Looking to launch your own real estate business? It’s an appealing career path for business-minded, entrepreneurial individuals who prefer the flexibility of a job that isn’t strictly nine-to-five.
It isn’t an easy career, however, and not all real estate agents are successful. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage difference between the bottom and top ten percent of real estate agents is more than $90,000.
So, what separates top performers from everyone else? Contrary to what many people think, there’s more to being a real estate agent than driving around and showing houses all day. With more than a million agents across the country, it takes a lot to stand out and be competitive.
I’ve compiled seven real estate agent personality traits commonly found among top-performing agents that you can examine against your own habits to see how you measure up.
The first step to selling any home is winning a buyer’s trust. If an agent is purely profit-driven, buyers can sense it. The best agents genuinely want to help their buyers. Sometimes, this means going above and beyond for little or no return to build your reputation as an agent with integrity.
Never put a commission in front of a buyer or seller’s needs. Make it clear to your clients that you have their best interests in mind, and you’ll reap the rewards of referrals.
2. Proactive nature
An American Psychological Association study found that “proactivity” accounted for a significant percentage of the difference between the top and bottom performers in real estate.
Successful agents know how to make the most of their leads and don’t wait to be contacted. According to Mischa Mileman—a top-performing realtor with Owners.com—this is where top agents separate themselves from the pack. Mileman says:
“The number one factor in an agent’s success is leads. Having a brokerage with a strong lead generation program is critical. You have to have leads to have closings. Not every lead is going to be a sale, but you have more control over it than most people think. You have to earn their trust to earn their business.”
Schedule face-to-face meetings with leads as soon as possible, regardless of their stage in the buying or selling process. If you are proactive and increase your number of meetings, you increase your opportunities for success.
Top agents follow up on leads as soon as possible, and stay with them. They know that sometimes it takes several weeks or months for buyers to truly begin their home search, so they use that time to build a relationship.
Mileman has more advice for us here:
“I work on my leads until they’re dead. I’m not afraid to kick a dead horse. You’re supposed to follow up at least five or six times, but I will follow up more if I think there’s any chance they’ll choose me as their agent. If someone is unresponsive, I try different modes of communication until I get a response. The worst thing they’ll do is tell me they’re not interested in buying a house. That’s fine! More time to follow up on other leads.”
4. Love of competition
In this business, things can get tough. It’s a competitive industry, so agents have to be ambitious and driven to succeed. Successful agents don’t blame struggles on outside factors—they dig deep to push past encountered obstacles and get things done.
If they’re getting bad leads, top sellers find a way to convert them into good leads. But, they also don’t solely rely on leads provided by their brokerage firms.
Ultimately, it’s up to agents to generate leads and grow their own business.
5. Outgoing and extroverted
You can’t be shy as a real estate agent. To be good at selling homes, you have to be able to talk to people. Really, you should develop a love for talking to people.
Top agents make friends and grow their network everywhere they go, handing out cards to virtually everyone they talk to. Most of all, successful agents aren’t afraid to pick up the phone or go out of their way to connect with people.
With each meeting, you increase your sphere of influence by at least one person.
The dullest aspect of selling homes is the paperwork, but successful agents stay organized and on top of the details, carefully guiding their clients through the entire process, from contract to close.
“I always make sure to write a strong contract that protects my client’s interests, especially earnest money,” says Mileman. “If the contract doesn’t address something important to my client, I add it to the special stipulations in clear language so that all parties are on the same page. Then I carefully track all due diligence and contingency dates—I put them in my calendar in red.”
How do you stay organized? Good real estate management software will help you with this task.
According to a Journal of Real Estate Research study examining the factors affecting real estate sales performance across 16 firms, experience was one of the strongest factors contributing to the success of top performers.
Seasoned real estate agents have seen enough contracts to know what to expect. They can anticipate challenges that newer agents may not know how to prepare for.
It takes time to build a strong network. The longer you stick with selling homes, the better you’ll get at it. Over time—especially for agents who stay within the same region—your network will grow, and you’ll learn your market inside and out.
What personality traits have you noticed in top-performing real estate agents?
Anyone can try their hand at selling homes, but success requires a little bit of talent and a lot of hard work. These traits can be learned and fostered; take the time to evaluate how your current business practices measure up.
Are there any personality traits you’ve relied on over the years that we left off this list? What have you noticed about top-performing real estate agents across the industry?
Let us know in the comments below!