Dealing with clients at moments when they are incredibly vulnerable — death, birth, marriage, divorce, childbirth, graduation, and during intense financial interactions — requires tact, circumspect, patience and intuition like no other profession.

This article has the potential to be very short because the most essential personality trait (and a requirement) for a successful real estate agent is that they must like people. One could stop reading right now, but I have elaborated on some other traits that will serve you well. 

Real estate is a service industry. Although knowledge of the market, pricing, comparative analysis, and negotiating are all vital, a fundamental interest in humanity and the love of people will take agents far in their careers. 

Dealing with sellers and buyers in their homes and at moments when they are incredibly vulnerable — death, birth, marriage, divorce, childbirth, graduation, and during intense financial interactions — requires tact, circumspect, patience and intuition like no other profession.

1. Communication 

The ability to communicate with all kinds of buyers and sellers is crucial to agents. Communication not only requires asking the right questions and obtaining answers but also the ability to listen. Whatever information the agent gets from a client will help in satisfying their needs. 

Note-taking skills and the ability to assimilate information, prioritize needs, and set goals for each transaction are extremely helpful. Directing a conversation to stay on the real estate track and all the attendant issues involved, including price, location, size, timing, and financing, is only one facet of communication. 

Many times buyers will be couples or families with differing opinions and backgrounds. Developing a consensus will move transactions forward; there is no time for opposition or arguing. The ability to remain neutral, know when to take a break, shelve some topics, and focus on others is a skill set that you can over time. 

2. Emotional intelligence  

Emotional intelligence or the ability to “read” people and connect with them to help them solve their problems will make clients trust you and listen to your solutions. A genuine understanding of the clients’ needs and what you can do to satisfy them is an example of the agent’s everyday life.

Offering carefully constructed solutions or options — obtained through research, analysis and drawing conclusions — are tools that clients look to agents to provide.

3. Integrity  

The most finely tuned communication skills are worthless without integrity and trustworthiness. Acting professionally and presenting information in a way that can be grasped by your client, no matter how many times you must explain certain aspects, will help clients to trust and appreciate your expertise.

When working with a couple or multiple buyers for a property, I have had success in asking which individual is the best contact person for financial aspects, renovation matters or location. 

Identifying who best understands each topic and appealing to them is one way to communicate effectively. However, it is vital to include everyone in meetings and make sure all feel a part of the decision-making and the transaction.  

4. Honesty 

Successful agents understand the client always comes first, and their needs are paramount. Clients should never feel like their agent is not listening to them and not devoting 110 percent of their energy to solving their problems and needs.

Honesty comes into play when the agent has to help the client conclude that some goals might not be entirely realistic and might, therefore, be unattainable. This is where the agent puts integrity into practice. To promise everything or set unrealistic goals will not endear you to clients.

Your clients will respect you and have a willingness to work with you if you are forthright with them, advising them as best as possible on all aspects of the transaction.

5. Dedication 

Resourcefulness and dedication will guarantee results in real estate. Every day presents new challenges, but new opportunities as well. Approaching problem-solving from more than one vantage point will deliver additional solutions. Parties on both sides of a deal have to change and evolving needs met. Offering new solutions or tweaking aspects of a solution can bring ultimate success. The critical element is persistence. 

Enjoying working with people and taking satisfaction in solving their problems will bring success to your real estate career. Tools that serve agents well on the path to the final solution are integrity, honesty, transparency and the ability to communicate. 

Real estate involves people’s homes and their feeling of security. If, as an agent and as a salesperson, you can make clients feel that they are listened to and validated, you will feel them returning the positive energy you are putting forth.

Gerard Splendore is a licensed associate real estate broker with Warburg Realty in New York. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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