Picture the most successful real estate agent in your area… What are they wearing?  How do they act? When you picture the most successful agent in your area, is it you?  If not, then what does that person have  or what do they do that has made them more successful than you?  Can it be taught?

Some experts say YES because the key to being successful lies in this – how in tune you are with your own emotions and behaviors, how you perceive those around you, and how skilled you are at adapting your behaviors in response.  In psychology, it’s referred to as emotional intelligence and, in business, many are saying it (your EQ) matters more than IQ when identifying one’s potential for success.

“Emotional intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do once we are in a given job.” – Dr. Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., Psychologist and Leading Researcher on Emotional Intelligence

unlockEmotional Intelligence (or EQ) in the business world is considered by many to be more important  than IQ.  So what is emotional intelligence exactly and how can you unlock the traits you already possess to maximize your success in real estate?

EQ is defined by top researchers Peter Dalovey and John C. Mayer as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and your actions.” More simply, your EQ is how you perceive the world around you, how you respond to it and how you handle it when it responds to you.

Why is this important as a real estate salesperson? First and foremost, this is a relationship business – you aren’t just selling homes, you are also selling yourself and your services. Your social skills, self-awareness, ability to handle others’ emotions, and an in-depth understanding of how you manage relationships with others matters more than you think.  Another reason is there is a very high failure rate among real estate salespeople and as you advance in your career, much of what you learn about the business comes from online continuing education courses that don’t tap into what truly makes someone a success.shutterstock_91463864

Many people believe a good combination of IQ and EQ make for the most successful people.  Travis Bradberry wrote an article entitled Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed in Business  featured in Forbes online that claims, “people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time.” So, if you thought you weren’t smart enough to succeed in real estate, think again.  Bradberry reminds us that “intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice.”

Let’s look at the characteristics of successful salespeople: charismatic, verbal acuity, high energy, good listening skills, excellent follow-up, manages their time well, empathetic, ego-driven, passionate, confident, strong core values, a hunter mentality, alert to opportunities, positive, personable, organized and disciplined. Did I miss any?


Now see if you already have what it takes to be successful by taking this free online test that gives insight into your personality and many of the aspects that make up your emotional intelligence.  (Paid tests that are more thorough include the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Kiersey test .)  Your end result will be four letters.  Review your personality type for clues about what inner traits you should tap into and which you may need to change. 16 Personalities also has a great review of the different personality types here including how your personality affects you at work.

Understanding your score:

  1. Extroverted vs. Introverted: The first letter of your score will be either an E or an I standing for extroverted or introverted. Typically we think of successful salespeople as extroverts, with excellent communication skills, high energy and a knack for persuasion.  But do they have the key skills often held by the introvert?   Your inner realtor may be energetic, confident, positive and personable – but how good are you at listening?
  2. Intuition vs. Sensing: The second letter will be either an N or S for intuitive or sensing. Someone who is intuitive will rely more on thinking than experiencing an event and tend to think more in terms of reading between the lines.  They aren’t as motivated by past experiences because they tend to be forward-thinking and more drawn to what could be while the sensing counterparts tend to solve problems with facts and past experiences.  A sensing person will look at the facts first and allow what they know to be true to build the ultimate big picture
  3. Thinking vs. Feeling: A thinking T-personality is more of a Dudley Do-Right than the Feeling types. They like consumer reports and are rarely enticed into decision making based on emotion. Logical and perhaps less passionate to some extent, the T’s are difficult to persuade with anything short of statistics and data.  The Feelers think with their hearts and may do “the right thing” in their minds provided the right thing feels right.  They are more passionate and perhaps more able to see the pain in their customer and be empathetic to offer their service as a solution.
  4. Judging vs. Perceiving: The J-type is one who makes lists, is organized, decisive and feel comfortable when in control of their environment.  They know what their goals are, set benchmarks and have an almost unbending routine toward achieving those goals.  Traits like disciplined, time management, follow up skills all lie strongly in the hands of the J-Type.  The P-person by comparison will see them as opinionated and narrow-minded.  They know how to adapt and go with the flow and prefer the openness of their schedule.  They want to know what’s going on first and then to decide while the J’s liken to decide so they know well in advance what’s going on.

Many have studied what traits are the most important to succeed but let me share with you an article I think really nails two key traits along with how synergy among personality components works.   David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg, in their article from the Harvard Business Journal  What Makes a Good Salesman, said that empathy and ego-drive are the main qualities you absolutely must possess to be successful in sales. They emphasize that you cannot have one working without the other and experience the same success warning that, “the person with strong ego drive has maximum motivation to fully utilize whatever empathy he possesses. Needing the sale, he is not likely to let his empathy spill over and become sympathy. His ego need for the conquest is not likely to allow him to side with the customer; instead, it spurs him on to use his knowledge of the customer fully to make the sale.”On the other side, they explain, someone with only empathy might back off of a sale feeling more sympathetic for the person then they feel driven to make sales.  Someone with both of these traits can balance the two emotions intelligently and be at the top of their game.

So if empathy is often lost to the Thinkers, while ego-drive can be lost to Perceivers, what combination of personality traits or personality score makes for the creme de la creme in sales? Experts say ESTP’s (extroverted-sensing-thinking-perceiving) with their superb people skills, action-oriented routines,  solution-driven mentality, and sharp observational skills are well wired to succeed. They are very competitive and while they aim to achieve results, they rarely follow too rigid a plan.  They don’t live for the future or dwell on the past. They understand their client’s well and are swift to find the solution (or home).  In the end, success is having the traits of a successful person and  the ability to use them and control them in an intelligent way.