This article by our Founder and CEO, Chris Pollinger as published by Inman News shares insights on what he has found are the best interview questions for sales associates.
Over the years, I have interviewed thousands of sales associates. I have discovered the difference between those who succeed, and fail can’t be found in the traditional metrics. Education, personality, skills, corporate leadership, and a host of other things highlighted on a resume are worthless as a predictor of success in real estate sales. Here are four things I have found are a much better indicator.
Ask about the sources of leads at their last company.
If they are coming from an environment where their business was fed to them, don’t expect them to excel at traditional prospecting. If the bulk of their business is coming from their friends and family, then you can be confident that trend will continue.
Established real estate professionals will average plus or minus 15% net commission income of what they did the year before. Changing brands or companies doesn’t seem to make that much difference. The caveat? They have had a major personal change that has fundamentally changed their core motivation.
Ask about what their fallback plan is.
Real estate is a business made of re-treads. Very few grew up with the life’s ambition to be a real estate agent. Most came from some other industry. Where they came from is secondary. At some point they found the romance of working in a self-employed, self-directed environment.
As an industry, we make being a real estate agent look glamourous. We tend to drive nice cars, wear nice clothes, and have the freedom to be the kid’s school events in the middle of the day. Where we collectively fail, is showing the truth about how difficult this business can be.
If someone has a viable fallback plan, they will experience a frustration within real estate which will cause them to visit it. If they don’t have a good backup plan, they tend to push through the inevitable difficulties that creep up.
Ask about the hardest thing they had to deal with in their middle school or high school years.
Achievers tend to have some significant hardship during these formative years in common. What it is varies greatly, but what is important is there was something that taught them grit and how to overcome. The best sales people rarely come from Ivy League schools. They tend to be the street fighters who had to figure things out on their own.
Ask about what they are working on outside of work.
Achievers are addicted to growth. A great predictor of future professional growth is a pattern of progress in other areas. They may be working on their health and fitness. Perhaps its learning a new language. For some, it may be taking classes to learn an instrument. The important thing is they are actively working on improving some area of their life.
Ask case study questions.
Have a couple of scenarios that you have in your pocket. One should be integrity related. Have two others that relate back to your brokerage’s core values.
An example for the integrity case study could be the following:
“What would you do if you had two separate clients who both wanted the same house. They both wanted to make offers and both felt it was their ‘dream home.’ One of the clients happens to be a family member. How would you handle that situation?”
Use these best interview questions for sales associates to maximize your success rate. Sales associates are cut from a different cloth. In real estate, that is compounded with the large commissions tied to a complex transaction which are filled with relational selling components. Finding the right candidates is more art than skill. The one thing I can tell you is if the reason someone wants to get into real estate is because “they love houses and people” within 6 months they will hate both. Those who tend to make it in real estate are the ones who can navigate the five questions above successfully.
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