By Stan Albert

Oh my God! Is it that time again? My next column for REM is due in a few days and I have writer’s block. I’ll put on my special writer’s hat and super-think this through. I have been immersed in watching the Blue Jays.

We’ve literally watched every inning from the end of July and into the playoffs.

What does a professional ball player have to do to become a threat at the plate, a pitcher who can throw a ball as fast as one can drive a car, or a fielder to make that impossible flying catch in the outfield?



There are very few who make it to the big leagues without going up the ladders of several farm teams. Those who do make it are what the sportswriters call “naturals.” I’m sure that some of you sport buffs can name quite a few. But the crux of this article is not about those natural ball players.

To be a major leaguer, it takes a great deal of intensity and practice every day in a six-month season and requires millions of miles of travel. Sure they get paid a millionaire’s income but at the expense and sacrifice of special times with their families. Their bodies endure scores of injuries before that special day when they can have a chance to play in the World Series.

How hard do you work at your profession? Do you come every day with a plan to do better? Do you pick out a few hours in the day to prospect? Or better still, to meet up with prospective clients by door knocking? Do you call those clients you sold five years ago to see if they need your help? The list of questions to ask yourself is endless for those of you who don’t believe in the adage that practice makes perfect.

Do you honestly think the super stars of any major league sport get paid for playing less than 100 per cent effort?

I’ve watched many new agents coming into our profession who think they can work at it part-time. Sure, there are a few who do make a living from real estate part-time. But many times they’re guilty of breaches of duties and create issues that lead to problems because they’re not available for their clients, nor are they available for their other responsibilities, be it another employer or family members who may rely on their assistance.

Many of you have weighed in on this topic and I agree that there should be a better way of eliminating the part-time agents from our profession, but under current governmental guidelines, it’s impossible.

Many enter this profession and treat it as a new job rather than a major career and because of that, they cannot survive the many dips in the road.

Part-time agents treat the new forms and/or formats of doing business as another impediment in their search for instant commission success rather than viewing it as a step forward in keeping them, their clients and colleagues accountable in our profession.

Over time REM’s editor and I have swapped statistics as to where we stand in the top 30 most trusted professions in the public’s eye. I think we’re above used car dealers at number 28 and have been so perceived for many years. Why?

Once again, how do you become like those million-dollar professionals? Are you going to get up earlier each day, perhaps work out at the gym, consult a coach and be determined to be better than you were yesterday? Or are you going to sit and wonder what kind of luck the successful agents have had and why you have not been touched by the same luck? It isn’t luck, my friend. It’s simply hard work, ethical practices and appreciation for your clients, colleagues, support staff and those with whom you have daily contact.

You and you alone, can determine your destiny.

Want to be a major leaguer? Or are you satisfied playing in the minors?

16 COMMENTS

  1. Sports and Real Estate
    REALTORS across Canada get a hit around 40% of the time or around 40 in 100 listing attempts taken. This equates to the 400 batting average. Of course like Baseball the Mendoza Line is what the vast majority of realty players hit. The top few hit enough to make it into the big leagues but even they fail more times than they succeed.

    Baseball has several different lower levels of play where a player can learn and spend years trying to become better. Real estate lets everyone into the big leagues and no matter how few hits they make as little as $500 a year keeps them in the game.

    Baseball has customers and they pay according to the quality of baseball they pay to see. In real estate of course customers pay the same no matter the league of their agent.

    Isn’t it time a Big Leagues is established for real estate. A place where only the best are even allowed to play?

  2. I think it’s about time some of us in this profession stop long enough to take a good hard look at the issues that cause breaches in order to understand which breed of registrant:- part-time, full-time, novice or veteran actually commit the most.

    The problem does not fall squarely on part-timers as is often times suggested.

    It is the lack of desire once someone becomes registered to properly and adequately keep abreast of the rules, regulations and ever-changing laws that we ought to know because as far as continuing education is concerned, this industry has made it far too easy to not ever pick up another book or even read a new piece of legislation in full to actually stay properly informed.

    And, with so many whose circulatory system are the apps in their phone, If continuous education requires more words than twitter allows, or more than 2 minutes of their time, or it isn’t about technology, it’s not on their radar.

    We have way too many veteran registrants who, when met with an opposing thought will argue they’re correct because they’ve always done it that way while the novices just parrot someone else who parroted someone else and neither ever verify facts – the very thing we are required to do. Why? because continuing education has never required it.

    This industry will not get better until the reality of all that sets in and many of these coaches start making it about the client rather than about the acquisition of leads or closing your client on.

  3. The Real Estate “Big Leagues” are being downgraded to the “Little Leagues” and yet we still focus on the same old subjects and themes, as though there was nothing else more worthy of our attention. In order for organized real estate to be considered the “Big Leagues” we can’t be seen as only having Customers, and a very powerful Federal government entity is portraying us just that way, and seemingly trying to make that the reality for the future of organized real estate, in Canada.

    Industry members should take the time to read both the “Application” and “Amended Application” as filed by the Commissioner for the Competition Bureau of Canada, to the Tribunal, regarding the current matter involving TREB. The documents are not as complicated a read as one assume — actually they should be a fairly easy, yet nauseous read. There are many points within said Applications that industry members should easily relate to and have an opinion on.

    In both of the Commissioner’s, for the Competition Bureau, Applications to the Tribunal in the matter involving TREB, there is one very important word to our industry, and one very important phrase that are both totally absent from the Commissioner’s Applications. The Applications don’t contain any reference whatsoever to the word “Client” and likewise there isn’t any reference to “Agency Representation”– everyone is but a Customer!

    Within the Commissioner’s (at the time it was Melanie Aiken) Applications the overall theme is one of an attempt to argue what is best for real estate consumer’s in a general sense, while at the same time arguing that the concept of VOW’s can only be seen as having a significant benefit for real estate consumer’s — who are only ever regarded as Customer’s! The Commissioner’s arguments totally ignore the importance of Agency/ Fiduciary Relationships and the higher level of competence and other benefits that the Courts enforce around Agency Relationships.

    The various Regulatory Authorities from Province to Province, have spent a considerable amount of time and energy on the subject of Agency Representation, with the ultimate goal of what is in the best interests of real estate consumers. Should Registrants or Practitioner’s mishandle the subject of Agency Representation we are guaranteed of a fine or worse. We must ask the question: why did the Commissioner for the Competition Bureau totally avoid the subject of “Client Status” and “Agency Law”– was it to avoid being seen as intruding into an area of Provincial jurisdiction? By ignoring the subject of “Agency Law”, did the Competition Bureau Commissioner not commit an Ipso facto repudiation of Provincial jurisdiction, from coast to coast, anyway?

    • The following is the item #5. (paragraph) excerpt, from the Commissioner for the Competition Bureau’s Application to the Competition Tribunal, regarding TREB:

      “5. The TREB MLS Restrictions perpetuate the traditional “bricks and mortar” business
      model used by a majority of its member brokers (“traditional brokers”). As a result of the TREB MLS Restrictions, brokers are prevented from using the information in the TREB MLS system to create and support innovative business models and service offerings, such as VOWs, which would improve the efficiency and productivity of their businesses. Such innovations and the resulting cost savings would enable those brokers to compete more effectively against traditional brokers. At the same time, TREB deprives all consumers of the choice to receive some services from their brokers conveniently, at a time of their choosing, often at home, via the Internet.”

      What does the Commissioner’s reference above to “bricks and mortar” mean? Is it, perhaps, a veiled reference to “Agency Law” — after all, all Real Estate Brokerages have their own websites in one form or another, and so do many Registrants or Practitioner’s? Is the reference to “traditional broker’s” a veiled reference to Broker’s who primarily cater to “Clients” moreso than “Customer’s”?

      When a member of TREB emails (all of which can be automated) specific property information to a “Client” based on discussed criterion (wants and needs) or sale precedents etc., and said Client reads said email “…at a time of their choosing…”, and perhaps “…often at home…” and of course emails are, “…via the Internet.”, would it not make the Competition Bureau’s, Commissioner’s, following statement or claim, total unadulterated nonsense: “At the same time, TREB deprives all consumers of the choice to receive some services from their brokers conveniently, at a time of their choosing, often at home, via the Internet.”?

  4. From what I understood from your article Stan – I believe has some value.
    However, I have issues with the picture you’re painting as unfair to other
    part-time Realtors who run their businesses as ethically as the next “ethical”
    full-time Realtor.

    As I see it, people are people, and as such, ethical standards and practices will vary whether or not a person works part/full time. Those who falter in up-standing ethical practices should be reprimanded by the appropriate authorities.

  5. Good article, Stan. From your perspective, what do you see as the number one reason new full time agents fail?

    • Jerry:
      I think that I can answer your question; they have a part-time mentality.
      New full-time registrants have already been infused with/bought into the idea (from on high, from CREA and ORE in general) that riches await the naturally endowed glowing personalities who attract people to them because they are so sociable//likeable//shiny. If a wannabe dreamer isn’t a social butterfly by nature, one studies how to become one. They remind me of that shiny pony, Justin Trudeau (Trudeau lite) that so many easily-influenced-by-learned-showmanship are enamoured with these days. To that end, that old pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a strong magnet for the wishful thinkers, because, “Who knows, I might be one of the chosen ones!” is their thought process. Trudeau lite believes that he is the chosen one, and many believe that. Trudeau lite would make a good Realtor, I am sure, because unlike most wannabes, he has the money to sustain him through the learning process.
      I think that superstition is at the root of the “I-wannabe-a-Realtor” culture. “If I just think hard enough about what success awaits me, it will come.” seems to be their mantra. It’s simply easier to think about good things than it is to work one’s ass off in pursuit of same. Like true believers the world over, their fantasy worlds light up in their imaginations…until reality rears its ugly head and the light is snuffed out as fast as their funds, thus their dreams, dry up.
      There is an old saying that goes thus: “A fool and his money are soon parted”.
      Any one who thinks that he/she can jump onto the over-crowded real estate gravy train (which is really a jammed pork-ride on the way to the slaughterhouse) with nothing to offer of substance (like real world experience in a related field) with naught but a passing grade on a few exams is a fool waiting to have his/her pockets picked by the ORE dues structure. Imagine, if you will, a person who has just passed his/her written driver’s-licence exam, immediately being let loose on the road behind the wheel who has never been behind the wheel, who has only been a passenger. That is what most wannabe Realtors are…passengers suddenly thrust into the driver’s seat…complete with a wishful-thinking mindset that traffic will be light, except in cases when it flows right into their driveways and parks there, cash in hand. They hope that lady-luck will look favourably upon them. We are a superstitious lot after all, at least most of us, anyway.

      • Brian,
        In many ways you are right. There are a lot of full time real estate agents with a part time mentality, a get-rich-quick-without-much-effort mentality, etc. etc. etc.
        So, I will rephrase my question: what is the main reason why full time agents, who want to work, who want to give good service, who truly want to be the best they can be, still fail at very high percentages?

        • Jerry:
          The main reason why full time registrants who want to work, who want to give good service, who truly want to be the best that they can be, still fail at a very high percentage, is thus: they don’t fully realize what they are getting into. Thus, they are woefully unprepared for what lies ahead.
          To try to counter their unpreparedness (lack of relevant experience and product/industry knowledge) in the short term, they try to become salespeople by attempting to step outside of themselves and become something most are not…walking-talking back-slapping hand-pumping jokester story-tellers…in short, they try to become actors trying to impress with their acts. They have no other choices because they lack the years of empirical backgrounds needed to function within the industry from a perspective of knowledge, which the possession of same in and of itself begets confidence. Confidence needs no act to reveal itself. Thus, the never-ending turnover of failures-in-waiting is a very predictable outcome, thanks to the low-entry-level lack-of- standards as set forth by the “professionals” at the helm of ORE (Organized Real Estate/Oh Really Eh!) in Canada, and likely similarly in the U.S.A.
          Jerry, your business deals with training folks to be able to quickly practice methods of behaviour designed to influence customers to deal with them after a quick meeting. Your business deals with the concept of establishing a master-servant relationship (I know that you will disagree with me on this one) for lack of a better description on my part, and that type of relationship is what most sheep (because most of us are sheep who are infused with the herd instinct inherited via evolution from the dark ages) are looking for. So, I say to you, what you offer is good for salespeople who have little else to offer other than learned strategies. However, as I have pointed out within this publication for years now, professional Realtors should not be branded as salespeople, because that is what draws the wannabe sales mentality to this so-called profession, which it has thus never been but which it should be. Far, far too many without the proper temperament in conjunction without the proper background in conjunction without the proper long-range expectation for survival fall into the “Let’s-get-rich-quick-by-flogging-real-estate!” lure as trolled before them by fishing ORE dues-collectors as their preys’ unemployment benefits run out and/or as they ponder “What do I do now?” when they realize that their current jobs will never make them rich, or even fairly well off. I believe that many pre-retiree wannabes try real estate sales as a desperation move, and that many retirees give ‘er a whirl because they can afford to. Ergo, you are left with a comically continuously churning unprofessional work force (it’s not really funny) which tries this-and-that in order to make a commission before the funds run out…over and over again. It is a very predictable cycle, and brokerages rely on this reality to keep their sheep constantly on the prowl for green pastures, of which the number is finite. Only the number of wannabes is infinite.
          All of the best intentions are laid waste in the face of harsh reality, something the babes-in-the-woods newbies learn from cold hard experience. But the never-ending supply of that human factor known as perpetual hope is what ORE dues-collectors feed off of. It’s all about the money. Newbies chase it, ORE collects it. Always has been that way; always will be that way. Realtors hope to be paid by commissions; OREcrats always get paid by guaranteed salaries…including benefits…and pensions…and paid sick days…and paid holidays…and so on. The fix is definitely in.
          So there you have it; the system programs them to fail in large numbers. Learned scripts and psychological techniques as practised on the ignorant-of-same public will always keep some in the game, and even allow a very few to become successful, of that there is no doubt, and that is the lure that entraps the wishful non-thinkers, aka known as superstitious believers in magic. Ergo, nothing will change on a large scale, learned behaviours or no. Like casinos, the game is rigged in favour of the string-pullers, aka CREA, ORE et al, which have become ivory-tower entities unto themselves for whom the ignorant slaves/wanna-get-rich suckers exist. It ain’t pretty, but it is true.
          Still, I believe that Realtors still poll just above used car salespeople in terms of trust and industry knowledge, aka as professionalism, and they (the used-car crowd) use all kinds of learned scripts, jokes and the usual run-of-the-mill rapport-establishing psychological tricks every step of the way, and all kinds of folks buy their used cars. Hmmm….maybe that should be a rite of passage to becoming a real estate sales hack; first one must have sold one-hundred used cars from Fast Eddy’s Used Car Lot within six months.
          CREA, ORE et all; I think that you all should get right on that. Wow; professionals-in-waiting! Brilliant!

          • Brian, I just re-read your response to my question of 2 months ago when I asked for opinions on why new full time agents fail.
            If I read it right, you think that is wrong or unnecessary for new agents (or experienced ones as well) to memorize scripts. That somehow thy should just be themselves. I wonder how you would advise someone who has a nice voice and wants to be a singer to proceed since every song is a script.

          • Jerome:
            Most songs tell stories, and thus, need words to tell those stories, unless of course, a song is a pure instrumental. Having said that, a songster is not trying to influence some’one’ to immediately do something that the singer wants him/her to do, but rather, a songster is hoping that listeners will like the sound of his/her voice, no matter the word play (script).
            Most newbie Realtors who possess little in the way of industry related experience (the vast majority) need something to make up for their lack of relevant experience during the early-to-mid going in order to secure listings and buyer clients when competing for same against amyriad of other Realtors. There is only one thing immediately available to them to somehow make them ‘appear’ to know what they are talking about, and that one thing is a wad of scripts. Scripts, therefore, are heavily relied upon to make up for a lack of substance.
            A singer does not need scripts of a certain set-kind to sound good. Words of a popular song can be interchanged within a catchy tune sung by a good singer and the singer will still sound good. However, without a script an inexperienced newbie Realtor will sound just as he/she is…inexperienced. However, if a newbie has some sort of industry related background which can be superimposed onto/into the conversations at hand with potential clients, then the need for scripts is nixed. A good dose of higher innate intelligence helps as well, something that a singer does not necessarily need.
            You pose an interesting question, but I think you are comparing apples to oranges. If Organized Real Estate wants to produce a good crop of apples, it should hire only apples in the first place and polish them up instead of hiring oranges and then hoping that a few will take apple lessons and thence morph into actual apples whilst the oranges- forever inevitably fall by the wayside, scripted or no.
            To answer your question: I would advise a wannabe singer to take voice lessons which do not require scripts/words and thence try to pick songs to sing with catchy/memorable tunes that enhance their natural vocal registers. People who can’t stop humming catchy tunes remember the catchy tunes sung by singers whose voices match with those tunes which thereafter become forever imbedded within in their brains; the words (scripts) are almost always of secondary importance until matched with the tunes and need to be memorized via overt effort. Catchy tunes simply become effortlessly imbedded. Ergo, naturally talented Realtors who act as advocates and who possess related experience prior to becoming licensed are able to be memorable to potential clients due to the natural flow of ‘their’ vocals…sans one-size-fits-all scripts.
            Hope this answers your question in an unscripted and acceptable manner.

          • Jerome,

            Speaking as someone who has taken voice lessons. I can tell you that a singer does need a script and they do need to practice the script, and the musicians who back the singer up also not only need to have the script / music in front of them, but they need to practice it over and over again to get the timing right. It’s only when you’re doing physical training in a studio that you don’t need the actual written music. When I’ve stepped on stage with professional musicians and asked to do a song they don’t normally play, their timing will be off and it throws the singer off, as well — so you just end up winging it and hope the audience has had lots to drink. Most singers also sing within a natural certain range that they need to stick to; music is typically written to sound best with a singer who sings within a certain range.

            When Navy Seals are tasked with clearing a neighborhood, they stick to a script — namely what they were trained to do, and that is part of what makes them great and keeps them alive. Some scripts can be lame though, if they just ask a Real Estate consumer the obvious question: “do you want to get the most money for your home, instead of telling them this is what I plan to do ……… to get the most money for your home. A script that helps to explain REALTOR “value added” to both the Registrant/ Practitioner and the Real Estate consumer without attempting to insult the consumers intelligence, isn’t a bad thing. We don’t even practice the REALTOR “value added” script on REM.

            As far as newbies are concerned. I would recommend that a Real Estate consumer work with a fresh out-of-the-box newbie over a Top-Producer, every time — if they suspect, at all, that the Top-producer is one of those certain personality types: who can’t be embarrassed!

        • Sometimes there are just too many mouths to feed. A fifty pound bag of potatoes can be amazing and go a long way, but it falls short of miraculous. There are only so many slices in a piece of pie and a mother will feed her children first. In the Good Book we were taught about what one very special individual could do when faced with the problem of too many mouths to feed. Is it possible that there are other teachings other books and another teacher among us who can speak to this? Is that what you are hinting at Jerry?

    • Jerry

      There’s so much more to the real estate business than showing houses to would be buyers and listing houses for would be sellers. And there’s so much more to having a successful money making career.

      I’ve never read or heard how the moniker “salesman” got itself attached to our field of expertise.

      Thinking that somebody would have had a product requiring payment in some fashion or other
      in order for its owner to release ownership of it to another party. But the owner sought advice from outside his own knowledge or expertise, as to value and price.

      Likewise the one wanting to have the product and perhaps not sure of its worth or status of its construction or value likewise sought outside guidance.

      Now these two each needed an intervener of some sort. What to call this intermediary guide. Golly, there just might be many of us who dearly wish the title to our services rendered had been called a “guide.” Not a salesman.

      The moniker itself leans toward contrivance. Someone trying to convince another to buy or sell some thng, or a service, they may not necessarily want or need.

      We neither own the product nor are we buying it. We own no rights to it in any way shape or form. We are but information providers and intercessory guideposts along the way.

      But somewhere along the road it was decided that there must be guidelines for the guide. Rules and regulations permitting those guidelines to be categorized.

      But again, there were, and still are, missing pieces. And it’s these missing pieces that are at the root of the failure, largely but not always, in answer to your question, I’m thinking, perhaps.

      No amount of textbook education can solve the dilemma or provide an exacting answer surrounding your inquiry.

      The same query applies to all, in all businesses, at any and all junctures of a “career.” Now granted not everyone who works for a living has a “career.” Or even wants one. Not everybody sees working in real estate as a career. Some see it as a means of providing extras for their own life.

      Some careers happen by happenstance, some are chosen. Some people have more than one during their working years. Often simultaneously, for some.

      As happens to be the case, often, in our experience, it was failed to be addressed or mentioned in any way, all the hats required to be worn in our industry. Including, but certainly not limited to, hard hats (for some hard heads).

      We are often called upon to be counsellors of a variety of sorts: advocates, teachers, mediators, guides, divorce and grief counsellors. Never: salesmen. Where is that written? (That we are ‘required’ to convince people to do what we think they should do, to sate OUR needs and wants.)

      We are, intentionally or otherwise, put in these positions on a near daily basis.

      We are neither licensed nor have required skills in those arenas, in most cases. Yet we find ourselves open to providing such services, and we are taught memorized methods enabling some to behave like to robots. Truly, sales really doesn’t just come naturally to many. Service deemed loving, caring, kind attention-providing, maybe; selling skills, not always. Can sales skills be learned? Taught? Sometimes. But not always. Maybe that is the answer to your question?

      For some licencees or registrants the multiple skill sets don’t and never will exist. It’s really as simple as that, perhaps.

      And once the real estate expert who has accreditations as long as your arm but just cannot survive the daily onslaught of life in the fast lane discovers all the requires hats to be worn 24/7, literally, he/she, decides to move along to a real work field, not a minefield such that real estate can be, of a different definition, sometimes.

      If you turn a sand-filled timer, regardless of its size, on its side, like water, the sand will seek its own level.

      If you tilt the timer ever so slightly, sand will move from one container portion to the other, not unlike a teeter-totter effect, symbolic of a career in real estate. Sometimes the container is half full, other times full completely – or empty. Out of balance.

      But not everybody wants a full time career; they want to work part time, allowing time for family activities and private life, not realizing that now being in real estate, they may find the only way to get such is to block off time and actually diarize it on their day-timer calendar.

      Big surprise sometimes. This can be a demanding career, not unlike for the doctor who delivers babies; can’t wait till the golf game finishes or the doctor finishes up a birthday celebration.
      Must attend now. Think irrevocable. Deadlines. Clients or customers with planes to catch. Run. Everyone has their own pressures to sort out.

      Once they figure it all out, the agent will often make the choice to leave the industry (maybe not so suddenly – for some it take years of struggle first) and realize they really prefer a more structured environment with a regular pay cheque, not a job where they actually don’t have the freedom they were lead to believe they would have, instead of having one boss to report to, when in fact they have many bosses and work many more hours, often around the clock (who studied time management?) until they burn out, wear out, or just give up. Who wants to spend their life arguing night and day? Where was that topic taught?

      You can’t fix stupid, you can’t control the choices other people make. Ethics cannot be taught.

      The duty of care is a double entendre, not a double standard. The pipeline is an unregulated and unregulatable figment of someones imagination.

      Until that issue (not unlike a pyramid scheme) is changed, and until the issue of psychology is addressed, at least in part, nothing will change because nothing changes till something else relative changes.

      To wit: in the current tribunal situation, it almost appears that those ensconced with power don’t even seem to know how to ask pertinent questions that on a daily basis impact the lives of those on the road, let alone provide appropriate answers relative to containment of information sharing, perhaps. Especially those who started it all, initially.

      Does the answer to your question start with those at the pinnacle, maybe? I’m certainly no expert but just thinking out loud, Jerry.

      Carolyne L 🍁

    • My thanks to everyone who commented on my question. Many thoughtful answers and all of them are right since all were written from different perspectives and experiences. There is enough thoughtful material to develop a complete article on the subject … and maybe make a little step forward for the improvement of our profession.

    • lack of a business plan
      and lack of committment
      Amen! thanks for being a fan Gerry
      you’ve long been a mentor to me : ” sell your home in the least amount of time… etc” I still teach it Brother!

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