You might be an introverted real estate agent if you have conversations like these:
Why didn’t you come to the office Christmas party? Sorry, I got lost.
Ready to cold call today? Oh darn, my phone just died.
Can you host and speak to a large crowd at the next open house? My cat needs me that day.
If you think real estate is the wrong business for an introvert, you’re wrong. Many of the most successful agents in the country call themselves introverts. In fact, a comprehensive Penn State meta-analysis concluded that extroversion and sales almost don’t correlate at all. You don’t have to be an extrovert to succeed in real estate.
Need proof? Here’s a look inside the minds of two introverted real estate agents who use variations of technology to flourish in their careers — even in an industry that’s all about relationships.
What it’s like to be an introverted real estate agent
Trisha Vinz is part of the successful Hupke Team in Milwaukee, which just earned a 2019 HomeLight Achievement “Top Producer” award. Even though Vinz identifies as an introvert, she’s found numerous workarounds to activities that drain her energy and leave her feeling less than inspired.
For Vinz, being an introverted real estate agent has its share of obstacles. She says buyer consultations are one of several situations that make her feel uncomfortable on the job.
“I’m good one-on-one. I don’t have any issues,” says Vinz. “But [buyer consultations] are just super uncomfortable to me. When it’s just you and me [at the office] and no distractions going on, I don’t prefer to do it that way.”
Instead, Vinz likes to do buyer consultations while she’s looking at homes with a client. “I am more than happy to walk through the house and explain the whole process of buying a house,” says Vinz.
“It’s just kind of something to distract, so not 100% of the attention is focused on me.”
It turns out that avoiding being the center of attention is a typical introvert trait. Some reasons behind this might include fear of others’ reactions, the feeling of being self-conscious, and being under too much pressure.
Being under a lot of pressure and constantly on alert can zap the energy of any introverted real estate agent. Vinz recalls how round-the-clock phone notifications made her feel at the end of the day. “I used to have the volume on 24/7. It would wake me up at night, I would respond, and it just burned me out,” says Vinz.
This comes as no surprise since introvert burnout can be triggered by social exhaustion and a constant connection to technology — and burnout is serious enough that it’s now diagnosable as a medical condition.
From singing worship songs on stage to team leader role
Brian Hurry is now a top agent in Spartanburg, South Carolina, but before getting into real estate five years ago, Hurry served as a worship leader at a local church. He sang songs on stage and sometimes would speak in front of a couple of thousand people.
Today, Hurry sings praises about how his real estate career plays on his strengths — even as an introvert. “I feel like [being an introvert] can be a really good strength. An introvert is going to naturally be a better listener,” says Hurry. “Being an introvert in some ways is actually more helpful — at least helpful for me in the way I do business.”
Some prominent strengths of introverted real estate agents include:
- They think before they speak
- They make compassionate leaders
- They can maintain laser focus
- They are great problem-solvers
- They can promote a quiet and calm environment
As introverted real estate agents, both Hurry and Vinz have their own approaches that allow them to maintain their energy, recharge as necessary, and communicate effectively with customers.
Effective communication for introverts
When it comes to communication with clients and fellow agents, Vinz and Hurry rely on technology to keep in touch with clients and make uncomfortable situations a little easier — even if it means driving an extrovert “bonkers.”
“Trish first started working for me and she was texting everybody, and it just drove me bonkers,” says Jennifer Hupke, Vinz’s team leader and a self-described extrovert. “But it worked. That’s what works for her.”
Hupke says 3 out of 4 agents on her team are introverts, and she’s accepted that they have a different communication style.
“I just had to adjust, but it’s a huge benefit to me as well because I don’t like doing the paperwork and following up with lists and things like that — where [introverts] are great at that,” says Hupke. “I don’t want to have to do any of that stuff.”
Vinz is also clear about phone calls: She doesn’t like them. Nor do her introverted teammates.
“The three of us are not huge fans of long phone calls,” says Vinz. “We would rather have a conversation face-to-face, or use text or email for simple communication. We also ask the customer how they prefer to be followed up with — calls, texts or emails. The customer may be an introvert, too!”
Interestingly, Hurry prefers to handle communication via video when he can.
“I really, really like doing video for lots and lots of reasons,” he says. “I love the fact that I can kind of get to talk once to people and they can read me. Today, a brand new person came in that wanted to see a house. So I used BombBomb [a popular email video platform] to make a video to that one person and say, ‘I’m so glad you’re interested in this house and the appointment is confirmed for Saturday at 1 p.m. I can’t wait to meet you and your family out there.’”
Handling open houses alone and in a group
Hurry has a unique workaround for handling open houses in the form of a VR (virtual reality) party. “Every listing I take goes into virtual reality. And so if I’ve got 20 listings on the market, I’ve got 20 homes in virtual reality, and we’ll bring everybody to our office and show them how to use that technology,” says Hurry. “But it’s more one-on-one and there’s four or five of our team members there to interact and show you how to do it. So that feels more like our team is doing it.”
Another advantage of a virtual reality party is that they can simultaneously build emotional connections, which is necessary for gaining trust with the customer.
In terms of the traditional open house, Vinz also endorses the team method when it comes to open houses, especially when they are large.
“I have done [open houses] when I have to. It’s only an hour-and-a-half to two hours of my time. So I know that there’s an end in sight. If I have to do it alone, it’s not a big deal. I guess most of the events where we’re out networking or in large groups, there’s always someone with me. So that’s kind of what I lean on.”
Whether Vinz or Hurry do an open house on their own or in a group, both might need some downtime to recharge their batteries — which is common with many introverted real estate agents.
7 ways to manage your energy as an introverted agent
It can be mentally and physically taxing to socialize in large groups, which may lead to rock-bottom energy levels. There are several ways to keep those energy levels in check and recharge.
- Sleep can help detox an introvert’s brain and restore energy levels. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a 20-minute nap is enough to improve alertness.
- Be mindful of your daily schedule. Try to balance human and non-human interaction activities as much as you can. For example, show a house in the morning and then plan your social media schedule in the afternoon.
- Harvard Health Publishing suggests using aerobic exercise to calm your nerves for a minimum of 20 minutes. A brisk walk is typically enough to get cardiovascular and calming benefits.
- Deep breathing, such as belly breathing, is easy to do and will also reduce stress and tension.
- Schedule downtime for yourself each day. If it’s hard to disconnect, commit to at least 30 minutes before bedtime without email, social media, or electronic devices if you can and put them on silent. This can also help you sleep better at night. You can take a bath, read a book, or journal.
- Vinz personally recommends that you set personal boundaries with your clients. “Set the expectation with the customer from the very beginning on your hours of availability so you can have personal time,” says Vinz.
- Hurry recommends downtime before and after an event that drains your energy. “Before the event, I need the downtime. I need physical and mental relaxation before I go ramp up to that level. It’s not natural for me. And then when it’s over … I want to come away from it,” says Hurry.
There’s nothing to stop an introvert from being a super-successful real estate agent. As we showed earlier, studies tell us that there’s no correlation between being extroverted and succeeding in a sales career. You can learn from Trisha Vinz and Brian Hurry — two agents who have adapted their daily routines and use introverted personalities to their advantage.
Header Image Source: (Alexandru Zdrobău / Unsplash)