CONTRIBUTORSElite AgentMindset and Personal Development

Darren Krakowiak: Don’t settle for being a ‘plodder’

In 2000, the teen flick Bring It On popularised the cheerleading chant: “Be aggressive, be, be aggressive”.

That chant is basis for this article on emphasising the power of being aggressive (or assertive, if you prefer that word) as a commercial real estate agent.

Often, aggression is misunderstood and misconstrued, especially in a professional setting.

I can recall being labelled as “aggressive”…and it wasn’t intended as praise.

However, the current market conditions may warrant a shift in your approach. 

So many agents I speak to say that to get results in sales campaigns, the effort required is double or triple what was necessary compared with 2022.

So now, more than any time in recent memory, if you want keep raising your level of production, there is a case for being more decisive, proactive, and less passive.

To be clear, I am talking about channelling the right kind of aggression: being driven by purpose and taking informed action.

Because here’s the reality: while many aim for success, they often aren’t capable of deploying the level of determination or decisiveness required.

One might be termed a ‘plodder’ in such cases (plodder used to be one of the worst putdowns I would use to describe more relaxed peers in the market when I was an agent).

Often, these plodders would show potential, but they ultimately lacked the fiery drive that separates the winners from the others.

And this is not the type of market where you can afford to be plodder and still make a decent living.

So, the question is: Are you content being a plodder, or are you willing to chase exceptional results?

To guide you, here are three areas where a dash of aggression can transform the outcome:

Pursuing business

Recently, a commercial real estate agent told me about his hesitation to venture beyond his patch into an area that would be a natural extension of it.

He was hesitant because this area had a well-established, strong incumbent.  

While sticking to your knitting (aka specialisation) has its merits, it also has some limits, and it can outgrow its utility.

If growth is the goal, sometimes you must stretch beyond your comfort zone and tackle a new challenge head on.

If an opportunity you want lies just outside of familiar territory, or with a client traditionally engaged with another agent, and it’s reasonable for you to go after it, consider it fair game.

Expanding your limits

Growth often involves redefining boundaries.

If you’ve been limiting yourself to deals up to a certain value, perhaps it’s time to explore the next price bracket, because such self-imposed restrictions only impede potential.

Several of my members have been pushing through to higher values – just by giving themselves permission to go after bigger deals.

In particular, if you’ve mastered a certain segment (i.e. if your win rate is above 80 per cent), it’s definitely time to shoot higher and look wider.

And, by the way, pushing your limits in the other direction, such as lower valued assets with greater volume, is also fair game.

Just be prepared for it not necessarily being easier than what you’re used to doing. 

Advising clients decisively

Being more forthright isn’t about fear mongering and delivering misinformation.

It’s about sharing informed insights that help clients make educated decisions.

If you have strong convictions about market trends, and if sharing this information can help guide a client towards a decision, don’t just keep it to yourself.

You have a duty to say what you think.

Some people call this conditioning. Others call it telling it like it is.

Remember, negotiations aren’t just about advocating for your client but sometimes advising and guiding them in their best interests, even if it means pushing back against their beliefs (or, if you prefer, presenting evidence to the contrary).

Aggression in this context isn’t about being reckless or overbearing.

It’s about amplifying focus, energy, and intent to shape results.

In an increasingly uncertain commercial real estate market, a blend of knowledge, conviction, and a touch of assertiveness could be your secret sauce.

Because in any market, success rarely comes to those who remain on the sidelines; and in 2023, and probably again 2024, success is something that you will need to actively pursue.

Show More

Darren Krakowiak

Darren Krakowiak is the Founder of CRE Success. He helps commercial real estate leaders to get their businesses growing faster and is the host of Commercial Real Estate Leadership, available as a podcast and on YouTube.