To be successful as a real estate agent requires outstanding market expertise, sound industry know-how as well as three important soft skills, which should be part of your personal and social repertoire. As a real estate broker, you look after clients who not only expect you to have professional competence and good negotiation skills, but also a significant amount of empathy, patience and communication skills.
Soft skill no. 1 – empathy
The ability to sense and share your client’s emotions is essential for your client feeling understood and well looked after. Seeing the world through the eyes of your client and understanding his concerns and aspirations is an important part of the service you offer. Listen to your client, try to see things from his point of view, and show him that you can relate to his way of thinking. If his expectations and aspirations are completely wrong, use soft skill no. 2 – your communication skills – to gently point him in the right direction. The selling of property is often an emotional decision for clients, while the buying of property constitutes a major investment where the negotiations with banks and the long-term financial burden may cause significant distress. In such a tense situation, it is important to prevent possible misunderstandings and any resulting conflicts. Listen closely to what your clients have to say and be understanding, because you are, after all, in the same boat – with you holding the rudder. To build a trusting relationship, your client must feel that he is in good hands.
Soft skill no. 2 – communication skills
Having good communication skills is not about talking non-stop, not letting yourself be interrupted, or delivering a lofty speech in front of a mass audience. It is about communicating in a constructive and deliberate manner. Apart from an appropriate parlance – without the use of extreme slang and jargon – this also refers to body language and gestures. Be aware that, in non-verbal communication, you act as a mirror. If you cross your arms, you will, in all likelihood, also encounter resistance in your counterpart. When dealing with clients, always ensure that you only make promises that you can really keep. And if you do make a mistake, own up to it – this will demonstrate integrity.
In our digital age, these skills are not only important in interpersonal dealings, but also online. Maintain your email and network contacts, and give them the same attention you would your personal contacts. Always keep in mind that behind every request there is a real person, who will react sensitively towards being disregarded or brushed off or with short, harsh responses, and who will remember you and your company negatively. Communication skills are equally important on the internet as they are in personal contacts.
Especially when starting your career, you should invest plenty of time into setting up a network and sizeable portfolio. The best way to do this is by taking full advantage of your communication skills. This paves the way for success – both online and in real life.
Soft skill no. 3 – patience
Perseverance and patience are vital for bringing deals to a successful close. Often, property owners find it difficult to let go of their properties, and some time may pass between initial contact and sale. Patience may also be required when buying property, as you might need to wait for the right moment to negotiate a fair price. Even if you prefer to work off your to-do list as quickly as possible, it is sometimes better to wait a while. It is, of course, permissible to follow up on open cases on a regular basis – also for the sake of refreshing your memory. At what intervals this should be done is a matter of judgement. It is probably best to rely on your soft skill no. 1, your empathy.
With these three skills, nothing much stands in the way of you becoming a successful real estate broker. Although an occupational challenge both for young school graduates and for senior professionals, the profession of real estate agent is not only financially rewarding, but also highly attractive, as it offers flexible working hours and far-reaching occupational independence. Engel & Völkers is always on the lookout for top associates, and we look forward to hearing from you. Take advantage of the training opportunities we offer throughout your professional career, and the many options for kick-starting your career – be it as franchise partner, real estate agent, assistant or staff member at the company headquarters. Benefit from the excellent reputation of the Engel & Völkers brand and our tried and tested licensing system. Visit our career page and become part of our worldwide team.