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Why Your Training Isn’t Working—and What to Do

Aug 15, 2010

Posted by

Carla Cross

About Carla Cross, CRB, MA                           Read more

Whether you provided training or not when the market was great may not have seemed to make much difference. Buyers wanted to buy and sellers could sell -- at their prices. And, if your training wasn’t really effective, you didn’t know, because your agents were selling houses!

Now, in virtually all parts of the country, the markets have shifted. Not only do you have to train --  your training had better be getting results. From my years working with companies and their training programs, I know that most real estate training has very small pay-offs. But, it can have large ones. Truly successful companies spend a good deal of their budgets on training -- not just to recruit employees, but to make a difference in that bottom line.

Stop thinking about training as a necessary evil, or as just a recruiting tool, and get into today’s business world of training whose objective is to raise productivity.

Five Major Mistakes And Corresponding Remedies

1.)  "Talking" and calling it training just won’t cut it when you have low production. Remember, people today have a 30-second attention span. You’d better use other delivery methods to teach, so agents and trainees really learn. (Task force, case study, role play, action plan, for example).

RemedyBecoming an effective trainer requires mastering several specific training skills. Take a “Train the Trainer” course. Then, take three more from different master trainers. Decide that you want to master facilitation then you’ll have the power tools you need to turn your mere "talking" into genuine training. Or, to cut your learning and preparation time, purchase a training program with a facilitator guide to tell you the effective training method for what you’re teaching at that time.

2.)  Using your old materials and old information just isn’t believable today.

I see training programs cobbled together with five different trainers’ scripts. I hear information shared that hasn’t been current since hula hoops. When I do, it's obvious to me that training isn’t very important to that broker -- probably because the broker has no real belief that training will get her more production.

Remedy:  Update your training materials and training methods to deal with today’s practices and consumer demands.

3.)  Being a “nice” supportive trainer just isn’t enough today.

The market isn’t nice; the consumers aren’t easy; the challenges are much greater than ever before. You’d better get as tough with your agents or trainees as the market and consumers demand.

Remedy:  Don’t do any training without accountability built in. You need to see that the agents or trainees takes action. Make the student do something to get into your class, perform meaningful actions to stay in your class, and complete meaningful actions to get out of your class. Remember, you’re training to real life, and real life has consequences.

4.)  Training as though the consumer is "dumb."

No wonder trainees and agents don’t like most training. It’s boring. It’s not “real life.” It’s simplistic. It doesn’t teach them to work with today’s demanding consumers.

Remedy:  Your training should teach your class to think. Repeat: To think for themselves. It should provide the foundations for systems and processes. It should be built with basic skills leading to more complex skills, processes, and systems.

5.)  On-demand video will not solve your production problems.

Many large franchises are providing video on-demand training. Brokers may be relieved that this is going to take training off their plates. I wish. Unfortunately, video training can provide very limited production results. Why? Because people don’t learn much by watching video. Yes, they learn a little. They observe someone else doing something; they get information. But, they don’t have to take action. You and I know we learn by doing. To be effective, training must get your agents into action, performing -- in the classroom.

Remedy:  Use video as a support to the kind of training that gets results. Results-based training is face-to-face, uses a skilled facilitator, has high accountability, high interaction, and includes action plans in the field. Remember, you are training your agents to act competently with those tough consumers -- not just to hear information.

Remember, There's Competition Out There For Your Agents

I know many brokers are adapting these methods today, because I work with them across the country. They are presenting contemporary content, using up-to-date training methods, and are coupling training with coaching accountability for measurable results. They have created an exceptional recruiting tool -- as well as a productivity tool. When you’re ready to get results from your training, you’ll be ready to treat your training like the powerful tool it really can be.