As a real estate rookie who has yet to connect with my first pitch, I’ve eagerly read Bernice Ross’s three-part series on agent success. For those of you who missed it,, which is her site, partnered with and to find correlates of success for rookie agents. I’m not familiar with or affiliated with any of these sites, but I read Ross’s reports on a lark. They found (whew!) that rookie success is not about age or about gender.

What they did find correlated was performance on the Real Estate Simulator and a couple of personality tests. I flipped through the Real Estate Simulator demo, and it looked like stuff that could be trained to me – you’re given a situation where you have your foot in the door, and you get video of a recalcitrant homeowner, and you’re supposed to select what to say to him. They have had us do simulations at the firm in Jersey and it seems like some of what gets trained into you are phrases – “top dollar” when you’re speaking to sellers, for example. But it also seems like some of what gets trained into you is your own comfort with the process, so you learn to talk to a homeowner in a poised way, like it’s something you do every day, and you learn to say the phrase “top dollar” without rolling your eyes at the plasticity of it.

So I skipped that part and went straight for the personality tests. The DISC looked more important, so I took it. The DISC is a personality profiler that measures you on four scales: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Unlike Myers-Briggs, a personality profile test many of you may be familiar with, it doesn’t generate suggested job choices (like teacher or architect). Instead it tells you about your work style: are you critical, do you take risks? I couldn’t find a DISC book in Barnes and Noble, but the test is available all over the Web, with insta-scoring; I paid $27 for a 28-question test and downloadable results assessment from

You get four choices on each question, and you’re supposed to pick which describes you “most” at work, and which describes you “least” at work. For example, which of the following words describes you most at work: a) argumentative; b) systematic; c) cooperative; or d) light-hearted? Which describes you least?

Some of the words look pretty close together: I had a little trouble deciding whether I was “precise” or “direct.” (I went with “direct.”) And what kind of person is going to call themselves “captivating?”

But even worrying over these details, the whole thing takes only about 10 minutes. And then I had my answer: I’m an a-hole.

Actually, a supreme a-hole. The dominance scale has 28 questions, and I scored a 27 on it. This means I fit the “Developer” profile: I’m daring and demanding, the makings of a great leader if anyone else could stand to be in the same room with me. (“Egocentric” and “domineering” were the more negative words used on this scale; I called my sister, who’s a psychologist, and she said, “well, I don’t know anything about the validity of this test, but on the face of it . . .”)

Now the good news: according to Ross, a high D-score is one of the predictors of rookie agent success (wonder where our image problems come from?) Other factors include a high Influence score – highly persuasive, sociable people, probably those guys who called themselves captivating – and a willingness to work at least 35 hours per week. Having a financial motivation rather than an aesthetic or intellectual one doesn’t hurt either.

It sounds like the things that would help me most would be a little bit of structure (so I don’t go winging off into outer space on the pursuit of the next great idea) and to push up my influence by getting out there and contacting and entertaining people. This is stuff I think I already knew – for example, I’ve begun to have a nearly fanatical devotion to making lists – but it helps, somehow, to have it all written down in black-and-white. I’m precise, I mean direct, that way.


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