Navy Special Forces make great agents

One NSW-based office has found success by hiring new agents from outside the industry, with one of their star recruits having just been discharged from the Navy as a clearance diver.

Principal at PRDnationwide Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Mark Kentwell believes in growing his agents ‘organically’.

“We’ve spent a lot more time finding agents who have the right attitude and energy and then [we] train them up on the real estate-specific skills when they’re part of our team, as opposed to getting agents with experience in the industry,” he said.

But the award-winning principal never would have imagined that working with an investor from the military would yield one of his finest recruits so far.

“He bought several investments through our office so he had dealt with us and other agents before, but he liked the way we operated. A few months before his discharge, he asked me for a cup of coffee to talk about the industry.

“He came back about six weeks later and [said] that he’d love to join if there were any positions available,” said Mr Kentwell, whose office finished fifth in this year's Real Estate Business Top 50 Sales Offices ranking.

Russell Dawson started out as a ‘cadet’ alongside other industry rookies and impressed Mr Kentwell with his work ethic and drive.

“He’s done exceptionally well as a cadet; now he’s a great buyer-manager and it won’t be long before he’s a star agent.

“They’re brilliant agents out there that were doing things before they were agents. We are after the right attributes that we can turn into an agent.”

But training first-timers is easier said than done, with a different set of challenges involved than those associated with experienced agents.

“You don’t have to break old habits, but you still have to create new ones," he continued. "I’ve found that if you give them one task to get really good at before moving them on to the next one, you get a more competent person rather than giving them all the tasks at once.

“Most agencies will give someone a stack of business cards, a desk and a phone and say ‘get some listings and sell them’.

“For the first three to six months, our cadets won’t even face a buyer or seller, they’re going through training procedures with internal and external coaching and sponging up everything they need to know first.”

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