The Keys to a Successful Training Program
Mark Schnurman May 12, 2014, 7 a.m.
Commercial real estate is a difficult business. And finding the right platform and training program can make all the difference in a new broker’s career. Here is a list of questions that should be asked during the interview process to ensure you, as a new broker candidate, choose the right firm.
How do I get paid?
Obviously, this is an important question since compensation drives behavior and you want to earn a lot of money. Beware of salaries, as they limit your upside. At Eastern, we increased the new broker commission splits to incentivize canvassing, new listings and closings.
What is expected of new brokers, and how is it measured?
Focus on whether the expectations are sales or support related. At Eastern, we provide administrative and analyst teams to support our brokers, freeing them up to sell.
Tell me about the training structure.
People learn by doing. Therefore, formal classroom training should be short—one week—because without actively performing a job, retention from formal training is low.
What do you look for in candidates?
A training program is only as good as the people in it. Every firm has a different “ideal candidate profile” of who they would like to hire. Are you going to be stuck at the bottom of a team structure or be a fully independent broker? Eastern seeks independent, entrepreneurial individuals who are driven, smart, ethical and relentless. Our brokers do not want to be cogs in a machine; they want to be among the top brokers in NYC.
Describe the firm’s platform.
Some firms restrict brokers to territories, property types or deal sizes; some firms limit brokers’ ability to do exclusive and off-market deals, and others do not.
Tell me about your team structure.
“Team” is a corporate buzzword that I get asked about during almost every interview. Teams can be rigid, flexible, static or changing. It is important to understand if you are an independent broker or if you serve a senior broker on a team.
At Eastern, our bullpens possess an incredible esprit de corps and a monthly competition; its prize is a 5-foot trophy—something our brokers strive for. Our culture of achievement helps to ensure our brokers maximize their potential.
What type of continuous support does the firm offer?
Coaching is the one-on-one ongoing support that a broker receives. At Eastern, our unique model allows for multiple coaches for each new broker. As sales manager, I conduct weekly sales meetings and one-on-one sessions, which compliment the deal-based coaching new brokers receive from the senior brokers. This piece replaces the need for a long training program and enables our brokers to achieve.
When was the last time you made changes to the training program?
Yesterday! The market is changing every day, and we must too. Assessing a program’s successes and failures is crucial, because it drives change.
How successful are the brokers in the program?
Ask for retention rates, income levels and how quickly brokers generate revenues. At Eastern, a remarkable 29 percent of our new hire brokers have consummated deals within two months, and our first two graduates earned well into the six figures in their first year and are on their way to mid- to high-six-figure incomes in their second year.