I’m human, which makes me fallible. I’ve acknowledged imperfection, but I’m not exactly happy about that.
I’ve definitely had my share of mental anguish over the last year and it’s usually surrounding the people on my team. Give me a new computer program to learn, and I’ll happily work through the quirks and nuances of what it can do. Giving me a new person to learn is much more difficult.
People have their own quirks and nuances, and they compound learning those with their emotions. So if you’re adding new people to your team, I want to share with you some of the mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve been learning on this journey to grow the business.
The way our systems work and the idea of “how to do real estate” is all very clear in my mind. But I have 14 years of experience. I know the pitfalls and what to look out for. The new people don’t. I have to keep reminding myself that even though some of our newer agents have worked with buyers and sellers in the past, they may have been doing it completely wrong. I can’t assume they know how to write a contract, use DotLoop, or remember that a listing has to be put in MLS within two days of the seller signing the listing agreement.
I have to be completely clear about what is expected of the agents, and I have to say it many times. From the book Scaling Up, “In leading people, take a page from parenting: Establish a handful of rules, repeat yourself a lot, and act consistently with those rules.” I can’t just say it once and expect people to remember it.
Something that goes a long way to improve clarity is visual tools. Graphics are much easier to understand than verbal instructions for most people. (At least the people I’ve worked with anyway.) So if I really want them to understand something, I have to give them something to “see” in their mind’s eye when we’re discussing it.
Face-to-face is and will forever be the highest form of communication. The mistake I made was not insisting that agents come into the office every day for the first 90 days of training. If I’m supposed to be setting them for a successful career in real estate, then why am I allowing them to not eat, breathe, and sleep real estate during the critical training period?
They need to see the experienced agents in action. How they talk on the phone, how they use the CRM to keep in touch with their sphere, how they time block their day, and on and on. Instead, I made the mistake of thinking they could shadow about five listing and buyer appointments and that would teach them everything they need to know about real estate.
Using Slack is a nice communication tool, but I can’t train nor walk someone through a contract on Slack. A phone call isn’t much better. But if an agent is sitting in front of me with DotLoop open, I can easily guide that person through every screen until he or she can do it alone successfully.
Agents have to be in the office every day for the first 90 days. No exception. Because if they are committed to being successful in real estate, they’ll do it. Which leads me to…
When someone joins an organization, they are making a commitment to the people within that organization to do a job. The mistake I made was not asking for commitment.
When a person is committed, he or she will do whatever it takes to fulfill that commitment. If the commitment is to set two appointments a week and it wasn’t met, then what? Is that person committed to making up the difference the next week by doubling or tripling their lead generation activities.
I’m also looking for commitment to training and learning the culture and meeting with me on a weekly basis to review their 411. But have I ASKED for that level of commitment from our new hires? Not really. And that’s because of my final mistake. Lack of…
I’ve been afraid to ask for clear commitment because I’m afraid the answer will be no and I will be disappointed in that answer. And then what? I don’t have an answer for what comes after that. If I can’t get commitment from someone, I would have to suggest that perhaps being a member of a team isn’t good for the agent nor the team. And that would suck.
I’ve also made courage mistakes when instead of having the agent put together their own contract documents, I’ve just done it myself because I knew I could do it better. But that doesn’t teach them how to do it, now does it? Instead, I need to have the courage to make an appointment with that agent to go through that process with them, so that they learn and can do it themselves in the future. I need to have the courage to do the right thing instead of the easiest thing.
Lastly, I’ve made the mistake of not having the courage to admit when I was wrong. It was wrong of me to not have the agents in the office for daily training, but I’ve made it worse by not having the courage to admit that and to insist on it now. I hate making mistakes, but not admitting my mistakes is an even bigger crime.
I’m doing my best now to rectify all these mistakes and to put our agents and our team on a better path. I have confidence that we will succeed, because if there’s one thing I know about myself that I can count on is my ability to figure this out. I’ll find the right hiring and training schedule that works for us. I just know it.