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Why new agents fail

stan cropped web“Even Rosie DiManno from the Toronto Star takes a holiday,” said REM editor Jim Adair to me last month! I only wish that I was one-tenth as good as she is, but what the heck, I do these articles for fun! Anyway, what can I say?  I was both on a vacation and somewhat forgetful of my REM deadline and I missed last month’s issue. Several readers took note and emailed me to see if I was okay. Well, dear readers, I am alive and well and enjoying my semi-retired position at my unique office in the heart of North York.

I’ve been doing a lot of research into the lack of success of many of the new registrants/agents who come into the business. My findings are not much different than a lot of readers who echoed my column several months ago: “Come into the business and make a lot of money? Yeah, right.”

Here’s what I’ve found here in Ontario and maybe it’s the same across Canada.

There used to be a rule of thumb that 70 per cent of the business was done by 30 per cent of the agents. Eventually through the last decade, it has evolved that about 90 per cent of all the business on MLS is done by about 10 per cent or less of the members in the Toronto area.

I began my search for answers by questioning managers, brokers and new graduates who have been in the business for less than two years.

Many new registrants have a feeling of entitlement. By that I mean that by choosing certain brokers, they feel that they should get leads and training.  A great many brokers do train. Somehow the education/skills sets that are drilled into them at training sessions is like a band aid on a cut!  They’re overwhelmed, first by the paperwork that is involved.

The education seems ideal for the day, but is totally forgotten by the end of the month. Why? Mostly because the new agents are not accountable. And it’s a two-way street for a number of brokers – they don’t do their jobs to hold the new agents accountable.

I’ve had numerous emails from new agents across Canada who have done only three or four deals over a two-year span.  Now, c’mon, I say to many who I chatted with – how is it that you don’t use/practice the skill sets passed on to you? Most answer that they tried it for a few weeks and decided that cold calls or door knocking “wasn’t for them.”

Too many agents are also coming into the business thinking that they can do it part-time. A few can and do become successful enough to cut the umbilical cord of a monthly paycheque to work at real estate full-time.

I’ve personally taught various skill-sets to more than 1,000 agents over many years. I’ve seen a great number of agents succeed, but not as many as I’d like. The reasons are not much different than those I’ve mentioned.

So, how can we make more of these aspiring agents excited and enthusiastic enough to devote themselves to this business?

With more agents choosing to work from home, it makes the task of enriching their education/skills problematic. Our board in Toronto, the largest in North America, has seen its membership rise to close to 40,000!  And judging from past records, some 4,000 will drop out of the business this year (my estimate).

Maybe the various provincial associations should publish some of the glaring facts – that this is a tough business.

If the agent chooses to make it a career and not a chance to make a mortgage payment or buy a car, we will see the percentage of successful agents go up. When one gets their licence, they should embrace all that the industry has to offer.

I like adjectives beginning with the latter E.  If you’re new, get empowered, educated and enlightened. And then you can say, “Eureka! I’ve struck pay dirt.” But only if you get down and dirty and just do it – and don’t be embarrassed if you fall down or fail a few dozen times. I’m sure our Olympians at Sochi fell down a few times on their way to their success. Have a great spring campaign.

Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Crossroads’ iRealty office in Toronto can be reached for consultation at [email protected]. Stan is now celebrating his 44th year as an active real estate professional.