Coaching can offer a boost to agents in a changing market
It's never too late to invest in coaching — even if you've been in the business for decades. And in tough times, it can be a boon.
- If you're considering coaching, be prepared to learn — and willing to change your habits.
- Identifying specific goals is key to success, keeping in mind that your needs may change throughout your career.
- There are lots of coaches out there. Do your due diligence to ensure you find a good fit.
Buddy King was 68 years old when he first decided he needed a real estate coach. "Some of us take longer to figure things out," said the Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, broker.
Predictions of a downturn in the market prompted him to sign up with Greg Luther Coaching. "I've had a successful career with around $15 million a year in closings, but I also remember the last [market] crash," he said. "I thought to myself, there has to be someone who knows how to handle markets like this."
Choose the tools that work best for you
King, a broker at Beachside Luxury Realty, started watching training videos online, and that's when he found Luther. "I just felt like I knew him and I could relate to every single thing he was teaching," he said.
For the past eight months, King has been participating in short — just 10- to 15- minute-long — daily coaching sessions and then a 90-minute session once a month. "He offers a lot of different tools and you just pick and choose what you want," King said. "I only use two or three of the tools. I used one of his marketing letters and sent out 25 of them. I got two listings from that and made $90,000 in commission, so the coaching has more than paid for itself."
Get a 'boost' when times are tough
Mary Buddendeck had been in the business for more than two decades when she first signed up for coaching about two years ago. A senior sales associate with Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors in Dayton, Ohio, Buddendeck received an email about free Wednesday webinars offered through Darryl Davis' Power Agent Program. "I watched those sessions while I ate my lunch every Wednesday for four months. He was sharing the messages and motivation I needed, so I signed up."
Buddendeck says coaching has provided the boost she's needed to get through a tough market. "There aren't a lot of houses out there, and it seems like the second buyers close, they have remorse and they're worried they've overpaid," she said. "It's nice to have people who know what that's like there to talk you through it — and provide you with the tools to talk your clients through it."
Identify your weaknesses, and find a coach who can help you address them
Peggy Lyn Speicher with Coldwell Banker Island Properties in Maui has had three different coaches over the years, each addressing specific needs at specific stages of her career. "I'm obviously very coachable," she said. "I say that half-jokingly, but truly, not everyone is a good candidate for coaching. You have to decide you want to learn and change. And once you decide you're willing to do that, you have to be willing to find out what you're not good at."
"Coaching is about identifying your weaknesses," she noted, "and some people don't want any part of that."
Speicher wasn't in the market for a coach when she landed with her current one: Betty Graham, a business coach for Tom Ferry International.
"She was giving a talk at a conference, and I said to my husband, 'If she could be my coach, I'd start today,'" said Speicher. "I'm really good at selling homes and at being a team leader, but wasn't great at recruiting, so that's what Betty is coaching me on."
Coaches and mentors fill different roles
King and Speicher say being mentored by a senior agent in your company is nice, but it's not the same as hiring someone to specifically improve your processes or approach. "Besides, if the mentor has some bad business habits — and most of us do — you'll learn those too," said King.
And for those who eschew coaching because of its cost, Speicher suggests using the investment as motivation.
"When I hired my previous coach, we could not afford another $1,000 a month and we agonized over it for quite a while," she said. "But that fear was part of what drove me to be successful. I knew I had to earn that extra $1,000 a month so I soaked it all up and applied everything I was learning. My anxiety turned into motivation."
5 tips for finding the right coach
Every coach will come with their own style and process. It's important to look for someone you can connect with on a personal level, says industry veteran Jay Thompson, who offers additional advice on choosing the right coach. These five tips can help you get started:
1. Decide what you want to get out of coaching
Before you begin your search for a coach, take time to define what you want to achieve. Identify specific areas where you need to improve or gain expertise.
2. Do your research
Look for real estate coaches who have experience and a successful track record. Read reviews and testimonials. Talk to clients — past and present.
3. Ask for referrals
Reach out to other real estate pros for recommendations. Ask if the referring agent has actually used this coach's services or if they've simply heard good things.
4. Make sure their style is a good fit
Watch videos and review social media posts from potential coaches. Schedule an introductory call to get a better sense of a coach's style, process and expertise. Will you feel comfortable working with this person?
5. Discuss logistics
How often will you meet? What format will sessions take? How long will the coaching relationship last? How will you measure success? Make sure both parties are clear on the expectations and commitments.