Which Agents Are Playing for Mastery?

If you can figure out the percentage of your agents who operate on a higher plane and challenge themselves daily, you’ll have an idea of your team’s potential success in the long term.

Forget about sales numbers. Do you know how your agents think and believe?

Visualize a pyramid with the six distinct levels represented below. Level one represents the first part of the journey to success in real estate, and level six represents the pinnacle. This pyramid is useful as an assessment tool to see where you and your team members operate on a daily basis and whether you need to make adjustments.

No one is locked into a level, and you can absolutely coach and lead your team to consistent improvement from one level to the next. It’s easy to get hung up on what members of your team do, but focusing on what they believe and how they think provides better insight.

Level 1—Playing to Not Lose

This is the level at which bottom-of-the-barrel agents operate. These are people who may “do real estate” on the side to earn a few extra bucks. They aren’t hungry; they’re just existing and operating well enough to stay on the team. If you have very many of these folks around, take a hard look in the mirror at the standard you’re holding up and how you’re going about inspiring people.

Level 2—Playing to Cruise

Agents at this level are camped out within their “safe zone.” These are the individuals who consistently hit their minimum transaction numbers, but never blow away their top-end targets. They won’t land on the “naughty” list, but also don’t want to do so much that your expectations rise.

Level 3—Playing to Compete

On the surface, these team members seem promising because real estate professionals at this level will engage in competition and are motivated by contests and other external factors. The trouble is their presiding belief that the only way to make themselves look better is by making others look worse. When they don’t win, they’re quick to place blame on the competition or the quality of their listings and leads. When they hit a plateau, they look for conditions to change to get them “unstuck.”

I like to say people at these first three levels are operating “below the line.” They’re the folks who—when there is a market downturn or they perceive the situation to be too tough—will find a field with easier conditions to improve their success rate. They view themselves as victims of their circumstances, and, to be perfectly frank, they’re expendable. But they don’t have to stay that way.

Level 4—Playing for Improvement

At this level, there’s a distinct shift. Agents at and above this level have achieved intrinsic motivation (that is, they no longer need an external stimulus to improve), and they never see themselves as victims. They say, “I’m in control of my destiny. If I’m going to get better at this, I need to adopt the right beliefs and skill sets.”

Level 5—Playing for the Challenge

Agents at this level are self-aware, but also have gained the capacity to see clearly the challenges presented by their circumstances, both within the team and more broadly in the housing market. They can survey the field, understand their competition and where they fit on the team, and welcome the challenge of overcoming adversity. They want to earn recognition as the best agent on the team, in the company, or in the whole market — and not just when there’s a sales contest running. They might say, “I can tackle this obstacle, and here’s how.”

Level 6—Playing for Mastery

This level represents the pinnacle for your team members. It’s where, in the best way possible, they don’t give a damn about what anyone else is doing. They’ve achieved a Zen-like state where their work just flows and they don’t even see challenges as challenges. They focus on their craft and are immersed in their belief system to the point that they don’t even acknowledge the impact of outside factors. These agents can succeed in any field and in any housing market.

Now that you understand these different levels, you must encourage your agents to play for mastery. As your team moves from a collection of bottom-feeders satisfied with others’ leftovers to a crack squad of Zen warriors of home selling, their sales, confidence, and sense of pride in a job well done will go through the roof.