New real estate agents don’t know what they don’t know, says Jeffrey Levine, broker associate and director of productivity at Keller Williams Realty Services in Boca Raton, Fla. He works with rookies day in and day out, and right now, it’s particularly rough, he says. Due to the lack of housing inventory, agents race to find properties for their buyers, put in a dozen offers that all get turned down, and work months and months with clients just to find the right property that they can get actually under contract.
On top of that, since the beginning of the pandemic, many new real estate licensees have appeared on the scene across the country to take their shot at earning a living in real estate. Many had been laid off from their previous jobs and saw it as a good time to get into the business, Levine says. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® ended 2020 with a net gain of 3.96% more members, bringing the total REALTOR® member count to 1,458,661, according to Quintin Simmons, NAR’s economics issues media manager.
Florida and other states offer online licensing courses and testing, which also made it an appealing career transition amid COVID-19, Levine says.
When it comes to training these new agents, Levine has developed five rules that he asks them to follow every day.
- Spending two to three hours on lead generation.
- Follow up with people in your sphere and clients you’ve done business with.
- Make appointments with clients and potential clients every day to stay connected.
- Perfect negotiations by being well prepared. “This is a skill-based market when you are competing against multiple offers. Make your client’s position known,” he says.
- Practice self-mastery. Agents must practice listening, responding to objections, and everything else that goes along with being a real estate agent. Role play every day.
In today’s competitive market, it’s essential that brokers provide training resources and support to their agents. The first thing Levine instructs new agents on is how to have deep conversations with their clients. When agents understand what their clients want, and how much buyers are willing to spend over the listing price, it puts them in the best position to make offers.
The sense of urgency has become real for agents, even the new ones, says Donna Bruno, sales instructor at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Pleasantville, N.Y. Listings are so few and far between that agents need to react quickly, she says.
New sales associates should see themselves as customer service representatives, Levine says, and the most important skills they should focus on building in today’s market are listening and negotiations.
Brokers should help agents master a buyer consultation, which is critical because it helps buyers understand the process, Bruno says. Their buyers need to learn what it will take to present their very best offer today. New agents also need to know their value proposition and be able to articulate why someone should hire them specifically, says Bruno.
“I’ve been an instructor a very long time,” she says. “It’s been amazing to see how agents are resilient—the long work hours are demanding during this unprecedented time.”
Agents also need to be trained on the systems they should have in place for marketing, nurturing leads, and follow up.
Be aware that some agents take a little more time to catch on and might need additional coaching, Levine says. But after many years of training agents, Levine admits that “some people are not coachable—just a few.” Brokers have to be willing to let agents go if it’s not the right fit.