Updated: Sep 5
When i first joined the real estate industry in 2006, property agents' tasks were pretty straight forward and did not involve as much technology and skill sets.
Fast forward today, with the rapid rise of technology, consumer savviness and Do-It-Yourself portals, many agents of yore struggle to keep up or have thrown in the towel and moved on to other industries.
This rapid change is observed to be especially pronounced in the real estate sales industry compared with the insurance or car sales industries.
So if you are reading this and considering a career switch, read on to find out whether you have these skill sets or are ready to develop these skill before jumping in.
Skill sets Required For A Real Estate Agent In 2020
There are several basic skill sets and characteristics a good sales person should have.
1. Good listener and communicator.
2. Patient and able to guide people through different stages of buying (Buying/selling high value and important assets can be an emotional journey).
3. Interested in people and a good relationship builder.
4. Endurance. Ability to overcome rejections and failures fast as you will still fail and get rejected many times even when you are the best.
5. Empathetic so you can put yourself in a client's shoes and come up with the best solutions for them.
6. Disciplined in carrying out your tasks without being pushed to.
7. Enthusiastic as people tend to be drawn to positive and enthusiastic people.
8. Great follow up skills as follow up is so critical to the sale process.
I won't elaborate much on these as these are common to all sales jobs.
Now, apart from these, a real estate agent today would do very well with these additional specific skills.
1. Tech savviness so you can create and maintain your customer database online through apps like Dropbox.com, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Forms etc.
2. Good photography skills are a must have as you will be judged on your quality of work way before any clients contact you. Shoddy photos show a low standard of work and does not represent you well.
3. Good videography skills as videos are becoming the norm in how consumers view properties. You definitely can choose to engage an external vendor if costs are not an issue. Otherwise, having this skillset will be very helpful to your sales performance.
4. Riding on to the above would be video editing skills which are required to produce good quality videos.
5. Ability to speak on camera smoothly will be a great boost to business as people will view the properties you market with you as the guide. The familiarity effect will overtime endear you to people who have never met you before and provide you a stream of referral business. That is, if you do it well.
6. Writing skills as educational articles are the other digital asset that brands you as an authority and the ease of content distribution means it reaches more people than you possibly can physically.
7. Social Media marketing skills. The saying:
"Content is King. Distribution is Queen." says everything.
To create video and articles but have no one know about them is a complete waste.
When doing so, you can expect to have responses and criticisms and would also do well to respond to them for higher engagement with your fans.
8. Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing skills.
These skills help you to put your content in front of the right searcher.
Search Engine Optimisation skills are very valuable as they allow you to rank high in Google, Baidu etc without having to pay for every click that searchers click on.
This requires alot of work and time to get right but once done, is a very valuable long term digital asset to have.
Search Engine Marketing on the other hand are services like Google Pay Per Click and LinkedIn Pay Per Click. They require that you learn the platforms and create advertisements that your ads appear in front of a searcher.
You would have to pay for every click though as you essentially paying for virtual real estate space to be seen immediately by searchers.
9. Design skills. The great thing is beautiful designs can easily be created today with tools like Canva.com unlike many years ago when i first started out.
Design skills are helpful so that you can independently create social media marketing artwork with minimum time and expenses.
You may be asking: "Stuart, do you mean that without these skills, i should not become a property agent?"
No. That is not what i mean.
The skills above are great additional skills to have and will certainly help you speed up your success and lower your costs. They help you to reach out further and longer than if you relied purely on your personal presence.
If you have some or even none of these skillsets, you can still be a successful top agent if you excel in the basic areas i highlighted earlier.
Ideally, you would outsource these tasks in the worst case scenario so that someone manages your "weaknesses" and creates assets that are a leads generation force-multiplier for you.
In the long run, the certainty of you slowing down is well, certain. Hence, investing in these skills and digital assets as early as you can in your career will pay huge dividends that your future self will thank you for.
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Stuart Chng, Senior Associate Executive Director of OrangeTee & Tie, is a renowned leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He adores music and can play a few instruments decently without upsetting his neighbours. When not doing so, he enjoys pillow fighting with his son and coming up with silly puns which barely amuses his wife.
Professionally, he is a licensed real estate agent, investor, team leader, speaker and columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications. Throughout his career, he has helped many clients grow their wealth through selecting great property investments and managing their portfolios actively. Read his clients' reviews here.