Northwood Realty is among the largest independent real estate companies in America. They cover multiple states and their 38 offices are focused mainly on the densely populated areas of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. They are a full service firm with 974 agents, offering residential, finance, relocation, and insurance.
Northwood is pioneering a program for agent training that introduces an effective model for other brokers to consider. It’s called Northwood Tech Trainers.
About Northwood Trainers
Northwood deploys five field trainers to support just under 1000 agents. The ratio is effectively one trainer to every 200 agents. The field trainers also have one supervisor, bringing their total department count to six.
Tech trainers are assigned and integrated into offices and physically visit each office at least once a week. Agents can sign up for 30 or 60 minute sessions as often as they like, covering basically anything to do with technology—from the many Northwood programs, to helping setup a new phone or laptop, social networking and more. They are always available by telephone and email and additional tech support sessions can be held using JoinMe in group sessions or one on one with an agent/manager or admin.
Northwood considers technology and training a core benefit of their brokerage. They do not charge agents any technology fees nor do agents pay for training. They offer an extensive array of technology products that are all integrated into the CoreLogic AgentAchieve platform, including agent website, agent CRM, agent CMA, Property Panorama virtual tours, Listen 360 Agent Ratings, Gmail, SkySlope Transaction Management, Five Street, zipForm Plus, VoicePad, eProperty Watch AVM, Collateral Analytics and others.
If you do the math, you can multiply 1000 agents times the fees for each of these technology solutions and recognize that they are making a major investment in agent productivity.
Northwood took a big risk with this strategy a few years ago. They recognized that charging agents would be a barrier to the adoption of these technology tools, so they decided not to charge. They also recognized that offering products without a significant effort to drive adoption and training would lead to low adoption. By creating the Tech Training department to support these products, they have accelerated agent adoption beyond many of their peers.
Now, in the fourth year of the plan, production per agent has risen significantly with many more agents lifting their production into the top production categories in their company. In parlance, agent productivity has raised enough to help pay for a good portion of the technology and the training program. It has also been a leading strategy for agent recruiting and retention.
If you want to take a look at their new training website, visit northwoodtechtrainers.com.