Some people do begin their real estate careers right after high school or college, but most come to real estate after doing something else. Some have retired, and other are just looking for a change of pace.
When writing agent bios I always look at those past careers to see how they can tie in to real estate sales. Often past experiences can reinforce the skills that the agent wants to emphasize.
Some past careers make for a tougher transition than others. For instance, school teachers have to teach themselves listening skills after years of being the one doing the talking. On the other hand, a good school teacher has the skills to educate buyers and sellers about the reality of today’s market.
That’s one skill that a bartender might not have, but I think good bartenders possess the majority of skills needed for a successful career in real estate.
My definition of a good bartender is one who has a following – a person who is a “draw” for the establishment where they work. They can mix a good drink, but it’s their people skills that turn occasional customers into “regulars.”
So what skills do bartenders possess that would make them be good real estate agents?
A good bartender knows how to listen. Just think of the time they spend listening to their customers. And while they may not have to listen wholeheartedly to everyone, they need to pay close attention to their regulars. Just as good real estate agents need to pay close attention to their buyers and sellers.
And then they’d better have a good memory. Not only does he (or she, of course!) need to remember what each person at the bar wants when they hold up a finger for another drink, he needs to remember what to set down in front of a regular when they walk in. And then, he needs to remember what that person does for a living, the names of their children, etc. Agents need to remember the personal information along with their clients’ wants and needs.
A good bartender respects what the customer wants – he doesn’t try to suggest that something else might do. As an agent, he probably won’t show someone a home on a busy street if they’ve specified wanting to live on a quiet cul-de-sac.
A good bartender can talk to people from all walks of life and treat them equally. He must be non-judgmental and friendly, in all but the most extreme cases. And when faced with those extreme cases he has to think and act quickly without getting flustered. Good practice for dealing with the surprises buyers and sellers sometimes spring on an agent.
A good bartender knows how to keep confidential information. Good bartenders can’t be gossips. Can you imagine how fast they’d lose their following if they started mentioning that Mr. Smith came in for a drink with Miss Jones, or if they mentioned that a salesperson from X company was involved in a long conversation with the owner of Z company? In real estate, keeping client information confidential is a must.
A good bartender has to have people-management skills. He needs to be able to say “You’ve had enough” without turning a customer into an enemy. That takes a bit of finesse! This skill could translate well into the finesse that’s needed when clients ask an agent to do things that go against regulations.
So – if you’re a bartender and thinking of a change, consider real estate. You have the skills!