In mid-December, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled “The 5 Things All Great Salespeople Do.” In the article, Salesforce VP Joseph Curtis lists the primary habits of elite salespeople. His tips are incredibly useful for real estate, especially seller’s agents.
While seller’s agents should never think of themselves solely as salespeople, selling is certainly a major part of their job. Here’s our perspective on how to adapt Curtis’s recommendations to your real estate business.
The best seller’s agents own everything.
Curtis points out that the most successful salespeople have an “internal locus of control”: that is, they believe they have agency in every situation. They never view themselves as victims of external forces. Even if a bad situation is not their fault, they believe they have the power to react productively.
Every experienced agent knows that real estate can be full of twists and turns. Successful seller’s agents, however, don’t focus on market changes or unexpected roadblocks to a sale. Instead, they figure out how to accomplish their goals in any circumstance.
For a savvy seller’s agent, an inventory-constrained market is just a cue to improve their listing presentation and boost their marketing activities. When an unexpected roadblock threatens a sale, a successful agent draws on past experience or peers’ advice to find solutions. As Curtis says, “Anything that happens to them, whether or not it was their doing, is controlled by them.”
The best seller’s agents are resourceful.
Curtis writes, “The best sales people . . . are like modern day MacGyvers. . . . They’re often faced with difficult situations and time pressures, having to negotiate seemingly arbitrary obstacles armed with only their wits and their phones.” Sound familiar?
Seller’s agents often have to respond on the spot to crazy situations, usually with a closing date looming on the horizon. But like MacGyver, the most successful agents remain calm in the face of catastrophe. They have a network of professionals they can call for help. Armed with flexible mindsets, a can-do attitude, and the ability to guide flustered sellers, they can find a new door when another one closes.
The best seller’s agents are experts.
According to Curtis, “sales is less about selling and more about leading.” This is especially true in real estate, where selling the home itself is only half the battle. Effective seller’s agents must also lead all aspects of the sales process. They must guide nervous sellers, coordinate with mortgage and title companies, clear roadblocks, and bring the deal to a timely close.
As Curtis points out, however, it’s hard to be an effective leader if you don’t have confidence. Curtis isn’t talking about sham confidence – the kind that dominates others, throws people under the bus, or buckles at the first challenge. He’s talking about true confidence that inspires trust. For seller’s agents, this kind of confidence comes through knowledge of the real estate industry and the home-sale process. Make yourself a student of your industry, your profession, and your sellers, and you’ll learn what you need to succeed.
The best seller’s agents help others.
In making this point, Curtis focuses on mentoring less-experienced colleagues: “The best salespeople . . . regularly pass their knowledge on to less tenured or less experienced sales people with no expectation of anything in return.”
This kind of mentoring – from boss to employee or senior to junior colleague – is normal in most industries. In real estate, however, mentors are so rare that agents have to hire them in the form of coaches. And particularly at the highest-achieving levels, a cutthroat culture can discourage agents from helping each other. Good seller’s agents break this mold. They understand that elevating the quality of their colleagues’ work elevates the entire profession: a rising tide lifts all boats.
Successful sellers’ agents also understand the importance of helping other parties in a transaction. They’re professional toward buyer’s agents, inspectors, mortgage brokers, and title officers. They act with integrity and are service-oriented, generous, and flexible. By behaving this way, they feed their own success. They increase the likelihood that the transaction will close on time and that others will refer future business to them.
The best seller’s agents move quickly.
Curtis reports feeling baffled by salespeople who delay in delivering contracts. Sound familiar? If you’re an agent with any length of experience, it probably does. Odds are, you’ve participated in transactions where another party was slow to provide necessary information (or just didn’t deliver it at all).
Top seller’s agents, however, understand the importance of moving quickly. As Curtis says, “they don’t move recklessly, but they do have a sense of urgency.” They respond promptly to new leads, which builds their business. If anyone needs information they can provide, they deliver it right away. And they make sure their clients are equally prompt with seller responsibilities, such as prepping the home for a photo shoot or delivering proof of funds. In short, they will never be the reason a closing date is postponed.
Today marks the start of a new year. For seller’s agents, it’s a chance to plan new ways to win listings and move them to close. Use Curtis’s tips to make 2019 your most successful year yet!