Friday, October 24, 2008

On Being a Better Bozo

After 23 years as a real estate sales manager, I am proud to announce that I have moved from being an Unconscious Incompetent to the great status of Conscious Incompetent. Now I know what I don't know and certainly what I have not known for the last two decades.

In all honesty, I wasn't far off but not quite there. I remain a work in progress, but the key word is "progress".

About two years ago, the management group in our company began intensive training on teaching scripts, business oriented coaching and interviewing tracks for experienced and inexperienced agents. This has changed my whole outlook on the job.

Along the way, we were taught to plan out and work a formal schedule and post it outside our office doors so that our agents always knew what we were doing, where we were and if we were available. As elementary as this sounds, it has done me a world of good. Unless you lay things out before you, everything seems overwhelming and especially if they keep adding to your work load. You feel that you just keep getting farther and farther behind. I teach scheduling to my agents and yet, never held myself as accountable as I expected them to be.

I like holding myself accountable to each day and what has to be accomplished. I rarely get off track and the new skills that I have obtained have made the parts of my job that I lacked confidence in, so much easier.

Historically, agents deciding to "slow down" opted for management. ( I don't know whose job they were watching.) The term " Bozo" came from Steve Friedman with whom I have trained several times through the years. "Most managers are bozos" was always Steve's mantra and he was right. In today's environment, agents need active, intelligent and hard working managers who expect as much out of themselves as they do their agents. If we teach structure, we need it ourselves. If we teach scripts, we need to know them and to use them ourselves. If we teach prospecting, we need to be prospecting for recruits ourselves.

This is the hardest and yet, most satisfying career I could ever think of having. I am grateful for the opportunity to do it and most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn to "Be a Better Bozo". With apologies to Steve.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Lie of Mentoring

Frequently in the process of interviewing new or prospective agents, they mention that they have talked to Broker X who, while running a small brokerage, will make them a fabulous deal on their split and throw in their personal services as a mentor. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Answer: it is.

Understand, they have no formal training program. This is a cop out. But what a great thing to be personally mentored by the BROKER him or herself! Not.

This is the most famous scam in the real estate world. Let me tell you why.

In the first place, they run a small brokerage. They still have to list and sell. If a choice is to be made between training you and going out and getting a listing or showing a property, whom do you think will win? Not you.

My second favorite thing about "mentoring" is that you get to be their personal gofer. You know, "go-for-this", "go-for-that" ? It will be wonderful experience for you to learn to pick up somebody's dry cleaning so that they can look good on their next appointment. If you are practicing to be someone's personal assistant, this will stand you in good stead. However, if actually being trained as a real estate agent is your goal, this isn't going to help.

I also prefer that you not learn all their bad habits. Not that you won't develop some on your own but at least start out in a situation that is teaching tried and true methods. Start with a clean slate, in other words. I am constantly amazed at what "experienced" agents/brokers in this market do not know and I can only imagine what they pass on in this selfless act of "mentoring".

So, you might not get the "fabulous" split at a full service,structured, education conscious brokerage, but what you might get will be far more valuable. Remember, a transaction may make you a living but a skill will make you a fortune.