After the Council of Estate Agents (CEA) announced that Real Estate salespersons must clock 6 hours of CDP hours for the period April 2011-March 2012, hordes of salespersons scrambled to attend the few courses available that come with CDP hours.
This is a very good start and CEA has been working hard behind the scene with more providers to provide more courses and conduct more CDP classes. It is hoped that this will improve the skills and knowledge of the salespersons over the longer term.
We hope to see more courses on the softer side of things, eg, how to carry oneself in front of the customer, how to have a customer focussed attitude and mindset, how to manage expectations, how to uncover customer's real need and understanding the customer personality (using the already developed behavioural systems). The industry has lots of the hard stuff,eg, the HDB rules and procedures etc but the one that would change the equation for the salesperson would be these soft skills. Afterall, the salesperson is serving a customer and is in the service industry.
It is our forecast that the requirement of CDP hours and also higher standard of professionalism required under the licensing regime by CEA will put a lot of pressure on the part-timers and eventually they will drop out of the industry. In addition, with CEA having a website for all to double check if a person is a licenced salesperson, employers would start looking there to see if their employees are moonlighting as real estate salespersons.
At the same time, recently MAS disallowed those who are in the Financial Advisory industry to be real estate salespersons concurrently.
Altogether, the industry is heading for a period of lesser number of salespersons but of higher quality. Currently there are about 32,000 registered salespersons. We hazard a guess that it may not be far fetched to see this number drop to 25,000 by 2014, 3 years away when the full force of the licensing is in place.