There’s always something to howl about

#1 Myth In Real Estate: Agents Don’t Know Why They’re Failing

BHB is about excellence. Excellence in service, products we need and/or use, various marketing methods, and how we conduct ourselves during what I’ll laughingly refer to as ‘business hours’. I’ve suspected Greg’s goal of reaching the million agents is gonna be a tall order, ‘cuz 80% of the agents out there would have to move up the ‘I get it’ ladder to have a clue. More simply put, they don’t come here, and probably never will. That said, I also believe there is a relatively large grouping of agents who’ve not learned yet what it takes to become a consistently successful high volume producer. They do business, but realize they could, and should be doing much more.

High volume? Look, you don’t have to close 100 escrows, ok? But an agent who wants to, can make six figures, $100-250,000 or more in nearly any market. This morning I discovered Russ also addressed this topic, but in his own way.

Agents just don’t know what they should be doing with their time.

Or so they would have you believe.

Let’s conduct a short experiment. Think of any past endeavor for which you had more than a passing interest in succeeding. Let’s take a simple one with which most of us can identify — losing weight and/or improving our overall health. How’d ya do?

If you were successful, it’s my guess you know why. Duh. Can’t we then infer if you had failed, 99% of folks would also know exactly why? Am I being too subtle here? When I was the ‘Chubby Little Blonde Guy’ (That oughta date it for you.) I knew exactly what road I’d used to arrive at Chubsville. No self discipline when it came to diet and exercise. Go ahead, write down that Black Pearl. I’ll wait for you.

It takes an IQ of at least 150-180 minimum to understand the dynamics of calories in vs. calories out, plus the added factor of consistent exercise, both aerobic, and anaerobic. Get the right math goin’ for 120 days or so, and pretty soon you’re shoppin’ for clothes that aren’t X-rated. I was never on M.I.T.’s short list for recruitment, but I figured this one out all by lonesome.

Segue to real estate agents.

As an 18 year old with a blank slate for a mind, (Many back then would phrase it ah, differently.) I was bombarded with training, most of which addressed prospecting for listings. It didn’t stop in training class. It happens I lived at the boss’s house, so at the dinner table, guess what we talked about? We (Dad and the mouse in his pocket.) talked about what it took for an agent to succeed. My only recourse was to lip sync with him, which cracked my step-mom up no end — mysteriously though, not him so much.

Fast forward to present day agents.

The most glaring common denominator connecting the agents of yesteryear and modern day warriors is their aversion to hurt feelings, and/or bruised egos — their own. Grabbing a number from the air of my experience, I’d bet good money on the contention saying 90% of agents are doomed to failure from their first appearance in a real estate office as a licensee.

The #1 Myth? Their ignorance of why they will most assuredly end up doing something else to make a living. They know exactly why they’re failing.

I remember one day I was at my desk shuffling 3 X 5 cards with property addresses/phone numbers on them. There were about 100 of them, and the plan was to call them in the pursuit of new listings or referrals. (Nothing’s new under the sun, right?)

An old guy who turned out to be one of my favorite mentors arrived unannounced, rudely banging his fist on my desk, causing my spirit to literally leave my body. Paraphrasing from terrified memory, “If all you’re gonna do is shuffle those #$%ing cards all day, get in your $&(@$# car and drive to Vegas. They always need dealers. Start #$^&^ calling now!” He went on to explain how many calls I’d make before being allowed to have lunch. He was much bigger than I, so…

I started calling.

This guy had great affection for me, and I him. He couldn’t understand my hesitation, as I had already proven myself as a FSBO demon on the phone. In fact, I’d listed a FSBO six hours into my very first day as a licensed agent — 18 years 2 months old. So why, he wondered, was I lollygagging around?

I was afraid of rejection, that’s why. And that’s the common denominator for almost every single agent who finds themselves out of the business. They spent tragic amounts of energy figuring ways to avoid being told to go away. Let’s boil it down to its simplest terms.

The method(s) chosen while full time agents included:

  • Holding open houses on other agents’ listings.
  • Answering ad calls coming to their office’s main phone line.
  • Mailing flyers hoping for calls from excited homeowners begging them to list their homes.
  • Websites & blogs — hoping against hope the leads will be self-converting.
  • All the while they know exactly what they’re doing — or rather, what they’re not doing. In fact, they become experts in the avoidance of any activity which might possibly lead to more than a couple transactions yearly. They’re no different than I was as The Chubby Blonde Guy over 30 years ago. We had one thing in common.

    We knew exactly what would lead to our success — and we knew the exact moment each day when we decided to do something else. Whom do you think you’re kiddin’? Surely not the person staring back at you in the mirror.

    Whether it’s me expanding the acreage around my waistline, or a real estate agent talking to 16 people a year, we both know exactly why we failed. Still, though I wouldn’t have dreamed of telling anyone with a straight face how I was mystified at size of my giant belly, agents will look you in the eye and try to sell you stuff which would make even Forrest Gump laugh his ass off.

    Their failure was a direct result of their inability consciously willful refusal to do what what they knew needed to be done.

    If for a minute, I thought you the reader didn’t have the reasoning power of a four year old, I’d tell you I was unaware eating a pint of premium ice cream nightly would cause significant weight and waist gain. Of course, nobody with an IQ over 80 would try to seriously convince you of that.

    So I ask the question of struggling agents: Why are looking people in the eye, people who trust you, and telling them you worked hard, doing all the right things, but the business was just too tough?

    People — the guy you remember in high school who couldn’t spell his name right three times running? If he talked to enough people a year, he’d make a good living in real estate. Does anyone have the cajones to argue that claim? I don’t mean to be politically incorrect here, but there are some people out there making a very good living, who can’t read past the sixth grade level. I’ve met them.

    The smartest farming genius out there will go broke constantly polishing his farm equipment. Yet the barely literate guy who’s out in the fields, Gumping his way through the plowing, and planting, and harvesting crops is filling his barn with crops in the fall. Go figure.

    There are so many potentially stellar agents out there who’ll be back at their old jobs next year because they were too afraid to look in the mirror and see the problem. Just as nobody spoon fed me a couple gallons of Jamocha Almond Fudge weekly, nobody forced you to waste a year or two of your life, putting your family at risk financially, ‘cuz you can’t face a little rejection.

    It’s time to take the bull by the horns, instead of spreading so much of what the bull leaves behind. Your lawn is already green, you need to work on greening up your bank account.

    Even a crappy plan executed well with consistently hard work will yield rewards. You’ll get on a learning curve and begin to add working smart to working hard. Before you know it, folks will think your a real estate agent.

    You know exactly why your failing. Either do what you know has to be done, or go back to what you were doin’ before. This isn’t rocket science. How do I know that? ‘Cuz even I can do it.

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