Spotting a Top Gun Listing Agent

Spotting a top gun listing agent in a 40 minute interview just from their external attributes is impossible…

As a Sales Psychologist with 20 years experience I have found in my research of top guns that they come in all personality shapes and sizes. There is no obvious type. Some are ego maniacs and brash however, as of yet I haven’t met one that is revolting.

I have also found that the very best can be humble and mild mannered in their external persona and can have a very ‘soft’ style.

Back in 1995 I conducted extensive research with a large group of known guns (i.e. new business agents with certifiable great sales results over more than two years). Using Clinical Psychology tools these guns were tested on 500 different attributes that it’s possible for a person to possess. The analysis showed they had 75 of those attributes in common and a whole bunch more that weren’t in common.

My research showed that the more of these 75 attributes you have, the more of a purebred Hunter you will be i.e. if you possess over 80% of these attributes then you can be classified a Hunter. You also need over 70% to be a good account manager style rep.

Hunters: Can endure prospecting, think on their feet well, compulsively persistent.

Farmers: need to plan and organise themselves in advance of engaging the prospect to perform well and be confident.

So a Farmer who has prepared well before an interview can appear to be a better agent than the-shoot-from-the-hip, off-the-top-of-my-head’ style Hunter. This is what we call in Real Estate as being “good in the lounge room”. But Farmers cannot prospect. Alone, farmers don’t get into many lounge rooms and they don’t usually persist long enough to get the listing.

But how these required ‘selling’ attributes combine with all the other attributes these people possess varies, to give them all very different external personas. That’s why it’s so difficult to spot these people accurately during an interview. Plus in an interview you are seeing them in a specific sales call and not at a time when it’s possible to exhibit any Hunter-only capacity.

There is one characteristic style all the pure Hunters have and that is an Exocet missile attitude to achieving the goals they set for themselves. For them, goals set by anyone else don’t work as an internal guidance tool, so they miss these targets.

So knowing all these differences, what can you do?

How to build sales results

  1. Hire people who have enough of the required attributes to become listing agents. The only way to do this with confidence is to use the SIP recruitment system which incorporates a clinical psychometric to search specifically for these attributes. See
  1. Now that you have them in the business…train them. I cannot emphasise this enough. Capacity is a necessary foundation for skill. Skills are developed over time from training and practice. Like babies learning to walk, their capacity is inherent but to realise this they need to observe others walking and copy (starting with copying very badly). A good listing agent needs to see and hear lots of good techniques and then try them for themselves. If you leave them to work it out alone or observe the under performers in their environment they will be like babies who watch people walking with only one leg. They will eventual walk with a limp.

Traditionally we have spent very little time or money training new staff in Real Estate partially because most Principals are themselves still selling so their time is very scarce but more because 90% of new recruits will fail and the money, or time, spent training will be wasted.

This need not be true if you hire people capable of hunting.

  1. Finally you need to manage or coach them over time to help them stay focused and energised. While hunters need to work alone, all humans are herd animals and perform better in groups over time. So a hunter is a very special blend of working best alone and needing to feel like they are being supported. The best way to do this is one on one with weekly coaching sessions. Again because of time constraints this can be difficult for business owners to provide, it can also be unwelcome by the staff if the Principal is a listing agent competing with their hunters. So if the business owner is still listing then you will need a Sales Manager or an independent Coach.

Interested in more sales training articles?

More on achieving Sales excellence | Read about how to change Sales Results in your Staff

Alternatively, to talk about getting your staff trained and coached, call Maya on 0407 005 290


No age limit for SIP

Question: Is it okay for a 15 year old to complete a SIP?

Answer: There are no age components in the Sales Inventory Profile or SIP.

SIP will give you as accurate a result regardless of how much experience in the business world you have, including none. The test has been developed to a middle level of English comprehensive so a native English speaking 12 year old will be able to fully understand the questions.

I asked my family and friends with teenage children to do the test some years ago when we were validating it before the launch in 2008 and so I know it works for teenagers. The legal age for working is, I believe, 14 and ¾ years, so again a 15 is ok. I don’t think there is anything on the SIP site that specifies age limitations. We do ask for their birthday as a way to validate their identify but it is not used in any way for the calculations. I don’t tell my clients to think about the age as such when considering people for job applications, rather the life circumstance of the individual and how that impacts their ability to perform your job.

I encourage our clients to offer the program to all local high schools and TAFEs (or any other full time school institutions in your area) whether they are themselves hiring or not as a community service for free. The process includes the families to come to your office to pick up the reports in person so we can verify their identity and we are not releasing reports to the wrong person or allowing them to be read by others.

I suggest you staple a ‘with complements’ style page with your branding over my report as this document will most likely end up in being saved in the house for years as the kids finish school and start applying for jobs.

Want to know more about SIP? Watch our short video or learn more about SIP’s Value and Advantage, a video on SIP Reporting or have a look at our pricing list here.