THE 5 KEYS:  RAPPORT BUILDING, COMPETENCE, APTITUDE, TRUTH TELLING AND EXPERTISE. (This is a very long post because I wrote the 5 segments to be published individually but decided to put it all out there at once!)

I. RAPPORT BUILDING ....Nothing else can do more for building your business!!! It is the one area that most real estate professionals neglect. Most don't understand how critical rapport building is in the early stages of a business relationship. It will make the difference between making a sale and losing one; ..will make the difference between getting that great listing or losing it to the next agent who HAS taken the time to build a rapport with their clients and customers.

  • CHARM-- If you take a look at the most successful people in real estate, charm often comes to mind. Charming people are open and have a presence that is dominant but not overbearing. Charm is a natural part of a successful persons persona because it is at the foundation of "Rapport building".
  • CONFIDENCE--Charm comes from confidence and confidence is an earned attribute and comes only after many losses and many lessons in life itself. Confidence is a place that we as human beings can only hope to reach after many unsure moments and excruciatingly embarrassing situations.
  • Well, look back on your life and you will find those times where your confidence was evident! Take that time and that feeling and duplicate it as many times as you possibly can; use it until confidence is well established in your self-presentation....YOU HAVE EARNED IT!!!
  • ENGAGING BEHAVIORENGAGE--If you do not feel a connection with a new client, chances are you will not have any success with selling them anything either! Your ability to draw people into your "sphere" is dependent upon your ability to engage them--in conversation, in what their needs are, in sharing ideas, and in your whole approach to selling and/or listing properties!

REMEMBER: Rapport building is the most important part of building your business.

If you don't have "RAPPORT" with your buyers and sellers you don't have anything!!!



II. COMPETENCE: Competence is a rare quality in real estate---You know very well that if awards were handed out for incompetence in real estate, chances are many agents would win it! I do not state this in a patronizing way--I state it as a COMPETENCE is a Giftfact.

There are only a handful of agents who truly excel in the business in many market places---why??? Because many people come into the real estate profession thinking that it is all about showing houses; then the truth becomes revealed, first in the class room where many agents start to see how much responsibility comes with a carrying a real estate license. It shows up in each and every part of the business, if the new agent is open to seeing it! Most miss this important clue and end up discouraged and defeated and before long they end up in the "incompetent" category simply because they lost the ability to understand what it really takes to be a great agent. They take short cuts, they don't seek information---they essentially settle into a pattern of "incompetence".

In order for an individual to truly achieve a stature of competence in the real estate profession, one must excel at the basics of the business. That means one must gain as much informational experience as possible. Notice I said informational experience; I know that years of study and action in the field is needed to become proficient in the ways a town or a city handles the zoning and building of it's residential areas. EXPERTISE is found only through those long, hard days and months of working with the tools of the trade.

However, competence can be achieved in a much shorter time period if the dedication to learning is in place.


  • First, one must recognize the NEED FOR COMPETENCE.
  • Next, one must seek out all the ways competence can be engendered; digging into the files of the local building and zoning departments is a good start.
  • Then, find it and use it as if your life depends on it.
  • Never will you have the respect you strive for if competence is not at the top of your list of qualifications in your career!


Competence does not drop out of the sky into your lap---it is a sought-after qualification that will take quality time to develop, to cultivate.....It will take a real drive for excellence and stature in the community. Go for the one thing that appears to be missing in most agents resume': COMPETENCE.


  • Find out how to get the most information from your town building department--become a regular in town hall. Work with the zoning books; understand them and ask someone there if you don't.
  • Ask questions of the real pros; ask until you make them feel like they want to ignore you. Then, explain that you are working on your competence factor, that you want to be as proficient in your knowledge as they are! (A good compliment works wonders when you need help like this!)
  • Gather as much information regarding a subject property as possible--leave nothing out!
  • Offer regular presentations to your clients and customers--make them as brief and informative as possible; keep them rich in content---as you do here on your ActiveRain blogs!!!
  • Become  Proficient at informing your client/customer base of current developments--
  • Do an e-newsletter--a smart and fast way to keep them informed.
  • Become a close associate to a trusted mortgage broker, or banker.
  • Get to know the basics of financing real estate...just make sure it is enough so you are not stumped by a question from a buyer.
  • Always express your level of competence to your contacts; this will help push your standing in their ........TO THE STARS!!opinion and may even increase your referrals!




 APTITUDE MAKES AN AGENT SUCCESSFUL!!! Do you have it? ...If you don't, why should you?

Your customers and clients expect you to have it!!!

Do You have it? This is a real estate question that we all should address. It is expected that all real estate professionals have an aptitude for real estate; there are exceptions to this however and I will cover that in a later post. So, here I will give you the actual meaning of the word. according to the dictionary:

DO YOU HAVE IT? APTITUDE 1. capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent: She has a special aptitude for real estate. 2. readiness or quickness in learning; intelligence: . the state or quality of being apt; special fitness. r.

As you can see, Aptitude should be a prime quality to ALL real estate professionals! Aptitude is not an inherent quality...we ALL can have it!!!

Aptitude is the way to success as much as COMPETENCE is, with one great big difference--having APTITUDE for anything starts with how much you care about it and how willing and ready you are to tackle the hard parts. Aptitude is more than a 5 day training; it is more than a degree in business!!! Aptitude comes from the willingness to take on a huge responsibility and to take it on with aplomb....with aptitude for something, you can not be stopped---you will succeed at it no matter what; no matter if you make money right away from, say real estate, or not! Having an APTITUDE FOR REAL ESTATE MEANS YOU WILL PROBABLY EXCEL AT IT.  



  1. What if you were counting on a friend to be straight with you regarding the most basic parts of your friendship--and that friend turned out to be an absolutely deceitful person regarding simple things like saying they were going away and can't see you for dinner. You then find out they went nowhere but went out to dinner with another friend. You find yourself feeling like you were deceived by this former friend and he/she is someone you no longer have anything to do with.
  2. How about when a doctor asks you about your eating habits and you decide to tell him that you are eating less and healthier than you have been in a long, long time (an absolute lie!); who gets hurt by that one???
  3. In business, you have asked for a raise and your employer has promised you that "not only will you be getting a raise, but you are up for promotion and as soon as that job opens, you have it in the bag!"...meanwhile the job is occupied into the foreseeable future and you never get your raise!!!(lying on the part of the employer to get out of a tight spot!)...You leave that firm in frustration and disappointment--a major loss to the guy who could not be truthful.
  4. How about when your buyer asks you if the owner is willing to take a lot less for the home and instead of taking the position that you know that the owner is expecting the asking price or close to it, you say "I know that he will come down to your price, just make the offer!", even when you have never heard them say it!  Who does that work for?? 


Telling the truth will open doors for you and keep them open for many years. That is how successful agents operate---they spend much of their time and energy working on learning and then revealing everything that their buyers and sellers need to know. That will bring your buyer's friends and relatives to you as buyers and sellers. It will also enhance your listing inventory as sellers talk to their neighbors and let them know how you handled yourself during the listing of their home.









V. Are you a REAL Expert in your real estate area? THE CLIMB TO "SUCCESS"

Expertise is "Earned" not Learned" is a title that can not be claimed, but is awarded in the conversations of the happy clients and customers who you leave in your wake.

One thing that is not normally understood by many real estate agents is that expertise is EARNED, not LEARNED! No one is an expert simply by the number of years in the business either!

Successes come from a combination of attributes which make up an underlying foundation of EXPERTISE...and there-in are the keys to the entire structure and strength of an EXPERT.


These are the ingredients of an expert's success; these attributes are always part of the personality of an expert and EARNED through experience and hard fought battles of the real estate business as a whole: Listing, selling, marketing, promoting, networking and building a base of customers and clients who will tout you as an EXPERT!

...NOW, add real "KNOWLEDGE" of a particular area or community and you have a "REAL EXPERT" or a "LOCAL EXPERT"

When I began my real estate career in New York City, I found that most of the senior agents did a moderate amount of the business that came through the door. Not many really took the position of "EXPERT" seriously and therefore it was left open to those who would take the moniker and create their own little world of "expertise", as they viewed it. This continued as I moved to the Hamptons in '97 and found the same thing holds true here!! What a shock to me---I thought "How can this be? How can an established, experienced agent be so unconcerned with being the Expert in their field???

Early on, I began to see that the "experts" in the business were the younger agents; the younger agents who figured it out early in their careers and ran with it! These "experts" would take the real estate world on as if they were working for a dynamic financial firm or a busy, leading edge corporation made up of eager, young entrepreneurs. In fact, many came from the corporate world as lay-offs and pink slips became the order of the day in the mid-2000's. These anxious, young and ambitious"seekers" were looking for a career where they could apply their trade.SEEKING A NEW CAREER

Thus the introduction of the "corporate-mind-set" invasion of the entire world of real estate and the ensuing "NEW" experts in real estate.

This happened to coinside with the real estate "Bubble" of mid-2006/2007....and if your market was anything like mine, we were witness to the unrelenting upswing in prices that topped out in 2007.

Since then, there has been a new evaluation of what attributes make up an EXPERT. No longer do you find aggressive agents taking over an all-ready developed area by his or her bold claims of success. No longer do we see an agent becoming an "EXPERT" over night, according to their self promotion...times have changed and now we see consumers seeking out the "REAL EXPERTS" of a certain location! ...and all the attributes PLUS knowledge of an area now makes up the solid foundation of a REAL LOCAL EXPERT


**This post is available to be forwarded to your associates and other people who may benefit from the information contained here.






                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 46 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • October 15 2012 02:18AM
THE 5 KEYS TO SUCCESS IN REAL ESTATE TODAY; Do You Have Any Others??? THE 5 KEYS: RAPPORT BUILDING, COMPETENCE, APTITUDE, TRUTH TELLING AND EXPERTISE. (This is a very long post because I wrote the 5 segments to be published individually but… more