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It’s a fact that most real estate agents are not successful.

Statistics indicate that only 20% of agents are doing 80% of the deals. Yes, read those numbers again!

In other words, with 80% of the agents fighting over 20% of the business, it’s no real surprise there’s such a high agent turnover!

How do the newbie agents stack the odds in their favor?

Besides the importance of selecting the right brokerage to work for, the necessary continuing training, ongoing sharpening of the communication as well as negotiation skills and a healthy dose of ambition, there are a number of less obvious attributes a starting real estate agent must pay attention to!

Now, instead of being told how to do something, how about approaching it from a different angle: breaking the bad habits before creating good ones!

A never-to-do list for successful real estate agents, if you will!

Here are 10 things you’ll probably never see successful real estate agents do:

1.   Successful real estate agents never avoid confrontations

The daily agenda of a real estate agent is filled with confrontations in all shapes and forms: whether it be a listing or mandate presentation, contract negotiation, or price counselling, to name but a few, the agent is likely to face opposition.

Exactly why great verbal skills will come in very handy!

Moments of discomfort are a given during confrontations where silent moments can be used very strategically. Successful real estate agents tend to show no fear of loss during these confrontations.

Negotiation is a skill that can be taught. Effective negotiation demands an understanding of both parties’ wants and needs, remaining flexible with a number of options, foreseeing (counter)offers and using the power of persuasion to encourage clients to respond to offers.

Successful real estate agents know that confrontation is part of their daily life. Instead of wasting valuable energy and time trying to ‘wing it’ or worse, trying to avoid it, they actually go out of their way by honing their skill set. Hopefully during the next confrontation, they’ll then be better prepared!

One will need to learn to embrace confrontation. Sometimes it’s as simple as actually asking the question!

Most agents thrive on it as they see it as yet another challenge to overcome before reaching that final stage: the sale!

2.   Successful real estate agents never assume perfect circumstances

The old adage goes, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.

That’s ever so true when it comes to selling real estate. Arriving in a top class car, getting out dressed up in that designer suit, fly through the contract signing without much objection and voilà! It does appear very easy work to take one client through, sign a contract and che-ching the commission!

It couldn’t be further from the truth! Even though the overall basics might appear to be the same, there’s no cookie-cutting method, as each buyer and seller will have their own specific circumstance which presents its own challenges that needs custom attention. Successful real estate agents know that every single close will be unique.

No two deals are alike! Ever!

Are we in a buyers’ market? Or is it a sellers’ market? Does it really make a difference; either situation has particular conditions that aren’t perfect. Just look at MacGyver (yes, I’m revealing my age now), and see how he makes the best of every situation. He’s acting with the information at hand and keeps moving forward!

Approach every circumstance with the right perspective and don’t assume perfection! Successful real estate agents can differentiate between pains of growing and pains of suffering.

3.   Successful real estate agents never fall behind the curve

It comes down to one thing: education.

Whether one is referring to reading the latest (e-)books, magazines, articles on real estate-related topics, real estate seminars or checking up on the latest technological gadgets and web tools, successful real estate agents realize this is a continuous learning process and that one needs to stay current on the latest technology. And yes, this sometimes means stepping out of your comfort zone!

Technology has become a major part in most areas of our lives. Just imagine what would happen to your business if you hung on to the fax machine and refused to work via email?! Or how about waiting for those leads calling from those newspaper ads versus social media leads nowadays?

Contrary to popular belief, all these ever-improving tech tools are not narrowing the competency gap between real estate agents, but actually widening it instead! Successful real estate agents know the enormous importance of staying ahead of the curve!

Would it be a bold statement to say that by 2020, the Top Performing 5% of real estate agents will consist of 80% agents who have been in the business for less than 5 years?

4.   Successful real estate agents never forget it is a team effort

Unlike what’s being portrayed in shows like Million Dollar Listing New York, most successful real estate agents aren’t looking for the limelight on their special real estate deal du jour.

Once estate agents are too busy servicing their current listing mandates to take on new business, it’s time to expand the team. If they’re already working in a partnership, hiring an assistant is likely the first port-of-call.

Being surrounded by a well-oiled team makes successful real estate agents even more efficient! They give other people credit for their work and shine the light on their team members. They’re great at letting go and spreading the weight among others. Trusting and believing in one’s team work ethic as much as their own.

Successful real estate agents know they can’t be doing everything themselves and acknowledge that delegating and outsourcing less (or no) income-producing activities will free up valuable time.

5.   Successful real estate agents never get jealous or resentful

In large brokerage offices, the competition can be quite fierce amongst its agents. Successful real estate agents rise above the day-to-day office rumors and get on with their work.

Why bother hiding from those slightly better agents? Learn from them! Soak up their knowledge.

All that negative energy is too emotionally draining anyway and is much better spent on your own work than resenting the behaviors or actions of others!

6.   Successful real estate agents never waste anyone’s time

As busy as most successful real estate agents are and how often their schedule changes at a moment’s notice, they don’t break a commitment. They might postpone a meeting on you but cancelling won’t happen.

Face to face time is never a lost opportunity to interact with clients.

That’s their way of earning respect and building credibility.

The best way to give back would be to mentor a starting real estate agent. Nothing more exciting than handing over some fun/creative assignments and letting them run with it! New talent will rise and eventually assist in putting together important projects.

In the background, successful real estate agents are checking off an extensive list of rather boring assignments, because when you do what nobody else wants to do, you’ve become indispensable!

7.   Successful real estate agents never lose track of the bigger picture

Some mistakes were perhaps plainly bad calls and/or even very expensive lessons. Whatever may be the case, one needs to see them as opportunities to learn something new.

Why are the successful real estate agents so knowledgeable? They know the price of their mistakes and don’t plan on making them again!

Experience is a cruel teacher. It gives the test before presenting the lesson.Click To Tweet
Working in teams will bring with it frictions at times, but that’s part of the learning! Successful real estate agents focus on the bigger picture and are quick to point out that those teething problems are stages one needs to cross onto the next big phase.

8.   Successful real estate agents never skimp on marketing

Are most new real estate agents aware that the toughest part of the business is finding the business?

Having paid all the license fees, board dues, starter kits etc, the last thing they’re thinking of at this point is spending more money on marketing!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. As in any other business, it takes money to make money or the amount spent on marketing will be in direct proportion to the amount of business you’ll see. As if it wasn’t already tough until now, the marketing efforts need to be properly focused. How easy is it to spend it on the wrong tools, such as traditional print marketing (weekly newspaper, monthly real estate magazine etc), which have a very low return on investment. The brokerage office itself can do so as it promotes its current stock inventory, as well as draws in new buyer lead for its agents.

Successful real estate agents are quick on the mark in getting their name out as the person to contact to buy or sell from the get-go! As their financial means improve, they make sure to reinvest in marketing themselves.

9.   Successful real estate agents never say that something isn’t in their job description

When you arrive nicely on time at your Sunday open house and realize that the floor needs a good mopping, what are the odds you’ll quickly do it? Or the kitchen sink is still filled with dishes – will you make an attempt at cleaning it up?

Just because one’s job description didn’t mention anything about the above doesn’t mean it isn’t part of your job! As basic as it may appear at times, successful real estate agents aren’t lonely wolves. They’ll find opportunities to be useful and add value!

Only when an entire team understands and empathizes in such situations, will it result in people feeling appreciated and being excited in the morning getting ready to work!

10.   Successful real estate agents never forget it’s all about doing the basics

How many agents started in the real estate business thinking they’ll have two lives: a personal and professional one?

Guess what? It’s one and the same!

People don’t just want to see your emails. They want to see you work. They like to put a voice and face on that business card you dropped off at their home earlier in the week.

Successful real estate agents know that 20 years of experience is just Year One repeated 20 times! Non-stop time to learn, time to adapt and time to get comfortable with the newest tools and technology. Planning is a big portion of that and it being a business, it’ll require you to put together a detailed business plan with medium-term targets, short-term goals etc!

Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.

Consistently and pro-actively lead-generating is a must, even for experienced agents. They can’t just get busy servicing existing clients until all those transactions are closed before starting to look for new business. They will actually block time for a few hours every day to prospect for new clients!

The key is to decide on a system that works for you and stick to it. Real estate truly is a numbers game!

An average estate agent and a successful one differ in the way they view their customers. The former will be focused on getting that one commission cheque in, while the latter will be aiming for repeat or pipeline business.

Make a client happy and they’ll come back again and again. Make a client very happy and they’ll be an ambassador for you to their friends and family!

Having covered the basics correctly, successful real estate agents know more (referral) business will come their way. All it takes is a handful of years in the business to start seeing people call back for your services!

The past does not define us, it simply prepares us for our journey toward success and wisdom.Click To Tweet

Closing thoughts

Mistakes will be made along the way, regardless of your level of experience. As a newer real estate agent, this never-to-do list will hopefully save you a lot of time, sweat, money and frustration.


If you agree with what we spoke about above and follow what these successful real estate agents never do, you’re a big step closer on the road to success to becoming a successful real estate agent yourself!

Other Successful Real Estate Agents Advice & Related Resources:

Together with the reference material, please use the helpful information provided in this article so you know what successful real estate agents never do!

If you found this article interesting, please help share it across your social media networks!

About the author: The above article “10 Things Successful Real Estate Agents Never Do was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent with the Luxury Portfolio team of Chas Everitt International Group. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.

Xavier has more than 45,000 followers on FacebookGoogle PlusTwitterPinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Make sure to connect!

© 2015-2017, Xavier De Buck. All Rights Reserved.

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