Do you remember the worst job you ever held? Being “good” or “bad” at a job usually isn’t as much about what you know as it is about the attributes that help define you. So what attributes do you need to be successful as a real estate agent?

  • You need to be able to build solid relationships to succeed in real estate.
  • You'll need confidence, authenticity and transparency in order to be able to reach out and build the best agent-client relationship.
  • You'll need to manage your time wisely and be able to set goals and follow them up.
  • And you'll need to understand your "why," the reason you show up to work every day.

Do you remember the worst job you ever held?

For me, it was telemarketing. I lasted three working days at that job before I quit. Turns out, I am not cut out to cold-call people and ask them to donate to a worthy cause, and it didn’t help that my boss was an Elvis impersonator on the weekend and therefore impossible to take seriously. (That’s a true story.)

Being “good” or “bad” at a job usually isn’t as much about what you know as it is about the attributes that help define you.

So what attributes do you need to be successful as a real estate agent? Here are eight qualities you should already have — or be able to develop — in order to maximize your potential in this industry and shoot for the stars.

A discussion on the Facebook group Lead Gen Scripts and Objections was the inspiration for this list, and we also curated some responses on Inman Coast to Coast. Add your own at the end!

8. Confidence and mindset

The first thing to know about a sales job is that people are going to tell you “no.” A lot.

So if you feel paralyzed by the prospect of a “no,” it’s time to prepare yourself for it. And the best way to do that is to boost your self-confidence.

You know what makes you feel like a winner better than anyone else possibly could. And when you’re confident in yourself, you’ll be a better negotiator for your clients — and you’ll win more clients in the first place.

If you’re not feeling very confident and aren’t sure where to start, educating yourself is a good jumping-off point. The more you know about the inventory and sales in your region, the more confident you will feel discussing it with colleagues and clients.

7. Relationship-building

You are asking your clients to trust you with the biggest investment most of them will ever make.

That sentence bears printing out and pinning to your wall. It explains a lot about your clients’ behavior — and it also can help provide you with the guidance you need to become the best agent you can possibly be.

The first and most important job you do with and for your clients is earn their trust and keep it. If you can figure out how to do that, you’re well on your way to a top-producing career.

6. Authenticity about who you are

You don’t need a personality transplant in order to develop confidence in yourself and learn how to build solid relationships.

Everyone has wished to be someone else at one point or another. But that desire won’t serve you well if you want to succeed in sales.

Play to your strengths and don’t force yourself to become something you just aren’t and never will be. It’s a game nobody can win.

5. Transparency in what you do

Don’t hide property flaws. Don’t dance around the truth. If your seller’s price is way too high, tell him. If your buyer’s wish list is unrealistic given her budget, let her know.

You won’t be doing yourself, or your clients, any favors by sugar-coating the truth or by attempting to obscure any part of the process.

4. Time management skills

How should you spend your time, and what should you be doing with it?

If you work in a cubicle farm, those are questions you never have to consider. It’s all outlined for you.

Real estate isn’t a cubicle farm — that’s no doubt a big reason why so many people are interested in it. You get to chart your own destiny. You also have to chart your own destiny.

So develop some time-management skills that are on point. You won’t regret it.

3. Lead generation know-how

It’s easy to get into a groove, think you’re doing great and start to neglect some of the activities that got you into that groove in the first place.

Whatever you do, don’t make this mistake with lead generation. If you don’t have new leads coming in, then a few months down the road, your business could be in serious trouble.

Find a reliable source of leads that works for you and master the lead-generation process. You can always dabble in alternatives, but you should have at least one go-to way to ensure you’re producing revenue — and able to pay your bills — year-round.

2. Setting goals and following up

It’s too easy to coast in life. And if you are OK being a mediocre or borderline agent, well, that’s your lookout.

But if you want to be successful, you will need to think about the future instead of simply going with the flow. You’ll need to pick your eyes up from your feet and look at the road ahead, so you know where you’re going and what stumbling blocks might appear in a mile or two.

Where do you want to be in six months? A year? Five years? Write it down. Then think about what you need to do to get there.

Then, think about one thing you can do today to get yourself a little bit closer to that goal.

Sure, you can make a living without setting goals. But you won’t thrive, except by accident or a fluke of fortune.

1. Your ‘why’

It’s not enough to just want to make money. That’s why everyone works. But why do you want to be successful in real estate, specifically?

If you didn’t show up to work tomorrow, what would happen? Follow that scenario all the way to its end result.

For example: Maybe if you give up your career, a client who would have chosen you as his agent decides to go with someone less skilled — or not to use an agent at all. The best-case outcome scenario for this client could be spending (or losing) tens of thousands of dollars more than they really needed to.

And the worst-case outcome scenario? Maybe the client goes bankrupt because he got in over his head — because you weren’t there to advise him. Maybe his stress takes a toll on his health. Maybe a chronic illness emerges or is exacerbated because of this client’s living or financial situation. Maybe a foreclosure is in the cards, or maybe the stress is so bad that a family loses a loved one prematurely because of it.

Multiply that situation by hundreds of thousands of people, and you could have a full-blown financial crisis hitting the country.

What you do is absolutely critical to the long-term wellbeing of your clients. Never forget it.

Is there anything you’d add to this list? Share it with us in the comments.

Email Amber Taufen.

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