Real estate agents come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are selling hundreds of homes every year while others are happy selling real estate only to close family and friends. Negotiating styles may be different and marketing efforts will vary, but one thing all real estate agents have in common is that they use more of their brain than their counterparts in other industries.
Join me for a quick anatomy lesson. The human brain is made up of 3 different parts, the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. The midbrain and the hindbrain handle the functions that keep you alive and functioning so we can agree that all living people use these functions equally (though we could debate whether watching Judge Judy every day on your couch is considered functioning). But the third component - the forebrain - is the thick, veiny top portion of the brain that controls your thoughts, feelings and analytical abilities. This is the portion of the brain that agents utilize to a much greater degree than other professionals.
The typical American Business has 16.1 employees, each of whom is dedicated to a specific facet of the company’s operations. There is generally a sales department, accounting department, HR, marketing group, etc. The typical employee is not asked to work in each department but instead employed to work within a single department every day. This repetitive behavior causes employees to use only the portion of their brain consistent with that skill set, while the rest of the brain remains in sleep mode.
The responsibilities of a real estate agent are the complete opposite. As business owners, agents must accomplish with their single brain what is commonly divided between the 16 employees of a typical company. Whereas most Americans relate to being more creative (right-brain) or more analytical (left-brain) and seek out a job that plays to their strengths, real estate agents have to be the “both-brain” type. Here is a quick breakdown of how we flex our both-brain muscles.
Right Brain -
best at expressive and creative tasks, e.g. Marketing Department, Human Resources. If you’re a right-brain person, your strengths are in these areas:
- Recognizing faces - Nothing ruins a potential future referral faster than failing to recognize one of your past clients! We meet new people every day and half of the job is building those relationships.
- Reading emotions - Home ownership is filled with emotion! Whether it’s helping a client justify moving forward with an offer or calming down a tense negotiation, agents are there to keep things calm. Or as I like to tell my clients, “save your drama for yo mama!"
- Interpreting Color - Color correlates with staging. Agents are on the forefront of what the majority of buyers want in a home, all the way down to the colors on the wall. I’ve come across neon bedrooms, black family rooms and a modern home with nothing but the color white everywhere. Color sells homes and it’s the agent’s job to help you choose a color palette for the masses.
- Creating Images - Nothing sells a home faster than awesome pictures. Seeing as how most agents take their own pictures, you’ve got to have an eye for the visuals you capture of a home in order to market the property well online.
- Possessing Intuition - Whether it’s intuition into who we employ on our team, which buyers “aren’t” liars, or setting the right expectations for our sellers in a slow market, an agent’s intuition is what will define their path to success.
- Unlimited Creativity - If you watch HGTV, you see how creative agents have to be in their personal marketing as well as their property marketing. I publisha regular newsletter called “My Two Cents-innati,” what’s a more creative name than that?!?
Left Brain -
considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language, and analytical thinking, e.g. Accounting Department, Finance Department, Logistics. If you’re a left-brain person, your strengths are in these areas:
- Sound Logic - If we don’t close a property, we don’t make any money for our time and effort. We are constantly making decisions best for our business both in the long term AND the short term.
- Critical thinking - Our job is to predict the value of a totally unique house at some point in the future. If this doesn’t take critical thinking, I don’t know what does!
- Numbers - Whether it’s a home valuation, managing our business income & expenses or achieving sales goals, numbers are the driving force behind whether an agent survives longer than two years in this business.
- Reasoning - We deal with unreasonable people day in and day out. Getting a buyer and seller parties to BOTH be reasonable in a transaction is the only way to achieve success. Or as I like to tell my clients, “ most deals come together when both parties feel like they’re getting screwed.”
- Detail Oriented - Finding the house is the easy part, managing the 100+ details that go into getting the client from contract to closing is a job in itself. If an agent lacks organization, it will come back to royally hurt them. Too many deals are delayed or fall apart due an unorganized agent's mistake.
- Systems based - The only way to grow is to systematize your business so that marketing is consistent and each client receives the same, high quality service you intend to provide. The days of crossing your fingers and praying each day that the deal works out is over (though many agents still abide by this strategy).
**For help creating real estate systems or real estate action plans for you or your real estate team, check out Nekst where you can create a custom real estate to do list, assign tasks to your real estate assistant & share it all with your real estate client portal.**
Bottom line - real estate agents don’t have the luxury of honing a particular skill set since we’re tasked with so many different responsibilities. While I’m not arguing that real estate agents are the most intelligent people in this world, I do feel that our profession requires that we use more of our brain than the typical employee and that notion, in itself, is awesome.