View from the broker's desk - what makes a good agent?
What makes a great Realtor? Is it a hard-core pushy salesperson? Probably not.
I have been in real estate now for about eleven years, and I have seen literally dozens of agents enter the business, both at my previous company and now within the company that I own and operate. I am always intrigued by which agents "make it" and which ones simply don't. I have trained 30+ agents so far.
When I am interviewing a potential agent, there are a few things that go through my mind, but the first (and perhaps the most obvious) thing I ask myself is: "Do I like this person?" I don't mean "can we be best friends?", but is this person inherently likeable? If not, why continue any further? I haven't had to fire many agents (only two in three years), but one of them really grated on my nerves.
Next, do I perceive this person to be trustworthy and honest? I am not talking about whether they would steal my wallet (although if I felt that way I suppose the interview would end pretty quickly), but whether or not I would believe them if they were assisting me with a home purchase or sale. Having integrity is something that seems to be in shorter supply these days, so an honest agent will be able to reap the benefits of a happy client base over the long haul.
Are they friendly and laid-back? Do they seem to have a good (or at least a serviceable) sense of humor? I can't count the number of times in my career that I was able to defuse a potentially volatile situation with a dose of humor. I hesitate to admit this, but I even have two or three jokes that I use at every closing, if the setup is appropriate.
Another important characteristic is confidence, which can help someone overcome an awful lot, although without the first two items, you are pretty much dead in the water, at least in my opinion. If you are not comfortable in your own skin, chances are that you will not succeed in real estate.
Does this agent have the ability and desire to work hard? I don't mean grueling long hours - I am talking about the basics of real estate for as far back as any of us can remember: developing relationships, making phone calls, "closing" someone on a transaction, etc.
One thing that I have begun to look for as a broker is someone with a good built-in sphere of influence. Perhaps they know everyone at church or they coach a team for their kids. Maybe they have lived in the area a long time and they were in sales in a different field. Or, maybe they are an experienced agent and they just need to inform their clients about their move to a new company. I have come to value the ability to network over many other "sales" skills now.
Another skill (which is not really easy to test during an interview) that seems to help is having a relatively thick skin. Real estate probably is not the right business for someone who is overly sensitive to rejection. I don't know that I have a thick skin by nature as I am pretty sensitive myself, but time and trials have forced me to learn not to take things too personally.
Lastly, does this candidate seem at least reasonably intelligent? I am sure that we have all had experiences with "that moron" handling the other side of the deal. I don't want that person working for me! There are enough potential liabilities lurking out there without taking a risk on hiring someone who is clearly dull.
These are a few of the things I look for when I am hiring. I would love to hear more input, as this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Sound off! What other qualities does it take to make it in this unique business?
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