We have asked this question thousands of times to brokers and agentsIf you hire 10 people to your company – how many are going to make it in the real estate business?

The answer is NEVER more than 2!

Many managers, team leaders and trainers believe they can ”fix” people.  They are confident that because their company has the best tools, training and support and that they care and are a great manager, they can get most of these new agents to be successful in the business.

Here’s the reality – you can’t fix people.  They are who they are!  Each person comes with their own degree of self-confidence, personality traits, behaviors and success characteristics.

Now, they all have the dream and wish to be successful in the real estate business.  Success for many first year real estate agents is typically to earn $100,000.  It is possible to earn this in the first year if the agent is ready, willing, and able to get out of their comfort zone and get in front of enough people who need their service – to buy or sell real estate.  It also requires great sales skill, inventory (market) knowledge, and technical expertise.  This business requires constant, ongoing education and training.  And, as always, experience is the best teacher.

So, why do so many fail in this business?  Why are approximately 75% of agents out of the business within the first two years of being licensed?

Our collective experience and observations suggest the following:

  • Approximately 10-15% of the active agent population enjoys great success and are the highest income earners – the “Top Producers”.
  • This top group of people exhibits common characteristics that lead to this ultimate business success.
  • Most licensees have an employee-mindset and never make the shift to entrepreneur and small business owner.
  • Most licensees are not willing to do what it takes to make it in commission-sales based industry.

There are three major types of individuals who, once identified, fit into a real estate team building model.  To better understand the three types let’s take a look at the following factors for each group:

  • Risk vs. Security
  • Specific behaviors and characteristics
  • Desired role and responsibilities

The Entrepreneur (Team Leader)

  • The calculated risk-taker
  • They are not afraid to work alone
  • Natural salesman, enjoy the art of the deal (the rainmakers)
  • They are driven, success-oriented, persistent
  • Type-A personality, the controllers/drivers with a solid work ethic
  • FIT: The Top Producers…Team Leader or Individual Lead Agent (approximately 5-10% of the population)

The Manager (Team/Office Manager)

  • This is the person who prefers to manage, supervise, and coach others
  • Their motivation is to give back, to inspire, to build confidence in others
  • They are comfortable being “second in command”
  • They generally have management/supervisory experience prior to real estate
  • They are more detail-oriented, good administrators and systemizers.
  • Risk factor is moderate to low.
  • FIT:  Team Manager/Office Manager (approximately 20% of the population)

The Individual Contributor (Admins/Team Associates)

  • Represents the largest portion of the population
  • They prefer to work in a group environment
  • Security influences this person – not big risk-takers
  • Prefer to be a contributing member of a team
  • Typically, this person needs and desires support systems, direction, mentoring, and leadership to thrive and succeed
  • They generally come from an employee background and are used to and really want structure and accountability
  • They are the belongers
  • FIT:  Team Associate, Buyers Agent, Licensed Admin Assistant, Hourly/Salaried Employee (approximately 30-40% of population)

The Hobbyist / Part-Timer

An estimated 40% of licensees are in this group. Many will ultimately exit the real estate industry because they simple do not fit or they will maintain a license as a “hobbyist” or part-timer.  You may find suitable admin assistants and occasionally a solid team associate from this group if their commitment and priorities have changed.


Wandering But Not Lost PodcastReal Estate and Reality meet as co-hosts, Jan O’Brien and Matt Emerson bring you Tips, Tools, & Topics to supercharge your business. They’ll share their insights along with interviews with industry thought leaders. The ethos of WBNL Coaching is helping you to align and connect so that you can prosper. The Wandering Zen segment will offer you some inspiration so that you can disconnect and recharge.

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