I started following new industry members to better understand why we have such a high drop out rate. Based on anecdotal information from the Edmonton REALTORS® Association (RAE) only around 25% of new industry members are still working as REALTORS®, 2 years after becoming industry members.

Based on successive interviews and dialog across my growing sample community of over 100 newer industry members, I would describe the experiences and performances of new industry members as follows. In general, members ‘mostly’ fall into one of 3 groups. The third group that I have called “Stragglers” has several sub-groups.

1. Those with a Large Sphere of Influence (SOI)

Perhaps these members have a large and close family. Perhaps they are natural ‘connectors’ who have over time built a large extensive network of people that know like and trust them. The short-term challenge is to get those contacts to start thinking of them as a REATLOR® but it can be done by repetition. Some members I have spoken to can list a group of 100 to perhaps more than 300 contacts they could add to a database. These members will be just fine in my opinion. In general, one in ten people could buy or sell a home this year. but not necessarily with them. Therefore, if a member has 200 good quality contacts in their database, statistically they know 20 potential clients that could work with them this year, (and who may subsequently refer other clients). This is the basis for a solid and growing REALTOR® practice.

2. Collaborators

Other industry members I have spoken to don’t have a large SOI, but they choose to work with other industry members that do. Or they join a group of other REALTORS® that enjoy a heavy marketing program. Typically, this means that they have joined a team. Team members receive ongoing introductions to potential clients (usually buyers) and receive an accelerated career education due to the collaborative nature of the team culture and in some cases, the opportunity to ‘take time off work’ by sharing client load with others. 

3. Stragglers

This group is perhaps in my opinion the most interesting group. This group consists of industry members who are most likely to fail. Based on my interviews, they fall into a number of subgroups”


The industry members that are struggling have a small and non-workable SOI. Many new members cannot list perhaps more than 10 to 20 contacts, resulting in a potential client base of not more than one or two deals a year. These members will fail. Basic economics will defeat them. Expenses exceed income and I expect they will simply go off and get a salary paying job.

The Under Capitalized

Unfortunately, many new industry members have no clue how long it might take to build a book of business and unfortunately not enough brokers take the time to explain or set expectations. Too many brokers take the view that they will simply recruit as many new industry members as possible and hope enough stick. If a member does not have a large SOI and if they join a traditional brokerage, it could take 6 to 12 months before they start writing business at a sustainable level. And they will need to stay in the business for 3 to 5 years before they see any level of repeat, or referral business.

The Naïve

Many new members I have spoken to hold (or held) the belief that once they have a real estate licence, clients will flock to them. Or they were under the impression that if they joined a bigger well-known brokerage, there will be an abundance of ‘walk in’ clientele. Or, if they show a buyer just one or two homes, (without considering the home purchase cycle) they will get paid a commission quickly and without doing much work. By the time a new member is 3 to 6 months into the industry, they should have started to realize how much work is required and that counselling clients is both an art and a science. Follow up is key. I think some of these newer industry members do start to drift away after 6 months without success.

Part Timers

I have spoken to numerous new members who are reluctant to cut the umbilical cord of a steady wage and hope to do real estate part time, or eventually to transition over. This is a problematic approach for two reasons. First clients are demanding. They want their REALTOR® to be available at short notice. If a person is stuck in another job, this can be a difficult expectation to meet. Second, taking the time to market and find new potential clients i.e., to build an SOI is really a second job. If a member is working at another job, they may not have the time to build a client base. One solution for part timers might be to join a team where clients are ‘curated’ in house, until they are ready to shop for homes. The third challenge is that buyers expect REALTORS® to be current with the market. New members who are completing less than one transaction a month will find this hard to do. 

The Adaptors

The final sub-group. These are the industry members for whom their initial approach did not work and so they make changes. The change might be a simple attitude change. Perhaps they decide to stick with it but accept that building their career will take longer. Others decide to change their working arrangement. Perhaps they decide that a solo real estate career is too difficult if not impossible to build and they choose to collaborate instead. This might mean accepting less freedom, being more accountable and higher commissions splits via a team, or perhaps a team like brokerage. The upside is that their career becomes viable from an income perspective, and they start to enjoy success.

About the author:

You can read more about the author of this blog by clicking this link - Stuart Neal, Broker, REALTOR® & Team Lead.

You can watch and hear Stuart share other ideas on his You Tube Channel: Stuart Neal, Edmonton Real Estate Career Coach.

Follow Stuart on his Facebook coaching page: Stuart Neal, Edmonton Real Estate Career Coach Facebook.

Want more information about becoming a team member or Associate REALTOR® with Ambergate? Call Stuart our broker owner at: 780-760-2014 ext. 3 or go to our Careers page - Ambergate Realty Advisors Careers.

Posted by Stuart Neal on


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