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The end of the year is an excellent time to take stock of your business, including collaborating with your agents to identify any knowledge and skills gaps that need to be filled.

Talented agents are arguably the best way to grow your business. It’s also easier to retain skilled agents if they know you’re supporting their efforts to excel.

Ask your agents about their learning priorities and discuss any areas that need attention. There are at least three ways to put more emphasis on education:

1. Offer mentorship programs.
John Crosby, a Massachusetts politician, once said, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction.” Who wouldn’t welcome a chance to hone their real estate skills with a trusted advisor?

New licensees, in particular, often want and need guidance from an experienced agent. A lack of mentoring opportunities may help explain the growing popularity of real estate teams, where everyone has assigned roles, and the team leader provides the guidance and “glue” that keeps the team working as a cohesive unit.

Brokers who offer mentoring opportunities can help agents quickly come up the learning curve and sharpen their skills in real-time. Also, think of mentoring as an insurance policy that helps ensure that your agents are doing things right.

If you can’t personally mentor your agents, consider offering programs that bring experienced and novice agents together.

2. Support professional real estate coaching.
For some agents, the best way to boost performance is by enlisting the services of an outside coach, such as those provided by Buffini & Company, among others. Before investing in these services, make sure the coaching goals align well with your brokerage.

Incidentally, for more evidence of the importance of coaching and mentorship, check out Engel & Völkers’ 2018 survey of residential agents, called The State of Real Estate Recruiting. When asked about pain points that might motivate a change, 67 percent of respondents said they do not receive one-on-one coaching or mentorship from their brokerage. Only two other issues had higher dissatisfaction ratings: lack of health insurance benefits and inadequate lead generation.

3. Offer training sessions.
When Baltimore broker Nakia Evans was promoted to office manager in 2017, she had only been a full-time agent for a year; however, her passionate work ethic and voracious appetite for knowledge helped her recruit 50 agents in her first year.

How? She developed an agent boot camp that teaches best-practice skills like time-blocking, business planning, and more.

To boost attendance, she actively promotes her boot camps and other educational programs on Eventbrite, Facebook and Instagram. A firm believer in education, Evans lives by the motto, “The more you learn, the more you earn.”

In-house training may require more time and effort than you’re able to muster. That’s one excellent reason to rely on the pros. Plus, many professional real estate courses also qualify for continuing education (CE) credit.

Consider providing financial support for agents and staff members who could benefit from sharpening their skills. There are many excellent options, including training in marketing strategy and lead generation, pricing, negotiation, and more. (Visit training4re.com for a complete list of course offerings from NAR’s Center for Specialized REALTOR® Education.)

When it comes to helping your agents excel in their work with buyers, it should come as no surprise that I strongly recommend the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) training. Learn more at REBAC.net/abr.

Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, visit REBAC.net.

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