Production Plateaus and What to do About Them

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Choice and decisions: businessman thinking with question marks written on adhesive notes stuck to a brick wall

 

The full transcript

One of the most fundamental human needs is growth. Growing personally and professionally as well as growing our business feeds our spirit. That’s because the need for growth is a deeply seated human need without which our spirits decline.

 

That is what makes learning a new game or sport so exciting and interesting. Because, in the early stages of learning anything we are growing rapidly, expanding our knowledge and our skills. If we were to put that on a graph we would see a sharp upward curve in the early stages of learning. So we get excited about the next new thing, the next new sport, the next new business or marketing technique.  We have certainly seen this recently with social media. Social media can be a very effective tool for business development and yet few can say they have mastered the use of it in their business. And that’s because of something that we call a plateau.

 

The most important thing to understand about plateaus is that they are both inevitable and recurring. We must learn to expect that plateaus will occur and if we are successful in breaking through a plateau we must expect that the next plateau is inevitable. That is why we must develop effective strategies for dealing with production plateaus.

 

In commercial real estate, people come into the business very excited to learn and naturally, they learn quite a bit in the early stages.  They get involved in a few transactions and learn even more. Then they hit their first production plateau. How effectively they deal with their first production plateau will make or break their career.

 

There are three ways that people typically respond to any kind of a plateau in their personal and professional life. How one responds is based primarily on who you are as a person. In our modern society the vast majority of people fall in the first category because our society has fostered a culture of instant or rapid gratification.

 

The first category is the dabbler. When dabblers hit the first plateau their reaction is, “Well I didn’t really want to do this anyway, this game, sport or business stupid!”, and they quit. That is one of the reasons why we see agents come in and try the business for a little while and get frustrated and decide that they will do the next new thing. For example in the recent past we saw many agents shifting to making small amounts of money doing BPO’s versus transactions. While it is appropriate to change your approach to business when the market changes, dabblers quickly look for and shift the next new thing. That way they can get the growth gratification of the early learning stages and then jump out again when they hit the next plateau.

 

Because commercial real estate tends to attract more achievers than dabblers we typically see a different approach to a plateau than that taken by the dabbler. Achievers stress over the plateau, get frustrated, bear down on the problem, and attack it. True achievers will hammer away at this approach until they break through the plateau and move to the next level.

 

The challenge here is the cost that they pay in effort, stress, anxiety and pressure. By and of itself stress is not entirely negative. Although we all understand the effects of too much stress, stress, can propel us to the next level if were sufficiently motivated to achieve. And, a healthy level of stress does propel our business. However, the drawback of reacting with stress frustration pressure and total resolve to breaking through the plateau is that it often takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. The result is that we lose valuable time in our career and expending this level of energy and intensity is enervating. And each time we hit the inevitable successive plateaus, it becomes more difficult to mount the effort to break through. This often causes us to stay in a particular comfort zone that is below the vision we held for ourselves in what we might accomplish in our business life.

 

There’s a third way of reacting to inevitable and recurring plateaus that is more effective, It reduces our stress and frustration and gets results faster. It is called modeling. Modeling is nothing more than finding somebody who is getting the results that we want or need who can teach us how to get those results. This is the role of coaches.

 

If we look at the sports world we see that every top athlete has coaches. Why? Because they know and understand that there will be plateaus in their performance. That plateaus are inevitable and recurring. That they need to learn how to refine their technique to get the results they’re looking for. All top-level producers in the commercial real estate industry have utilized effective coaches to help them refine their business and to break through and take their production to the next level.

 

We are constantly making decisions on how to effectively react to our environment, and to business. How well we do in our business is a reflection of the choices that we make. When we stop growing, or when our business stops growing. Many people choose to make it a permanent condition.  They blame external circumstances such as the level of competition, market conditions, the nature of the business, a lack of resources, the company they work for, etc.

 

In my days and construction we had an expression, “fix the board, not the blame”. In essence what this really means is focus on solving the problem. So the real question becomes what is the fastest and most effective way to solve the problem of a production plateau?

 

The three choices are to be a dabbler and move on using whatever rationale is at hand for not breaking through to the next level. Or for the achiever, to stress about it, get frustrated, bear down on the problem, expend a tremendous amount of time and energy, and ultimately breakthrough to the next level only to arrive at the next plateau.

 

And this will certainly work and it will feed our need for growth.   The third approach is to work with a coach who can effectively get you the results you’re looking for and help you experience the joy of growing personally and professionally while taking your business to the next level.

 

If you would like to tap into my 17 years of experience as a top producing commercial real estate broker, My 10 years as an owner or manager of a successful commercial real estate company in San Francisco, and my 16 years of experience working with and training commercial real estate agents nationally, give me a call.  I don’t know if coaching is right for you but if you would like to find out if it is, make the call right now.

Bob McComb is the creator of the Top Dogs Commercial Real Estate Training Programs and can be reached at 415 971 4830 or bob@mccomb.com

 

 

 

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