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Do you believe in the 80/20 rule? Applied to real estate, this principle suggests that in most communities, the top 20 percent of real estate professionals get 80 percent of transaction sides. This means 80 percent of agents struggle for the 20 percent of business that’s left over after the top performers have taken their share.

Numbers aside, most real estate pros would agree that every community seems to have a few top performers who capture the majority of business. How do you join the elite 20 percent? In working with thousands of real estate professionals nationwide, we have seen some traits that top performers seem to share.

1. Most agents ask “How did you hear about me?” A good question, but it’s better to ask what people have heard about you. It’s your reputation and livelihood, and this feedback can provide insights to help you improve your services.

2. Have a new designation? Congratulations! – Be sure to update your agent profile so that any achievements can be displayed for buyers and sellers to see.

3. Provide buyer and seller checklists. A comprehensive list with key dates and the steps buyers and sellers must follow to comply with their contracts can provide a stress-free real estate transaction, and save the frustration of missed deadlines. Mark off requirements when completed, and update your clients regularly by phone or e-mail, as they prefer.

4. Set a positive tone in client conversations. Ask “Which of these properties do you prefer?” rather than “Do any of these properties interest you?” The first question encourages consumers to choose among options; the second question presents an easy way to reject presented options.

5. Consider a brief email survey for clients when transactions are completed. Not only will you receive valuable feedback to improve your performance, you can turn good reviews into testimonials to use in your presentations. Be sure to get written permission from clients before using their testimonials.

6. Make the most of business cycles. Every agent has periods of greater and lesser activity. Speak with other agents in your office and ask if you can handle some of their excess business when they are busy in return for your providing
referrals when you’re too busy to give prospects the full attention they deserve.

7. Create a “brag book” with letters from satisfied clients, photos of buyers at their new homes and copies of designations and certificates. Again, get written permission to use letters and photos from clients. Ask satisfied clients to endorse you on to improve your local rankings in the agent search results. Include testimonials from peers, not just clients, in your marketing materials. If another agent or broker says “You’re the best – I could not have done the deal without you” ask them to put it in writing.

9. Build a better business card. Invest in a card that stands out, such as folded card with two surfaces. Use one section for contact information and the other for a call-to-action.

10. When competitors cut back advertising in a slow market, you should maintain or increase promotional activity. Why? Because you’ll have less competition from agents who reduce their visibility.

11. After closing, make a point of calling or sending a note to thank mortgage officers, closing agents, loan processors, office assistants and others. Good work should be recognized, and the goodwill you create will be helpful to you in future transactions.