TEAM SPOTLIGHT: A Proven 100-Day Plan to Successfully ‘Onboard’ New Agents

TEAM SPOTLIGHT: A Proven 100-Day Plan to Successfully ‘Onboard’ New Agents photo
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Reading Time: 8 mins, 42 secs

By Debbie Holloway, Head of Team+ Coaching

Onboarding your sales agents is a critical part of building a profitable and happy team. This is where you can “make it or break it” when it comes to having a great culture the solid team

I’ve asked Jenny Turner, brokerage owner and team leader of the Lovejoy Real Estate in Portland, Oregon to share her onboarding process. Jenny is one of the absolute best at getting and keeping great agents.

Debbie Holloway: Tell us about yourself, your team and your market.

Jenny Turner: Absolutely, we are a small boutique team brokerage with offices in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. We have 10 licensed agents and six admin staff, we’re a very high support high engagement team. We mainly hire new agents and strive to get our new agents get up to speed on our systems and into production as fast as they can.

Debbie Holloway: Hiring agents new to real estate requires a lot more work, doesn’t it?

Jenny Turner: It does, and they learn to do things the way that we’d do. It requires structure and accountability up front, and they don’t have to unlearn any bad habits.

Debbie Holloway: Let’s talk about your 100 Days Onboarding Checklist.

Readers: See below for download link!

Jenny Turner: We developed it over a couple of years and we’re constantly evolving, changing it, making it better, adding and taking things apart. It is always a work in progress as real estate is a rapidly changing industry. Because we provide a great deal of training to our agents, I want them to have some kind of checklist to follow and something to do when I or my team managers are doing something else. The checklist gives them a roadmap they can easily follow. The checklist doesn’t necessarily have to be followed in order however, there are timelines associated with it.

The first section of the checklist covers administrative items, including but not limited to: getting your email and your phone setup, making sure all of your social media accounts say that you now work for LoveJoy Real Estate and the Turner Team.

A lot of our communication with our admin staff is via Skype messenger. Setting up and using Skype as well as all the small things that make their job easier happens in the first day or two.

Debbie Holloway: Second on the checklist is training, tell me more about that.

Jenny Turner: In our training section we introduce our agents to others in this industry they need to know and learn from. They meet with our lender and escrow officer. We also provide webinars for them to watch, for example we use DocuSign for our paperwork and include a link in the checklist that takes them to a video provided by DocuSign.

We have webinars on online lead platforms, how to use our CRM, navigating our website, how to create a cloud CMA, and many more. It’s all digital so they simply click on the link provided in the checklist.

We want them to register on all of our lead generation sites so that they can see that the client side of what those look like: use Zillow as a prospective buyer, use our Ylopo site, etc.

The agents do weekly accountability meetings with myself and/or our team manager. They have access to all our Tom Ferry training videos and coaching calls. We keep the recordings from our calls with our Tom Ferry coach so new agents to our team can go back and listen to all the past calls and get up to speed faster.

I also set up a special call with our coach when they first join us. That way our coach can get to know the new agent.

Debbie Holloway: Tell me your weekly accountability.

Jenny Turner: Normally it’s a weekly face to face meeting on Mondays for about 20 minutes. It’s important to get the agents in the office as much as possible. It enhances culture and growth.

Debbie Holloway: I see you didn’t leave out role playing and scripts.

Jenny Turner: Yep, role playing and scripts goes hand in hand with shadowing fellow agents on the team. We do a lot of role playing on our team and our team manager role plays with the agents as well. They also role play in front of others to help get over nerves.

They shadow me, they shadow other team members, they go to open houses, they really just start learning and listening to what we say to people, and that allows them to learn, absorb and asked questions.

It’s also good for me because our coach has them shadow me on my listing appointments and after the appointment the agent tells me what they think I did well, what they think I can improve on and what they learned.

As a part of the shadowing of other agents on our team, the agent has to go to three buyer consults, one property showing, an open house and a home inspection.

And those are really minimal in the first 30 days. I want them doing more than that, but those are the minimums. We have them take on as many shadowing opportunities as we possibly can.

I have a few books on the checklist for them to read. We encourage reading and highly recommend The Miracle Morning, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and The One Thing.

Debbie Holloway: Let’s talk accountability.

Jenny Turner: You can’t be on my team and sleep until noon every day. We talked a lot about how to approach your day and what your ideal work day looks like.

They’re practicing time blocking, when they’re going to work, and when they’re not going to work, how to manage clients and when to prospect.

Debbie Holloway: I see you have a list of what’s called milestone tasks.

Jenny Turner: This is when they’re ready to start seeing clients on their own. For example, an open house and they’re going to conduct the open house without a mentor agent. I have somebody stop by and check on them, see how they’re doing and make sure everything’s going okay.

Contract writing – I want them to learn how to write a contract and how to do it relatively quickly before they have to do that for clients. I want them to understand what the contract is going to say, so they’re practicing in this milestone tax section, they’re practicing those things.

Our goal is to have something in contract within 30 to 45 days on our team.

Debbie Holloway: The next part of your checklist is 31 to 60 days. Tell me about that process.

Jenny Turner: 31-60 days is the time when we dig deeper into our systems and processes like, the home inspection report.  The new agent now begins to help negotiate those repairs. They’re taking the things they did in the first 30 days to a deeper level.

They’re involved in our coaching, accountability and role playing as in the first 30 days and we’re going deeper into the details and information they will need to do this on their own. We can’t give them all of it up front, it’s just too overwhelming. So that next 30 days is about them taking a deeper dive into what they need to know.

By the end of our 100 days they should have successfully taken a lead from inception to close.

Debbie Holloway: So does it typically take 100 days for someone to actually get to a successful sale and closing?

Jenny Turner: I set the expectation that I want them to have a paycheck in the first 60 to 90 days. So that means they would need to write an offer in the first 30 to 60 days, because it takes about 30 days to close in our market. If they’re not making it work for them by 100 days in, if they’re not showing up and in action, then we’re probably reconsidering our partnership, because our training program is a proven step by step process to success. And being a realtor is not for everyone, so we try hard, of course, to set them up for success up front.

Going through these first hundred days really shows them what the job really looks like. And it shows us on the team side if they have what it takes to step up and do what they need to do to be successful in this industry, because it is a hard industry.

Debbie Holloway: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in onboarding, and biggest success?

Jenny Turner: For me, giving people too much of a chance and keeping them on too long, when it’s not working or they’re not a good fit for our culture. I work hard to keep them engaged and excited about real estate as a career. I want them proud of where they work. I want them excited about what they do. Sometimes I want it more than they do.

I think really my ideal agent has been licensed for a year on their own as an agent and didn’t make it. And when it comes to the team to have more support and more accountability.

Biggest success is our team. I excel at training up new agents. I have three agents looking to join our team and are getting their licenses. None of them have experience. They’re all people that I know… they’re actually all past clients and now friends. They’re just people who are thinking about changing their life. And I think the world right now is making people reconsider things. I had informational interviews with them and talked about what it really looks like. And they’re really excited about joining our team. That’s exciting for us as a team, because they’re good people who will already fit into our culture really well.

Debbie Holloway: Any piece of advice you’d give someone looking to build a team when it comes to onboarding?

Jenny Turner: It takes a lot of time. You have to really invest in the agent to reap the rewards. They need to know how to work this business legally and ethically. They need to understand the consumer’s wants and needs and how to protect their interests. If you onboard properly and you train properly, that person will be successful and so will your real estate business.

Don’t forget to download Jenny’s 100 Days Onboarding Checklist!

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