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4 Simple Ways To Train Team Members When You’re Not The Expert

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Even though you’re a team leader, you don’t have to be the last word on everything. When training your team, writes Joel Lock, it’s important to do your homework and know what you don’t know.

If you’re in a position where you lead a team or even an office of agents, you more than likely want them all trained to be the best agents they can be. One issue can arise with that: You may not be great at everything that you do.

This can put us in the awkward position where we train our teams on something we either don’t like or aren’t great at. 

How do you overcome that hurdle? Here are four ways to help your team.

Be prepared: Know your flow and what you’re going to say

As real estate professionals, we have to be fast on our feet. There are countless situations that’ll arise where you’ll need to be quick-thinking.

You walk into a showing, and a room is being renovated that no one told you about. Maybe the neighbors are throwing a huge party, or better yet, there are “only neighbors on one side” because there’s actually a highway next door. “Winging it” is sometimes the name of the game.

When training your team on something you’re not particularly good at, you must prepare as much as possible. Decide upfront how you’re facilitating — a slide deck, small group activities, a one-on-one coaching session.

Have as much structure as possible for something you’re unfamiliar with. Create a clear outline of what you want to cover and detailed bullet points for each section.

After that, make sure you practice again and again. It can be easy to lose confidence before training on something you struggle with, but incorporating practice and repetition will build some of that confidence. 

Create a ‘parking lot’ for any questions that you don’t have the answer to 

This could apply to any training that you lead. Whether you’re facilitating a large group training, a small group training or a 1:1 session, keep a running “parking lot” of questions. Most importantly, get back to everyone with those answers once you have them.

Make it clear at the start that if you don’t know the answer to a question or if a question requires some follow-up, you’ll “park” the question somewhere — maybe on a board or on a list. Afterward, you will get the answer and let everyone know.

The second part of this is more important than anything. Don’t just say you’ll get the answer — make sure you get it, then let everyone know. More importantly, let them know how you found the answer. This will empower your team members to use their own resources. 

Incorporate subject matter experts (SMEs) as much as possible

Just because you’re training your team on something doesn’t mean that you have to be the one talking the entire time. Identify talent willing to meet with your team to share their expert experiences. Because so much of our world is now virtual, connecting with SMEs has never been easier.

If an SME you’ve identified won’t be able to actually present, ask for feedback on what you’ve prepared.

Some specific things to ask when requesting feedback from a subject matter expert: 

  • Does everything look accurate and relevant? 
  • What are some common questions you get about XYZ? 
  • Do you think I’m missing anything here? 
  • If you were leading this, what would you do differently? 

Wrapping up

Think of it this way: If your niece or nephew asked you for help with their homework in a subject you hated in school, how would you handle it? You (probably) wouldn’t say, “Not sure. Good luck, kid.” More than likely, you would take the time to find the answer and then teach it to the best of your ability. 

How do you have conversations with clients? What does your communication look like? The “base” skills overlap and can easily be worked into your training.

The same goes for training your team on something you’re not good at. Do your research, take your time, do your best and connect them with subject matter experts. No one expects perfection. They just expect support.

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