Ideal Listing agents… they really do exist!
We base that statement on the findings of the recent scientific study my company conducted on the personalities of top performers in a variety of real estate roles. Here I will talk about what we found with regard to the role of Listing Agents and what traits correlated with only the top performing agents in that role.
- Over a period of 6 months, we administered DISC and Values profiles to 8,791 total agents.
- Of those, 3,237 were Listing Agents.
- Of those, 679 (21%) were “top performers” (i.e., >50 transactions in a calendar year), with 2,558 (79%) constituting the control group (i.e., having sold less than 50).
Top listing agents are more aggressive and assertive than top buyers agents
The Findings – We found statistically significant correlations in only the best performing listing agents in the following areas:
- More Decisive. Top listing agents are more aggressive and assertive than top buyers agents – significantly. This can be a blessing and a curse in that while this tendency to be extra decisive and dominant benefits them in prospecting for cold leads, aggressively hunting and closing, it can make them less than patient with buyers. The best buyers agents also had a level of D (The “Decisiveness” dimension in the DISC profile) that was above the 50% line, but top Listing agents averaged closer to 90 on a 0-100 scale. This level of Decisiveness is more typically seen in top performing outside sales professionals in other industries, and it explains the one key variable that differentiates top performers – they proactively sell. Lower levels in the D dimension are more reactive and prefer to let new customers come to them. Such high levels in the D dimension don’t allow for passivity, shyness or uncertainty. Top listing agents are outgoing hard chargers who prefer to persuade the world to agree with their ideas and opinions.
- More Extroverted. Top listing agents share a similar score in the “I” dimension in DISC (i.e., Interactiveness) as buyers agents, but still edge them out just a little bit. Top performing listing agents are even more extroverted, more influential and more prone to be found doing the talking. The I dimension in DISC can sometimes be titled the “Influencing” dimension. High I’s love to talk. They love to express thoughts, feelings and emotions. When coupled with a high D, they like to convince and persuade. That’s why the combination of High D and I makes for such a great sales profile. The average top performing listing agent had an I dimensional score above 75. As with anything, too much of a good thing is bad, and this dimension is no exception. By being so talkative and extroverted the High I risks being too pushy and can come across as “salesy” – especially to a more introverted prospect.
- Less Stable. Unlike top buyers agents, the best listing agents had a score in the S dimension of DISC (Stability) that was below the line. They prefer less stability, predictability and structure and thrive on more chaos, uncertainty and a constantly changing day. In sales we know it’s vital to be comfortable with risk, which is also something a lower S actually prefers if not enjoys. Such a score equates to someone who is comfortable with not knowing what they will be doing tomorrow, or hell – in the next hour. A higher S score brings with it a greater preference for certainty, like a schedule and outline of what the process will be. Lower S – types are more in favor of winging it and seat-of-the-pants business planning. Obviously this approach can create it’s own problems but more often than not it works in the outside hunter/gatherer sales persons mindset because they are free to adjust as need be to the ever changing environment around them, and quickly.
- Less Accurate. Similar to even the best buyers agents, top listing agents also have a low score in the C dimension in DISC (Conscientiousness). They suck at detail basically. Sure, they can do it, but they don’t like to and it doesn’t come naturally. They tend to be disorganized, messy, cluttered and all around chaotic; but they do so in a way that they somehow manage to figure out. They are less concerned about how things will happen, and more with simply that they will happen. The unfortunate side effect of a very low C score is that they start a great many things, but rarely finish most. They’re creators – not finishers. This is why the support of a strong team is an apparent benefit to such personalities as sales are negatively impacted when it is left exclusively to the listing agent to complete every single aspect of detail with regard to the sale.
- Super Economic. Just like the best buyers agents, the best listing agents are – without a doubt – dominantly motivated by the Economic dimension. As I talked about in the first article, this doesn’t mean strictly “show me the money.” The Economic dimension is a motivation to see tangible and practical results directly from your work. A sales job lends itself well to this motivation because the more you perform…the more commissions you earn. It’s a direct relationship. This also explains why complicated, tricky or dynamic commissions plans don’t go over well with this personality style. Make it convoluted and difficult to understand the details of what I’m going to earn on the sale of this next house and you de-motivate the hell out of me. These personalities want a clean and simple opportunity to be rewarded for their efforts. In this study the average score in the Economic dimension as 90, which is three standard deviations above the norm (i.e., massively high).
There is no one perfect profile or style for any role.
The best performing listing agents share some very similar traits in common. While quite similar to the best buyers agents, they differ mostly in being more aggressive (higher D) and more influential (higher I). They are also less stable (lower S), with one participant stating that his wife had said he was unstable for years.
This isn’t to say that we didn’t see anomalies in the study, where a single digit percent of top performers were lower D’s or higher S’s. But, we found that those same people invested many years growing to the heights they occupy now. I’ve seen this in lots of other places and roles we’ve studied. There is no one perfect profile or style for any role. Anyone can be successful in any role. It’s just a matter of how hard do they have to work, how long can they sustain that level of performance and is it realistic.
While there were indeed exceptions, the personality characteristics described above allowed the top performers to achieve those results quickly, more effortlessly and more sustainably. Put another way. Both a Porsche and a Volkswagen can go 100mph. The question is, which one can do it better and with less effort and which one is likely to blow up eventually?
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