As I sat down at my computer, a writer from Fortune magazine messaged me on Facebook, of all places, to ask my opinion of an article she was writing.
The article compared two major real estate brands and the corresponding relationship between experience and success. I suggested to her that longevity does not necessarily translate to success at a high level.
With a natural attrition rate of more than 30 percent, the turnover in the real estate industry is high. Most big-box brands (secret: many are subsidiaries of the same company) earn their living collecting large commissions and fees from the endless queue of new agents coming through the revolving door.
A lot of first-year agents sell few, if any, homes. During their brief stint as a Realtor, their new licenses offset much of the overhead related to the big-box brand, they will sell their aunt’s cousin’s house and then move on to a more stable career. A firm with 200-plus agents must replace about 60 agents each year just to keep pace in the market.
Using the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of agents in any given area handle the majority of the business. In Wilmington, that correlates to roughly 2,240 agents (80 percent) sharing the short straw.
So, the question is, what makes an agent successful and who should you hire?
Certainly, knowledge, work ethic, reliability and personality all play a role in being a successful agent. But, the best in the industry seem to have an additional similar trait - they do the right thing always.
When an agent is mainly concerned about the paycheck, eventually clients will disengage, lose trust and gravitate toward someone coming from
contribution rather than out of
need. They don’t teach that in real estate school.
Similarly, in his book “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” Simon Sinek says: People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.
At church this weekend, our pastor told a story of Jesus praying to God saying, “This is my will, but if not mine, then yours.” I am sure I’ve butchered the quote, but my approach with a client is similar - “This is my advice, but y’all call the shots.”
The real estate profession is supposed to provide information, a perspective based on experience, counsel and guidance, while at the same time wading through the quagmire of forms, contracts, addendums and negotiations.
The four main principles by which our group operates are:
- Put others before self
- Come from contribution
- Do the right thing always
- Be smart, work hard and have a servant’s heart
When you hire an agent to work for you, be sure to ask the right questions. Tenure and brand have little to do with success or ability. Wicked smarts, work ethic, experience and a proven track record are the lowest common denominators.
An agent’s willingness to come from contribution and risk “the deal” over the paycheck has the ability to ratchet-down the stress associated with what is often the single largest financial decision that you make in your lifetime.
Kirk Pugh is a 25-year hospitality professional turned real estate broker. Licensed since 2009, together with his partners Becky Brown and Tyson Emery, they own and operate the KBT Realty Team, a division of Keller Williams Realty. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Kirk has been blessed to live in some amazing places during the course of his career and has called Wilmington home since 2001.
“Seek first to understand before being understood" is one of the more recent quotes on Kirk's list of favorites. Understanding his clients, who they are, how they live and where they are in life’s journey is most important in determining how he can meet their needs.
• Past Board Member of the Coastal Carolina Real Estate Investors Association
• Sixteen years of immersive local real estate knowledge
• Attend Port City Community Church
• Volunteer Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity
• Access Wilmington
• American Heart Association
• Avid Tennis Player
• Consumer of fine wine
Kirk makes his home in Landfall with his wife Janine, his step-children Ryan and Samantha, and his son, Austin. Their two dogs and three bunnies allow them to stay there with them.