When I took over the sales team at Punta Pacifica Realty last year, one of my goals was to launch a formalized training program to select and develop new talent. The objective was to create a stronger team of educated and well-trained agents/producers who are more effective from the start, providing the level of service and expertise our clients have come to expect from PPR.
In my years in Panama, I’ve learned that the best representatives are motivated and proud of their work, and share a desire to grow. Any successful organization is better when the team members are happy, inspired, and see a future for themselves in the company.
The first step was to develop a more rigorous process for selecting future associates. The candidate recruiting and selection process was developed by Jack Studnicky and Marie Williams, using their HPA8020 program, which we began implementing back in July. Jack and Marie have helped develop top sales teams around the world, including Fisher Island in Miami and Marina del Rey in Los Angeles. They are experts at creating systems to identify and nurture sales talent, with a proven record for success.
With the regimented program, we are able to focus our selection process on the candidates themselves and not necessarily on their level of prior experience. The system emphasizes the personality profile of the person and how they will fit into the PPR team. We envision their progression within the company and industry overall, moving beyond their resume.
To help administer the day-to-day program, I enlisted the help of one of our senior agents, Iary Pere, who has experience training people. She also excels at public speaking and connecting with people. She has a real gift for sharing information and creating dialogue and trust.
We brought in the first set of recruits after the new year. Iary met with them on a daily basis and observed their progress. We worked through the program to identify the traits that make a successful agent.
Once new recruits were accepted, they entered a 6-week training course that supported their path to becoming a Jr. Sales Agent on the PPR team. The general program included daily class time and lessons in accountability and our CRM sales programs, as well as background on projects and pricing in Panama City.
At the same time, we wanted them to learn PPR’s core values and the history of the firm. An emphasis was placed on one-on-one meetings with firm principals and department heads, making sure they were befitting from the decades of accumulated experience in the Panama City real estate market. A key part of the training includes mentorship and learning from established agents. New recruits go out on appointments with junior and senior agents to get hands-on experience. We also make sure veterans go on calls with new recruits, supporting their efforts and evaluating their performance.
After training, the recruits were put on a probationary period to show what they had learned. To graduate to Jr. Sales Agent status, the program requires they produce their first two closed rentals within 60 days.
We already see results. The first group of three trainees is enthusiastic and engaged. Two of the three have already closed their first two rentals, with the third pushing hard to catch up. We expect that to happen this month.
We have now started the second group of trainees. It’s great to see people embrace the training. They recognize we are offering more than a job — it’s an opportunity for them to grow and realize their dreams.
The program is also an important step for our company and our clients. With this training program in place, I’m confident PPR will be able to maintain the same level of excellent service as we continue to grow as a company and expand our reach.