Mastery starts with role-playing with peers, then graduates to practicing the skills in real-world environments. We can’t teach world-class boxers from behind a desk. They must get into the ring, writes Chris Pollinger. 

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Most of our training is based on lectures. It comes out of our educational system for children where one person stands up front and tells someone how to do something. This works marginally well in the formative years.

You can use this method to affect the mindset of adults, however changing behavior requires a different approach. 


When the goal is to have someone accomplish something different, skill-building becomes the focus. Skill-building rolls up its sleeves and gets dirty. Developing proficiency requires practice.

Mastery starts with role-playing with peers. Then graduates with practicing the skills in real-world environments. We can’t teach world-class boxers from behind a desk. They must get into the ring. 

Those who really want to improve their game take skill-building seriously. They use the mistakes they make as feedback. Champions take feedback seriously but not personally. Building skills takes time and effort. There is an enormous amount of trial and error. Experience being the most effective teacher.


Skill-building requires real-world practice. Role-playing is an integral part of skill-building. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Discomfort is part of the process. Egos need to be checked at the door.

To be successful, feedback flows freely. Encourage open, honest and caring suggestions on how the person can get better. If you avoid discomfort, you prevent learning.

If other people aren’t available, use video. We tend to be our own worst critics, and video is unforgiving. Do the video in as close to a real-word situation as possible. Video works when practicing presentations, approaches and handling objections. It falls short when two-way dialog is necessary. 

Real-world practice 

Doctors, attorneys and financial planners all have practices. We should adopt the same mindset in real estate. We practice the art of our craft. When we practice, there is an assumption that we are getting better. Growth is ingrained into our lives. 

What we do today won’t be enough tomorrow. Philosophically we need to be content with where we are, yet never satisfied. The tenacious and persistent win this game. They beat looks, background and formal education. I’ll take someone with grit any day.

There needs to be an intentional focus to book the calendar with real-world situations. This could be recruiting appointments, listing presentations or prospecting approaches. Clear time each week to hone skills. 

Watch, do, teach

The first step is to watch someone with skill. This is where most people get stuck. It’s easy to watch. It takes no risk to watch someone else. This is also where our historical training stops. In the realm of skill development, this accomplishes about 7 percent. A far cry from mastery.

The secret is to quickly transition to the second step: Do. Doing in front of peers is hard. It flushes out fragile egos. We must confront our fears of rejection. It is also 70 percent of the skill-building formula.

We need to do, get feedback and do again. Over and over. The beauty of this process comes in when we start practicing our new skills with our clients. The real-world practice brings with it very real commissions.

The last step of skill-building mastery is to teach. When we teach others, it forces us to articulate the unconscious. It takes our personality and strengths out of the mix. Teaching others brings the last 23 percent.

I am constantly amazed by how many people walk into appointments without practice. Especially in a business where the commissions are so formidable.

Our associates have entrusted their business with us as brokers and team leads. As leaders, we need to adopt a mindset of skill-building versus traditional training. This is the missing component to helping them achieve their dreams.

Chris Pollinger, CEO of RE Luxe Leaders, is the profit whisperer to the leadership elite in the business of luxury real estate. He is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, driving profit, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting and culture building.

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