Assertiveness versus pushiness or aggressiveness in Silicon Valley real estate

Assertive not AggressiveReal estate agents who want to be successful in this business can’t hide in their shell or be a “wilting lily” – at least not in Silicon Valley.  Being able to get out there and find new clients with whom to work, encourage offers on listings, and negotiate well for buyers and sellers all require a level of assertiveness.  We may need to work outside of our comfort zone if the situation requires it.

But sometimes real estate sales people can go too far and venture into aggression instead of assertiveness.  The words “pushy” and “salesperson” almost seem to go together at times, don’t they?  (Personally, I hate buying cars because I loathe being on the other end of what feels like pushy sales tactics.)

A few years back, someone I met at an open house said that he didn’t need to like his agent because the agent wasn’t someone he’d want for a friend – it was someone who would push through what needed to be pushed and he didn’t need to be likable.  I found that a really interesting idea, but fundamentally, I disagree with the guy’s premise that successful Realtors basically have to be jerks.  It just isn’t true; in fact, the opposite is the case.

The most successful real estate agents share a few recognizable traits, at least most of the time.  I will list them off as I see them – not every top Realtor will possess all of these habits, skills or traits, but as a group, they emerge as a commonality found among most of them.

Top Silicon Valley real estate agents share these traits (at least most of the time):

  1. Prospect or market themselves continuously to attract new business (they cannot simply work on today’s business or tomorrow they will be unemployed).
  2. Have systems in place for how to work with buyers, sellers, sales in contract, prospects who are long term, follow up etc. Good systems are crucial.
  3. Work well with other agents and consumers – they play fair, communicate well, respond in a timely manner.  They are usually well liked by their colleagues. (This helps you to sell or buy a home – agents want to work with others they can trust to work well and fairly.)
  4. Know the contracts and forms and use them appropriately. They explain the contract to their clients so that expectations are in line.  Surprises are bad most of the time and can be avoided if everyone understands exactly what they are agreeing to.  And the contracts we use are clear: if it’s not in writing and agreed to by all parties, it is not a part of the transaction. (more…)