The real estate industry is widely known as a “dog eat dog world”, yet thousands of new agents line up every year unprepared.  Ninety per cent fail short of their 25th month after taking that leap, where the top 10 per cent of agents take 90 per cent market share of real estate transactions. Not very encouraging statistics.

Why is that?

Are they not as smart as the top producers?

Do they have a smaller network?

Are they going at it solo?

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There are many reasons why agents fail, but the common thread among every agent, successful or not, is that they all started from the ground up. They didn’t just instantly achieve success overnight.

The key differentiator between successful agents and those who fail is their mindset.  Their mindset of being an entrepreneur who looks for those big opportunities, ways to scale, ways to stay consistent.  The hustle and drive are the bare minimum to what they bring to the table.

They invest in themselves and plan for the long haul, while sticking to core principals of generating real estate business.  When asked what are the best ways are to produce leads, Matt Nguyen, a top producer from KW Silicon City in San Jose, Calif.,  says, “The fundamental concepts like mailers, flyers, door knocking must happen consistently.”

Almost every agent will do this but where they fail is their consistency. They try once, twice and by third time they give up, not fully grasping that consistency means you may not generate a lead for a few months, but with consistency they will come – and sometimes in groups – that turn into closed deals.

Top producers try new tools/techniques. They throw away what fails and keep what works or is practical. They surround themselves with successful agents. The No. 1 advice from a top one per cent producer at Intero Real Estate in San Jose, Samit Shah, says “Join a producing team.  Be ready to make cold calls and door knocks. Have a schedule and be consistent.”  Again, another agent using the keyword, “consistent”.

Top producers are entrepreneurs, taking risks and benefiting from them.  Many fail at one endeavour or another. Nguyen says it best: “Love to love losing.” Their grit and hustle don’t let them stop from progressing.

Agents who are starting their careers or struggling must ask themselves why are they entering the market. Are they thinking they can benefit quickly? Are they going to just tip toe in and give it a 50 per cent effort? What’s their strategy to stand out?

With any endeavour, especially when it comes to a business decision, going all in gives you every opportunity to succeed.  Giving a 50 per cent effort opens the door for excuses.

Author and speaker Grant Cardone preaches, “Your network is your net worth.” Anyone can network. All it takes is going out and meeting people and building relationships both online and offline.

A key stat every agent should keep in mind is that 74 per cent of homeowners only interview one agent, according to the National Association of Realtors. That means consumers are not shopping around.

Many successful agents try to generate new business through open houses. When you are face to face with a prospect, statistics are on your side to win them over. How prepared are you to capture them? Your sales pitch is probably like many other consumers have heard. How can you be unique?

If you get a lead, you must respond quickly. Gregory Charlop, founder of The Real Estate Flash on Amazon’s Alexa, noticed among top producers he’s interviewed that what they do well is “they have strong inbound marketing and respond immediately to incoming leads.”

Any agent who can embrace technology and leverage automation can make the playing field even, knowing that 74 per cent of prospects only interview one agent.  Agents need to do what has traditionally worked well – door knocking, cold calls and open houses – but spin their efforts with technology.

Who will you partner up with to help reach your goals? Entrepreneurship is a lonely path, but it doesn’t have to be in this digital world we live in.

Michael Lam is the founder and CEO at Kaydoh Inc, a technology company providing agents on-demand reporting solutions that capture and qualify leads through automated texting. He is also the co-founder of GoHire, where he built the award-winning international recruiting chatbot on Facebook Messenger, “GoBe – the Job Bot.” At the 2017 Recruiting Innovation Service Awards, the bot received the Most Innovative Social Media Solution award. In 2018, GoHire was nominated for Recruiting Startup of the Year at Hiring Success 18. Visit his website or email him.


  1. Note to file regarding every licensed Realtor who has ever entered, is currently entering, and will forever enter the real estate sales arena:

    The old axiom “You either have it, or you don’t” is the major defining variable that applies to every one of you, and the vast majority of you don’t have it. The question then becomes, what is “it”?

    “It” is that bedrock of confidence that radiates from one’s person at all times, no matter the circumstance. People instinctively pick up on another person’s genuine sense of self confidence (in this case, a Realtor’s sense of self confidence), and not an acted-out version of same, whilst he/she listens, speaks and gives off non-verbal clues signaling the owner’s ownership, or not, of inherent professionalism. The next question becomes: How does one come into possession of inherent professionalism?

    The answer is simple, but the attainment of same is not simple.

    One must possess three things to be able to possess an inherent sense of professionalism as it pertains to being a professional Realtor. They are:

    1) One must have a background in some form of real estate related agency.

    2) One must have more all ’round plus Realtor-specific education than most other Realtors, and be aware of same.

    3) One must have an innate sense of altruism built right in to one’s base personality profile.

    One might have ownership of the above characteristics, but still fall short of the mark. Why would that be?

    One must absolutely believe in one’s self, in ones ability to get the job done without any extraneous outside help. One cannot be a student once on the job. One must be fit to get the job done from day one in the saddle.

    Question: How many wannabe’s fit the above profile?

    Answer: Almost every newbie, thus the humungous failure rate.

    Question: Why do others who do ‘not’ fit the above profile go on to sell lots of real estate?

    Answer: Although they are not professionals, they become accomplished sales people. They are motivated by money, first and foremost. They learn to sell, not to advocate. They are the Realtors who give the industry its bad name. They don’t have “it”, but they act like they do, and too many of the naïve public fall victim to this ruse.

    I would say that there are many more who succeed (financially) by way of the ruse than by way of possessing “it”.

    That’s all that I have to say about it.

    • Correction:

      Answer to the Question: How many wannabe’s fit the above profile? should read…

      Answer: Almost ‘no’ newbies, thus the humungous failure rate.

  2. This is one of the most well written articles that every New Realtor should read. It highlights exact activities that they will be dealing with as they begin their career.

  3. Vicki

    Let me first say forgive me: but it would seem by clicking on your user name at REM, is a perfect example of my reference below. It took me several tries and a website visit to figure out where you practice. Seems you are in USA, California? I didn’t delve into further details at your domain name.
    = = =

    I agree with your REM comment completely… Just a few comments for newbies, perhaps.

    Obviously I was doing business in quite different ways than colleagues. And never ever paid for a lead.

    Getting leads is one thing; it’s what agents do with the leads that matters. It’s vital to evaluate the value of a lead, regardless of how the lead came to be. Discover how serious the lead actually is.

    Countless times I’ve been heard to say: “Nothing sells like a sold sign.” Everything else in an agent’s routines and systems can be built around the concept that will become a natural guide.

    Once you have a sold sign, continue to market that property constantly, obviously not as a For Sale property. You will have more leads than you can handle in a automatic pipeline created by your sold signs. There’s never, in my opinion, a reason to buy leads.

    But work your solds into your discussions. Do beautiful promo. When other buyers and sellers see what you do for your clients they will want you to be their rep, too. Some people have an innate passion for saving promo they love. They have no immediate use for it, but guess who is top of mind when they need an agent?

    Beautiful doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be; so know your relevant costs. But all promo (a property and yours personally) does have to be thoughtfully prepared.

    Choose a colour-choice and artwork that are uniquely yours, and become recognized as “your” colours.

    When I first opened my boutique real estate office in 1991, I was abundantly criticized for my colour choices, that apparently had never before been used in the real estate field. Soon a new franchise appeared and chose one of my first to use, colours as their dominant corporate colour. Soon franchise office sales reps were using spin-offs of my colours and using them rather than their corporate affiliation colours.

    It’s really comical: even to this day, when the public sees my choice of colours, even used by others, will often say: OH! Those are Carolyne’s colours…. Just goes to show how the public relates to colours, not unlike in foods preparation. First we eat with our eyes. And some arrangements of food plates colour combinations have more appeal than others.

    Use and re-use the owner thank you note to you that says what a great job you did for them. And don’t forget to say thank-you for the thank-you. A simple phone call or handwritten note on a card will do better than an email, if possible.

    Delightful to have received but so valuable in helping you achieve more business. Include the thank you everywhere and use it to direct people to your private domain address (you do have one, right?) Your website must say the geographical locale you mostly work. No, you don’t work “everywhere” and no you don’t work every sort of property by spreading your career too thin. No. Immediately concentrate on a particular location and a particular type of property to become an expert in that cover.

    Otherwise you are simply promoting the brokerage (that’s not a bad thing obviously) but without question your colleagues will receive some of your incoming calls and enquiries. Incoming calls often have a mysterious way of getting diverted. It’s just how the business is.

    Include the Sold property info in your newsletters (FOR MONTHS); just keep adding properties. Redirect readers to a special web “story” page. The reader might have a similar house but might not be interested in selling right now. More business-building for the future; opportunity to build your go-to pipeline. Always use professional photography. Always.

    If you don’t already know how, study or take courses on how to turn every seller into a buyer. Treat each transaction as a separate contract.

    Likewise when you sell a buyer an MLS listing, they are part of your future goldmine (building business for the future). The buyer will likely move again in three to five years. You want to be there for them (whenever). Make you service so terrific they can’t forget you.

    When you use flyers or newspaper ads, cross-reference other properties. Redirect to your web site. Create an atmosphere where people will think they know you long before they ever actually connect with you.

    Send your contacts copies of links to newspaper articles that might be of interest. Even stories you read in the newspaper about industries of interest to your clients.

    When I listed a house, I let the owners know it was going to be like they are married to me; we will often be in contact.

    Become the go-to person. Establish a farm area. Personally I decided in the first months in the industry that I would not be a door-knocker. Safety being just one reason. I didn’t want to phone canvass either. So what to do?

    I relied heavily on property promo: just listed cards, just sold cards, large professional pictures in newspaper ads. If not using a specific address, at least provide an intersection.

    If someone calling in wants the address, give it to them. But of course find out before discussing anything, ask if they have an agent and if they do, invite their agent to call you for details. Call their agent.

    Build rapport with your colleagues who know you won’t try to steal their contact. Whether or not they yet have a contract.

    When you farm and your name becomes known, you can say: “changing the face of your subdivision, one transaction at a time.” You will take over whole streets, and before long whole subdivisions. One example is a subdivision of eight hundred homes I worked. And I sold 100 homes out of the eight hundred, some several times over, over the years.

    Then adjacent subdivisions joined my client list. And then subdivisions nearby, until before a few short years passed, I had a 24% marketshare, in my total trading area.

    Carolyne L ?

  4. Consistency is definitely something a lot of agents struggle with – including myself. As our business rises, our marketing efforts fall and vice versa. Getting a grip on regular marketing and networking efforts is the key to success.

    • Hi Vicki ! You know it better than anyone else. I love following you and the community you’ve built over at Pacifica. Keep up the great work and thank you for giving us your feedback


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