The Rise of the Real Estate Consultant and Coach

The current industry conditions have resulted in a culling of experienced operators in the industry. Both the number of agents and the number of established salespeople have fallen and the only thing replacing them is some fresh blood totally new to the industry. Many people are commenting that the current conditions results in a culling of the dead wood or like a broom cleaning out the rubbish from the industry. That’s not entirely true as there are some very talented people leaving the frontline at the moment for a number of reasons.

Another phenomenon which has gained momentum is the increase of real estate coaches or real estate consultants trying to flog their services. Sure we have had coaches and consultants in the industry for quite awhile but these days their numbers are swelling from those walking away from traditional sales, management and ownership positions in agencies. In the past two weeks alone we have been contacted by no less than 7 “new” industry consultants offering their services.

I am not talking about a typical real estate trainer here, although it’s important to understand that many industry trainers also act as a consultant and coach and vice versa. A trainer generally has to be a good public speaker, motivator and an exceptional communicator as they have to introduces concepts and new ideas over a very short training presentation. They normally speak to a room of people, all from different offices and often know very little about the unique circumstances of each person attending so the message is often in broad strokes rather than fine detail.

A coach or consultant on the other hand deals at either an individual agency level or sometimes even with individual salespeople and over a longer period. They learn about the strengths, weaknesses and specific requirements of their clients and their work is more focussed to improving systems and procedures in the office. They focus on not just imparting their knowledge but making sure that it is implemented as they focus on the details.

The typical new consultant/coach has about 10 to 15 “amazing” years in the real estate industry and they are now willing to impart their success secrets … for a fee!

It seems most of them fall into a few prime categories and each has their own pros and cons but here is a generalisation of how I see it.

Past Principal or Business Owner

This is somebody who wanted out of owning an agency for whatever reason so they sold up but they are not ready to retire. The past principal typically is very good for strategy and planning at an agency level but they often don’t have the understanding of the mechanics involved because they always had somebody in their employ to do it in their past. Given the huge change in recent years many principals that have not sold for quite awhile also struggle with understanding life in the trenches.

Past Salesperson

This is most often a successful salesperson that for whatever reason does not want to run their own agency. Often these type of consultants/coaches are best suited working with the salesperson at the pointy end of the stick. Their experiences mean they often have a limited understanding of running a successful office but they understand what it takes for a salesperson to get results in the current marketplace.

Past Manager (Sales Manager, General Manager, Business Manager etc etc)

This is mostly somebody who helped build up a successful office or network and is normally a middle ground between the past principal and the past salesperson. Good principals and business owners hire the skills they don’t have themselves and quite often these are the guys that got the job done. They were the key person or driving force responsible for the successes at their past employer. They often have a better understanding of actually setting up systems and procedures in an office because that is what they did. Sometimes they have a real estate sales background and in fact some ex sales managers have sold up till recently. Most however still lack the understanding of the unique stresses involved in owning an agency.

The Outsider

This is somebody that has never worked in the real estate industry directly themselves, but has had an association. Their expertise is usually concentrated on one specific area such as internet marketing or CRM databases. When you are looking for a specific solution in their field of interest then they can offer the best bang for your buck but their return on investment outside of that will suffer.

I don’t think any one particular background has an advantage over another as each have their place. What is important is to pick the right one for the job. Selecting a past salesperson to act as a consultant to how to setup agency policies and procedures is always going to struggle and so is choosing an outside expert in internet marketing to work with your salespeople to improve their presentation skills.

Not every one of these new consultants are going to be successful but if you are looking to improve certain sections of your business there is probably no better time than to engage one. These people are trying to build their businesses and create a client base so you might be able to strike a great deal.

Many offices struggle with the whole concept of internet marketing and this is an ideal thing to involve the right consultant with. Internet marketing covers a whole range of things from email marketing, websites, search engine optimisation, blogs and online advertising. A consultant can work with you by analysing your current position and plan a strategy, plan and timeline to implement it into your office. In most cases they won’t actually do the work themselves, but will show you who or what to use and how to use it to your best advantage. Choose wisely though.

Traditional training has its place but how many training sessions have you been to and walked out with stack of ideas and gone back and implemented absolutely nothing? You felt good for a while but in the end it made no changes to your work day. Training sessions are great to identify where you need to go, but getting a consultant involved working with your business can get those ideas implemented and turned into reality. They are not cheap but when everything works right the results can be outstanding.

As technology plays an even larger part in our industry I can see the role of the consultant playing a bigger part in our industry. With an increased number of consultants and a higher need for their services in the industry now is the time for them to shine.

real estate coach, real estate consultant, real estate trainer

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About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

7 Responses to The Rise of the Real Estate Consultant and Coach

  1. Greg Vincent June 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Disclaimer: I’m a Real Estate Coach.

    Glenn, I agree that learning about the internet is one of the skill sets that an agent will require moving forward.

    The thing most agents I’ve dealt with find hard to comprehend, is that they think they have to know all the technical jargon & programming/geeky stuff, but that’s simply not the case.

    Agents don’t have time to be successful at real estate & become a geek, so don’t bother trying.

    There are so many freely accessible sites that are all extremely user friendly which can help agents build a great Personal web-presence. ie: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Blogger, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.

    But the hardest part for agents is knowing how these sites can be applied to day-to-day real estate & how an agent can make money from using these sites today & into the future.

    There are 3 parts to the internet: Psychology, Marketing & Technology.

    To be able to implement web 2.0 strategies agents need to place more emphasis in the Psychology & Marketing part and not get too bogged down in the Technical. (whilst knowing how things work is important, there are lot of Technical people who don’t launch websites or online products in time & completely miss the market because they get too bogged down in the technical processes).

    To explain this further, I use a lot of Google’s products, but I don’t contact their Technical team to get them to explain to me how it works, they’ve made it simple enough for me to understand as an end user & I just use it.

    Of course, if I have a question, I go to Google support for help.

    To focus on the Psychology & Marketing parts of the internet, there are 2 things I would start embracing:- 1. the social networking parts of the web & 2. learn some basic SEO & SEM (Search Engine Optimisation & Search Engine Marketing) skills.

    To get started, here’s one of the best explanations I’ve seen about How Social Networking Works. http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=zn1cspHx7DU

    I hope this helps. 🙂

  2. Glenn Batten June 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Greg,

    On the coaching side of your business, are you finding agents generally more receptive because of the higher need at the moment or less receptive because of their own financial constraints?

  3. The Insider June 4, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Good article Glenn, I think the role of “The Outsider” is becoming increasingly more important because of how fast the real estate industry is adopting the internet and other technologies.

    Like Greg points out, agents don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs of all of these advances. This opens the door to specialist people who are involved with these technologies each day, regardless of the industry it is applied to.

    Greg, quality link he hits it on the head, in a very blokie kind of way!

  4. Greg Vincent June 4, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    The financial constraints have actually increased the agents receptiveness because most agents understand that the web is much cheaper to advertise on & the old ways of doing things don’t work as effectively any more.

    Lots of real estate agents are going back to their old skill set & how things worked back in the 90’s. Sending out more Free Market Opinion leaflets, door knocking, cold calling & trying to build profile in the papers.

    Having a cookie cutter company website & advertising your listings on the major portals has become the norm rather than the exception in our industry.

    With approx. 60 % of Australians using the web each day most agents understand that the internet is where they need to invest their marketing efforts but they simply don’t know where to begin & to quote Mitchell Kapor ~ “Getting information from the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.”

    Whilst some agents want the advanced strategies, teaching agents where to start & why certain components of the internet are more important to focus on than others has been where most of the coaching has been required.

    Also Glenn, the Financial constraints don’t apply to a lot of my coaching because with most of my training I happily share the information for nothing.

    eg. For some of the basic coaching, like understanding Twitter, I find it easier to do training videos & upload them into a Facebook group called Real Estate Twitterers. http://tinyurl.com/re-twitter-fb

    Agents could do a similar thing on Facebook. Set up a Facebook Group but instead they could call it say, The Home Buyers Help Club or something like that & provide helpful buying tips to potential clients.

    Facebook has a massive audience & you can build a fantastic relationship with potential clients through these sorts of sites.

    I hope this helps 🙂

  5. Simon - a presentation skills trainer June 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    A vote for me for outsiders – but I’m biased! 🙂

    Essentially I say that because the principles of communication remain the same where-ever you’re applying them; the “trick” lies in figuring out how to apply them, of course. In that regard you’re entirely right to suggest that a trainer isn’t perhaps the best alternative because they aren’t with you long enough to make sure you impliment them – that said, I really good trainer would help there too….

    But for me the big advantage of the outsider is that they are outsiders. Your clients are outsiders too, and so I can show people in your field how to communicate to/with me on that basis. All too often (and I’d stake my life that you’ve done this! 🙂 ) insiders will make assumptions that the other person doesn’t share.

    Examples would be about how something works, what a shorthand stands for, who someone is etc…. I can’t speak for Australia because I work in the UK, but certainly when I’ve trained people from a real estate background here in how to make presentations etc that’s the big thing they’ve picked up.

    S

  6. Mike McCullough June 4, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    Very positive. Check out the all new Apartments Queensland specialist web site which is for the agent not the private seller.

  7. Peter Ricci June 4, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    Mike

    Nice to see you here. Please don’t post advertisements on this site – refer to terms and conditions. We want this to be a valuable forum for the industry 🙂

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