Business LeadershipElite AgentProductivity & Best Practice

Success on Your Own Terms: What Real Estate Agent Type Are You?

Dane Atherton’s critical leadership skill is his ability to guide agents on the road to success, based on their individual traits and preferred way of working. Sarah Bell caught up with Dane and Harcourts Coastal business partner Philip Chillemi, to explore how agents can reach success on their own terms.

When it comes to helping agents reach their potential, Dane Atherton is peerless. The record-shattering operation at Harcourts Coastal shows that as Managing Director he knows what it takes to create a cluster of high-performance agents.

Dane offers a unique insight into the agent experience. Reflecting on his current agency practice, drawing on his experience of training thousands of sales agents around Australia and by observing much more through his award-winning auctioneering, he believes there is more than one way to be successful in real estate.

The model of ‘grinding’ to success, by becoming an auction agent with high-volume vendor paid advertising, is simply not a model suited to everyone. Moreover, Dane believes it limits the potential of agents who perform differently. By suppressing the natural abilities of those who do not fit the mould, these agents lose motivation because work is no longer enjoyable.

“If you are not aligned with that one way of doing real estate, it is never going to feel right. If you have to have a ‘why’ to get you motivated, you kind of need to find a job you enjoy; I don’t reckon Captain Cook had a ‘why’; he probably just liked being on boats.

“There are people doing eight to ten sales a month, yet that sort of one-dimensional management is trying to get them back over here in this column because they think everyone has got to perform at real estate in a certain way. But the reality is when you actually look at all the stars, and AREC is really the showcase of all of the stars, it is so obvious that there is more than one way to do it,” says Dane.

“If you are trying to be a different kind of agent to what you really are, then you will feel out of alignment and you will look for a ‘why’. I think ‘why’ lets people down because it does not really take the place of a plan, skills, passion, energy, and environment. All those things that are really important.”

He goes on, “Whereas if you actually align yourself with, ‘Well, hey, I’m going to be the agent I am supposed to be’, then you will find that the ‘why’ will take care of itself.”

Dane and his partner Phil Chillemi have established four unique archetypes using successful agents as examples. Complete the quiz and find out what your agent type is. You can keep reading to discover more about each of the four archetypes.


Key skills:

  • Guts
  • Self-belief
  • Willing to lose and move on
  • Skilled professional
  • Natural salesperson.


  • Sometimes feels unfulfilled by a deal
  • Gets bored easily
  • Has high expectations of others.


  • Set clear 90-day goals
  • Master delegation
  • All on/all off work balance
  • Improve ‘Carer’ skills to find more purpose (mentor, train, team)
  • Energise by spending time with other successful ‘professional’ type agents.

Celebrity ‘Professional’ agent:

  • Matt Lancashire, Ray White – New Farm
  • $2 million + gross commissionable income
  • Works in the Brisbane prestige market.

Key focus:

  • Vendor paid advertising
  • Generally above-average sale price
  • Fewer relationships with key clients
  • Referral business from key clients and contacts.

Dane on ‘The Professional’:

“You will see them at the top of the paper. You will see them with ten pages, and that attraction model is what they believe in. What they are good at is obviously self-belief, winning and moving on. They can sometimes lack empathy.”


Key skills:

  • Super-caring
  • Loves people
  • Strong networker
  • Sociable
  • Has a focus on community involvement.


  • Can sometimes care too much
  • Can carry disappointment around
  • Can be difficult to grow, can lack systems.


  • Build a team or work in pairs regularly
  • Quieten the noise
  • Get a mentor or spend time with a ‘professional’ type agent.

Celebrity ‘Carer’ agent:

  • Melita Bell, Re/Max Success – Toowoomba
  • $1.2 million + gross commissionable income
  • Average sale price $400,000.

Key focus:

  • 50 per cent of business is from referrals
  • Relationship focused
  • Networks heavily
  • No database.

Dane on ‘The Carer’:

“They go and get their nails done, they will get a listing – you know, those kinds of people. Their clients love them. Massively connected to them, massively loyal. They often have problems giving up to grow because they spend a lot of time servicing clients. They get trapped in the servicing mentality. My tip to help build them is to hang around pros, because they need to get that harder edge.”


Key skills:

  • Happy to be in the limelight
  • Tech-savvy
  • Charismatic
  • Has a following
  • A people-person
  • Artistic (photography, styling, creative).


  • Clients can feel it is about the agent, not them
  • Spends too much time on non-dollar productive activities
  • Gets side-tracked by new opportunities
  • Jumps from one thing to another (markets, jobs, strategies).


  • Be disciplined with routines to stay on track
  • Improve ‘practitioner’ skills
  • Be willing to do the work
  • Use numbers in your business to stay on track.

Celebrity ‘Star’ agent:

  • Josh Hart, One Agency – Launceston
  • $1 million + gross commissionable income
  • Average sale price $400,000.

Key focus:

  • Being a product in the market
  • Being authentic
  • Passionate
  • A provider of information
  • Create a following
  • Use social media
  • Presenting
  • Auctioneering

Dane on ‘The Star’:

“A star builds their brand around themselves. The star would say to you if you are putting a sign up, ‘How big can my photo be? Can we go full length?’ They are very big into social media. They are very big into video. They will do personal promo videos, and they just love being the centre of attention. The star’s view is that ‘they’ are the product.”


Key skills:

  • High call volumes
  • Numbers-driven
  • Super-disciplined
  • Organised
  • Focuses on a core market


  • Being a practitioner takes excellent discipline
  • Hears ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’
  • Can take longer to gain traction
  • More linear growth


  • Improve skills
  • Control your environment
  • Play to your strengths
  • Do not compare yourself to other agents

Celebrity ‘Practitioner’ agent:

  • Ash Weston, Ray White – Frankston
  • $1.3 million + gross commissionable income
  • Average sale price $400,000.

Key focus:

  • Not necessarily the most natural salesperson
  • Tends to be analytical
  • Numbers-driven
  • Willing to work hard
  • Fits well into the dominant real estate business model.

Dane on ‘The Practitioner’:

“Practitioners are not necessarily gifted salespeople, and they will openly admit it. They are more methodical. They are very good prospectors; very disciplined. The good thing is, if you are a practitioner long enough and good enough, you will develop pro traits.

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Sarah Bell

With a background in research and investigations, Sarah Bell married into the real estate industry in 2009 and has found a passion for both the business and its people. Sarah is the Editor of Elite Property Manager magazine and also a regular contributor to both Elite Agent and EPM Magazines. Contact Sarah [email protected]