As part of my “job”, I am extremely fortunate and privileged to get to interact with and interview some really great agents. I also get to meet brand new agents and talk to them about their goals and plans for the future. One of the things that I get asked a lot by new agents is, “What does it take to make it in real estate?”
There is no silver bullet to success in real estate.
If there was, we’d all do it and all be successful. Truth be told, the secret to success in real estate lies in each person. Sure, hard work and planning and marketing and technical expertise play a part, but they play a part in success in any field. Every person is different and every person will take a different path to success based on their personal strengths and abilities. For some, it will take longer than others, but they’ll get there if they keep at it.
In chatting with some great agents in this business, I have noticed some traits that seem to hold true in almost all of them. So, if you’re thinking of getting into real estate, here are some qualities you might work on developing:
I believe that all great salespeople possess a natural curiosity. They like to solve problems. They like to figure out how things work. They are creative problem solvers. Curiosity goes beyond simply asking questions to get to underlying motives or because it is part of a script. The curiosity shown by these “naturals” is one that makes them able to get to the bottom of things, have all the information they need to address an issue, and come up with the best possible solution. Whether that’s for their business or for their clients, it is a valuable trait.
Great agents care. That may sound elementary to some, but in an industry ripe with enormous egos, greed, and people who believe that being a Realtor is just like it is on HGTV, the number of agents out there who truly care are fewer than you might think. Great agents care. They care about their clients. They care about their industry and serve readily. They care about their fellow professionals. They care about their communities. They just plain care. They have huge hearts.
Closely related to, but very different from, caring, most great agents are empathetic. Empathy is, per the Gospel According to Google, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s the ability to put yourself in one’s shoes and understand what they are going through. To be a great agent, you have to be able to do this with your clients. You have to, even though it’s the 1st or 100th or 1000th client, be able to understand what that particular client is going through (curiosity) and tailor your level of service to those needs (because you care).
Real estate isn’t easy, despite what you see on HGTV. There’s a reason why the attrition rate is so high in real estate, especially within the first year or two. Great agents are persistent. They show no signs of call reluctance. They don’t get discouraged by being told ‘no’ over and over again. They press on in good spirit, understanding that the work will eventually pay off. Even once they have “made it”, they keep pressing on because they know if they stop that it could all go away.
The best agents I know, even if it is not a natural tendency, have put systems and processes in place in their business and are slaves to them. They are religious about their follow-up, their marketing, their referral process, and/or whatever they have to be to grow their business and satisfy their clients. They know that giving up any part of that just because they are busy will result in peaks and valleys in their production and income. They won’t settle for that. For many in real estate this is one of the hardest things. Real estate agents, by nature, tend to be more social and less detail-oriented. The great ones are able to automate, outsource, and delegate the tasks they need done so that their business discipline remains.
There are, of course, variables to this formula and outliers, but these five qualities are pervasive among the best agents I know. They are curious, caring, empathetic, persistent, and disciplined. The vast majority of people don’t understand the time, effort, and money that go in to being a great agent. They see a fancy car and they see people showing pretty homes and assume that this is an easy gig. They go get their license as a “fallback” or because it looks neat. Those people are generally out of the business as quickly as they got into it. To be great and to continue to be great, it takes a dedication to the qualities that make you great, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for what you do.
All the best.