G.M. Filisko is a Chicago area freelance and former editor for REALTOR® Magazine.
Training Made Easier: Team Them Up
One brokerage is pairing newbies with seasoned agents to give them a leg up on the transaction process.
September 12, 2014
If you’re always on the hunt for new ways to train salespeople, a program created by Paul Mayer, managing partner at Elite Pacific Properties, an 81-salesperson company with offices in Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii, may be what you’re looking for.
“After several years of trying different methods of training, we‘ve landed on what we think is the winning formula,” says Mayer.
When new salespeople start with the company, they’re designated as buyer specialists. They work only on identifying buyer leads, getting the buyers’ commitment to working with the salesperson, qualifying buyers, and showing them property. (The company’s Internet lead program provides leads to new salespeople.)
“Once buyers say, ‘This is the property we’d like to put an offer on,’ the buyer specialist is teamed up with a contract negotiation specialist,” explains Mayer. That’s an experienced salesperson who’s agreed to mentor these new salespeople. A contract negotiation specialist steps in and works with buyers to determine the property’s fair market value, develop a negotiating strategy, write up the offer, and guide the new salesperson through the escrow process until closing.
“We’ve broken down the entire overwhelming universe of information salespeople need to be successful and said, ‘You have to learn only the buyer’s side,’ which is about half,” says Mayer. “Then we’ve broken it down further so new salespeople have to learn only how to identify the property buyers want. I think that’s less than 5 percent of the skills a fully capable salesperson needs to be successful. Because new salespeople learn that quickly, they can be serving buyers and making money more quickly.”
The process continues until new associates complete four successful closings. “They’re then eligible to go through contract and escrow training, and then they can take buyers all the way through the process without a contract negotiation specialist,” says Mayer. “Though some continue using those specialists long after those four transactions.”
That’s in part because the split favors the new salespeople. They share 20 percent of each commission with their contract negotiation specialist. “That’s a great deal for the buyer specialist. It’s not such a good deal for the contract negotiation specialist, but they’re doing it to help out,” Mayer says.
On the listing side, the company requires new salespeople to go through two transactions with a contract negotiation specialist. “We’ve found they can learn that in two transactions,” Mayer says. “Until then, if a listing opportunity falls in their lap, we don’t want them to say no.” They’ll work those listings with a specialist, too.
“We’ve been doing this about a year and a half, and we’ve had people graduate from the program,” says Mayer. “It’s working so much better than anything we’ve ever done. One newly licensed salesperson who’d just moved to the state closed $10 million in transactions as a buyer specialist her first year.”