FOUR REASONS AGENTS FAIL What type of agent are you?

by 11 Jun 2009

Understanding some of the obvious causes of failure for agents will allow you to detect and address these causes.  Successful agents follow a particular path.  The unsuccessful quickly fall on a track doomed to fail.  I have categorized four of the major characteristics that lead a new agent down a path to ruin.

The first of these I call the Scientist.

The Scientist agent will spend the majority of time trying to re-invent the process.  Granted, there is always a better way to do something.  Success in real estate is no different.  However, you are best served to follow the blue print of success that has been followed by the most successful in the business rather than charting your own course at this early stage of your career.  If you copy the game plan of the most successful in the business, your results will be the same.

Many people come into the business with ideas and techniques that have been applied in their previous career.  There is nothing wrong with applying them in real estate, however that is a risk.  It may or may not work.  Follow the tried and true.  Become successful and live your dreams.

There will be plenty of time to build on your success by experimenting with new strategies and concepts.  Save the experimenting until you have gained your initial success.  There will be plenty of time. 

Succeed by copying the success of others in your field, before reinventing the process.

The second flawed characteristic I call the Bumble Bee.

A Bumble Bee spends all day buzzing from flower to flower.  The Bumble Bee agent spends his or her career going from company to company or strategy to strategy, never focusing on anything.  I have seen so many agents who spend a significant amount of time everyday surfing the web for job listings for greener pastures.  These agents never lay the foundations for a solid career.  They never fully grasp the fact that real estate, more than most careers, is based on relationships.  You can never develop a long-term relationship with a client (the client will never develop a relationship with you) if you cannot be stable enough in your business.  Bumble Bee agents spend their entire career going from broker to lender to broker to bank, again and again, success eluding them every time.  If a Bumble Bee spent more time creating a better home where they are, their business would grow as a result of it.

Find a good home and commit to your growth.

My favorite is the Wedding Planner.

A good wedding planner has every detail figured out, including the position and color of the flowers, the music, the food, the servers, etc.  Planning a good wedding takes time and effort, and planning and research.  The wedding planner agent will spend an enormous amount of time planning, researching and anticipating every question.  This agent wants to be prepared for any possible question or circumstance.  They often tell me that they want to “understand it” before they approach a client.  This is truly laudable.  It is important to understand what you are doing, but you have to find a balance.  You are learning a new profession, which takes years to master.  Most agents do not have years or even months to learn, they need to make money now.  You have to learn and master through practicing as many steps as you can.  At first, it may only be the initial steps of attracting clients.  Focus only on attracting clients to you, and keep doing just that.  Working with mentors will allow you to seek the guidance and support to go to the next step.

So often I see the wedding planners fail because, like most people, they do not have the ability to spend an inordinate amount of time learning without earning.  Going a few months without any prospect of earning an income makes any other job look desirable.  With bills to pay and a life to lead, you cannot spend months trying to cover every base.  Learn the first steps, and do it!  Everything beyond that will work itself out, particularly if you have made the right choice with a company that will provide you with quality mentoring.

There is no point in learning step 47 if you can’t master step 1.

The last of the four characteristics, I call the Social Worker.

The social worker gets involved in every aspect of the client’s personal life without regard for the ultimate goal.  The social worker is unable to lead the client to a buying decision for the product or service at hand.  Instead they begin to solve other problems that do not require a buying decision from the client for the agent’s service.  For example, your client wants to buy a home, but there is a blemish on the credit report.  This blemish may be of concern to the client but has no consequence for the loan or purchase.  A social worker begins to assist the client with fixing problems that really are not significant instead of focusing on the true issue at hand.  It is your responsibility to keep your clients focused on the goal and not let them get derailed by side issues.

The social worker wants to help.  It is easier to provide help that is unrelated to your business because you are not selling your service and therefore there is no risk of failure.  The social worker will justify the work by believing that once this unrelated problem is solved, the client will then be able to move forward.  Unfortunately, new problems always crop up and the client is quickly “sold” by another agent.

Solve the problems that actually stand in the way of the deal. Not every problem.

David K. Lal is the president of the educational non-profit The National Real Estate Council. He is a licensed CA real estate broker with over 20 years of practical experience. He can be reached at or by calling 888-820-6038 ext. 1 



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