Bad Advice for Non-Producing Realtors

It is with great amusement that I read an article in today’s Realtor Magazine email newsletter. The article, which I will excerpt below, offers suggestions and advice to Realtors dealing with market slowdowns.

For career real estate agents in the business for the long haul, a slower, “down” market is beneficial to our careers longterm. Two things happen when markets slow down; 1) the “pretenders” (fair weather agents) fall out of the business and 2) the remaining agents gain market share and credibility. We’re cranking up our advertising, doubling up on marketing expenses, and powering through the slowdown. There is no other alternative I would consider.

But what does Realtor Magazine suggest agents do during a slowdown? Let’s have a look.

From Realtor Magazine Online
Practitioners Dig Up New Revenue
Rather than flee the real estate industry due to the housing downturn, experts say real estate practitioners should use their skills and experience to offer services outside of buying and selling homes to supplement their incomes.

Steve’s Comment: Uhh, excuse me. Who are these “experts”? Wouldn’t said skills and experience preclude the need to seek outside income?

They could write about the real estate market for newspapers and blogs; sell advertising space on a neighborhood Web site, newsletter, or blog that they create to local businesses; become a licensed appraiser; or provide tours of the local area to visitors.

Steve’s Comment: Uhhm, as a real estate washout, from what level of experience and authority would the the agent be writing? Wouldn’t people rather read what successful agents have to say? And becoming an appraiser?…if the market is slow, there is already a glut of experienced appraisers with fewer homes to appraise. How would obtaining an appraiser’s license be a smart career move? And giving visitor tours?…you must be kidding!

Additionally, agents can supplement their income by helping businesses with search engine marketing, translating their Web sites and marketing materials to target foreigners, and subleasing office space for meetings and other events.

Steve’s Comment: Uhh, if the agent was good at search engine marketing, maybe they wouldn’t be washing out of the real estate business. Why would a business hire a real estate agent to do web and seo work. Wouldn’t they hire a web programmer and an experienced search engine optimization expert?

Finally, practitioners could serve as consultants to banks looking to sell foreclosed properties, rental firms interested in filling vacant units, and consumers preparing to relocate.

Steve’s Comment: Uh, again, I’m confused. A consultant is usually an expert in their field of endeavor, not someone recently washed out of a related field. I own a Rental Firm. Why would I need consulting advice from someone who can’t sell real estate?

Jeez, I’m embarrassed that our Realtor industry publishes this sort of useless drivel. This crap must be dreamed up by some intern in the back room. I expect better than this from an industry trade publication.

The best advice for a struggling agent is to simply get busy with lead generation efforts, or get out of the business. Goofing around with a bunch of side jobs is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of. Go find something less cyclical that’s easier to do.

Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that a down market is in fact a fantastic opportunity to build your real estate business.

6 thoughts on “Bad Advice for Non-Producing Realtors”

  1. Business truism. In downturns you sell people things to help with their infrastructure. When a business is selling like gangbusters they don’t have time to fix all the business problems they have. When business slows down they have a chance to put in all these efficiencies that they didn’t have time to fix during the boom. Then during the next boom they’re a leap ahead.

  2. I work for a content company named Chillibreeze. Lots of clients come to us with such requests- Write “How to” articles about XYZ. We make sure we only take on projects where we have the expertise. But obviously, most writers are used to churning out “tips” articles such as the one Steve found. And clients get them written because they are very popular. Never mind if they make no sense!

  3. …or maybe, there should be a big disclaimer on every agent training manual and license test that reads:

    “Unless you are very well networked, or have tons of money for online marketing, don’t even bother getting into real estate. You won’t get people to come to you.”

    Because of the glut of agents, most of them spend 90% of time trying to generate business by chasing anyone who might want to buy/sell, and only 10% doing the actual work. What an inefficient business!

  4. Hi Jim,

    Yeah, I don’t think a lot of people see the disconnect between what the consumer thinks we have to do to make money and the fact that it’s such a tough occupation that very few people in fact can make a career of real estate. Most wash out after the first year, having made no sales.

    It’s a free country, and people are free to pursue real estate as a career, but I honestly think if we made productivity a requirement for keeping an active real estate license, we’d thin out all the low end agents and the consumer would have a much richer pool of talent, though smaller, to select from when choosing and agent.

    In sports, if you don’t produce, you don’t have a job. In most sales jobs, if you don’t produce, you’re fired. In real estate, you can fail and still call yourself a Realtor so long as you pay your dues and complete your mandatory ongoing training.

    In the end though, it’s the consumer who chooses who to hire and if they choose to hire an agent with no talent or track record, I suppose that’s their decision. But then the poor outcome reflects on all of us.


  5. I think we can put the matter to rest by considering the nature of real estate in the past, up to say, the mid 80’s, when it was vastly dominated by middle-aged females, and considered a part-time occupation. In those days, it was typical for an agent to be a 30-50ish wife, with kids at home or an empty nest, who considered it a source of extra income, while the husband brought home the solid paycheck. It was relatively moribund in most markets then, far more slow paced than the present.

    Folks didn’t move much then, and it wasn’t uncommon for a family to spend all of their child-raising years, sat 20-30 years, in the same house, just building additions to the same if needed, when needed. In other words, this business was never set up for the majority of agents to make much money/sales to begin with. It really wasn’t much different than selling Mary Kay cosmetics or Tupperware, with, if anything, Mary Kay being MORE dynamic than RE, pink Cadillacs and all. When you realize that this was the incubus of present day real estate, it all makes sense why so few do so little. I remember when men would consider selling real estate quite feminine and tupperware-ish, and would not be caught dead doing it. Now, we have imparted a professionalism to the business that never was there in the first place. I think that explains it all…..

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