Deciding which skills a real estate agent should learn to build a sustainable career sounds easy at first. There are hundreds of real estate coaches, mastermind groups, and webinars promising to teach you exactly what you need to become a top producer. Just pick a guru, study hard, and you’ll be rolling up to your oceanfront mansion in a Ferrari in no time, right? There’s only one problem. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on which skills will actually translate to agent success in 2023.
With inflation hitting a 40-year record high and a recession looming, succeeding as a real estate agent in 2023 is harder than ever. The one skill that can predict success in today’s market better than any other is resilience—aka the ability to bounce back quickly after rejection and failure. Also referred to as grit or conscientiousness, resilience is fast becoming the most important skill brokers look for in new agents.
- Communication Skills
We’ve all heard the saying, “communication is key.” This rings especially true in real estate, because every client is different. Luckily, communication skills are easier to build than resilience—you just need to learn to be a good listener. Ask questions and be curious. Don’t be distracted by your phone or the emails coming in while you’re with a client. There’s a time and place for virtual communication—if you’re face-to-face, make the most of that gift and be present.
A customer relationship manager (CRM) can help you stay in consistent communication with your clients. If you’re not operating your business with a CRM to stay on track, you are doing yourself and your clients a disservice.
- Negotiation Skills
Since both buyers and sellers have access to more information than ever before, negotiation skills are becoming increasingly important for real estate agents. The crucial lesson to remember about negotiating is that your goal is not to win, but to get a deal done. To do that, you will have to come up with a solution that will satisfy both the buyer and the seller. Of course, you also need to remember that the agent you’re negotiating with might be someone you will need to maintain a professional relationship with in the future.
- Short-form Video Skills
Over the past few years, we’ve watched the length of videos that do well on social media shrink from 10 minutes to five minutes, and recently, to about 30 seconds(!) on apps like TikTok. While this may sound like good news for agents who hate making long videos, the truth is that the shorter your video, the harder it is to educate or entertain your audience. This means sharpening your short-form video skills can make you a more attractive candidate for top teams and brokerages in 2023.
If you ask anyone who thinks about the real estate industry for a living, most of them will tell you the days of the lone-wolf agent are quickly coming to an end. The National Association of Realtors’ 2023 Member Profile noted that nearly one-fifth of members, or 17%, belong to a team. Teamerages—hybrids of teams and brokerages—have also been crushing it.
Like resilience, creativity is another skill that has become more important for agents over the last few years. When things change fast, you need to innovate to keep up. Whether it’s chopping your YouTube videos into short-form clips to use on Instagram Reels or hiring a hot dog truck to drive traffic to your open house, creativity is fast becoming a crucial skill for real estate agents.
- Data Analysis
When it comes to access to information, buyers and sellers can’t hold a candle to the reams of data available to real estate agents these days. If you want to know more about pretty much any aspect of your local market, chances are you can find a service to provide it for you—often for free. That means agents who develop skills to analyze data will have an edge over those who don’t.
Empathy might seem like a straightforward skill, but ask any agent and they’ll say the toughest part of the job is dealing with clients. People don’t always know what they want, and for many folks, buying a home is just as much of an emotional decision as it is a financial one. You’ll also be dealing with many people’s private lives.
Moving is stressful, and it’s often done for a reason. Your clients may be grappling with their own feelings during the process, and it’s your job to walk them through it with ease and grace.
This last skill might seem a little odd for a fast-paced industry like real estate. But it takes time and hard work to build every single skill we’ve outlined so far—and you need to stick with it until it pays off.
This applies to soft skills and hard skills. Whether it’s cold calling or Facebook advertising, patient agents win the day. Selling homes is a long cycle, and there is a lot of ground to cover before you receive your commission check. Patient agents are successful agents.
Written by Trevor James and Emille L’Eplattenier in The Close