educates housing agents on how to be successful in real estate.

Location: Singapore

Veterinary surgeon at Toa Payoh Vets, Singapore and operator of a Singapore housing agency,

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Poor performance of full-timers - no luck?


Housing agents of are independent contractors. Prospects seeking Singapore properties for rent or sale phone +65 9668-6468 or e-mail
The leads are given to various housing agents of
I highlight the performance of 3 of the agents here.

Agent 1. Experienced Agent. Around 40 closings of serviced apartments within 10 weeks in first quarter of 2005. All cases were from This agent is a part-timer who could only show prospects during lunch-time and during weekends. Yet he had >3 closings every week. The more he closed, the more successful he became at closing serviced apartments.

When he first started 3 years ago, he had a similar amazing streak of success. Every week, he would close at least one case and let me know the good news. Then, he had a long period of not one closing per month for a few months in 2004. He was a part-timer and what do you expect of part-timers? They have no fire in the belly. They are not hungry.

I stopped giving him any case from as the company needs the commissions from agents to survive the high overheads of expensive Straits Times advertisements and the internet website charges and other fees.

In the last quarter of 2004, I gave him 1 or 2 cases of serviced apartments to handle. Every week, he would let me know the good news. So, was this "luck'? Like a winning streak in black jack?

Agent 2. New Agent. Around 8 closings from Dec 2004 - Mar 2005. Around 50% of the cases were not from A new agent referred to me by one of my top housing agents. I had stopped taking in any more new agents as I had discarded 3 poor quality agents in 2003 and 2004. The quality rather than quantity of the housing agents is important for

This person had no real estate experience and had small children to look after. I delayed any meeting with her. There were bigger and prestigious firms she could go to. The prospective agent made an appointment to meet me. This showed that the person was keen on real estate. I did not want to entrust this person with any case but since the person asked for leads, I passed a very small number. Well, she closed on the very small number of cases which I did not expect full-timers to succeed. Then, she closed on her own clientele.

Agent 3. Experienced Agent. Less than 1/10 closings in 2004 with over 30 cases given by Why did Agent 3 perform badly? He closed around 0.5 case per month/agent in 2004. He said he had "no luck."

Does "luck" play a significant part for real estate agents? Statistics show that around 80% of small business fail. So was the failure due to "no luck"? I don't think luck plays a significant part in business success for most businesses. It is

1. MARKETING. Letting others know you are in real estate full time, being hard working. Following up with the leads and referrals. Having real properties to rent or sell in a database. That means sourcing and keeping proper records of owners and sole agents. Focus on specific developments. Advertise in the Straits Times at least on one Saturday per week and prospective owners will come to know you. Or to phone you.

2. HARD WORK & BEING AVAILABLE . If the agent is usually overseas for whatever reason or not contactable by mobile phone call, can he close many cases? Prospects want instant answers, not answering machine messages. They want convenience of being able to contact the agent immediately.

3. PRO-ACTIVENESS & DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE. Hard to define "pro-activeness". You could see that Agent 2 was having initiatives to meet me to be accepted as a housing agent, to ask for cases and to prove that "Success" is her first name. How did she do it? She certainly had a depth of Singapore real estate knowledge. She was good at comparative marketing analysis of properties for sale or rent. Prospects want to know more than location and amenities. It is hard to define success.

There are other factors for success. For Agent 2, would you say it is "beginner's luck?" Was Agent 1 lucky and Agent 3 unlucky? I don't believe luck contributes to more than 10% of one's success. It is marketing yourself as an honest housing agent and lots of hard work and more hard work to follow up leads.

It means a focus on your speciality, being available 24 hours on your mobile phone. Or at least from 7 a.m to 10 p.m. Very successful self-employed independent or ambitious people sleep with their mobile phone switched on. Sounds weird but true. Not good for your health as you don't get sufficient sleep. But if you want the money or the promotions, you have to be available whenever your boss or your customers want you. Try and have a balance between your money making and health. Easier said than done if you have so many cases.

ALLIANCES. For those agents with too many cases, learn how to form alliances and farm out cases to associates you can trust. You can't handle them as clients want instant services. If you have a good spouse to help you, it will be great. Usually this is not possible. Hopefully, those associates are able to close cases too. Otherwise, it is money down the drain.



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