11 things I wish they taught agents in real estate school


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Pre-license courses teach the basic principles of real estate, real estate law and terms commonly used in the practice of real estate. However, it does very little to teach agents how to serve buyers or sellers at the highest level. Here are the 11 things I wish they taught that lead to successful, thriving businesses.

1. How to overcome problems

An agent who learns how to problem solve when a transaction faces challenges can be the difference in a sale happening or a canceled contract. So how does someone learn to become a better problem solver?

You either need someone who can teach you or know where to go to get answers on your own. The ideal way is to learn from someone with experience who is readily available to support you. This could be your broker, a sales manager in your company, an agent mentor or a coach.

If you find yourself in a leadership desert, then seek ways to educate yourself. YouTube videos, podcasts, and online training courses are readily available to help you overcome any obstacles you might face in your business.

Wondering how to negotiate better? Simply Google it or search how to become a better real estate negotiator on YouTube and you will have access to thousands of articles or videos on the subject.

Your ability, or lack thereof, to overcome the inevitable problems in real estate will determine the level of success you find in this business. The agent who solves the most problems sells the most real estate.

2. Lead generation

If you don’t have a steady flow of leads coming into your business, you don’t have a business. As mentioned above, if you don’t have a steady flow of leads, this is the first problem you need to learn to solve. We don’t lack effective strategies to generate leads; we often lack in the execution of the strategies that will create the steady flow of leads our businesses need.

If you’re looking for strategies, this article shares 24 of the best ways to generate real estate leads in 2024.

3. Emotion management

How you react to offers, counteroffers and challenges will shape the way the buyers and sellers you’re working with react as well. The analogy I’ve always used is that we should be like a thermostat — we should keep a constant emotional temperature all the time. If things get heated, we cool the situation down. If things get cold, we add some heat to bring things back in line.

Your job is to keep your emotions out of the transaction, as much as possible, so the buyers or sellers can make the best decision for themselves and their families. Learning to be the “thermostat” will serve you and your clients well.

4. Database management

Do you have a database that systematically follows up or provides value to the leads you’ve generated, your past clients and your sphere of influence? If the answer is no, it’s time to start. If the answer is yes, now is a great time to focus on refining your processes to serve your clients even better.

Although database management is rarely taught, it is one of the most valuable skills you can develop for a sustainable and consistently growing business. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your database, this is an article that can help: Turn your database into an ATM. 6 rules to ENGAGE.

5. Buyer and seller psychology

When you understand the psychology of why and how buyers/sellers react to certain parts of the buying/selling process it gives you the ability to help them work through challenges with less stress. Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Understanding your client’s motivations and providing them with the information they need to get what they want is a skill I wish every agent could learn.

6. Foundational personal marketing

I believe most agents understand the value of marketing their business. However, very few agents are taught the actual process for personal marketing. It involves the three-step process of moving people through the sales funnel of getting to know you, liking you, and ultimately trusting you.

They get to know you via frequency. For people to recognize or know who you are, they need to see you. This can be achieved by being active in your community, through social media, direct mail, or even advertising, but the frequency with which they see you will help them get to know you.

The process of them liking you is a product of your authenticity. Are you easy to talk to or pushy? Do you share common interests or passions? Social media is a great place to connect with prospects and to move them down the path from knowing you to liking you.

Trust comes through experience or consistent value that is observed. This can be accomplished by video content that shares unique insights on the market, client testimonials, or by sharing professional achievements. Once you understand how to share value in a way that leads to trust, the pathway to a growing business will be set.

7. Conversational control

Conversational control is the process of understanding how to provide value conversationally. It starts with understanding how to listen. There is a reason we were given two ears and one mouth. Utilize your two ears to listen for clues to what is important to them before giving solutions. Ask questions to get a better understanding of what it is they desire or of their pain points.

Once you have a clear understanding of their needs, give them clear options and present them in a way that gives them the freedom to ask questions for clarification or a better understanding. The better you become as a communicator, the healthier your business will become.

8. How to show appreciation

People who feel appreciated look for ways to reciprocate the appreciation they receive. The best way to show appreciation for a real estate agent is through doing business with them or sending them referrals. It should be taught how to write handwritten thank you notes. It should be taught how to show clients appreciation for their business. It should be taught how to throw a client appreciation event.

If you’re looking for ways to show your appreciation, this article will help: 23 creative thank-you ideas your real estate clients will love.

9. Video production, editing, distribution

The idea of video is overwhelming for many agents. But the process of producing video using your phone, editing video with free apps like CapCut, and distributing videos through social media and YouTube has never been easier. Developing your video skills will pay huge dividends for the agents who invest the time, effort, and money to do so.

10. Working well with other agents

We all need other agents to serve our clients at the highest level. If you have a buyer but no listings, you need other agents to generate listings to help your buyer find a home. If you have a home listed but no buyers, you need agents with buyers to help your client get their home sold.

Absolutely represent and negotiate for your client, but do it with an understanding that happy agents are easier to work with. A simple way to set the tone with an agent on the other side of a transaction is to send a selfie video saying something like the following right after emailing an offer to a listing agent:

Hey Bob, this is Jimmy Burgess with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. I just emailed over an offer on your listing at 123 Main Street. I’ve got a buyer that wants to buy and I’m hoping we can find a win/win for them and your seller. Let me know if you have any questions and I look forward to hopefully working together on a smooth negotiation and closing for both of our clients and the two of us. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Learning to work well with other agents will lead to less stress and more business.

11. Grit

Grit has been defined as a passion and determination for long-term, meaningful goals. Grit is having the ability to get back up when, not if, this business knocks you down. It is the perseverance to keep moving forward when others quit. Ultimately grit is the difference between those who succeed and those who quit. Become someone who has the grit to persevere, and your business will thrive.

Perfection in real estate is unachievable. But the agents who consistently strive to become better always separate themselves from others in the long run. Become the hardest-working agent in your market and work to develop the skills mentioned in this article. If you do that, your success is inevitable.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.





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