So, you’ve completed your training and have become a fully-licensed real estate salesperson. You understand your market, you get on well with the locals in your area and you’re in love with your work. Despite this, however, are you really playing to your strengths?
If your agency has a system set up for collecting feedback (which it should), you’ve more than likely noticed that the majority of your feedback will be negative. Understandably, this shouldn’t be treated as an issue – it should be seen as an opportunity for improvement.
Whilst negative feedback serves its purpose in any industry, you need to learn to play to your strengths. Responding to praise is good and well, but sadly, as agents, there isn’t much to learn from it.
So, what impact does this have on you as a professional? Well, as a manager, it’ll help you to build out your team’s strengths instead of ironing over weaknesses. If you’re an agent within your agency, you can tweak your own job to weigh on your strengths.
Doing so doesn’t have to be hard. Take a look at this step-by-step guide on how to identify strengths, as well as how to leverage them to boost both organisational and individual results.
1) Gain Feedback from Several Sources
Let’s use an example agent to make the process clearer. We’ll call him John to keep things simple.
Speak with John, his colleagues, past colleagues, teachers, clients and family if possible. Give each of them a questionnaire relating to his strengths, weaknesses, traits, patterns and general contributions to tasks he’s been given in the past.
When you ask someone like John what their strengths are directly, it’s common for them to downplay them or make them seem greater than they actually are. This largely depends on the individual, but it’s always better to get the opinions of others. Self-reflection can be a challenging task for many people.
2) Learn to Recognise any Patterns
Listen to the feedback that others have given you and use it to recognise patterns in their behaviour, such as:
- “John is quick to help others”
- “John works better alone than as part of a team”
Certain emotional patterns can also give an excellent insight into an individual’s strengths and weaknesses:
- “John is always working on something new”
- “John seems a bit afraid of technology”
3) Build a Portrait of that Person
This is an incredibly useful tool, as it takes both outside perspectives and self-analysis and combines them into an insightful format. It’s not intended to be a basic list of strengths and weaknesses.
Open the portrait with a few sentences of self-analysis:
“When I’m at my worst, I…” and “When I’m at my best, I…”. Combine the self-analysis with any insights you get from third party feedback.
From this, you’ll build a bigger picture with actionable information:
“John is great with both new and current clients and loves to produce creative marketing plans for properties. He’s at his best when he has the opportunity to thrive in a creative environment. However, John is at his worst when he’s put under pressure, such as when he has to negotiate deals with tight timeframes.”
As your portrait takes shape, you’ll start to understand situations where John will either sink or swim. More importantly, however, you’ll also discover situations where John will blow the socks off tasks with relative ease and high enthusiasm.
4) Recreate the Role and Associated Tasks
When hiring new team members, there’s usually a good deal of leeway you’ll be granted to tailor the job description to the type of person you want within your real estate team.
At the moment, John is working as a buyer’s agent. However, the role he’s best suited to is as a seller’s agent, where he’s able to rely on his creative strengths to craft detailed marketing plans that stand out from the crowd.
So, put it to the test. Give John some clients who are looking to sell their properties and see how he gets on.
Understanding and playing to strengths also gives you the power to tackle your weaknesses. Instead of focussing on them straight away, building out areas agents are already excelling in will give them the confidence to admit things like “I’m good with numbers, but not great with negotiating”, or “I’m great speaking with clients one-to-one, but group discussions are stressful for me”.
With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to ensure you and your agents are in the right areas of your agency to boost their workplace engagement and maximise over