Brokers. Coaches. Training programs. Facebook groups. Colleagues and family and friends — when it comes to preparing an individual real estate agent for success, everybody has an opinion about what to do and how to do it.

But whose opinion is most valid?

Publisher Brad Inman posed this question on the Inman Coast to Coast Facebook group.

Here were some options for “who knows best” that Inman offered:

  • Peers
  • Spouse
  • Broker
  • Manager
  • Agent himself/herself
  • Other

What’s the consensus?

Who knows best

Of more than 30 comments left on this informal poll, about half of them (15) said the one person who knows best what an agent needs is that individual agent.

“Everybody does it differently,” said Marblehead, Massachusetts, agent Jack Attridge.

Berkley, Massachussetts, broker Chris Lazarus says that he tells each of his agents, “I’m not here to define success for you. I’m here to help you reach your own definition.”

Houston agent Nicole Lopez agreed that success is subjective — and that the only one who can tell her if she is or isn’t successful is Nicole Lopez.

“In my opinion, you can’t generalize one point of external influence” to understand success, she said.

“Success could be summed up in reputation, production or how they influence others in their sphere. What I value as success could mean peanuts to someone else,” she added.

“Only I know what my business plan is, what my goals are and what I need to be successful,” noted Emmy Simpson of Tucson, Arizona.

“Pick up your phone and call people,” said Tracy Wolchock Freeman of Maplewood, New Jersey — another “the agent knows” voter. “Don’t overthink it.”

Ryan Bokros in Houston parsed the question a bit — “only an agent can define what success really means,” he argued at first.

However, “being new to the business, an agent might not actually know what they need or how to find that success,” he added. And peers, brokers, managers and spouses can be helpful in that scenario.

Who just doesn’t know

Of course, a few people felt compelled to share opinions about who really doesn’t have a clue when it comes to what agents need to be successful.

“I can tell you who doesn’t … most of the vendors in the real estate space,” said Pinehurst, North Carolina’s Laurie Weston Davis.

“Most, while well-meaning, don’t really understand what we do,” she further clarified. “They have a cool idea that they think is going to solve a problem — but it may not actually be a problem we have.

“Certainly not the National Association of Realtors or the MLS,” opined Kenneth Jenny from Orange County, California.

Wild cards

Boston agent Joe Schutt described a “vicious circle” that many agents get caught in — they don’t know what to do and turn to a broker or coach for support.

“We give them tools and procedures, instruction and education, but it isn’t always going to work for them,” Schutt noted.

“Some will make it and some will not. I don’t think anyone really understands what the agent needs to be successful.

Irvine, California-based broker Bob Watson offered this tongue-in-cheek perspective: “Their peers. Because everyone thinks they know what someone else should do to be successful,” he quipped.

Australia’s Peter Brewer named another player — besides real estate coaches — that can help agents figure out what they need to do to thrive.

“The end consumer will give you all the advice you need to be successful,” according to Brewer.

And New York broker J. Philip Faranda had perhaps the most concise (and economic) response: “Bills.”

Email Amber Taufen

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