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Excelsior Property Agent Career Guide

Welcome to the Excelsior Team, Realtors of Excellence. We’re committed to helping everyone on board find their next big breakthrough – whether you’re new to the property market, or a veteran looking to grow your income and prospects. In the following, we’ll lay out some of the basic steps to make this possible.


Strap in, and let’s go! 


Who are we?

Excelsior Team started in 2009. The team came together with a shared vision: that working in partnership, and supporting one another, brings greater success than any one-person venture. We found strong synergy and alignment of values, which have remained our guiding principles.

In being one of the team mentors, I was inspired by my experiences working some of the world’s best sales coaches. Prior to joining the property industry, I worked with leading multi-nationals in sales, and was a business owner who franchised my own music school. 

Like the rest of the team, our earlier successes taught us some critical lessons, which have served equally well in real estate as they do other aspects of life:

  1. The power of ownership 

  2. Success as a shared phenomenon 

  3. Adaptability as well as passion 

1. The Power of Ownership

The first essential step to succeeding is to have a sense of ownership. This means seeing yourself as a business owner, and not just an employee. 

From this point forward, your real estate business is not just a nine-to-five chore: it is your baby. It’s your brand, your reputation, and your responsibility – just as the rewards it brings will also be yours. 

When you internalise this reality, you will find a different level of motivation and initiative. This is the “secret sauce” of success: that you don’t wait around to receive instructions, or work toward paper goals to satisfy someone else. 

You get to set the goals (so choose what matters to you), and you get to choose where your time and energy are spent (no more being stuck with meaningless projects!) 

When you think this way – when you have business ownership – then everything you do has purpose and makes sense to you, and you will be rewarded accordingly. 

2. Success as a shared phenomenon 

At Excelsior Team, we don’t believe in being zero-sum games among our team. It’s not true that your gain must come at someone else’s expense; that creates an adversarial and calculative environment that just drags everyone down. 

Rather, a good team is supportive, and everyone’s success helps to uplift one another. This is regardless of whether you’re a part-timer, or a full-time property agent. 

One of our team members, who juggles a full-time job and part-time real estate job, explains that: “It is definitely challenging to juggle my time, but I am able to manage better knowing that there is a strong team who can help me out when I need assistance in doing viewings, or in gaining insights from the experienced leaders and members of the team on how to manage a deal.”

Real estate is challenging as it is – it’s better to know someone has your back, and is able to provide the tools you need. As each of us become stronger, develop wider networks, and build reputations, we provide a better springboard for each other’s success. 

3. Adaptability as well as passion 

Being passionate and persistent are essential to success in anything – that goes without saying. 

And yet, to be blunt, there are 32,414 real estate agents in Singapore as of 2022; and almost all of them can claim to have passion and persistence. Add to that a frightening thought: you probably know more passionate people who failed, than passionate people who succeeded. 

So clearly, passion may be important, but it’s not the sole ingredient in the dish of success. 

Singapore’s real estate industry is dynamic. The government is hands-on, and policy measures can change overnight. Within the industry, Proptech has served as a major disruptor: property portals now replace classified ads, YouTube provides a platform that rivals (or beats) traditional TV, and prospects can find transaction histories with a single tap on their phone. 

Property agents in this decade need to be adaptable, riding the wave of digital transformation; they have to aim at being disruptors, rather than being the disrupted. 

The more curious you are, and the more you love to learn, the more the property industry will reward you. Be passionate, but don’t be stubborn. 

The key skills to develop in your first year.

The foundation is the most important part of the building. As such, some of the key skills we’ll focus on helping you develop, over your first year, will serve you well the rest of your career. 

Key skills to master

We’ll teach these in detail over the course of your mentorship – but for reference here, these are:

Managing expectations and realistic goal setting
Financial discipline 
Resourcefulness and digital tools 
Transacting and negotiating
Resourcefulness and digital tools 

1. Managing expectations and realistic goal setting

We’ve all seen the glitzy posts and media highlights of millionaire agents. It lures many to the industry with the promise of easy money, but this oversimplifies the reality. 

To be clear, it is possible to become a millionaire through property sales; but these agents make up a small percentage of the 32,000+ licensed agents in Singapore. 

Consider that in the whole of 2021, there were only around 20,079 condo transactions, and about 3,676 landed unit transactions. That’s fewer than one private home transaction per licensed agent, so it’s not possible that every agent is raking in huge sums. 

The property industry rewards those who go the extra mile to provide exceptional service. This can take the form of better property knowledge, better empathy with clients, being quick and responsive, or all of these things. It’s a career that requires a constant, relentless drive to be above-average.

Besides this, it also means new property agents need to be realistic with goal setting. If your first-year plan as a realtor ends with “…and then I will own a helicopter”, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. In property sales, each success can you up for a next, bigger leap forward – but your early successes are likely to be modest. 

So at Excelsior Team, our mentorship programme guides you in setting goals that are ambitious, but still achievable. We’re also frank about the challenges you’ll face, so that you avoid the risk of disillusionment and burnout. 

2. Financial discipline and management

If you’re about to leave a full-time job to join the real estate industry, it’s important to consider your cash flow issues, as you won’t receive a monthly salary. If you have bills and a family to feed, you should ensure you’re sufficiently capitalised to make it through your first 12 months. 

This means being able to cover all your basic and operational expenses for a period of year. If you haven’t yet built up such a savings fund, do considering starting off part-time, and moving into full time work once you’ve built up the necessary savings. 

Financial discipline also means understanding techniques like zero-based budgeting (i.e., next month’s budget is based on how much you actually have this month, not on your projected earnings next month as those are never guaranteed). 

Excelsior Team mentors will be happy to review your financial situation, and make recommendations based on your specific circumstances. There’s no fixed formula for everyone, as everybody’s financial situation is different. 

Another important aspect to learn, in your first year, is tracking your marketing spend. Top-earners typically spend about 10 to 15 per cent of their annual revenue on marketing costs, ranging from social media marketing to property portal listings. 

However, they ensure they get back many times more than they spend. This means understanding concepts like Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), and putting together a marketing mix. 

For example, you may need to track how much you spend on Facebook to get one lead, versus the same expenditure on making videos, blogging, or just flat-out buying leads. 

Some methods may be more cost-efficient than others, and appearances can be deceiving. YouTube home tours may seem very effective due to higher conversions, for example; but once you factor in the costs of home staging and videography, you may find the profit margins are razor slim (also, what happens if the owner decides to switch agents after you’ve paid for the video?)

Property agents also need to manage cyclical patterns, such as the drop in sales during the seventh month and Chinese New Year; and to understand the intricacies of commissions and how they’re disbursed. Many new property agents see new launch condos have higher commissions, for instance; but they should also consider the potential wait of nine months or more before receiving it. 

These aspects of financial planning take time to grasp, and are subject to personal preferences; but with our mentors behind you, we’re able to steer you away from any serious pitfalls. 

3. Resourcefulness and digital tools

In our current era, property agents have an arsenal of tools that their predecessors could only dream of. 
You can find out transaction histories of all the properties where you’re standing, just by tapping a few spots on your phone. 

You can blast messages to hundreds or thousands of prospects, without paying a single cent of postage. 

You can instantly create graphs and charts, and make five to 20-year comparisons based on district and project, for $0 and in less than a minute. 

But if you don’t know how to do these things – even when they’re right there on your phone - then you have no advantage over your counterpart in the year 1980.  A key part of being a realtor is resourcefulness – of proactively finding effective tools, at the right cost. 

The more you understand today’s digital landscape – and the more creatively you’re able to use it – the more efficiently you can prospect and close sales. At Excelsior Team, we know that no single person can keep track of all the ongoing digital innovations at once; so we share and collaborate, and equip each other with the best and latest. 

4. Transacting and negotiations

These skills are the bread and butter of every realtor. Real estate transactions are not always routine paperwork – the best realtors must be prepared to cope with unconventional situations. 

What happens when a buyer backs out, after securing an Option To Purchase? What do you do if a seller wants to negotiate to stay on longer, after the date of the transaction? What happens if the property is damaged shortly after the Option is exercised? 

When things go wrong, clients expect you to have the answers; and quite often, you will encounter situations that the exams and textbooks haven’t prepared you for. This is where mentorship by a more experience realtor becomes invaluable. 

Beyond this, it’s also vital to learn basic negotiation skills – both with your own clients, and with other agents if co-broking is involved (CEA has very sensitive rules about what’s allowed here). 

While there’s much more to being a realtor than the above, these are the key skills you should expect to work on from the first year – and to focus on mastering over the phases of your career. 

5. Soft skills in communication and sales coaching 

A core rule in property sales is: it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Simply having charts and numbers, or reciting off a sales brochure, is not enough for clients: everything from your tone, to your facial expression, to the references you choose can affect your ability to close. 

In contrast, non-verbal communications, such as texting and emails, require a different set of skills to convey tonality, as you cannot be physically present to use body language. 

A real estate professional must be proficient in multiple situations – whether when dealing with face-to-face meetings, or in online interactions. 

Our sales coaching program will analyse and help you improve on your communication style; this may mean helping you to come out of your comfort zone (e.g., if you are naturally a bit shy), to better connect with clients on different levels. 

We will also help you to navigate the longer relationships that are natural to the property market, and show you how to maintain good communications throughout. Unlike selling consumer goods, it may be months or even years before a particular client transacts with you, and constant follow-up is needed; it’s essential that realtors learn to cope with this. 

We also teach you to qualify leads, an important skill for realtors who are sometimes inundated with spam calls and inquiries. If you cannot effectively filter serious buyers from spam callers, for example, you’ll waste a lot of time and impede the transaction process for your client. 

Don’t be overwhelmed; reach out and ask for what you need 

Your first step can be contacting me to review your situation, and where you’d like to be in your real estate career. There’s no obligation involved, and I’m always happy to interact with passionate and enthusiastic agents; whether you’re new or a seasoned professional.

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