Don KottickBy Don Kottick

As I stated in my article published in REM in October (Due diligence for the salesperson), the industry is in a transitional state from a number of different perspectives.  For years, the industry has vocalized internally that we need to improve our professionalism and need to better train our salespeople and brokers.  We also need to ensure that when tested by the public, the media or before the courts, that we are in fact delivering a higher standard of service, as to be expected from a true “professional”. 

I believe our provincial associations provide new registrants with a good foundation to enter the real estate profession.  As great as this introductory training is, the new registrants are really not prepared for full active duty on the street from a practical perspective.  The landmines and the potential litigation that lay hidden for the new practitioner is plentiful and can be quite daunting….if they know about it. As an industry, specifically at the brokerage level, we need to improve the level of training and its availability, especially to new registrants; but also to experienced salespeople and brokers.

Upon graduating, the new registrant is primarily focused on finding a new brokerage, with most of their attention directed to the fee or commission plan offering of the brokerage.  The registrant should be equally focused on the validity and comprehensiveness of the training that is offered by the potential brokerage.  Unfortunately, there is a wide spectrum of offerings when it comes to education in our field, and there is a lot of smoke and mirrors.  Training is probably the most important decision a new registrant can make, because it will dictate if this individual will be in the industry in two years from their point of entry.  Basing a decision to join a brokerage based on commission structure alone is a short-sighted decision, but sadly this is all too common.

If an individual truly wants to be successful in real estate they need to be trained properly.   They need to ensure that the person offering the fundamental training is licensed and has had practical hands-on experience.  There are lots of stories about the quality of training, and the depth and knowledge of the individuals doing the teaching. Some are good, but many are weak or hollow at best.

Due diligence on the training front is an absolute requirement for all new registrants.  The registrants need to ensure there is substance, relevancy and credibility to the training programs being offered. More importantly, research the actual trainers providing the course materials – remember, you get what you pay for.  A good rule of thumb: if it is free, you are probably wasting your time.

Surina Hart, the director of education for Right At Home Realty (RAH), who heads up RAH University, says, “Having taught the OREA courses, I have become intimate about the training the registrants receive and the gap that exists before that registrant completes their first deal.   The problem is many registrants feel that upon completion of the registrant courses they are ready to sell, and I can tell you they are not yet in that position.”

Hart says, “Inadequate introductory training is a key factor in why so many individuals leave the industry after only two years in the business, not to mention the negative impact they have on the public who are interacting with them.”

We need to continue learning, expanding and developing our core skills, on top of taking the required continuing education courses. 

Knowledge will only make you a better Realtor. Take general business or communication courses such as Dale Carnegie or Toastmasters. The FRI designation is a great way to continue growing and moving your career to the next level.  Let’s ensure our industry continues to improve internally so our profession can be truly called a profession and receive the appropriate respect.  We need to be able to demonstrate value to consumers in order to justify our commissions and communicate our true value proposition to the public.  What we deliver is value. We just need to get the word out.

Don Kottick is the president and broker of record of Right At Home Realty, which has six offices and more than  2,300 salespeople and brokers.  According to Real Trends, Right At Home Realty is ranked 7th in units and 8th in volume for all of Canada, and is Canada’s largest independently owned brokerage.