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Have the Right Profile to be a Real Estate Agent?

4418699308_5539e6e681We all can identify those in our industry who are in real estate with great intention and determination but seems to lack the behavioral make-up or intestinal fortitude to become successful. Equally, we see those who ‘got it’ and immediately see why they’re doing well in this demanding field. So, why is there such a difference between these folks? If every agent is given equal opportunity and is exposed to the exact same training and education, why such a huge schism between the haves and the have nots? I’ve read several articles here on AG about the lack of business training for real estate agents and I couldn’t agree more! However, if we look a bit deeper to the actual propensity of individuals to behave according to their predictive behavior, we may see all the training and education in the World likely will not help. Case in point, I was interviewing a new agent. She was extremely well read and attractive. On the surface, she appeared to be perfect for the job. However, within the first 15 minutes, I knew she was in the wrong business. When I began our conversation with her lead generation schedule and how she’d need to time block a certain number of hours each day to contact folks about buying and selling, I thought she was going to pass out right there. The fear at the prospect of doing something that is at the core of our industry like calling on people for business turned her face as red as a Tomato and I think she actually broke out in Hives! It was clear after that initial interview, I didn’t need to help this person in real estate…I needed to help them out of real estate.

There are several well known models available such as the DISC or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that can give you a very good sense of the behavioral patterns that make up certain individuals and how these individuals will ultimately behave in such an environment like commission sales. I’m not hard and fast set on either the DISC or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator but I lean towards the DISC when I’m coaching a new agent simply because it’s what I’m more familiar with. I’d also say I’m not at all convinced either of these profiling models is 100% accurate nor do they always represent an individual with an adaptive personality…a mandatory skill set to have if you are required to work with Buyers and Sellers who exemplify multiple personalities…sometimes on a regular basis! (Insert laughter here). That said, a profile test is still a good barometer in ascertaining a dominant behavioral pattern. So when administering such a test, you must understand observable behavior can be grouped into four major personality styles, Assertiveness, Sociability, Tranquility, and Dependence. These four styles tend to exhibit specific characteristics common to that particular style. And since all individuals possess all four, what differs is the level to which each individual possess’.

Understanding and Determining your Profile

I mentioned I use the DISC to understand and determine those I coach as does many companies, HR professionals, consultants and trainers. I’ve highlighted the main behavioral markers for each letter in the DISC and listed them below. Can you see which aspect fits you best? The assessments classify the four aspects of behavior by testing a person’s preferences in word associations…DISC is an acronym for:

  • Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
  • Influence – relating to social situations and communication
  • Steadiness – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
  • Conscientiousness – relating to structure and organization

These four dimensions can be grouped in a grid with D and I sharing the top row and representing extroverted aspects of the personality, and C and S below representing introverted aspects. D and C then share the left column and represent task-focused aspects, and I and S share the right column and represent social aspects. In this matrix, the vertical dimension represents a factor of “Assertive” or “Passive”, while the horizontal represents “Open” vs. “Guarded”.

  • Dominance: People who score high in the intensity of the “D” styles factor are very active in dealing with problems and challenges, while low “D” scores are people who want to do more research before committing to a decision. High “D” people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. Low D scores describe those who are conservative, low keyed, cooperative, calculating, undemanding, cautious, mild, agreeable, modest and peaceful.
  • Influence: People with high “I” scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with low “I” scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings. They are described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical.
  • Steadiness: People with high “S” styles scores want a steady pace, security, and do not like sudden change. High “S” individuals are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. Low “S” intensity scores are those who like change and variety. People with low “S” scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive.
  • Conscientious: People with high “C” styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High “C” people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. Those with low “C” scores challenge the rules and want independence and are described as self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic, arbitrary, and unconcerned with details.

As you might have determined, “D” and “I” personalities tend to do very well in this business…both of which were clearly missing in the person I mentioned interviewing earlier in this post. Now, an “S” may have a tendency to make a great assistant due to their steady work ethic and desire for little change and a “C” would be a good fit for Designated Broker because of their demand for adherence to rules, regulations and structure. It should also be known your core behavioral style never changes but your adaptive style allows you to adopt and adapt to your environment to suit the situation. As you can imagine, a High “D” person may have a very hard time with adapting to a style to fit any environment other than one they control due to their demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering behavior…These are also the folks who tend to be the most successful, not only in real estate, but in whatever they do!

So, if you’ve never had a profile test done, give it a try and see what kind of behavioral style you have…you might be surprised!?

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Written By

Patrick Flynn is a 13 year Veteran of this Real Estate fray and a blogger on mySeattleblogs and is active in various social networks. Like many writers at Agent Genius, Patrick wears a few hats other than a Broker's lid- he is also a Certified Real Estate Instructor for the State of Washington and has enjoyed delivering 1,000+ hours of clock hour and non-clock hour approved courses in his career. Patrick has also been a Designated Broker since 2003 and revels in being able to coach and mentor fellow real estate professionals.



  1. Arn Cenedella

    March 8, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Good post with good information.
    I have been in real estate sales since 1978 and this was after getting a Master’s Degree in Physical Chemistry.
    Talk about a 180 degree career change!
    I have several good friends that are also in sales – not real estate sales – but sales where much of their income is commission based.
    And we all agree, sales is harder than it looks from the outside.
    One major trait needed for all sales people is the ability to work, put forth effort with no guarranty of reward. In real estate sales, we will often spend countless hours and days with clients never knowing whether we are actually going to be compensated for our time and energy. All of us have worked with clients who did not end up buying or selling (or at least not thru us). Agents that survive in this business must be able to deal with disappointment and rejection along the way and keep plugging.

  2. Gary Thomas

    March 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Interesting and informative. I used to be an attorney and I relate to many of the DISC categories. But I am also a small case disc guy.

    This article is as useful in judging the personality types of a potential buyer as it is the real estate professional.

  3. Chris

    March 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Interesting post. Reminds me of an article in the Harvard Business Review a while back describing successful salespeople as “happy losers.” What made salespeople great was resilience – the ability to keep looking for the “yes” in a sea of “no’s” and see it as a challenge rather than a personal insult.

  4. Nashville Grant

    March 10, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Bus driver, I took one of these tests and it actually had bus driver as my #3 mostly likely profession! Whoa

    So what does a bus driver and a real estate broker have in common any how? What a second…LOL!

  5. Kent

    March 12, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Can you train your DISC?

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