blog post

7 traits of UNsuccessful brokers

by on

broker-thinking-window-320x189Let’s face it — becoming a successful broker isn’t easy.

It takes an entrepreneurial mindset and relentless persistence to succeed in the world of commercial real estate. Living on commissions while building your business from scratch is one of the toughest learning curves out there, and not everyone is up for the challenge.

But for those bitten by the CRE bug, it’s critical to understand that your habits and traits will either nourish or derail you on the path to success. And while it’s not fun to recognize our own shortcomings, top brokers know a bit of serious introspection only makes you stronger.

So from giving up easily to being afraid of technology, below are some of the key traits shared by unsuccessful brokers. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, don’t panic; it doesn’t mean you need to change careers. All it means is now you know where you need to improve, and that’s the first step towards success.

1. They give up easily

Successful brokers do not give up easily. If you’re the type of person who gets discouraged after a couple rejections, it’s time to either push your comfort zone or look for a new job.

Persistence is a requirement for success in this industry, so force yourself back on your feet every time a deal falls through and move on to the next one.

2. They’re dishonest

Frauds and scammers might make a few bucks and appear successful for awhile, but eventually they all come tumbling down. Resist the temptation to take shortcuts and work to build a reputation for integrity in your market.

Do that by being transparent and honest with clients from day one. Never prioritize your short term interest at your client’s expense; doing so will tarnish your name and hurt you in the long run.


3. They’re slow to embrace technology

The world of CRE is changing faster than ever before. Most of that change is due to technology, and while it can be overwhelming to try and stay on top of it all, brokers who stick to outdated spreadsheets are bound to get left behind.

If you’re looking for a place to learn how technology can help you win more deals, check out our best practices library. While nobody can say exactly what the CRE landscape will look like in 10 years, one thing is certain — tomorrow’s leaders will be today’s early adopters.

4. They aren’t experts

Brokers who specialize in a single niche make more money than those who do not. While that’s a good enough reason for many to specialize, there are certainly successful generalists out there. So if specialization isn’t a defining difference between successful and unsuccessful brokers, what is?


Ultimately, clients expect brokers to be an expert in whatever part of the market they serve. That means different things for different brokers, but at the end of the day top brokers know that the level of expertise they bring to the deal directly impacts their reputation and long term success.

So whether you’re honing your skills as a specialist or working with repeat clients across different segments of the market, work to ensure you’re always bringing more knowledge to the table with every deal.

5. They never find a mentor

In an industry as dependent on relationships as CRE, is it better to learn the ropes alone or work with someone at the top of their field with a strong network already in place? The answer is obvious, so it’s no surprise that successful brokers almost always work with at least one mentor over the course of their career.

If you don’t have a mentor yet, don’t sweat it. Finding the right mentor takes time and hard work, but you’ll never find one if you don’t start looking. Check out our guide to help you through the process and start finding your dream mentor today.

6. They don’t network

Whether it’s prospecting or networking, brokers rely on their connections to drive business. We know it can be tedious and sometimes feel like a waste of time, but the truth is the difference between success and failure often lies in the strength of your network.

From attending conferences in your market to maintaining an active social media presence, make networking a part of your day to ensure you have the connections you need to keep winning deals. If you don’t your pipeline will eventually run dry, so prepare now rather than scrambling later.

7. They aren’t passionate

Few people are naturally gifted at overcoming the above obstacles. Instead, the drive to keep learning and transform yourself into a market leader comes down to passion.

Successful brokers are invigorated by the challenges they face while unsuccessful brokers see them as insurmountable problems in the way of a dreamed-for six figure commission. If you got into CRE for the money but aren’t passionate about helping clients and understanding the dynamics in your market, it’s time to either find the “why” behind what you’re doing or move on.

If we’re being honest, all of us can see a bit of ourselves in some of the above traits. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel; it means we have the opportunity to identify our weaknesses and push ourselves to the next level. So whether it’s refusing to give up or committing to stay up to date with the latest technologies, avoid the pitfalls of unsuccessful brokers on your road to success.