You may have heard ‘you’re a great talker’. You’ll do well in real estate. Think that’s true? Think again!

Here are the ten traits I believe are needed to succeed in real estate sales. If you’re thinking about entering the wide, wonderful world of real estate, you’ll benefit from reading my list.

In my three+ decades managing and owning real estate offices, I’ve interviewed hundreds of potential real estate agents. I’ve watched many thrive–coming into the business quickly and making money fast. And, some I’ve watched fail. From these observations, I know the qualities that assure success.

Here’s the list that I came up with for my eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. Some of you reading this list will already have been selling real estate. So, read this list and ask yourself: “Which of these qualities is very strong in my character? Which needs ‘shoring up’?” To succeed fast, or move to the next level in your business, you must exhibit these qualities in your sales and sales management behavior.

1.         High Personal Initiative

Your success depends on your being able to create business and implement it on your own, with relatively little monitoring. If the interviewer tells you he/she’ll give you leads, I’d suggest a polite ‘thank you’ with a quick exit. Why? Because no one makes much money waiting for leads from anyone (and someone will be taking part of the commission for the lead, too). Another word for this is “self-starter”. No one is going to call you to force you out of bed!

2.         Tenacity

Only those who “stick with it” will win.  Plan on dedicating one year to establishing your business. Plan on spending at least three to five years building the kind of business you want to have as  a ‘mature’ business. If you’re getting into real estate just to see if it’s for you–don’t bother. Chances are you won’t have the tenacity to do the tough work, and take the rejection needed to build a career.

3.         Mental Toughness

A positive mental attitude is essential.  Others who give up easily will try to influence the tenacious, mentally tough individual to also give up.  It takes courage to keep going in this long-term business. You’ll get much more rejection than you ever expected. Those who keep going in spite of that rejection succeed.

4.         Belief in Oneself

We each have to know, inside ourselves, that we are capable, that we have the talent and the tenacity to succeed, and that we can depend on ourselves. How are you motivating yourself today to reach higher levels in your business? Do you have a deep belief in yourself?

5.         Willing to Take Direction and Be Accountable to Your Goals

Real estate is a constantly-changing field.  Those who win and keep building stronger businesses learn new skills and apply them constantly. They also hold themselves accountable to their goals, and let others hold them accountable, too. They gain a coach early in their career, take skills classes, and keep getting better–not just to make money, but to take pride in how they do business. 

6.         Enthusiastic

A joy in doing, and a desire to accomplish shows itself in an enthusiastic attitude. Does your enthusiasm show to your clients? To your fellow agents? No one enjoys working with a ‘downer’. No one will help someone who constantly tells the helper, “I tried that once. It didn’t work for me.” Guess what: You won’t get any more help!

7.         Creative

In today’s marketing-oriented world, an agent must be truly creative to design marketing where he stands out as valuable and different. How have you demonstrated your creativity?

8.         Able to Communicative

Writing skills are a necessity today.  Our sophisticated target markets are well-educated.  Effective verbal communication is also paramount to success. Do you need to polish your communication skills?

9.         Team Player

The preservation of our office spirit and cooperation is very important.  We are all more successful together. What are you giving back to your team mates? Are you ready to reciprocate help? Are you ready to grow by contributing? You’ll get much further by contributing, because others will be compelled to help you. 

10. Technology-savvy Enough

Notice I said ‘enough’. You don’t have to be a tech genius (in fact, too many of those types stay buried and married to their computers!). You do need to be able to use the basic technology available to fill out forms, market, use social medial, and communicate with your clients.

I’ll bet you can add to this list. Write a comment here and tell me what you think is an important quality in a successful real estate agent.


Don’t try to go it alone. Developing your traits and skills is so much easier when you’re in a proven program. Get the skills, coaching, accountability, and business plan you need to succeed. Check out Up and Running in Real Estate.