minimumI was having a conversation with my boys in the car about work ethic. My 11 year old asked me what that meant, and I told him it’s a lot of things: Not procrastinating, trying your best, doing more than is expected, and constantly trying to learn and grow. My 14 year old then piped up and said, “Yeah, I don’t have that. I’m an underachiever. I’ll admit it.”

After some sibling banter in the back seat, I finally asked my oldest kid if he was okay with this. “Yep. Someday when I have a job I will do just enough to make what I need to make, and not do anything more.”

I was mortified. As someone who is constantly preaching to Know Better, Do Better I was at a complete loss for words. This beautiful child of mine who is super smart, never gets in trouble, and is really the most low-maintenance person I’ve ever met, has just admitted he will do the bare minimum and be fine with it. What?! How can I fix this??

And then I got thinking…

How do you motivate the unmotivated? Energize the unenergized? Fortunately, I have a few more years to work on my son, but what about the agents in our offices? What can we do as brokers and managers to encourage and inspire our agents to live up to their potential?

This profession isn’t for everyone. We all know that. Like real estate coach Mike Ferry always says, start each day at zero. This means we have to create our job and work our plan Every. Single. Day. This takes a strong work ethic, determination, and lots of patience. There are a few people who are absolutely hopeless, and thankfully, they usually weed themselves out.

But what about those who are doing a decent job, making a decent living, and flying under the radar? What do we do about the ones who have so much potential but no ambition? What exactly do we do with them?

First of all, you have to decide if you are okay with this type of performer in your office. If they aren’t getting into trouble or causing extra work, then maybe you’re okay with them and you leave them alone. But if your expectation is that everyone within your company will continue to grow and learn, then you might need to invest a little extra energy into them. 

Here are a few steps to take:

Set goals: Sit down with the agents individually and go over this year’s production level. Ask them what they want to accomplish in 2017. Do they have an income goal? Unit sold goal? What about personal goals such as paying off a car loan or mortgage? Write down their answers.

Determine their Passion: What areas of real estate do they prefer? Vacant Land? Commercial? Investors? First time buyers? Seniors?

Evaluate: Is there a way to integrate their goals with their passion? Can you offer to meet with them weekly or monthly to check progress? Can you give them “homework” following brainstorming sessions about how to reach their preferred segment? How about encouraging them to do a webinar or class about their passion to gain knowledge, and with that, confidence?

And confidence might be the reason they are holding back. Sometimes people just need a little extra support and encouragement, and they need to know that it’s okay to try, okay to fail, and that someone will be there to back them up- or pick them up-  no matter what happens.

With my son, I get a lot of pushback when I ask him to try something new. He’s comfortable with routine, comfortable with his life right now. He didn’t want to try ice skating, now he loves it. Skiing, same thing. Piano, he’s been taking it for several years. It’s my job to push, his job to try. When you are dealing with adults, and you are the person in charge, doesn’t that same job fall on you?

Now is the time to set goals and prepare your game plan for next year. Maybe incorporating agent accountability and coaching will become a goal for you. If you are the head of your company, you need to be the leader, too. And in order to lead, you must be willing to engage, encourage and push those around you. The results will follow.

Amy Gilpin RealtorAmy Gilpin, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR, SRES.

Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com