Sales are down by half, values are down by 30%, there's basically been a 2/3ds drop in commissions over the past few years.
Given that some agents weren't making it during the good times, it's no surprise that many aren't making it today.
So the first and most important reason is that there's not enough business to go around.
The second reason is that most agents aren't all that good at sales and prospecting to begin with. Many of the best and most successful agents see themselves as "service providers," rather than sales people, and this is a side of real estate brokerage that I think ultimately benefits the public.
However - like it or not, we are in the Sales Profession. Our license says "Salesperson" or "Broker," it doesn't say, "Consultant" or "Friend In The Business" or "Marketing Specialist."
And if you deny the sales aspect, you also tend to deny the necessity to Prospect, which is the competitive nature of any sales profession. It's the part of the work day when you are out hustling for business, especially when it is not coming to you.
Yes, for some of us, real estate is like having a retail store - people come to us. Our phones ring, we stay in business, we're successful.
The rest of us, we have to go out and make it happen. And many of us don't like it, and won't do what it takes to go out and drum business up.
We won't go out and visit FSBOs, or call expireds, or door-knock, and we have good reasons for not wanting to do so, but at the end of the day, agents who do that keep their chances of staying in real estate alive, and those who don't . . .
It's not just real estate. It's people who get into insurance, stock brokerage, web design - there are a lot of fields that people get into because they like the product, believe in the product or service, and want to provide it to the public, but they just won't do what it takes to make the business prosper, which is, to prospect.
Of course, there's not enough business for everyone who has washed out. But to any ONE person who washed out, I bet there was enough business for YOU if you were willing to go out and get it.