympic athlete will tell you that the average in-shape person could not even survive a professional athlete’s warm-up routine.

A cockpit, operating room, courtroom or ski slopes are certainly ideal places to demonstrate one’s expertise, especially when there are high stakes at hand. But, they aren’t necessarily the ideal settings to learn and practice something new. Practicing can make all the difference.

We don’t often give ourselves the time and opportunity to practice our craft. When we make the time for professional development, it’s often in the form of compulsory continuing education classes or a twice-a-month sales meeting that we think will give us enough. While these activities will certainly satisfy basic requirements, does it lead to increased competency, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and a better bottom line over time?

Many real estate professionals will budget for marketing, office supplies and professional dues, but neglect to budget for opportunities to get out of their comfort zones and seek out formal education and training to practice their craft.

Here’s the takeaway:

Practice leads to proficiency. Even the most competent among us can always learn something new. Sometimes, all we need are one or two nuggets of information or a tweak of our dialogue to make all the difference in the way we deliver an effective listing presentation, secure an appointment, overcome objections and negotiate to win. All it takes is some practice. Give yourself the time and opportunity to practice your craft and you will be making the greatest investment toward increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, and a better bottom line.

“If you understand everything, you must be misinformed.” – Japanese proverb

As lead academy trainer, Ann Reneé is responsible for delivering successful training and education for Engel & Völkers Advisors in North America.

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