“[Governing bodies] teach [agents] very little practical application in real estate,” says Kevin Stanley, a 29-year veteran and the director of knowledge and education at Century 21. “[Agents] end up licensed with no real estate skills. It’s our responsibility as a franchise to provide them with the training and guidance necessary to be successful. And it is the agent’s responsibility to be responsible for their business and to take the training.”
Indeed, training has taken on a new importance for rookie agents who are forced to use it as a substitute for the real-world experience of a more active market. In that regard, a big part of the onus is on the agent to take advantage of the training that many brokerages offer, often for free.
“[Agents’] success depends on their entrepreneurial spirit, their willingness to engage and be held accountable,” Stanley says. “And with the industry changing so quickly with technology and with rules and regulations, they need to stay current to be professional and proficient.”
Realtor John Tsai agrees, adding that educational programs are only effective if they agent is open to learn. “It’s the motivation and accountability in play that moves you forward,” he says. “Coaching and structures and systems and accountability can only work if an agent wants to work.”
For its part, Century 21 is automatically enrolling rookie agents in its new email-based CareerXpress program, which is designed to teach agents the skills that they need to endure a successful career in real estate.
Still, Stanley contends that both brokerages and regulating bodies should be doing more to better prepare agents – especially new agents – for real-life work as salespeople. Instead of complaining and faulting one body after another, he says each tier should do their part to provide a better service for the home buying and selling public.
“The reason that we built CareerXpress is because we feel it’s our responsibility to provide that training in order to support the real estate agents in today’s market,” Stanley says.
Brokers are rebuking licensing bodies, which they claim do little to prepare agents for work in the field, but are unprofessional and unqualified sales reps really the fault of the boards and associations?