As debate continues over the quality of real estate agent courses, some seasoned agents believe that while many newcomers are well versed in the technical side of the business and legalese, many are poorly skilled at nailing down new business.
Shane Kempton, CEO of Professionals WA & NT, said many people he sees leaving training institutions are only versed in the basics, although on average, they are well educated on how to file paperwork.
“There are what we deem the freaks who might come from a sales background themselves who already know how to work a database and can develop their own lead generation themselves, but they are a small minority,” Mr Kempton said.
“There are those that will succeed through sheer willingness and have enough money behind them to carry themselves for six months or so, but a real estate agent on a basic salary won’t last six months if they don’t know how to find new business.
“If there is no induction course or ongoing training, then a real estate agent is going to fail as the industry is too competitive and over-serviced. There is definitely scope for a TAFE or registered training organisation to train someone how to come into an office to set up a database, work basic scripts and start using effective dialogue … This would also improve the attrition rate.”
David Howe, director of McGrath Northbridge, said the industry should consider a mentoring program where skilled real estate agents pass on their knowledge, gained through practical work and life skills honed through experience, onto the new generation.
“It would be good for a prospective real estate agent to be brought into a company as a trainee and, depending on their learning capacity, such a traineeship could last one, two, or even three years,” Mr Howe said.
“Then they would learn everything ... such as what is done in terms of prospecting, through being mentored by a leading agent, and really know the ropes.
“But seriously, I think working a database when they are quite new would be daunting. It would be like giving them a phone book to work from… We use coaches here initially to help and train people through conversations, which is working well.”
Michael Clarke from Clarke and Humel, and number five in Real Estate Business' Top 100 agents of 2014, said the best way for the industry to move forward is for agents to be held in higher esteem. Mr Clarke said if agents are genuinely adding value to people’s lives through pro expertise, the whole industry fares better.
"New estate agents need to have soft skills in communication, because we need every buyer to feel like they have been communicated with fully, and vendors need to feel like they have been given educated advice," Mr Clarke said.
"In relation to legislation, compliancy is critical for an agent to understand, but at the end of the day, it relates to doing the right thing, telling the truth – if the new generation of agents had a high skill set in soft and hard skills, it would be better for everyone."