Some things never change, but some things do. Find out what brokers want their agents to bring to the table this year.
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Valentina Maljarenko enjoys recruiting agents with diverse personalities and skill sets. She has brought on 20 agents—a mix of introverts and extroverts—as broker-owner of Prestige Real Estate Group in Naperville, Ill. Today, the agents in her office can help customers in five different languages, including Russian, Maljarenko’s native tongue.

“The beauty I see is that all my agents come from different backgrounds and experiences,” she says. When every agent brings their individual point of view, it benefits everyone, from clients to other agents to the owner, Maljarenko adds.

Very few jobs in the real estate industry are more profitable than being a broker-owner who is good at recruiting, says Bob Loeffler, owner of Fearless Agent, a real estate sales training and coaching company in Scottsdale, Ariz. He teaches owners on how to recruit productive agents by choosing people with skills that match their company’s mission and values.

In addition to diversity and an aligned vision, here are some important characteristics that brokers are looking for in their agents this year.

Phone Etiquette. Most agents would agree that a phone call gives them the best odds of landing a listing appointment. That will continue to hold true tomorrow, next week, and next year, Loeffler says. “You don’t sell homes by emailing listings,” he says. “If your goal is to schedule five listing appointments in the next five days and you could only use one technology to do it, it would be the telephone.”

Empathy. When an agent goes into someone’s home that isn’t up to market standards, Maljarenko says that person needs to know how to work with them step by step, tactfully and gracefully. Loeffler agrees that a good agent is someone who cares more about the customer and their goals than they care about themselves and their own money.

Presentation skills. Knowing how to deliver the right answer for every situation will help an agent sell more houses, Loeffler says. Agents should learn how to conduct presentations for landing listings, converting for sale by owners, and gaining new buyers or investor clients. Once agents know those, they will have the right words to say to help their customer get what they want, he says. The fear of not knowing what to say on the phone or face to face hurts agents’ productivity.

Market knowledge. Maljarenko stresses the importance of agents knowing the neighborhoods where they work. In addition to being owner of her company, she also holds an appraiser’s license and specializes in home valuation services. Maljarenko personally trains all her agents to understand such things as the nuanced differences between townhomes and condos in their suburban Chicago market.

Calmness. Real estate can get tough and emotional, Loeffler says. The highest-producing students in his coaching classes are calm, with methodical personalities. They don’t come across as high-pressure and always have a level head, he adds.

Negotiation savvy. Maljarenko has had experiences with skilled agents at other brokerages who know how to negotiate. “They can fight me back on some really good points. It’s never about the bottom line.” Negotiating tools, she says, come from experience, market knowledge, and confidence.

Follow-up. The top-producing agent at Prestige Real Estate Group is a woman who doesn’t talk much. Instead, she’s focused on her clients. Her follow-up is amazing, which clients adore about her, Maljarenko explains. She becomes close to her clients because she listens so intently to their wants, concerns, and frustrations.

Technology aptitude. You don’t have to be extremely tech-savvy to fit into a real estate agency, Maljarenko says. But you should know the MLS inside and out, including how to search market data, and understand all the tools available to you.

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