What makes a good agent?

January 08, 2021

by Ed Mackenzie Smith, Chairman

I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the very best agents in the industry during my career. Recently I have been asked by someone looking to change careers ‘what makes a good agent’?

This got me thinking as, although I have been an agent for the best part of 39 years, I hadn’t stepped back and thought about it.

I discussed this with our marketing agency and they thought it would be a good idea to put pen to paper. So here goes….

Genuine Passion

Without this, you are going to struggle. I think Estate Agency is more of a vocation than just a job. You have to believe (and prove) you are the best at what you do. Having the passion for what you do (and frankly this applies to most things in life) gives you the energy to maintain the performance standards you need to deliver every day, week, and year.


You will get knocked back regularly. You can’t quit because the clients you represent are relying on and trusting you to get the job done. Even the most straightforward sale can often take five or six months to complete. Our land department is often involved in deals that take several years to conclude. So determination is a vital quality.

Creative Skills a Must

As we are constantly faced with ever-changing regulations, market conditions, and management issues, you need to be creative in finding solutions that work and you have to move quickly. For those that are not aware of the competitive pressures in our industry, trust me, just when you think you’re there, up steps another problem that needs solving.


If you can’t communicate effectively, either verbally or in writing, then you will have a problem. You need to be able to say what you mean and mean what you say. If you don’t know where / how you are going to handle the business what hope is there for your client?

It’s People, Not Property

Everyone has probably heard the saying ‘people buy from people’. Well, this is especially true of our industry. We don’t sell a product but a service. And that service is the individual our clients want to represent them. So it’s a hugely personal business. Therefore a good agent needs to be engaging, knowledgable, trustworthy, and have excellent communication skills.

Self Improvement

You need to continually assess your performance. Don’t wait for your manager to address these issues. My advice to any agent wanting to further their career is to self promote themselves, then increase their performance to match their ‘new’ role and you will find it will be the easiest decision your line manager will ever have to make. And this is because you are already doing the job.


I’ll make no apologies for this. We all know that enthusiasm can sometimes be a bit annoying but what’s the alternative? You have to be enthusiastic even when you don’t always feel like it. The next client you deal with is not interested in what your problem was five minutes ago. They are interested in the future, not the past. I have been in the business a long time but I’m perfectly capable of losing business to a rookie competitor because I droned on about the past. It’s about the client and it’s about the future.

Learn to Accept Failure

You will fail; get used to it. It’s what you do about it and how you bounce back. Don’t quit. Ever.

Be good at your Admin

I’ve employed some exceptional people but some who had a major flaw. They didn’t think doing the hard yards was for them. They just wanted the glory that came with selling. They didn’t get that the reason they sold more was that everyone else was clearing up after them. Despite the individualism of our business you have to be able to work as part of a team, otherwise, a good agency office just won’t function as well.


You have to want to win. Business is about competition and competing in an open market where clients have multiple choices. It’s not just about the commission but knowing you have done a great job and that your client has selected you over the competition because they trust you to deliver and represent their interests to the best of your ability. I know from experience that you derive as much satisfaction from winning business as you do from earning the commission your client pays you for the service. What makes this business great is when you do win, you know it’s down to you. Sure, you have a team and support but you are the person responsible.

If you’re considering a career in Estate Agency, or are considering a change in direction from within the industry, I’d be happy to impart advice or pass your CV on to our HR department. edms@mackenziesmith.co.uk 

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