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Why Some Agent Flatline

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Anyone who’s been in the business more than a few years will know this story. A new agent comes to the office and your first impression of them is completely polarized. Then, over the course of the next 1-2 years, you are proven completely wrong.


It goes one of two ways:

  1. The agent is personable, they're a go getter, and you're positive that they'll knock it out of the park… but nothing ever happens.

  2. The new agent in the office is under-spoken, awkward or difficult to communicate with. You can’t imagine what they were thinking when they got into real estate. But, a few years later, they are one of the offices big success stories.

A tree in the desert

I’ve certainly been fooled more times than I like to admit. Trying to guess who is going to land on their feet in real estate is challenging and, truthfully, I like it this way. It keeps everyone on their toes and forces experienced leaders to not judge too quickly.


So if it’s hard to predict, does that mean that it’s random?


No, not at all in fact. It’s hard to predict, but the people who are successful all share similarities.



Rule 1: Be Gritty and have Self Leadership


This business is a grind. Sorry!


The most common reason people struggle is because they didn’t predict the level of repetition and rejection they would have to work against. As a population, we don’t sell and buy homes very often. This means that the majority of the people who you offer to help, just don’t need you. We have to ask a lot to get a little. The good news is that when something lands we get paid well. The bad news is that while we are waiting to get there we hear the word “NO” a lot.


Having grit means picking up again and getting going when something didn’t work out. It means making the extra phone calls and putting in the extra follow up calls.


Beyond the ability to keep going, you also need to be a problem solver. Not every conversation follows a predictable pattern or flow. Negotiations often fall apart but could be salvaged with a little creativity. Goal setting might not yield the perfect formula and adjustments need to be made constantly to get on track with where you want to go.


Successful agents are putting in the work. They are constantly reflecting on their performance and adjusting their action to stay on track.


Rule 2: Say YES


I traded actively for many years. Throughout my entire career, I would work hard to serve every single client I could, even when I knew it would be difficult. I’ve spent thousands of hours in the car travelling to locations hours from my home to help clients buy and sell. And frankly, I’m proud of it. Top performers invariably have a servants heart.


Sometimes you meet agents who have everything you think they need to be successful, but they don’t show up. I’ve heard of agents in their first year of real estate saying they wouldn’t drive an hour to meet a prospective client. Meanwhile, I also know people who run multi million dollar businesses that drive double that after decades of selling.


An classic car on the side of the road

Saying yes doesn’t mean giving up on boundaries. It means finding a way to serve everyone you can in the highest degree possible. You get paid really well for what you do, make it a great deal for your clients and people will remember you.


Rule 3: Nothing replaces taking action


Some agents are growth junkies. Truthfully, thats me too. I absolutely love learning and raising the bar constantly. It’s what fulfils many of us.


So why do some agents seem to know everything and do nothing?


The answer lies in the second half of that sentence.


Some people use learning opportunities as a vacation from their responsibilities. They love to learn but they don’t want to do the work. Maybe they even think they can outsmart the market.


Truth: This business is a belly to belly sport, it always is and always has been. I’m not saying that you can’t do business over the phone or through electronic communication, I’m saying that there is a direct relationship between the number of conversations you have and the amount of deals you write.

I’ve often written this formula out when describing to people what creates success: A=AxA


Achievement = Action X Abilities


So, what you get from your business will be the multiple of the action you take by the level of abilities you apply to it. Unfortunately this means that if you don’t take action, there is no level of skill which makes up for it.


Simply put, you need to do the work… and to be a top performer, you need to do a lot of it.


Okay, so is all this to say that agents need to grind and that’s it?


Not at all. Along the way there are constant opportunities for you to explore and learn and enjoy the journey of finding your path in this business.


Rule 4: Play into your strengths and make the business fun


Two people jumping in the air on a beach with a sunset in the background

There are hundreds of ways to generate business in real estate. The idea that you need to grind doesn’t mean that you need to sit in a cubicle for 6 hours every day, grinding through cold calls. Some people love to grind it out on the phone, others are very purposeful about their social media and create outstanding content. But they grind it out, doing the things they are good at.


An old friend of mine built a seven figure business using instagram as her primary lead source. Everyone loved her and idolized her ability to attract business because from the outside it looked simple and cool. I asked her about her schedule: She spent 4-6 hrs every day creating content and following key people to grow her influence. Then she picked the kids up, made them dinner and went out to do showings. She had a more significant work ethic than almost anyone I ever met. She loved what she did and was playing into the creative strength in an area she was passionate about.


So why do some agents flatline?


There are 3 main reasons:

  1. They don’t have the grit to keep pushing when it gets hard. Sometimes they stop short of trying and other times they push really hard and burn out. Regardless, they don’t have the personal leadership to see themselves falling off and by the time they realize how far off they are, it’s too late.

  2. Agents have an inflated sense of self worth or ego. They don’t say yes to opportunity because they don’t think they should have to go the extra mile to serve their clients. Sadly, sometimes it isn’t ego and they don’t say yes to opportunities because they don’t have the self confidence that they will know what to do if they get the appointment or the deal, so they avoid even asking.

  3. Agents don’t balance learning with taking action. You need both to be the top of your game, but action is more important. Without taking action, the results are guaranteed to be zero. Agents need to step up and start doing stuff, even when they aren’t sure. You can learn and adjust along the way.


Success isn’t a straight path, along the way the challenges and course changes are what makes it exciting. Grit is learning to love these and make the most of it while you are on your path. Agents who work hard, say yes to every opportunity and are resourceful and creative along the way will always be rise to the top and bring the most value to their clients.


As always, thanks for reading!


Sean

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