July 8, 2015

Statistics show that a high percentage of real estate transactions are closed by a much smaller percentage of real estate agents (think of the 80/20 rule).

hiring real estate agent

It seems like every market is dominated by a handful of superstars, followed by a pack of agents who do pretty well, and then a big group who are churning, barely making desk costs with a high turnover rate.

Many owners and branch managers have come to accept this dynamic as “just part of the business,” but in reality, it does not have to be this way.

While it is true there are not enough top producers to go around, there is easily enough top talent available for your business . . . if you know how to identify it.


How to Identify Top Talent

Many hiring managers start out by emphasizing the wrong things when hiring real estate agents. They put an emphasis on skills or experience, which may ultimately be important, but what good is it to hire someone who has “experience” but under-produces? 

The real key is to go deeper, much deeper, to assess the core aptitude a person has to sell . . . and not just real estate . . . to sell period.

Once you find a high aptitude candidate, you can teach him/her the real estate business, but all the real estate training in the world will not develop a low aptitude candidate into a sustained producer.

The next question then becomes: what composes the aptitude you should be looking for, and how do you measure it prior to hiring?


The Core Composition of Sales Aptitude

Years of research, data and rapidly improving technology has led to the current findings that there are three things almost all high producers share in terms of innate personality traits that cannot be taught.


  1. Need for Achievement

Need for achievement is the fire that burns in the heart of real estate agents. It is almost an obsession to keep pushing the achievement bar higher and higher. The agent lives and breathers the business and will work longer and harder than most real estate agents without any need to be pushed . . . it is simply how she is wired.

We often see this trait in world class athletes who, although are already blessed with enough physical prowess to outperform others, nevertheless spend even more time in the gym or on the court practicing than their peers because they must push themselves to be happy.

Unfortunately, despite marketing claims, there is not a motivational speaker or real estate seminar in the world that can take a person who does not have a high need for achievement and create it. A high level of need for achievement has to be in place first before a trainer can nurture and develop the agent further to sustain her efforts over time.

Training and motivation are awesome when you have an athlete that possesses the core foundation necessary to leverage them.


  1. Competitiveness

The second, non–teachable trait to look for in real estate sales candidates is competitiveness. Great salespeople and great real estate agents are inevitably highly competitive. They want to be the biggest producer in the office, in town, in the region!

But here is a nuance we found in our research. Top salespeople actually enjoy “competing” with a prospect when trying to convert a prospect into a client. They love “the chase” . . . the friendly contest of wills as they try to win over the prospect and convert him/her into a client.

For average and below-average salespeople, prospect engagement can be highly stressful. For highly-competitive salespeople, it is the ultimate turn on.


  1. Optimism

The third core aptitude trait shared by top performers is optimism. Optimism serves as an invisible, emotional armor that protects the ego and emotional well-being of the salesperson. Sales is a challenging profession emotionally because it involves so much rejection, a stress point that literally drives many people out of the business.

But not the big producers; they are wired differently and do not take rejection personally.  They just see it as part of the game, like striking out occasionally in baseball.  They do not dwell on past failures because they believe the next call or the next meeting will be successful.


How to Measure for Sales Aptitude

sales aptitude test for real estate agentsFortunately, today’s sales personality and aptitude assessments can be very accurate in pinning down these traits.

It is important to find a sales assessment that measures these three characteristics and apply it prior to the behavioral interview. This will allow you to bring in only high-aptitude candidates for interviewing and further vetting.

So there is the secret to finding your star real estate candidate.

Look for a person who is high in Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism, the core personality traits that are shared among top producers and cannot be taught.  From there, you can train your new hires in the real estate business.

There is no way around it, if a candidate does not have these traits, you are taking a huge risk rationalizing the hire and “hoping” it will work out.