How to fix new-agent onboarding

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Nearly 500 agents, brokers, and other industry professionals weigh in on what helps retain new agents.

Majority of this content was re-published from Inman.com. Read the full article here.

New agents are still a long way from receiving the support and training they need to thrive in real estate.

That’s what we learned from 482 agents, brokers and other industry professionals who took our survey between Wednesday, April 13, and Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

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Even the most highly rated training-centric franchises are too busy or don’t feel it’s in their best interests to give rookies the one-on-one hand-holding experience that these beginners really need in the first year.

In order to help new agents thrive, brokers need to step up and give their new agents more help with lead generation, our research found, with 37.55 percent of respondents believing this was the most important area to work on for ongoing training and 47 percent believing it was a priority in initial training.

For their part, newcomers to the industry have to switch off the real estate reality television and be ready to hit the ground running with a wide sphere of influence. Before entering the industry, they should do their research on the brokerages in the local area that suit them best and make sure those brokerages can substantiate their training claims, said respondents. They should also plan on continuing education to stay up-to-date on real estate topics and challenges in the industry.

Here are some highlights from the survey:

Lead generation ranked ‘most challenging’ part of business for new agents

A broker of more than 10 years whose annual production is more than $10 million expressed it well: “We are in the lead-generation business. We get to sell real estate when we have clients. Develop a healthy lead gen system and stick with it. If you can do that, you’ll always fall forward when you stumble.

Many respondents suggested an industry apprenticeship/internship program — asking younger agents to “earn their wings” before being trusted with a transaction of their own.

“New agents need to be treated as new agents and they need to earn their wings in the business by working as sub-agents to larger agents or be trained and under supervision for more than a couple transactions,” said one senior broker. “Real estate is a business that needs to be learned by experience and time, it takes more than a few months to master real estate sales and clients.”

Other challenges in the first few years:

According to the survey, after lead generation (61.62 percent), the challenges noted were:

  • Managing transactions (11.62 percent)
  • Marketing (6.43 percent)
  • Managing clients (5.81 percent)

New agents often fail in the business because they're not prepared for the realities of working as an independent contractor.

More than three-quarters of respondents (77.39 percent) said that new agents fail at least in part because they are unprepared for the realities of working as an independent contractor.

The next most-popular reasons cited for new agent failure were unrealistic job expectations (73.65 percent) and insufficient brokerage training (58.09 percent.) Insufficient brokerage supervision (48.34 percent) and low barriers to entry (47.10 percent) round out the top 5 reasons respondents gave for agents leaving the business.

Newcomers to the industry are not doing their homework before they plunge in. Suggested one seasoned broker: “Before actually becoming an agent, find someone or a broker that can outline what it takes to succeed in this business before spending money on pre-license and licensing to become an agent. The pre-licensing education is solely designed to help students pass a test. Training needs to focus on the job of being a real estate agent. Pre-licensing training should be in the form of tech school training so that the student is prepared to sell real estate when they graduate."

Another successful agent agreed: “They come out of licensing class with no knowledge of the day-to-day workings of real estate. Most have never even seen a contract, much less how to explain the legalities to their clients. That training falls on the brokerage, and suffice to say many are missing the boat on training.”

Meanwhile, new agents should not expect their early training to prepare them for the first tough years, said respondents.

“I don’t think the initial training prepares agents for the real job and costs associated with being an agent. There needs to be an orientation class that shows the real skills, time, quality of life, fiscal costs and other resource costs required to be successful,” said one agent.

New agents need quality onboarding to be setup for success.

Survey respondents felt that brokers who want to provide good training should focus on helping agents first with lead generation, then transaction management, time management and customer service.

There is more work to be done, said an agent of four years: “There is lots of excellent information — it is just not well coordinated to what we need most when we start.“We need context and hands-on training, not reading books, watching videos and discussing philosophical issues. Right now I need to know how to write a good contract for my client, make sure everything is legal and be able to negotiate in their best interest.”

What resources should brokers provide to help agents thrive? A majority of respondents listed the following as their top six:

  • Giving new agents a mentor (87.34 percent)
  • Providing new agents with coaching (84.23 percent)
  • Equipping new agents with technology training (60.79 percent)
  • Providing customer-service training (59.54 percent)
  • Providing marketing/social media training (58.71 percent)
  • Placing new agents on teams (50.62 percent)

A successful new agent from one of the big firms had no doubts of the value in mentoring: “Training and support — the companies that do this well also have very high splits. I honestly feel that if you had a successful mentor that this would be as good, if not better.”

Agents are least likely to fail when they are trained and mentored by brokers and other real estate professionals.

“New agents come into the industry because real estate is ‘sexy.’ When they aren’t given proper training, guidance and advice, they float around in the wind for a while and then they either get it or they don’t. I believe it’s imperative for the industry managers, leaders and brokers to shape and guide agents. If a new agent doesn’t have the skill set to succeed, it’s better to have the uncomfortable conversation early on rather than let them burn out.”

Advice for the new agent wondering what to do next

“Plan to spend the first year getting an education rather than making a living. Line yourself up with a mentor or team that will help you develop the skills needed to be successful,” advised an experienced top producer.

And if agents are to survive after two years — and only 10 to 20 percent will, according to Jay Niblick of WizeHire — these beginner agents need to get on top of lead generation as soon as they can. This can be done in a variety of ways, whether it is by joining an inclusive team, buying a book of business, or just grinding out the work and making calls every day.

Inman conducted the survey between April 13 and 19, 2016. It received 482 completed responses, 272 from agents, 130 from brokers and 80 from respondents who identified themselves as “other.” Of the respondents, 15.98 percent have worked in real estate for less than 1 year, and 45.85 percent have worked in real estate for more than 10 years.

Majority of this content was re-published from Inman.com. Read the full article here.

 

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