Some agents are “Shirkers”

by Neil Jenman

Article written and provided by Neil Jenman from . To see the original source of this article please click here.

Aside from the pandemic, I believe something else is hurting home sellers today. I’d like to tell you about it.

Home sellers, you are being told that prices are crashing, and the property market is falling off a cliff – and you are going with it.

Where is all this bad stuff coming from? No rays of hope?

Well, if you are selling now – or soon – let’s see if we can give you a bit of positivity. Just for a change.

I spend much of my life helping home sellers and I want you to know two things that I am seeing right now:

First, we are still helping sellers to get good prices and second, there is another “crash” that no one talks about because few people know it’s happening.

It is a crash in EFFORT from many agents.

I call them ‘SHIRKERS’; you’ll see why in a moment.

A month ago, I spoke with a real estate sales team in Melbourne. The leader is a close friend. He was beside himself with worry at what “the coronavirus is doing” to his business. The doomsayers seemed right: “Sales had fallen off a cliff”.

Now, for those who know anything about the profession of selling, the first step to success requires you to TALK TO PEOPLE.

After each of these salespeople told me that “sales were bad because of coronavirus”, I switched the focus to their efforts. I asked how many people they were contacting.

Their answers were pathetic. They were not contacting people.

And get this: Their leader, my friend, was still paying 100 per cent of their wages. He had not laid off staff or reduced wages.

I struggled to hide my distress. Here was a good boss, my loyal mate, paying his staff one hundred per cent of their wages yet most were giving less than ten per cent effort.

I asked the salespeople how many prospects they contacted each day.

Was anyone contacting 50 people? No.

What about 25 people a day? Again, no.

Most called no one at all.

I then said something that explains why some salespeople dislike me:

“Don’t use the coronavirus as an excuse to hide your laziness.”

So, what happened? They quit?


To their great credit, they rallied. They started contacting people. They rang all their existing sellers. They contacted past enquiry.
And, finally, they called residents searching for people interested in buying or selling. There are always people who want to buy or sell. Agents just need to look for them.

Now, a month later, results are starting to pour in. They look like having their BEST SALES RESULTS in months, perhaps years if they keep going.

They are doing what all agents should do – WORK HARD.

There is an old truism in sales: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Agents should increase their efforts before asking sellers to reduce their prices.

Just as it is morally wrong in a job to accept one hundred per cent of a salary without giving one hundred per cent effort, it is also morally wrong if agents ask home sellers to reduce their prices when the agents have reduced their effort. In effect, that’s asking sellers to pay for the laziness of the agent. No way. Stand up for yourselves, sellers. I will support you if you wish.

If you are selling your home now and the agent is scaring you and saying you need to slash your price, ask your agent: “How much work have you done to sell our home?” Aside from advertising.

If you are not impressed with the agent’s answer, you probably have the wrong agent.

All my life, I have been proud of my now-late grandfather, Harold Lanyon. I am especially proud of his record in the Great War. There was a spirit about that man – and, I am sure, all the Anzacs, that I loved and admired. A spirit that sadly seems missing in much of society today. But, that’s another topic.

When young Harold and his mates were fighting at Gallipoli, they had a word for some of the boys who did not volunteer to fight with their cobbers. They called them ‘SHIRKERS’.

A shirker is someone who avoids doing what is largely accepted as their DUTY. The military general Robert E Lee once said, “Duty is the most beautiful word in the English language.”

Many (not all!) agents are not doing their duty now. They are lazy.

In real estate these days – and I am going to keep repeating this truth to help all consumers understand what is really going on (in addition to the pandemic) – too many agents have had it too good for too long.

The days of sitting back and waiting for hordes of buyers to show up are gone.

It’s time for agents to start looking for buyers instead of just the weak practice of asking sellers to pay thousands of dollars in needless advertising costs.

Another good saying is: “Advertising is what you do when you are too lazy to contact people.”

Yes, advertising is mostly for lazy agents. Shirkers.

As I said at the start of this article, I am helping many sellers now. I am striving to get great prices. Talking with their agents and suggesting how to get a better price. Okay sure, I admit, at Jenman Support, we are working much harder.

So what?

As I said to an agent last week: “Hard work is what you should do. Look at the high commission you charge. It’s your duty to work hard, to do what it takes.”

Despite the headlines and the negativity of many agents, today’s market is not all about the pandemic. Effort has a lot to do with results, always has and always will.

Finding the right agent is more important than ever now. When things are tough, you can’t afford to employ an agent who’s a shirker.

Find a hard-worker, not a shirker. And get a much better result.

If you need help, email us anytime on

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