What does it take to be a great agent? I’ve been asked that a few times and right now someone I know is thinking about becoming an agent. It’s a tough question. I’ll see if I can narrow it down but there is no black and white here. It’s a lot of gray.
I think there are two absolute requirements to be a great agent. We are after all, sales people and you must have these two things to be a great sale person.
First is empathy. You need to relate to your clients. To discover and understand their pain points and show them you actually care about them. If you don’t actually care they will know so you can’t “fake it til you make it” on this part.
Second is authority. Show them you know how to solve their problems. Be competent in what you do. You solve problems like theirs every day and you have to show them you can solve what they are struggling with. Here you can get a little grace for not knowing in the moment but you have to be willing to find the answer and get back to them with it. You can be confident in knowing how to find out.
If you have those two things then I think there is a list of things that help when you are working with folks. These will help you do a great job and you can learn to excel at any of them if you want to. Let’s dig into the list.
Be the guide. In any great story there are lots of characters and you are certainly part of a story when you are helping folks buy and sell real estate but it’s their story, not yours. You are not the hero, they are. Think Luke and Yoda. Luke is the hero but he had lots of questions. He wasn’t sure he could do what needed to be done to beat the Empire. Yoda on the other hand was the one with the answers. Luke had to listen and sometimes the hero doesn’t listen to the guide but it’s at his own peril. Just keep in mind, you are the guide. Be Yoda.
Introvert vs Extrovert? Honestly it’s not a big deal which you are but I promise, you are one of them. Each has a challenge in this business but I think it’s harder to be an extrovert and succeed than to be an introvert. That might sound surprising but most people misunderstand the definition of those traits. At the end it’s really about how you recharge.
Introverts can love talking to people about significant things but they hate small talk. They enjoy smaller gatherings and struggle with lots of noise. It can overwhelm their sensory systems. At the end of the day they need silence and solitude to recharge. I am solidly in this category and struggled with it for long time. If you are here with me then I’d suggest a book by Susan Cain called Quiet. It will help you understand how it works to be an introvert.
Extroverts are just the opposite. They love small talk, getting together with folks and they gain energy in that environment. I don’t understand it but they seems to come alive in a large crowd with lots of conversations going on at the same time. Their problem in this business will be they talk too much and that is another important aspect of being in sales. I’ve had mentees who failed and the feedback I got from their clients they worked with was “They could not shut up!”.
You must listen. Actively listen for problems, concerns and fears of your client. You can’t listen if you’re talking. You must get comfortable with silence sometimes. Learn to ask good questions if you want to get good answers and then wait for the answers to come.
Attention to details. There are a ton of things that have to get done, have to be done on time and have to be done right or deals fail. They can fail for a huge number of things and while you can’t always be in control of things, you are in charge. If you find the agent on the other side of the deal is dropping the ball, you have to be willing to pick up the slack and get the job done. If this is one of your weak areas, you’re not alone. It’s a big problem for a lot of agents and it ought to be your first leverage hire. Get an assistant to help you. Start with “contract to close” help and go from there.
Humility goes a long way in this business. Bragging about being in business 30 years is a red flag to me. It could be true you’ve done this for 30 years but what did you learn and how do you use the knowledge you gained. It could be 30 years experience or 1 year, 30 times. There is a big difference.
Mistakes happen. Sometimes you’ll make one and frankly it will cost you money. You’ll make a simple mistake in math and you might have to cover the cost. Accept responsibility when something goes wrong, do all you can to make it right and be open with folks. This can go a long way to earning trust, getting referrals and increasing your sphere of influence.
Agents who treat this like a job are usually in trouble pretty quickly. This is a business and few who start this business really understand the difference. In a job, there is a boss. The boss decides almost everything that’s important and assigns tasks to the employee. In this business, you’re the boss. You may not have an employee and that means you have to do it all but you have to choose what to work on, what to spend money and time on and that is where most fail. Focus on being in business and it will be a lot better.
Part of being in business is to decide what sort of business you want. I’ve talked about being transactional vs relational a lot here and you can search those two terms to find more info but it matters. I believe it’s really hard to do both. Answer the question “Who am I?” and “How do I want to work?” will go a long way toward finding your ideal clients.
If you say you are there for ‘everyone with money’, I believe you’ll struggle. You are not a good fit for everyone and everyone is not a good fit for you. Focus on the people you can best serve and it will make this easier in the long run.
Lastly, you have to be willing to give 100% all the time. I heard a conversation that went like this:
Do you know the difference between 90% and 99%?
It’s 9%, right?
Yeah, that’s right. Do you know the difference between 99% and 100%?
Is it 1%?
No. It’s everything!
It’s a simple idea but if you give 100% to your clients all the time, you’ll be a great agent. Focus on the details and learn all you can. It will help you serve better and be that agent people want to refer.
I’m sure there are lots more things we could mention but this list will be a great start to being a great agent. I’d love to hear your feedback so comment below or you can email or call me. I’d love to have a conversation.
Thanks for listening,
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- Hard Truth
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