The training trap

Norm Fisher, a broker with Royale LePage in Canada, emailed me last week with some observations. This one really grabbed me:

I’m encouraged to see younger people coming into the business. Too often though they’re being mentored by old turds. In my market most of them are being taught to do things the way they’ve always been done. I pick up bits and pieces, here and there, about innovative and interesting things that new agents can do to develop business. Of course, there’s lots of good stuff scattered about. It would be really cool to see the real estate community come together and actually develop a killer business plan for a young, new, tech-savvy agent that went beyond “you should twitter and be on facebook.”  Kind of a blueprint for success. I would love to see someone spearhead such a discussion that more complete and cohesive.

He’s so right. Remember that brand-new agent I wrote about last week – the one who pretends to be my neighbor and uses glossy stickers to ask for my business? Well, turns out she learned the ropes as an assistant in the office of a veteran “Top Producing Team.” These folks, who have been in the business for decades, have bequeathed to this young woman a perverse inheritance: An approach to growing a real estate businesses that lost its vitality at roughly the same time David Hasselhoff lost his beach body.

Brokerage mentorship programs should perhaps be turned on their heads. Or flattened, with new agents creating their own collaborative learning environments.

Some great sales trainers emerged from the 1970’s and ’80’s. A whole crop of web gurus hit the circuit between 1995 and 2000. These folks still dominate brokerage training programs and industry conventions even though the times have escaped them.

Or course, one could point out online communities like ActiveRain as the new locus of real estate learning. But I am not sure that gets us far enough.

I’m interested to know if any of you have seen innovative mentoring or training programs out there. If so, leave a comment!