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Agent to Agent: dealing with inexperienced or untrained agents


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Ralph De Martino

In this monthly column, a member of Miami’s Master Brokers Forum will examine and resolve potential differences that may arise between real estate professionals in the field.

This month’s edition is written by Master Broker Ralph De Martino, broker-president of Ocean International Realty and former president of the Miami Association of Realtors.

The situation: An experienced, full-time agent must complete a deal with an untrained, part-time or less experienced agent.

Miami normally has an average of just under 30,000 residential sales a year. There are now over 40,000 agents in the Miami Association of Realtors. Considering the county’s top producers sell anywhere from 30 to 100-plus properties per year, it’s a safe bet that thousands of Miami agents have between zero and two sales per year.

With that established, it’s inevitable that busy, successful career agents will work with agents who are much less experienced or trained.

When faced with these situations, I always try to take a moment to remember back when I first started — when I “didn’t know what I didn’t know.” Even with training, I certainly felt lost at times, but I was fortunate to have experienced agents who reached out and helped me make deals and inspired me to be the professional I am today.

Unfortunately, the world of real estate is very different now, and I have generally noticed a lack of broker involvement and training. While there are many successful brokers who train or have trainers, I see more and more new agents who have virtually no training or consistent broker support.

In these cases, good energy, encouragement, and compassion can make deals happen and change lives. That being said, good vibes can be severely altered in cases where our counterparts make the shift from inexperienced and untrained to unethical or having a bad attitudes.

Here’s where good leadership and training come into play: If the other agent is good to work with but simply lacks experience, I find that being patient and consistent helps them to trust me. It also lets them know that we will work together to get the results we both want.

But that’s a big difference from dealing with agents who are unethical. In these cases where ethics are being tested, our profession obligates us to straighten them out. We have an industry to protect, and agents who act in bad faith can (and often do) ruin it for the rest of us.

First, we must set an example and show them that we simply don’t play like that, reminding them of the various laws, rules, regulations, and Code of Ethics that bind our profession and must be followed. And we should not hesitate to mention that failure to follow rules could end their real estate career once and for all.

Bad attitudes are another matter. There are no laws addressing “difficult” agents, but that doesn’t mean you have to take any nonsense, either. I find that bad attitudes from less experienced agents usually stem from their insecurity and embarrassment over not knowing what they are doing. I find that it’s okay to be patient to a point when counterparts have bad attitudes (bordering on being rude), but never let them think they can get away with bullying you. Call them on their negative attitudes and let them know it is impacting not only their reputations, but their ability to get deals done.

There are no laws addressing “difficult” agents

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Sharing our experience, skills, and commitment to our industry — even in little ways — can improve lives, our community and making sales. Inexperienced and untrained agents, once they feel they can trust us and that we are not trying to manipulate them to our advantage, will gladly accept our true and good leadership. Help them make the deal, encourage them to get as much education as possible, and set an example of what “Realtorism” is all about.

Looking for some teaching and learning resources? The Miami Association of Realtors is, in my opinion, the best of its kind in the entire world. With five locations and hundreds of educational events each year (many of which are free) and highly skilled trainers, there is no end to the educational opportunities available for Realtors. I always encourage inexperienced or part-time colleagues to put education in their business plan and schedule, and to get involved in Realtor events and organizations.

When we enjoy what we do, this little extra effort make us enjoy it even more.

The Master Brokers Forum is a home-grown, elite network of South Florida’s top-producing real estate professionals, built on a core foundation of ethical and professional behavior.

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