The two types of real estate agents

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A couple of posts back, I mentioned that there are really only two types of real estate agents. No matter how you distill it, pretty soon you’re down to two very distinctive groups. Let’s talk about that, and why it’s important to you.

real estate agents | Randall Brennan | realtor in Highlands RanchThe old way

The running “joke” for new real estate agents used to be that, on the first day in their new “job,” the managing broker would point to a desk and say something like,

“Here’s your desk,
here’s your phone,
good luck, kid,
you’re on your own!”

My, how things have changed!

Brokers don’t provide desks and phones anymore. 

Nowadays, new agents really are on their own to find their way in the world, and figure out how to become a success. Many, many agents struggle mightily trying to figure out the real estate business. Some seem to know intuitively what to do, and some stumble into good fortune and never question it.

Some, however, know that they need help. Usually, they appeal to their managing brokers, and are advised to attend this training or that seminar to help them figure it out. Sometimes, that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The manager’s advise usually comes from something that resonated with that particular manager. It might or might not resonate with new real estate agents.

Two types of real estate agents

I had the opportunity recently to really sort all this out, and it became very apparent to me that, really, there are two very, very different types of real estate agents. I’ve seen each group look with disdain and complete incomprehension at the other. They are so different, they find it just about impossible to “get” the other.

This all came to a head when someone in a group of real estate agents that I belong to asked the question, “If a closing got scheduled during your prospecting time, what would do?” Everyone in the group had an answer, without having to think about it, and everyone was sure they were “right,” and that there would be complete agreement. The group, however, very quickly divided into two sub-groups, each appalled at the other. It was kind of comical, really.

Ironically, these two groups align with the two most basic archetypes of humanity: the Hunters and the Gatherers. There’s no right or wrong on the whole, but there is a right and wrong for each agent. There are very successful real estate agents in both groups, because, by design or by circumstance, they are operating in such a way that their business is completely aligned with their most basic personality.

The Hunters seek transactions

The hunters are focused on numbers and transactions. Their preferred way of finding business is to go out and get it. Cold calling, door-knocking, and canvassing neighborhoods are their preferred methods. Prospecting time is sacred to them, because they know they have to constantly be putting new people into their pipelines so that transactions eventually flow out. When a transaction is complete, they are already focusing on the next.

Hunters tend to be very competitive. They need to know who “won.” To them, real estate is a numbers game. They know how many transactions, or how much sales volume, they need in order to take the “I’m #1” prize. To get there, they know how many appointments they need, how many conversions are required, and finally how many doors they need to knock, or numbers they need to dial.

Hunters quite often use very specialized equipment to optimize their prospecting time, including state-of-the-art telephone equipment and dialing systems. Some even use two, so that the next number on the list is being dialed even as they are finishing up the call they are on.

With so much energy devoted to the transaction, they are loath to take “No” for an answer. They are well versed in scripts, and are aces at handling objections. Chances are, you won’t be able to say anything they aren’t prepared for, because they’ve had all those conversations already, and they practice and role-play until their delivery is spot-on every time.

The Gatherers seek relationships

The Gatherers, on the other hand, are more focused on the clients. They know they still have to make calls, and they have “prospecting time” as well, but they probably call it something else. The chief difference is that when these real estate agents make their calls, they are calling people they know (within a degree or two of separation), while the Hunters are calling people they do not know.

Gatherers have scripts and dialogues for all the situations and objections, too, but theirs are more “suggestions.” They are more likely to play-it-by-ear. Rather than being highly competitive, they are more focused on collaboration and making sure the client ends up in a place that works and feels good. Rather than a “Win!” mentality, they think more along the lines of “win-win.”

Gatherers tend to prefer face-to-face meetings, and coffees and lunches are important tools. More than just the transaction at hand, the Gatherers focus on repeat and referral business from each client. They strive to stay in touch with clients after closing, and often visit clients regularly, or host client-appreciation functions for years afterward.

Asking a Gatherer to find business by using a Hunter’s tactics will likely make his blood run cold; asking a Hunter to start gathering will probably make him vomit.

This applies to you, too

Now here’s the thing: this does not just apply to real estate agents. Everyone fits into one of these two archetypes, and we tend to flock with the birds who are like us, even if we don’t realize it. I’d hazard a guess that as you were reading those two descriptions, you were finding that one or the other fit you like a glove, and the other left you cold.

As you’re searching for your agent among all the thousands of real estate agents out there, remember that the one who’s “like” you is probably the one you’ll work best with. Listen to the agent, and pay attention. What gives pleasure and happiness, or causes pain and discomfort? Are those the same things that give you pleasure and happiness, or that cause pain and discomfort? If they are, you and that agent will probably get along fine, and successfully navigate your transaction, regardless of how that agent “fits” with anyone else. Remember, that’s your agent.

What has been your experience with real estate agents? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

Until next time, remember, when you’re searching for real estate services in Highlands Ranch and the south metro Denver area, I’m ready to help you however I can, and I’m never too busy for you or your referrals. You need only reach out to me.




Randall Brennan, REALTOR

Randall BrennanRandall is a real estate broker and REALTOR plying his trade in the southern part of the Denver metropolitan area, including the cities and communities of Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Englewood, and Centennial. He finds interest in just about anything, but especially in history, photography, endurance sports, and permaculture gardening. | |  | Randall’s business profile

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