Possessing the traits to be a success in real estate is not on most new Realtor's® radar as they dive into this business. New agents jump into the business with high hopes and enthusiasm only to have it slowly degrade as one encounters the daily challenges of real estate. We can all point to one statistic or another that indicates the vast majority of real estate agents will leave the business in less than two years.
What if it didn't have to be this way? Personally, I quit the industry in my first year (...only to return a year later). The reasons for me leaving the industry were similar to many of those that pack up shop: I'm running out of money, the industry is too saturated, I can't stand not knowing when I'm going to get paid, the public looks down upon my profession, etc.
Then there are those success stories of an agent breaking through the setbacks and creating a life for himself/herself.
There are two traits that if honed will guarantee success in real estate. These are grit and curiosity.
Every time I sit down with a potential agent looking to join my brokerage, I am assessing how gritty they are and how curious they are. Regardless of your production, age, or experience, if you are gritty and curious, I will invest my time and brokerage resources in you.
Grit in Real Estate
If you haven't heard of Angela Duckworth, watch her TED Talk now or pick up her book on grit. She defines grit as " [a] passion and perseverance for long-term goals." Grit is a dogged and stubborn, relentless pursuit of your goals. It is perfectly summed up in Will Smith's quote that "if we are going to get on a treadmill together, there are one of two things that will happen - You are getting off, or I'm going to die on the treadmill."
Most will think a gritty Realtor® just doesn't give up in the face of adversity, but it is much more than that. Yes, you will not give up when the road becomes rocky, but you need to muster a burning passion for your craft. Working hard without passion will lead to burnout and just being passionate about being a successful Realtor® without putting the work in leads to a whole bunch of Facebook scrolling through real estate articles.
The supremely gritty Realtor® is not afraid to completely tank. They get back up after a failed marketing campaign. They put their suit on the next day after a client has fired them. They knock on another door after the last homeowner just yelled at them.
We all know real estate is not a cheap business to hang your hat on. That coupled with widely accepted notion that we must always portray ourselves as a success (which I think is BS, FYI). At one point or another, every agent will face financially challenging situations in life. The gritty agent with a low bank account balance will find a way. They will work a part-time job. They will force themselves to walk up early and get two more hours of prospecting in. When they don't have the money for that online ad, they will pick up the phone, go to that free networking event, and strike up a conversation with a neighbour.
Traits for Success
This all sounds great in theory. But being gritty in one aspect of life doesn't mean you will be gritty in another. When times are good we all think that we will handle hardship, but when we are down to our last dollar, we have just been yelled at on the phone, and you have no active buyers, is when true Realtor® grit will come out.
The beauty of grit is it can be improved. Garnering discipline and habits will build grit. Looking at failure through a different lens will help build resilience and grit. Not getting the listing is an opportunity to adjust your listing presentation or it is a pass to go home and down four beers.
To build my grit, I always focus on "why" (purpose) I am doing what I do. I focus on my goals and choose to looks failure as an opportunity to learn. You must have hope and pursue your interests.
The gritty agent will always end up ahead of the naturally gifted agent that is not willing to put the work in.
Curiosity in Real Estate
Curiosity goes hand and hand with grit. Curiosity can fuel grit. There are two types of agent traits that I see as strongly oppose to curiosity: The Know-It-All Agent and The I'll-Do-It-Tomorrow Agent. Know-It-All Agents may see some success with certain personality types, but these are the kinds of agents that can work in the industry for 20 years and instead of having 20 years of experience, they have one year of experience 20 times. The I'll-Do-It-Tomorrow Agent lacks the will and drive. This type of agent needs to work on improving their outlook ASAP, or they will not last. (They may also just be in the wrong position or industry)
The curious agent looks at problems with zeal. They want to learn! A challenging CMA is all part of the game for them. They read growth books and follow real estate news closely. They want to know what is happening in their industry and they are constantly looking to improve.
This doesn't mean you have to love reading through a condo's 130-page bylaw document. Nor does it mean that you're amped about an update course required by your board, but it does mean you are interested in learning about the bylaws and updates to your industry.
Successful agents are curious when it comes to new strategies. Look at a curious agent's bookshelves or podcast list, and I can guarantee you see self-improvement material and business building content.
The Important Conclusion
Don't think this means you have to be jazzed every day and leave unsuccessful appointments with a big smile. This also doesn't mean you should never take a day off or only sleep 4 hours a night to be "gritty." No way (I need 8-9 hrs)! - We will go through times of high and low motivation. That is part of running your business. But it's not about always being motivated, happy, or excited. It is all about getting up just one more time.