Do You Know Your Agent Type? And What To Do About It?

Marketers vs. Connectors

by Korak

in Awesome Sauce

There are two main types of real estate agents who become highly successful. Know which type you are and take advantage of your strengths. You will make more money, avoid frustration and could even lead your marketplace.

The two types of agents are:

  • Marketers – This type of agent is primarily oriented toward systems and processes. Their primary source of clients and business is driven through things like print ads, PPC, search engines, and perfecting their ability to take a relatively cold lead and turn it into a client. The big money for marketers is usually created through a high volume of transactions.
  • Connectors – These are people who are naturally social and capable networkers. Their primary source of clients and business is through their social farm driven by live networking, social media, and referrals. The big money for this type of agent is made by climbing the listing value ladder from intro homes and condos to luxury homes and penthouses.

All agents embody both types to some degree but most lean one way or the other. Some people lean almost completely to one side.

What Type Are You?

Figuring out what type you are will help you plan your career and business growth. The skillsets marketers should focus on are different than connectors and vice-versa. A marketer attempting to work like a connector isn’t going to get results nor is a connector likely to succeed trying to be a marketer. It IS NOT a good strategy to try and be both equally. You may survive as an agent but you will NEVER be dominant. The reason is that you aren’t going to be good enough to beat out agents of either type. You’ll scrounge in the mediocre middle. So be honest with yourself about which way you lean.

Here are some questions to help you figure it out.

You May Be a Connector If:

  • You love going out socially and do a lot of it.
  • Facebook is fun. You like seeing what everyone is up to and sharing your life with everyone you know.
  • It’s easy to remember names and faces.
  • When a friend needs a plumber, chiropractor, mechanic, whatever you always seem to know a good person.

You May Be a Marketer If:

  • You look at your contact manager and can immediately imagine how having a bunch of names in there with addresses, categories, follow up plans, etc. would be awesome and powerful.
  • You drive past billboards and bench ads and wonder how much they cost and whether the person on them is actually making money off of them or not.
  • You like to know the facts of a situation and get a little irritated by all the “fluff” in advertising. You just want the information so you can make your own decision and move on.
  • You probably didn’t fail math in school.

Got Your Type Figured Out? Now What?

Connectors:

If you are a connector, you will be more successful if you further strengthen your people skills. Read books like Never Eat Alone that give practical advice on strategic networking. Learn about body language, positioning in social settings, etc. These things come naturally to you but with study can get even better.

You are lucky as a connector because many of the skills you need you’ve probably been working on since you were in kindergarten. Now it’s time to apply them with a bit more planning. Your future career and income growth is going to be in selling increasingly more expensive properties.

Therefore, the challenge is putting yourself into environments where your natural networking skills can work on higher-net worth individuals or people who will be. It is important to keep in mind that it will be difficult to displace connectors who have long relationships with your prospective clients. Client loyalty is an advantage of being a connector. Some of your growth is going to come not from landing wealthy clients but from having your network grow in their own income and wealth over time. They will continue to use you as their agent when they move up or buy investment property.

One of the biggest challenges you may have as a connector is getting over the feeling that being strategic in your networking is manipulative or dishonest. Remember, this is your JOB. It doesn’t have to be 24 hours a day how you live. Know when you are networking strategically but give yourself room to “just be you” too. Network strategically at the polo club and still network naturally and happily while you volunteer at the homeless shelter and enjoy it on a personal level.

Marketers:

If you are a marketer, the key skillset for you is going to be built on understanding marketing copywriting, measuring results, and sales funnels. It’s a difficult learning curve compared to that of connectors since much of it is going to be relatively new. Hopefully you have some natural talent but the learning process is going to cost you money.

The fastest arena to learn and practice in is online. It also provides the lowest cost point to hone your skills. A book like Always Be Testing is a good starting point on the mindset and some tools to use. (Though Google Website Optimizer is about to fold into Google Analytics it will still be similar.) For copywriting skills you can learn a ton at site like CopyBlogger.

There is no way to learn this stuff without just jumping in and trying to do it. You’ll want to start by working on your own website and with PPC ads. You can also play with Craigslist ads or a local equivalent if you have an online player in your market that matters. Social media is a probably less likely to be productive early on other than buying advertising. The interaction style just isn’t going to mesh for you.

Be honest, how many posts do you want to see in Facebook from your dentist about teeth? None. And you see your dentist probably twice a year. How many times do you think your clients or prospects want to see anything from an agent they will use once in five years? Never. Connectors pull it off because they are so likeable and engaging. You’re a marketer. You’ll do something crazy like try and get them to take action, they will hide your posts, and then you never get on their wall again wasting everyone’s time. Don’t bother.

Your path to huge success lies in building a marketing machine that is profitable and then growing, adjusting and maintaining it going forward. Your biggest challenge is going to be breaking plateaus. There will be marketing media that you will get working but they ALL max out at some spending point. After that point you just can’t throw more money at it to get more leads. There are only so many searches for long-tail keywords in Google that actually are profitable in any given market. Once you have a good ad position and optimized ad for them all, you’re done. You’ve maxed it out. Time to find another channel to add to your mix.

That is your pattern. When you find something that works, dig into and max it out. Shotgun to find what has potential and then focus on just one until you’ve nailed it. Repeat.

 WARNING FOR NEW AGENTS

Most new agents are trained as though they are connectors because it is seen as the easiest and cheapest way to get going. To a degree that is true. Everyone has a network of friends and family. Looking there for clients makes sense. However, if you are a marketer, that is where your career will likely end because you aren’t going to make enough money to stay in the game trying to work like a connector. I think most career agents are connectors not because it is superior but because the marketers usually don’t survive long enough to really figure things out.

If you already know that you are a marketer, here is my recommendation. Take a side job or even volunteer as an intern for a more established agent to manage their online marketing for them. Or create it from scratch if they don’t have any. Learn by actually doing it BEFORE your car payment depends on it. In fact, you can start as a marketing assistant even before you have your license. It might not be the greatest role for your ego but will be the greatest role in the long run for your success.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

James Dingman June 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Great Stuff, Kirk. It’s funny: the whole industry trains new agents to function as connectors! I’ve worked with lots of organizations and as far as sales training goes, that’s it! We don’t really teach marketing; we teach advertising, usually to create a false impression of activity for our sellers. Thanks for helping make the distinction clear. With your permission I’ll blog about this post because I want my team to read it.

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Kirk Eisele June 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Absolutely!

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