From sales associate to sales agent – should you make the leap?

Sales associates are paramount to busy agencies and lead agents.

They pick up the slack when everything is all systems go; fostering meaningful customer relationships, negotiating with buyers and generating leads that might otherwise be missed.

In a 24/7 industry like real estate where buyers and sellers demand access to their agent at all hours of the day, it’s the sales associate that is often the eyes and ears of the business – picking up administrative tasks, conducting late-night viewings and in general, being the sounding board for their lead agent.

Despite seeing the frantic workload of their senior team members, sales associates often see the allure of becoming a lead sales agent – whether it’s for the money, or simply wanting to have their name front and centre of a ‘SOLD’ banner.

So, when do you know if it’s time to go out and do it on your own as a lead agent?

While there is no magic formula to determine when you should make the leap, Bees Nees Sales Manager Rebecca Herbst says it’s not something to consider within your first six months of your career.

“The first six months are tough, you really have to get through the first year before everything will start to come together for you,” says Herbst.

Herbst also says it’s easier to progress your sales career when you align yourself with both a sales manager and agency that you can see yourself working for long term.

“Where can you see yourself staying long term?” asks Herbst.

“This is a long term game and if you change offices constantly, you start again from scratch and eventually you will give up.”

Once you’ve put in the hard yards and proven yourself as a sales associate (which can take anywhere between one to three years), ask yourself – am I ready to make the leap from sales associate to lead agent?

Former Place Estate Agents Chief Financial Officer, Craig Nelson, says before applying for lead agent positions, it’s important to reflect on the ‘why’.

“The first question should be, why would you want to be a lead agent – is it purely income driven?,” asks Nelson.

“You may want to ask yourself if you are better off being an associate in part of a really high performing team rather than being a so-so agent, earning 60 per cent of next-to-nothing.”

If you are wanting to become a lead agent for egotistical reasons, Nelson says it might not be a wise move.

“[If it is] not income related but perhaps status, the same rules apply,” says Nelson.

“There are plenty of agents out there, but without the sales, there is no status.

“You need great support either way.”