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agent traits

Real estate agents owe certain duties to their clients and the community as required by the NAR Code of Ethics. But there are traits that a select few agents have that get them way more business than their competition.  Let’s explore those and see which ones you’ve already got and which ones you can work on.

They are active in their community

Joining at least one community group in your area can be very rewarding for you personally and for your business.  Donating your TIME and getting involved in fundraisers that put your boots on the ground with other dedicated volunteers can pay great dividends to you for many years to come.

It will be important for you to network with as many volunteers in that organization as possible.  Creating relationships and bonding is the man goal but don’t forget to casually mention that you’re a licensed real estate agent.

Walking in with flyers, business cards, and a company name tag on your first day is NOT the way to go.  Instead, when you meet new people in the group ask them what they do for a living.  After they’ve answered they’ll naturally reciprocate the same question back to you.  Subtle mentions of your job are okay but don’t be too overbearing with personal promotion.  This will be totally transparent and come off very badly in the eyes of devoted volunteers.

#REALTALK: I have a strong passion for dogs and humane legislation so I started volunteering at one of the local shelters in my community.  I began by walking dogs but quickly realized I had a lot more to offer.  I applied to the Board of Directors and now two years later I’m on two committees, plan one of the largest fundraising events for the organization and speak on the radio and television, promoting those events.  It’s great free advertising and PR for me as a local real estate agent. 

They have a longview outlook on marketing

With anything in life and business, if it’s a quick fix it’s going to burn out fast.  As a real estate agent you’re prospecting to people who haven’t met you yet and they need to see your name quite a few times before they start to remember you.  If you’re bailing on your direct mail or digital marketing campaign after 3 months you’ve just wasted a lot of time and money.

More importantly, real estate agents who stay committed to a campaign gain the trust of their target market.  A stable real estate agent who consistently markets will be seen as an industry leader that prospects feel they can rely on.  Isn’t that the goal?  To have your prospects call you because you’ve gained their trust before you’ve even met?  This my friend, is the magic of good marketing.

Sticking with a marketing campaign for the long term will absolutely be difficult but it will gain you more exposure in the community while you’re waiting for results.  The continuous drips will create a memorable brand identity for you.  Getting to this status will take some time and money but when you’ve reached it you’ll know it.  You’ll be hearing from prospects on a daily basis, whom you’ve never met, who want to work with you.

It’s important to provide valuable information to your target market over a long period of time.  If you’re constantly spewing a reduced commission offer or how many homes you’ve sold, it doesn’t matter how long you stick with it.  You’re not going to gain the trust of your prospects.  You’ll just annoy them.

They have knowledge of the local market

Any good real estate agent spends time researching their local market.  That’s a huge part of your job as a real estate agent.  Local market pricing can change from one day to the next so taking time each morning to review your local market activity is a key component to your success.

Some market activities to pay close attention to:

  • What types of homes are selling with less days on market and which ones are sitting stale?  This will help you better price your listings as well as negotiate appropriate sales prices for your buyers.
  • What agents are selling homes that you have buyers for?  Maybe you can network with them to find a home for your buyers before it hits the market.  Your clients would be uber impressed if they got the chance to offer on a house before anyone else because of your superior market knowledge.

#REALTALK: Previewing homes is the next step to really diving deep into your local market.  I like to make it a point to preview the homes in my geofarm and I leave a thank you note for the seller before I leave.  Now they’ve gotten valuable information from me on a monthly basis AND they know that I’m knowledgeable about their neighborhood.  If their listing sits for too long or their agent drops the ball, guess who they’re calling.

They communicate well

Communication is a refined skill but it’s what sets top agents apart from the rest of the pack.  Quite a few of your problems in real estate may have stemmed from a lack of communication.  Let’s explore how you can improve your communication skills to make your job much less stressful.

Respond quickly

A fast response to a client question or request is one of the most important aspects of a good real estate agent.  Whether or not you have the answer, you can simply reply letting them know you’ve received their question or request and you’re working on it.

Communicate in a way that your client prefers

If they text you, text them back.  If they send you an email, use that same medium.  Certain clients will prefer to speak over the phone; regardless if this is within your comfort level, you’ve got to reciprocate their requests in the same format they’ve initiated.

Listen more

You’ve heard the saying, “You’ve got one mouth and two ears for a reason; use them accordingly”. It couldn’t be more true.  Next time you’re with a client make it a point to listen to what they’re saying and take more time to form your response.

One of the biggest benefits of good communication is that you’re going to have smoother transactions.  This is achieved only by taking the time to explain processes, eliminate client fears, and set appropriate expectations.

They’re always networking

A good real estate agent has a database and they know how to use it.  That means if you don’t already have everyone you know, have briefly met, or bought something from all in one place you need to sit down, open an excel spreadsheet, and get to typing.  Write down all of your relatives, friend, co-workers, your hair dresser, and anyone else you can think of.  Then collect as much information on them as you can and be sure to add a column for “notes” so you can update your database each time you connect with someone in your sphere.

Having a huge database that sits and collects dust is completely pointless.  Spend time in your database DAILY.  Reach out to at least one person every day or they’ll forget about you and you’ll know it when they list with the agent two offices down the hall.

#REALTALK: A fantastic way to make sure you’re connecting with your database is to use a CRM system.  There are countless options for you to choose from but I use Contactually.  I have no affiliation with them and they pay me nothing to mention their service; I just like to share what I use myself.  Side note… purchasing a CRM system isn’t something you need to do when you’re first starting out.  It’s absolutely a good investment but a good ole’ hand written note, text for coffee, or Facebook message will do just fine as well.

When you reach out to your database there are a few rules to abide by:

  • Keep it short
  • Talk about something you have in common
  • Don’t talk about your services
  • Make it about them
  • Ask them a question to keep the conversation going

They get along with other agents

Real estate is a game and requires some skill but without any teammates or friends in the business you’re going to have a lot less success.  I don’t care what anyone says, if every agent in town hates you, (and you’ve given them reason to) you will not become a top agent.  Instead you’ll be avoided by buyers agents and negotiations will get harder.  Here are a few things to consciously focus on when you’re interacting with fellow real estate agents.

Don’t jump on the negativity band wagon

There are always a few real estate agents in every brokerage that just bring everyone down.  Nothing ever seems to be good enough and they’re outlook on their career makes you wonder why they’re even in the business.  Sound familiar?  When these types of people engage with you, respectfully decline from any one-on-one meetings and keep the small talk to a minimum.  These types of people are not looking for advice or solutions; all they want is to complain and they will suck the life energy out of you.

Keep things professional

You may be thinking, well Jenna that’s a really broad term.  What does professionalism really mean?  Well it means that no matter the situation you treat all parties with respect, have a problem solving mindset, and keep a level head.  No one said you have to be passive but when you’re faced with a situation that’s undesirable don’t sacrifice integrity for a small victory.

#REALTALK: I get it; when a problem arises and it means the transaction could fall apart and all your work could have been for nothing, it’s very upsetting.  You get that sick, angry, terrified feeling in your stomach and start to think about how many things went wrong to lead you to this point.  But that’s the wrong mindset my friend.  When I’m faced with such problems, (ahem, almost daily) I still to this day have to remind myself that it’s not about me.  There is a family that put the trust in my abilities, that hired me to do a job, and that is depending on me to do it.  Collaborate with the co-op real estate agent in these situations and team up to solve your client’s problems.

Make friends

This is a tough business to crack and you’ll fair much better and last a hell of a lot longer with a few friends in the business that have your back.  Venture out of your brokerage to network with different agents and work on forming meaningful relationships.  A good agent to agent relationship can be a huge asset when you need advice, to vent, or are looking for an off market property for some tough buyers.

All in all you need to not be an asshole.  And you have to stay away from real estate agents who are perpetually negative, rude, or unprofessional. There’s no better feeling than getting an offer from a professional agent who makes transactions easy and enjoyable for all parties involved.  Be that agent that you want to work with.

Knowledge of real estate law and contracts

Nothing else on this list matters if you’re breaking real estate law or misrepresenting your clients by not understanding the contracts they’re singing.  Freshen up on code of ethics training at least once a year.  I like to take my CE online and the two sites I’ve used in the past the The CE Shop and Continuing Ed Express.

In terms of real estate law and contracts, you’ll want to pick and choose which topics are most relevant to your business and who you typically serve and study those.  Here are a few courses that I’d recommend starting off with.

They have a clear marketing plan

Creating a marketing plan is NOT as scary as it sounds, I promise.  Coming from a marketing background, having written hundreds of plans for various small businesses, I have a really simple equation for you to follow and I’ve illustrated it in a fancy little infographic for you to save and share.


9 \\ They follow up on every lead

When you receive an incoming lead it’s important that you follow up on it immediately, regardless of whether you think it’ll be fruitful or not.  You can weed out bad leads later.

The information you want to get from this lead right away includes:

  • name
  • contact information
  • what property they’re interested in
  • time frame
  • buying, selling, or both
  • wants, needs, pain points of their current home
  • budget

The best way to filter a lead is to first ask the above questions.  If they have a clear vision for what they want and they can define a timeline then you’re going in the right direction.  The second and final step in accepting the lead will be to make sure they’ve been pre-approved or are willing to do the work to do so.  Simply ask them if they’ve had a chance to speak with a mortgage lender to get pre-approved and if not, you’d be happy to give them a few recommendations of lenders that your clients have worked with in the past.

There you have it!  If you stuck it out and read through this entire post you should be proud of yourself!  That was a lot of info!  I hope it was helpful to you!  If you’re still feeling lost on what areas of marketing to focus on or want more in depth coverage on certain campaigns check out The Rookie Agent Course.

Jenna Martindale

Jenna Martindale

Jenna Martindale teaches online courses and workshops for new + experienced real estate agents who want to enhance their skills, grow their business, and live the life of their dreams.She believes it’s always the right time for coffee and that if there's a heaven it's a pool filled with golden retreivers.
Jenna Martindale