What does it take for new agents to succeed? Some 277 broker-owners and managers from the Texas Association of Realtors shared their observations about the factors they have seen that contribute to new agent success.
More than 1.5 million people currently hold real estate licenses in the United States, but only a small percentage actually transition from being new agents into being successful experienced agents. Part 2 of this series outlined the first six factors that predict agent success. Here are the remaining eight factors cited by the survey participants.
7. Business owner vs. job mindset
A major distinguishing factor between agents who succeed and those who exit the business is their mindset. Many new agents enter the business expecting it to be a job with flexible hours and great pay. They not only lack sales skills, they also have no conception about what it takes to create and manage a successful business.
As Rick Brown, owner of Realty Executives San Antonio, put it: "Unfortunately, new agents don’t realize how long it takes for most of them to get up and running so that they can make a living. Unless they learn the mechanics of the business, how to convert leads, and how to generate their own stream of business, it is unlikely that they will be successful."
8. Has written goals and a written business plan
The research consistently shows that real estate’s top-performing agents operate from a written business plan. The Texas Association of Realtors study revealed that teachers, managers, and people who had held corporate or other business related sales positions were the most likely to be hired once they completed their licensing training.
Part of the reason is that these careers require the ability to create a plan and then to implement it. This is especially true for people who have held corporate sales positions where they not only had to create a business plan, but they had to meet sales quotas as well. (The top three categories that produced the most recent hires of new agents in Texas were sales professionals from outside real estate, teachers and business owners/employees.)
9. Has effective face-to-face and telephone communication skills
Many younger agents communicate almost exclusively via text messaging. As a result, they often lack the face-to-face and telephone communication skills required to succeed in real estate. Moreover, they shy away from the various types of negotiation situations including the confrontations that are a pivotal part of the real estate sales success. Agents that lack face-to-face skills and the ability to confront others when needed often find the business to be so stressful that they choose to leave.
10. Customer-focused vs. commission-focused
The research shows that it takes approximately five times as much effort to generate business from a stranger as opposed to generating a lead from your past customers and sphere of influence. As a result, commission-focused agents often struggle to generate repeat and referral business. In contrast, the very best agents are client-focused. They build strong connections with their clients and maintain them after the transaction has closed.
11. Emotionally resilient — handles conflict well
A 2006 study, "What Makes a Successful Rookie Realtor?" demonstrated that emotional resilience (the ability to bounce back from failures and adversity) is a key predictor of real estate sales success. The Texas Association of Realtors study supported the same conclusion. Real estate is filled with conflicts and rejections. Agents who are easily discouraged or who cannot handle conflict well usually leave the business.
12. Technology enhances face-to-face interactions
Agents must combine two critical skills to succeed in today’s environment. First, they must be up-to-date on how to use core technology skills as well as social media. Second, they must have strong face-to-face skills.
The challenge occurs when agents use the technology as a substitute for face-to-face interactions. Even when agents have strong technology skills, they are likely to fail if they cannot combine their technology skills with strong face-to-face skills.
13. Has consistent systems and processes
The most successful new agents are those who implement systems as early as possible in their business. This can be a written business plan, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, a paperless transaction system, an automated newsletter, or something as simple as taking a different route to the office daily to spot for-sale-by-owners. Those who fail to implement systems are much more likely to leave the business.
14. Service orientation
"Billion Dollar Agent: Lessons Learned" illustrated the importance of having good contacts and being dedicated to serving others. More than 70 percent of the agents they interviewed who had sold more than $1 billion in real estate were actively involved in their communities. The Texas survey results reinforced the same finding: The new agents who did the best had good contacts and were community-oriented.
While the feedback from the broker/owners and managers is important, equally important is what the new agents themselves had to say. See Part 4 to learn more.