There’s one simple question that can tell you all you need to know about an agent’s production potential. Learn how to ask it the right way.

How would your top-producing agents describe what drew them to real estate? There are typically two types of responses, and you can tell a lot about a salesperson’s chances of success based on what they say. The answers correspond to two types of salespeople: option-based and procedure-based.  

Option-based salespeople say something like, “I got into this career because I’ve always liked helping people. I like the flexibility to work my own hours and build my own business.” They’ll give you a why-based answer.

On the other hand, procedure-based people will answer the same question by telling you how they got there. They’ll say something like, “I was actually looking for a home myself and my agent said I’d be great in this field. They told me how to get a license and what it would take to become a successful real estate professional.” They will tell you their process.

Top salespeople think in a very procedural way. They follow a process and think in terms of the 10 steps to get a listing or the five steps to gaining new clients in a particular market. They stick to the process, rinse, and repeat. So how can you boost your business by attracting more procedure-based agents?

Shift your marketing to speak directly to them.

Look at how you’re marketing your brokerage first. Anything that addresses flexibility, schedule, working from home, and defining one’s own hours will attract option-based people. Highlighting social personalities and the opportunity to connect and interact with people will also attract option-based thinkers. Instead, use your marketing as an opportunity to demonstrate how your firm fits into their career process. Or you can use language that addresses the process head-on, as in, “If you are someone who thrives off of following a specific process that leads to unlimited earning potential, then this job is for you.”

Do a better job of recognizing these individuals when they’re in front of you.

One way to determine a salesperson’s point of view on this important topic is to ask a why-based interview question about their career path, as stated at the top of this piece.

The way you ask the question is very important. If you ask how, any respondent will naturally use how in their answer, and you will have a hard time understanding if they are truly option-based or procedure-based. But if you ask why, certain people will explain how they got into the profession and you will know you didn’t prompt it with your phrasing. You will be able to clearly see their mind thinking procedurally. If their mind is on options when they talk about why they’re in the profession, it’s a red flag that they may stray from a process that works in order to remain comfortable.

If you can change your thinking, marketing, and interview questions to attract procedure-based salespeople, you can bring process into your business. Then rinse, repeat, and reap the profits of nurturing a top-producing team.