The success recipes of the country’s top agents come in a wide range of permutations, but they all have one thing in common: an unwavering commitment to skills improvement.
Alexander Phillips of Phillips Pantzer Donnelly, recently crowned number one in REB’s Top 100 Agents ranking, said it’s his longevity in the industry that has helped him come to this realisation.
The industry is always shifting, he told REB, from regulatory changes to shifting vendor and buyer perspectives, and this means he has to respond by constantly upskilling himself – particularly in sales negotiation.
“When you’re in tough situations you need to be able to handle both vendors and buyers,” he said.
“With 14 years’ experience, that’s the thing that has helped us get to this point.”
Starr Partners CEO Douglas Driscoll quoted Sir Leslie Joseph Hooker: “Real estate isn’t about property, it’s about people”.
But he said that this message is slowly being forgotten as the industry begins to struggle to treat customers as anything more than just a transaction.
The trend is a worry, he said, and should be reversed.
“If client relationship-building isn’t your strongest attribute, but you love selling houses, then I recommend training to upskill. Take a formal course, workshop or ask for one-on-one mentoring. This will assist your professional development and strengthen your skill base.”
Meanwhile, career auctioneer Gavin Croft said that we’ve all heard the saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.
He said it is best to dedicate your time to mastering one skill.
“Increasingly, we are seeing specialisation is necessary, because consumers are demanding more expertise in home sales than they ever have before,” he added.
Another of the industry’s top performers, Niro Thambipillay, said that a lack of sales skills could mean two different agents, both with the same level of support and opportunity, end up with vastly different results.
However, he said it’s not so much the hard sales skills that are lacking.
“It’s the soft sales skills – the stuff that, as agents, we often miss.”
It’s what he refers to as certainty and excitement management, calling out the tension, and managing your own emotions.
And for industry-leading agent Shane Smollen, digital disruption isn’t the biggest threat. Rather it’s agents not keeping pace with the constantly growing level of sophistication across the whole industry.
“Real estate professionals are becoming sharper in their offerings through better skills in terms of building teams, leveraging time, using database technology and more sophisticated forms of marketing,” Mr Smollen added.
“The game has changed and the goal posts have been reset. That is what agents need to be focusing on,” he said.