The realistic qualities of world class estate agents
Success leaves clues.
I’ve never been much of a tweeter but I was convinced by a long-standing member of the UK property community to get back on the Twitter-train as a way of getting Homesearch’s name out there in a more approachable and less formal way than LinkedIn, cold calling, and even colder emailing offer.
I figured this gentleman had been in this industry a lot longer than me, so he was definitely someone worth listening to.
We know what Twitter is, it’s a place where people share whatever opinions happen to fit into 260 characters at the time.
This isn’t a blog about Twitter. It’s about agents.
I don’t get a lot of action on Twitter. I’ll say something and it’ll sit there in internet land for maybe three of my mates who followed me out of friendship to scroll past and not react to.
But last night I tweeted (and have since pinned it) a few traits I sincerely feel an agent must possess to be successful today and long into the future.
And it got (some) action. Likes, retweets and comments! I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself.
Here’s the tweet for those playing along at home…
Controversial? Maybe ( I don’t think so). True? We’ll see in time.
I was rightly put in my place that there are clearly more than five traits a successful agent must possess. So this got me thinking (and conveniently provided a blog topic for a week where I may or may not be more focused on an Easter long weekend without my mobile phone), what are the realistic qualities of an outstanding estate agent.
Let’s figure them out…
I’m not going to patronise you with the usual pandering dross about how to be an outstanding agent. You deserve more than that.
You’ve had inspiring days when you know exactly why you do it. But between the sellers who lack real motivation, the buyers who have pre-approval from a website rather than a real lender and the planning permissions you were told were in place then weren’t…well let's just say it takes a lot more than a Tony Robbins motivational video to get through a day in the life of an agent.
We know that agency isn't a fairy tale, that every day you dig further into the trenches and fight the good fight, handling the pressure with Churchillian grit and determination. And we're guessing that not everything you say in the office lounge is G rated.
But we know the value of the work you do and so do your clients.
So in this spirit of gratitude, this is what we’ve come up with…
Maybe even more so that a member of the Queen's Guard with a loud American jostling for a photo. If you are quick to anger, short of fuse, or can't handle the suspense of waiting for the spin cycle on your washing machine to end, you know you don’t have the fortitude to be a successful agent.
As they put so poetically in Cool Runnings, you “don't take no crap off of nobody”. If your clients smell blood, they’ll circle. Finding a balance between likable and respectable is critical.
Your authority should be an extension of your knowledge as an agent. Be versed and authoritative on the market in which your work and on the subject of selling/letting/marketing/negotiating in general.
Achieving a deeper level of knowledge and understanding will allow you to be structured rather than scripted, to impart wisdom, share an appropriate anecdote, or offer a suggestion borne of past experience.
Laugh with your clients wherever possible. If you can lighten the mood (professionally) during what is a testing time for anyone in the moving process by riffing a few tasteful one-liners, it could make the whole thing a better experience for everybody.
If nothing else, empathy is the one thing that can truly separate an amazing agent from the rest of the pack.
Remember that you have clients who experience the same triumphs and frustrations that you do. When you’re under pressure to make a sale, your clients are feeling the pressure of literally putting their lives on hold. Don't let your occasional disappointment temper your desire to be a sympathetic ear and an empathetic mentor to help them move forward.
Reach out and let them know you understand (and can relate) to what they’re going through. Let them know you’re there for them to lean on when they need.
This build trust and loyal relationships like literally nothing else.
One proven sales pitch does not fit all potential clients. One proven qualifying script does not fit all potential buyers. Work with a structure that’s adaptable.
Every client of yours is going to be unique, which means that at any point, any one of them could catch you completely off guard, whether it's with a challenging question, unrealistic expectations, or a seemingly impassable barrier during negotiation. Be prepared to handle these moments with style and aplomb.
Speaking of style, remember why you got into property in the first place. You want to achieve. You want a different life from those 9-to-5ers around you. You don’t want a real job (yuck).
Aspire to move your clients both literally and figuratively, to make an impact, to leave a lasting impression and to generate significant, lasting wealth.
Success does not come without courage. Read that again.
When it comes to your clients remember one thing, they’re always more afraid of you than you are of them. Being an outstanding agent means having no fear. You need to have the crucial conversations as early as you can.
This means addressing price, and making a plan for any future reductions as needed, as the time of instruction. This means making sure your buyers have a legitimate pre-approval in place before they make an offer. This means making sure you know everything you can about your sellers motivation before you hit the market. This means politely telling your buyer that the market has been tested at the level of their initial offer and their best bet at buying is to take a moment to consider their offer. The list goes on...
Feel the fear (of losing the business) and do it anyway.
How often do you do your best work right before or after a holiday? Why is that? You work harder? Sure. But we’d reckon it’s also because you have something other than work to talk about. You have stories to tell that don’t start and end with how good you are at your job. That humanises you and goes A LONG WAY.
People like to know they’re not working with robots. Get a hobby, sign up for a marathon, take another holiday and talk about it.
Life is an energy game and energy is infectious. Show some life for the people you serve.
If you’re hungover, your clients will sense it. If you’re pumped about life, you’re clients will sense it. Geek out about your job (geeks are very in right now). Show your passion and people will be excited to work with you.
At the top of this seemingly never ending blog (sorry, we got carried away), we figured out that agency isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Your beliefs, processes and convictions will be challenged, your patience will be often tested, and you yourself will be constantly evaluated by your clients, your peers, your bosses and yourself. It can all be enough to make you lose sight of how excellent you are as an agent.
Remain confident in who you are and why you got into this business. Be firm when your convictions are challenged but show a willingness to learn more, to become better, to evolve in your role. Recognise that your ability to learn and change are signs of strength.
Bringing it all together…
Being a truly outstanding agent is difficult. It takes time, effort, patience, openness, skill and a lot of guts. But if you made it this far down the page, you probably saw many of the traits above in yourself. Congrats.
Keep at it, the industry needs you.