Most brokers are trying to increase agent adoption of the technology products they provide. The problem is, how do you do it? How can we make our training sessions more appealing and desired?
Getting agents to attend training courses is as big a struggle as getting them to adopt new technology. I recently read, “From Telling to Teaching,” a book by Joye A. Norris. Some of the valuable information from that book has been applied to the tips below.
Keep in mind, there are three kinds of learners and being able to appeal to all three is important. The way you learn may not be the way everyone else learns. The three types of learners are:
- Visual. This person absorbs information visually via visual objects, such as graphs, charts, and pictures.
- Auditory. This person retains information through hearing and speaking.
- Kinesthetic. This person likes to use the hands-on approach to learning new material.
With each of the tips below, consider how you can inject fun experiences to enhance the atmosphere and appeal to all three types of learners.
Seven ways to make your training sessions more appealing and impactful:
- Rename Your Sessions. What do your class titles say about the topics on hand? Consider renaming your sessions and allow the topics to resonate emotionally to the agents. Instead of ‘CRM training,’ try, ‘How to get the most out of your online leads’ or ‘Close more digital leads effortlessly.’ While the first one describes the training course, it comes across as a topic some may consider to be uneventful. However, CRM training is crucial to the success of their business and yours.
- Apply incentives. Create a leaderboard. Apply the gamification model to some of your training courses and allow others to see who is attending and who is actively engaged. As entrepreneurs and competitors, some may consider this to be a motivating challenge. After all, the more you learn, the more you earn. Apply incentives for top attendees and benchmark some of the successes after a 6- or 12-month timeframe to see the results. You can then communicate the results to your agents to show how adoption and knowledge will help them close more deals. Create a custom object in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, your company intranet, or even have a live leaderboard at the office.
- Have top producers teach and start a Beta test group. One tactic we’ve seen successfully implemented when rolling out new technology systems is to start will a small subset of agents to work the systems. They can help roll it out once you reach the go-live date. By having some newer agents, or some who close a few deals per year, see that peers and top performers are using the product, they are more likely to use it themselves. In addition, use top agents to teach the classes. This will instantly give merit to any technology system you are trying to introduce. It’s the idea of showing how others are successfully using technology, rather than just telling them something works.
- Give them homework and challenges. I recently spoke with Valerie Garcia, director of training for RE/MAX Integra. She said, “We’ve been implementing challenges and homework before tech training, asking [agents] to submit an application using the tool that we’ll be training on. For example, video training, you have to submit a short video application. For Evernote training, you have to create a folder.” This strategy helps gauge interest levels as well as identifies who is adopting and who isn’t. While it goes against the open-door policy idea of welcoming new agents to a safe environment to learn new technologies, this could be a tactic to help give valuable insight into agent skill levels. It can also allow you to gauge interest and forecast numbers for adoption.
- Enhance the experience and activate prior learning. Allow those who want to contribute to break out into small groups and share experiences. Norris explains in the book, “From Telling to Teaching,” that you have to go to their world before bringing them to yours. For example, for the topic, “Getting the most out of real estate apps,” instead of opening up with a discussion about the different apps on the market, what’s been rated, and what you’ve read about on the latest blog, instead ask agents to break into small groups and talk about a time where an app has helped save time and effort. This tactic will ground them in a familiar place and start the discussion off right.
- Set learner safety. Take away objections from agents who may have some fear of not knowing the technology systems. Then, let them know what to expect from the training. Reinforce that the training is an open discussion about some tips and tricks for using your technology. Let them know that participation is not required, however, there will be plenty of stimulating discussions. Some agents go to learn from those who have used the tools successfully. Norris wrote, “Ask any group of adults what they hated about school—at all levels. Most of them will say, “being called on. I was always afraid I wouldn’t know the right answer to what they asked.”
- Create a support group. Identify agents who excel using certain tools and technologies. Then, create a support group. By having support groups with peers who excel at using certain tools and technologies, you will encourage other agents. They have a resource outside of the brokerage staff where they can go and ask hard-hitting questions that may not come up during training.
“The more customized the session to the user level, the more adoption we get,” says Garcia. “But, more than anything, agents want to know how and why they need to use this stuff. They get that tech is here to stay, but they need to see exactly how and why to implement it, in order to adopt.” She adds, “After that… education is 95 percent encouragement and only 5 percent information.”
These are some unique ways to increase participation and spur meaningful conversation about your technology. These tips can help rejuvenate your training calendar and encourage participation and adoption.