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MATTHEW WADDELL: Nature versus nurture

By Matthew Waddell
11 December 2013 | 1 minute read
Matthew Waddell

Nature versus nurture

Blogger: Matthew Waddell, general manager, Robinson Property

Are you born an agent or can you be trained?


There are plenty of factors that make an average agent. There are plenty of factors that make an agent GREAT. But does it all stem from how you were raised and your environment?

I’m not saying you have to be third generation real estate agent, but are there key traits you are taught that give you the tenacity and attitude to succeed, once you have the training?

I don’t want to discount the value of training here. The best natural talent can be wasted without ongoing quality training, but I see a lot of agents who attend the same training and listen to the same CDs, and yet some earn over $1 million and others earn $70,000… Why?

I only have to look at my children to be reminded that they are sponges, absorbing every little thing I do or say. I can’t help but think that our personalities are shaped from an early age and that the influences we have growing up influence our beliefs and values later in life.

I was the son of a banker and in those days, bankers moved around a lot from branch to branch. Even when we were in the one spot for a while, Dad would still look at moving regularly to get capital gains tax free. Buy a house, do it up, sell it and move on. On average, I moved every two years from when I was born until I purchased my own home. Some of those were rentals after I stopped living with the family, but I never got emotionally attached to any of our homes…I saw it more as a project rather than somewhere to raise a family for years.

It makes me question whether I was born to be in real estate because of this experience, and had I been conditioned to how real estate works. Would it have been different if I had grown up in the one house all my life and never moved?

If you ask any principal 'Who would make a better salesperson (all other things being equal) - someone who has bought and sold property before or someone who hasn’t?' I think most would answer the one that has gone through the process of buying and selling because they have the empathy and shared experience of the people they are assisting.

Training will give you a skill set but it’s got to complement who you are as a person. People who fail in real estate are quick to blame the training they received (or didn’t receive), but they have to look at whether it is something they really are passionate about and if it suits their personality traits…real estate is not for everyone.

That’s why some agents are terrible managers and some managers are terrible agents. The skill set is different. Sure, you can get training and be better at it, but will you ever be GREAT if it’s not a natural thing for you? Maybe it’s time to reassess if it’s constantly a struggle instead of being something you really enjoy.

Maybe I got it wrong and I should have been a removalist…

MATTHEW WADDELL: Nature versus nurture
Matthew Waddell NEW Robinson Property
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Matthew Waddell started in real estate in 1989 and since then has worked both for independents and franchise groups. He is currently general manager of Robinson Property, which placed second in the 2015 Top 50 Sales Offices ranking. Matthew is married to Kristy and they have two beautiful daughters, which he rates as his greatest achievement and the motivation to always be the best you can be.

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