Many people tell me they want to get in to real estate sales. But most fail. So is real estate a worthwhile career? And what kind of person makes a successful estate agent?
Let me start by dispelling one myth: real estate sales is not easy money. There’s a big difference between an estate agent, and a successful estate agent. The last official figure I heard was that in South Africa, the average income of an estate agent is R 7000 per month. It may well have moved up a bit – but the bottom line is that, if you want to be an average estate agent, it’s not worth it for the average income.
Having said that, the best agents are really well paid. But they earn every single cent – trust me.
I’m often told by wannabee agents that they “love property”. Loving property has nothing to do with real estate sales. Loving people has everything to do with property sales. As in any sales environment, the best are interested in their customers. They have a genuine interest in their clients. They listen. They identify what the need of their customer is and then propose a solution that works for the customer.
The best agents have excellent people skills. They put their clients at ease and gain their trust. But there is nothing fake about it. The trust is genuine and it’s earned.
There are other skills that are evident with the top agents – their ability to communicate well, their sincerity and honesty, their ability to use technology effectively, their availability. These strengths are all there with the best.
But the key to unlocking the doors of success in sales is something that I’ve seen in massive doses in the top estate agents in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA – and I’m absolutely 100% convinced it’s the case in every market in the world. They key is simply this: the very best estate agents have a massive capacity for work. And I seriously mean work! Their work ethic is impeccable. They work 6 to 7 days a week. They don’t stuff around at work either. Every minute counts and is productive.
They are not lazy. They do not make excuses. They are fully accountable for their actions. And they take their responsibility very seriously. They appreciate that 95% effort just isn’t enough. It’s 100% and nothing less.
Don’t get me wrong – the top agents take plenty of vacation time. But when they do work you will be blown away by what they get into every working day.
In addition to their work ethic and total commitment, qualities that will be required are patience, tact, courage, integrity, unselfishness, and a desire to make a positive difference in other peoples’ lives.
Sure, there are some exceptions to the rule. But if you want a long-term career in one of the most exhilarating industries in the world – these are the qualities and skills you need. After 25 years in the industry I can vouch for the incredible impact you can make in the lives of others and I wouldn’t change it for anything else in the world.
Principal of Harcourts Platinum
Director of Harcourts South Africa