When Do You Need Real Estate Coaching?

I was talking to someone recently about beginning a career in real estate.  This young man was almost finished with his real estate class at a different real estate school.  He said showed me an advertisement that the school had given him.  The school was offering a real estate coaching package that cost several hundred dollars.  If you registered before class ended, you got a significant discount, but it still cost several hundred dollars.  I advised him to pass up the offer.  Here’s are some of my thoughts about real estate coaching…

First, I told him that under no circumstance should he pay for real estate coaching before he even had his real estate license.  Sometimes things happen and it takes longer to get a license then you expect.  In Florida, in the last six months, we’ve had a statewide shutdown that included shutting down the testing center.  Once they opened, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) computers were hacked causing significant delay in processing applications.  You might have a personal situation such as an illness or family emergency that delays you getting your license.  So, you don’t need to pay for a coaching package before you get your license.

Second, the brokerage firm you choose may offer a training program.  (If it doesn’t, you picked the wrong company.)  That training might be sufficient, it might not be.  But give it a try before you plunk down several hundred dollars in other training.

Third, find out the qualifications of the trainer.  There are a lot of people who are good at selling houses who are terrible coaches.  Conversely, there are people who are great coaches who might not have been rock star agents.  Your coach does not need to have been the top agent in the company, but they do need to have been pretty good when they were selling.  More importantly, they also need to know why they were good. 

There will be plenty of time to hire a coach.  It’s a great investment at the right time.  There are plenty of expenses associated with getting a license and getting your career started.  Don’t buy a coaching package before you even know what those costs are.

If you are interested in getting a Florida real estate license, please check out Demetree School of Real Estate.

Please note that Karen Climer does not work for nor have any affiliation with Climer School of Real Estate.  Her father, Ron Climer, sold that school in 2014.  Since then, there have been no Climers at Climer School.  They are all proudly affiliated with Demetree School of Real Estate.

Tiny Changes Result in Big Results

I’m reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.  Great book.  He says that if you improve at a certain thing 1% a day, by the end of the year, you will be 37% better than you were at the beginning of the year.  To improve by 1% a day is hardly perceptible.

When I read this, I was immediately reminded of my days as a music student at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!).

When you look at a piece of music it often marked with the tempo the composer intended it to be played.  For example, it might say that one beat equals 120, which means 120 beats per minute.  I would set my metronome at whatever I speed I could currently play it perfectly.  Sometimes it was ridiculously slow, like maybe 40 beats per minute.  I’d play the passage at that speed.  If I play it perfectly, I would move the metronome up on notch to 41.  If I messed up, I would lower it one notch.

You probably can’t perceive the difference when you move the metronome one tiny notch, but by the end of the day, you will notice a huge difference.

I don’t think a human being can tell the difference between 40 beats a minute and 41 beats a minute.  It’s too small of a change to notice.  If I wasn’t controlling the metronome, my brain would’ve thought that I was just repeating the passage at the same speed.  But after a few hours, I was pushing my metronome up to 120 beats a minute – the target speed.  When I started practicing that morning, that seemed nearly impossible.

How does this apply to real estate?  It’s probably safe to assume that most people in real estate (or any business) are not making a concerted effort to get better.  Most people are doing the same thing they did last year.  The only time they make changes is when outside forces require a change.  But what if you made a concerted effort to get 1% better today?  That’s it – 1%.  That will have almost zero effect on your life from today to tomorrow.  But from today to one year from now, you will be a total new person – 37% better person to be exact. Wouldn’t like to have 37% more sales this year than last year? Just do one small thing today that will improve your sales.

If you, or someone you know, is looking to get a real estate license, give me a call. If you have a license, and are looking for a great broker, give me a call.

Should I Work For A Large Real Estate Brokerage, A Boutique Brokerage, or a Cloud-Based Agency?

I frequently get calls from people asking for career advice.  A common question I get asked is whether it is better to work for a small boutique agency, a large franchise brokerage or a cloud-based company?  The answer is a big fat, “It depends.” 

When you first start in the business, you probably need training more than anything else.  You might want someone to hold your hand through your first few transactions.  When you have twenty years of experience, you hopefully aren’t looking to your broker for hand-holding – you might be focused on the technology tools, leads, or maybe even how much they leave you alone.

I happen to have my license with a large franchise because that is what works for me right now.  However, I have friends who have their licenses with boutique firms or owner-developers and they are happy with that.  So much depends on your personality and what you need from a company.  This might change, in fact it will change, as time goes one.

A small boutique company will usually offer a work environment that is more personal.  Since there are only a few people in the office, you get to know them pretty quickly.  You will have easy access to your broker because there are only a handful of people.  They probably won’t have a formal training program.  When you sign up, the sales manager will tell you that someone will help you, but it is likely not this person’s job to help you.  In other words, their title is not “trainer.”  It is probably someone who is trying to get their own listings, but if they have time, they might teach you a little.

A cloud-based company will probably be very cheap to work for.  You will have a good commission split and very few fees.  That’s all you get.  You won’t even have an office to go to if you want to.  You will meet your clients at Panera.  If you are at the point in your career, where you don’t need any support, this might work for you.  But it is going to be a difficult environment for a beginner.

real estate career journey
There are many paths to take when starting your real estate career. Many paths lead to success, but one might be better for YOU.

The large franchise companies offer formalized training programs, technology tools, and other support.  A large company has more resources and name recognition than the other two. The large company name will lend credibility, which is important when starting out. Once you have developed your a reputation, this might not be as important. The large franchise companies often offer technology and marketing support that is not available to smaller companies.

None of these is better than another, they are just different.  All industries have an ecosystem.  It is necessary to have small firms, large firms, and in-between firms.  Some of the smaller firms are trying to grow to become larger, or may be eventually bought out by a larger company.  But some of the small firms will stay small firms forever.  None of these is better overall, but one of them is better for you. This depends on what you need from a brokerage company right now. 

If you need any help finding a good brokerage company to start your career, I’m happy to help.  If you don’t have a license yet, but want to get started in real estate, I can help you with that too.

To Get Good At Real Estate Sales, Get Good At Scripts

I love scripts.  You might be thinking, “Scripts just sound canned.  I want to sound natural.”  But hear me out.  Does your favorite actor sound canned when they are acting in a movie?  No, they sound natural.  The reason they sound natural is they have practiced the script, and embraced it so it sounds natural.  So if the script sounds canned, it’s probably not the script.  It’s the actor.

I’m not suggesting for one minute that a sales person should be an actor playing a role. You can be yourself. Fortunately, in real estate sales, we are not given a script and told we have to say it word-for-word.  We get to write out own scripts.  You don’t have to play a part in a movie.  I’m suggesting you should prepare what you are going to say and practice it until you can deliver it naturally.

You might be saying, “But it’s a live presentation.  I don’t know what the prospect is going to say.”  Let me ask you this… when a stranger says, “How are you?”  Do you pause, think about it, and then answer?  Or do you say, “I’m fine.  How are you?”  I’m betting you follow the script.  Now you might not say those exact words.  You might have a different script that you follow.  You might say, “I’m great.  Thanks for asking.”  My point is that you took a script that you were probably taught at a very early age, modified it to fit your personality, and have been using it so long that it sounds natural and just rolls off your tongue.  When someone says, “How are you?” you don’t even need to think about how you are going to respond.

I’ve done several types of sales.  Usually after about 5-10 presentations, you have heard all of the objections.  Every once in a while, you hear a new one.  But most fields have a handful of objections that you hear all the time. 

Let’s say the customer says, “Mr. Agent, your commission is too high.”  When is the best time to come up with an answer to that?  Right now when you are sitting in her living room?  Or last week, when you had a few minutes to think about it, write it down, and practice it so it would just roll off your tongue. 

If you work in timeshare, they might say, “We are planning to buy a house soon.”  Is today the first time you’ve ever heard that objection?

If you don’t have a script for an objection, a good place to start is the training your company offers*.  If your company doesn’t offer training, ask the other people in your office how they answer it.  I take that back, don’t ask everyone in your office – ask the best agents.  You don’t need to mimic mediocrity.

Write down what people say.  Try using their script, modify it until it works for you, then stick with it.  Practice it enough with other people until you can say it as smoothly as you can say, “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine.  How about you?”

*If your company doesn’t offer training, you might be at the wrong company. Call me.

Three Reasons You Should Never Sign a Non-Compete Agreement

I have never signed a non-compete agreement.  I hesitate to say that I never will because you never know what life will bring.  Let’s just say it will take an extraordinary situation for me to sign a non-compete agreement.  When I refer to a non-compete, I am referring to something that essentially says when you leave this job, you cannot work for a competitor for one year (or whatever time frame) or you can’t open your own business that competes with us.  I am not referring to something that says you cannot work for a competitor at the same time as you are working for us.  I think it’s fair, for example, for Coke to say you can’t work for us and Pepsi at the same time.  I’m also not referring a confidentiality agreement.  I think it’s fair for Coke to say that if, in the course of your job, you learn the recipe for Coke, you can’t tell it to Pepsi if you go work for them.  What I’m referring to is something where Coke says if you leave us you have to wait at least one year before you work for Pepsi or any other beverage company.

Why am I against non-compete agreements? There are three simple reasons.

1. It starts off the relationship on unequal footing.

If I make you sign a non-compete agreement when you work for me, it means I’m approaching the relationship thinking that I bring more to the table than you do.  Is that a good way to start any relationship?  What if the employee* asked the employer to sign something that said if you fire the employee, you cannot fill that position for one year? Would the employer think that is fair? Of course not. Then why does the employer think the reverse is fair — because the employer that asks you to sign a non-compete believe that they bring more to the table than you do.

In real estate, most brokers are seeking sales agents with an entrepreneurial attitude.  If I, as the broker, make it clear that I bring more to the table than you do, is that going to attract entrepreneur types?  Or is that going to attract people who are accustomed to an hourly job where the employee doesn’t need to make any decisions?

2. It holds people back from growth.

I am, first and foremost, a real estate instructor.  When the school I was teaching for closed its doors, I talked to another local school and they said they make their instructors sign non-competes.  That was all I needed to know to decide this would not work for me.  This person went on to explain that it is because they don’t want their teachers to become their competitors.  I don’t understand this mentality – particularly from a teacher! 

As a teacher, nothing would make me prouder than to have one of my students go on to open her own business – even if it is competition for me.  Isn’t that the ultimate goal of an instructor or trainer – to have your students succeed?  Presumably, this school owner wants to promote growth … but not too much.  If it’s too much, then the students are no longer students, but now they become threats.  Is that where you want to work?  Is that even where you want to go to school? For me, the answer to that is a resounding no.

3. It allows companies to get lazy in terms of workplace culture.

I used to work for a real estate company that was adamantly opposed to non-compete agreements.  Sometimes people in leadership positions would suggest it for various reasons and say, “We don’t have to enforce it.  We can just use it to scare people.”  The top executives never caved.  Their philosophy was that we need to make this place such a good place to work that people won’t want to go work for our competitor.  It worked.  It was a good place to work.  The company I currently work for does not require its agents to sign non-competes.  It, too, is a great work culture.

So if someone asks you to sign a non-compete, consider that they may feel like they have to use legal threats to keep you there because you wouldn’t want to stay there if you had a choice.

By the way, the person that said I would have to sign a non-compete to work for him suggested that if I didn’t like his rules, I could always open my own school.  His options were to hire me or compete with me.  He chose compete with me.  By insisting on having his teachers sign non-compete agreements, he created another competitor.

*In this article, I am using the phrase “employee” and “employer” to mean the person who works and the person who hires them, respectively.  I’m not using those terms in the IRS sense of the word.  In other words, my discussion applies to independent contractors, salaried employees who get benefits, basically anyone who get paid by another person of the same company.