By Chris Angermann, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Born in Orlando, Denise Oyler has lived on the Gulf Coast for 30 years. She spent her career in the boating and fishing industry as a professional angler, competing in tournaments to catch redfish, working as a charter boat captain in Sarasota Bay, and training boat sales people. Eight years ago, she became a Realtor with a primary focus on representing buyers. She recently passed her brokerage exam and will start a training program for newly licensed agents of Rosebay Realty in September.
Correspondent Chris Angermann interviewed her at the Sarasota office on Orange Avenue.
Q: Why have you decided to start a training program?
A: Rosebay is expanding, and we believe it’s our responsibility to train newly licensed agents well, because it increases the value of our company and our industry. I’m applying my training background to the principles of real estate.
It will be a three-month program, starting Sept. 9. We’ll meet twice a week for two hours and explore specific aspects that are important in this industry. We will also offer our regular agents the opportunity to come to the classes, if they want to. Until recently Rosebay didn’t take on a lot of new agents because we didn’t have the opportunity to provide training.
Training is a relative term. Just because you’ve been through a basic training program doesn’t mean you’re competent; it depends on how it’s structured. What I’m designing is the way I was trained, which was top-notch — classes, mentorship, one- on-one conversations, someone to call if the new Realtor has questions while on the job, learning about what to do in everyday situations, not just book learning. My goal is to make sure they have all the tools to succeed.
Q: What are some of the issues you plan to address?
A: One is creating relationships. I have heard from customers that what they disliked most about agents is when the first thing they asked was, “Are you pre-qualified?” And they sometimes asked it two or three times in the conversation.
That’s not creating a good relationship. There is a fine line between time management on the Realtor’s part and building relationships. The agents who can find that balance are usually the ones that have been trained.
If customers realize they’re speaking to a newly licensed agent, and they like their personality and they’re interviewing them, a very important question to ask is, “What kind of training program did you go through?”
Q: What other things might customers ask about when interviewing an agent?
A: The majority of our industry believes it is a competitive business. So if you ask a newly licensed agent, “Who is your competition?” and that new agent answers, “Me, myself,” then you know you have someone who’s dedicated to giving you their very best.
The real question is, can you see the enthusiasm from what the agent does? And it doesn’t have to be an animated or put-on enthusiasm. Does the agent like doing the work? If you’ve got an appointment and watch the Realtor arrive, you can tell by the way he or she gets out of the car.
Q: What else should a customer keep in mind?
A: There is a connotation that time spent in the business is an advantage. You see it in Realtor ads: “Our team has a combined experience of 60-plus years,” etc. That’s one of the main points that seems to drive marketing for agents. But I think, with the proper tools and the proper training, “newly licensed” is not a bad thing. Just because an agent has been in business for 20 or more years doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is more efficient than someone in business for two years who keeps developing and growing.
There is ongoing education and training. As Realtors, we’re required to have 14 hours of continuing education for every licensing period. But how many of us do more than that?
That’s another question to ask: “I know you’ve been in the business for so-and-so many years. What’s the last class you took?”
If the agent looks at you like a deer in the headlights, you might want to reconsider signing up with someone else.