THE MARINA TIMES – Real Estate Today

By Charlotte Kissling

Paula PaganoDid you ever wonder how your real estate agent learned to sell real estate? Did you ever marvel at her wonderful calmness in the middle of a difficult transaction? Or maybe you’ve thought about getting your real estate license and selling homes your friends. If so, you will enjoy reading the recently published Secrets of a Top Salesperson by Paula Pagano, a well-known San Francisco real estate agent.

Paula writes with great honesty about learning the business and the pitfalls along the way. I found her stories and experiences fascinating since I can identify with the different situations she encountered. We discussed why she wrote the book and her thoughts about her life as a realtor.

She notes that the sales process involves highly charged and emotional moments, which buyers, sellers and agents rarely anticipate. People react differently to the real problems faced when buying or selling a property. This is often a surprise element since emotional moments are not expected. I agree with Paula, as I now anticipate some problem in every transaction. I never expected the emotional upsets when I stated in real estate sales many years ago.

Paula analyzes how her childhood experiences affected her ability to succeed in a sometimes difficult profession. She details how she learned along the way to transcend unhelpful habits and cultivate patterns that lead to success. Paula has become a successful real estate agent, but success came by a thoughtful process that she documents for us.

Her book is structured in three parts, which she organizes as the eight virtues, the eight vices, and the balancing of virtues and vices. A primary virtue is Courage, the ability to go into unknown territories and experiences. A second virtue is Tenacity, the willingness to keep going when it is hard. A third virtue is Empathy, the ability to put oneself in another person’s place. Paula believes that today’s society dos not adequately encourage empathy. To learn about the other virtues, you will want to read her book.

She discovered the absolute necessity for patience and the importance of overcoming anger in dealing with clients. In the long run, a successful agent will temper impatience, anger and a too-quick tongue. To transcend the vices, Paula recommends cultivating balance and a readiness to listen to your client.

I asked about her most difficult transaction. In one listing, the sellers were unable to communicate with her and were unwilling to take her advice. It was, in short, a delicate situation where she had to tread lightly. In putting together a transaction, Paula notes the need for mutual respect between the agent and the client.

Paula’s honest account of the ups and downs of her career is a good read. I particularly enjoyed reading about how this good agent has worked through her real estate challenges.

You may want to learn about her assessment of virtues and vices, plus how an agent can find the middle ground. To purchase her book, go to