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Most real estate pros would agree that every community seems to have a few top performers who capture the lion’s share of business. How do you join the elite? In working with thousands of real estate professionals nationwide, we have seen some traits that top performers seem to share. Top-performing real estate professionals:

1. Most agents ask “How did you hear about me?” A good question, but also 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 your listings, agent website and profiles are all updated so that you present your most current achievements.

3. Provide buyer and seller checklists. A comprehensive list with key dates and 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.

4. Thinking about offering a referral to an out-of-town broker or agent? You can find out if their license is active at this website:

5. 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.

6. 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 and reports. Be sure to get written permission from clients before using their testimonials.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. In a slow market, when competitors may cut back advertising dollars, you should maintain or increase promotional activity. Why? Because you’ll have less competition from agents who reduce their visibility, and a reputation for success, even in slower market conditions.

12. 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.