Where, O Where, Has Basic Training Gone?

Amid the sound and fury of technological advances, mega-mergers, and sales superstars, readily available basic training seems to have fallen through the cracks of progress.

February 1, 1998

A few years ago, those reaching for a real estate sales career could find a plethora of entry-level training that taught them the brass tacks of their chosen career. Those choices now seem nonexistent.

How did it happen in an industry that has long offered great career and training opportunities for new licensees?

Franchises made training a big business within the business. The national chains employed a staff of specialists to design and deliver a broad curriculum. This system involved, not surprisingly, a great deal of expense, both capital and operating. That led to the system's gradual downsizing by cost-conscious top-management types, who traditionally view education as the most appropriate incision point when fiscal surgery is indicated.

Some 100 percent brokerages, too, were built on the premise that their members had neither the need for basic training nor the inclination to subsidize it.

The modern world intruded as well. Practitioners of the ’90s decided their education needs couldn't be satisfied by periodic offerings of courses at inconvenient times and places. They wanted training on demand.

As a result of all this, there has been a disturbing trend of de-emphasis on training, in-house training in particular. This within an industry that once boasted of an admirable record of providing opportunity to new recruits.

There's no question that computerized training will be the standard delivery method in the next decade, because it corrects the shortcomings of our traditional delivery methods—the inability to deliver anywhere at any time whatever skill training is needed.

Until our present generation of computerphobes is replaced by the Nintendo whiz kids and computer-based training becomes affordable, effective, and user-friendly, this industry needs an alternative to give its practitioners basic training.

For example, almost every skill needed by new (or faltering) sales associates and managers can be taught (or reinforced) by an inexpensively produced cassette-workbook program.

Those who've turned their backs on training should heed the message on a popular bumper sticker: “If you think education is expensive, check out the cost of ignorance.”

Joseph P. Klock, CRB, CRS®, is the former dean of Coldwell Banker University and a 48-year veteran of real estate. He is actively engaged in writing, speaking, consulting, and course design. You may contact him at joeklock@aol.com; by phone: 305/451–0079; or at his Web site: www.joeklock.com.

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