I have been interviewing new agents for many years now. I enjoy the process immensely. This might sound like a crazy notion, but I like looking for that key trait…that one thing that will pinpoint who is going to be successful and who isn’t. It isn’t black and white or an exact science either. Sometimes they throw you a curve ball. I have hired meek, mild-mannered types only to watch then turn into very successful agents and I have hired corporate types, used to working eighty hour work weeks, only to watch them fail miserably.
Last year I talked to a broker who performed psychological testing on everyone who applied for a job at his office. Depending on the results some would become buyer agents, others would work as seller agents and still others might end up as licensed assistants destined for a life of clerical work. Asking new recruits to sit in a room for an hour ticking off boxes of a questionnaire doesn’t seem like a lot of fun so I ask a lot of questions instead. Not just about work, but about hobbies, and successes outside of the work environment. I’m searching for the special chemical. That ingredient inside people that makes them want to be successful.
So far here is what I have learned. Good real estate agents are entrepreneurs at heart. They instinctively know what the end product looks like ( in the case of real estate it is nothing more than creating a system that will continually reward them with buyers and sellers) and then building a plan to get there. They have the ability to think on their feet, adapt or fine tune their strategy as the environment changes, and never lose sight of the prize. Every morning they wake up with set tasks and don’t rest until every chore is scratched off their list. They look for different ways to do work faster and better yet they quickly dismiss ideas that have no merit. Like entrepreneurs, creative types share similar traits. Whether they are craftsmen, chefs, set decorators, artists or designers, they start off with a vision and know what steps they need to create the finished product. Of course somewhere along the way both creative types and entrepreneurs know that learning the ins and outs of real estate is an important key to their success.
So the question remains, can success be learned or are we born with it? In doing the research for the this post I came across an article in psychology today about perseverance. According to the author, it’s what separates the winners from the losers in both sports and life. What makes us persevere and achieve our goals? It turns out that it boils down to science and something called Dopamine aka the “reward molecule”. Interestingly, scientists agree that we all have the power to increase our levels of Dopamine by forming good habits and having a positive attitude. Could it be as simple as that? Could the key to success be a positive attitude? Well maybe partially. Like in business, runners experience that same reward. If you ask a runner why they run their answer is usually something like “it makes me feel good”. Maybe all an agent needs to be a rock star is to experience the first taste of success.
At our company, we provide additional training for new agents that, amongst other goals, is designed to teach them the basics of day-to-day planning, time management and the art of prospecting. When we studied the agents that went through Bosley U over a three year period we found that nearly 80% had achieved significant success. In our minds that was proof that teaching the techniques of good business was a missing ingredient in standard licencing. A clear goal, a vision of the future, an understanding on what needs to happen to get there, and a strong knowledge of the real estate fundamentals are the building blocks of success. So it seems that the old saying “success breeds success” may have some value. Perhaps that explains why one person sell 40 homes a year and another sell 4.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.