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EFFECTIVE HABITS: Good manners pay well

By Paul Curtain
01 March 2012 | 1 minute read

For real estate agents, good manners aren’t just important, says Place Estate Agents’ managing director, Paul Curtain – they’re essential

We all like to see a teenage boy give up his seat on the bus for an elderly woman, or the business

executive to hold the door open for a stranger. But it is not often that we consider the place of manners in the real estate industry. I believe the key to being successful, not just in real estate but in life, is to have a phenomenally positive attitude. It’s important to remember that even if you are having a bad morning, you can still have a great day.


As a team leader the example you set each day will rub off on everyone around you.

That favourite saying of every mother – “treat others as you wish to be treated” – rings true for us. We can all be guilty of dropping our standards on occasions. But it is our role to lead by example, and once you’re in that mindset, positivity is second nature.

There is often a stigma attached to real estate agents in that they are seen as egotistical and brash. These people are the exception rather than the rule. Agents are generally very well-mannered as it is a crucial part of creating ‘attraction’. We aim to build and foster mutually beneficial relationships with clients, seller’s agents, brokers, mortgage lenders, the local baristas, the parking inspectors... everyone.

Real estate people who give off the law of attraction in a positive way will generally be successful.

There will always be agents out there who try and force the issue and give off the wrong message to consumers. ‘Force verses flow’ is something of which I constantly remind myself and my agents. Selling real estate involves managing relationships, and like any relationship, care, time, patience and, most importantly, process are key to growth.

Agents that apply the latter are the leaders in our industry.


Place celebrates its 10th birthday this year and in the past 10 years I have seen the use of manners both help and hinder professional and personal dealings. At times, clients can of course be unreasonable or lack manners themselves. But fighting fire with fire doesn’t work. Some of your most meaningful relationships can come from this adversity. Not

reacting, keeping calm and working with this process can be very powerful. Your client will reflect on their manner and appreciate the manner you used in handling the situation.

The clients, however, are not always the unreasonable ones. If you are guilty of being unreasonable, recognising this and apologising is paramount. Disagreements can always be rectified with a simple and courteous apology.

The importance of being courteous, mindful and polite is a core belief at Place. In the business world, it is too easy to get caught up in your own work and be ‘too busy’ to help the people around you.


We introduced an initiative that rewards and encourages good manners. Staff are reminded that ‘I’m too busy to do that’ is not a phrase that is in the Place vocabulary. A fun award we present each quarter is one for ‘who annoyed admin staff the least’. It is a tongue in cheek award that is effective in reminding sales agents to be courteous.

The most significant thing to note is that a simple compliment or pat on the back can help you retain staff and relationships for the long term.

Being well mannered outside work is, of course, important as well. I find a great way to do something for others is stopping to let a car into your lane in peak hour Brisbane traffic or allowing someone with two items, as opposed

to your 10, go through the express check out first.

Everyone loves great service. Endeavour to perform at the best of your ability – always. Word of mouth is a powerful tool.

Style and substance are important. Manners should come naturally and they do underpin leadership, culture and support.

EFFECTIVE HABITS: Good manners pay well
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