Recently I attended a professional networking event that was surprisingly light on real estate professionals. As I navigated the crowd I found myself constantly talking to people who were seeking entering my industry because they felt that this was "a good time to learn because business was relatively slow."
Over and over I found myself pre-intervewing realty hope-fulls and I reverted to making mental notes and impressions about their likely success based on their character, charm and goals. It also got me to think about what I (as a trainer and career counselor) seek when I interview a newer agent.
1) I have found that people must have the entrepreneurial spirit. Many conversations always lead to the reason of "why are you seeking a real estate career?" What I have discovered is that those who are motivated to run a successful business are likely to be more successful. They understand that it takes an investment in themselves to achieve a return and are willing to take the necessary steps.
2) You can not teach charm. Some people just have it and at times, the more of a character you are the better of you will be in this industry. Real estate requires that you'd be a people person, and let's face it, people come in all shapes, sizes and idiosyncrasies. Thriving agents are those who are social chameleons whose natural charm attracts others and promotes trust.
3) People who have proven track records as work horses in previous careers will make it. It's a misnomer of most to think that real estate agents don't work hard, don't earn their checks and/or have leisurely careers. The really successful folks that I frequent and who have mentored me were the ultimate "busy bees." Yes, they had flexibility in their days (which can sometimes be construed as leisure) but they are always thinking about the business. Someone who describes him/herself as a hard worker and can prove that they are will certainly achieve success faster in this and any market.
Not everyone is suited for real estate. It is a challenging yet rewarding industry and these days the market is helping many do some soul searching about their future within it.
But for those who have the moxy, work ethic and personality to take it on, the possibilities are boundless.