As a result of studying top producing real estate Salespeople for in excess of 25 years it has become very clear to me that there are common traits that show up over and over. There is a definite commonality exhibited by the most successful in our industry. Here are the “Top 10” Characteristics I have identified plus easy to implement techniques for how to take them on for yourself.
They stay on schedule.
The number one challenge that all real estate Salespeople face today is dealing with the constant interruptions and distractions. Top producing Salespeople are very clear as to what their main priorities are. Lead generation, going on buyer and seller appointments, and putting home sale transactions together. By keeping these 3 top of mind, it’s much easier to say NO to the things that will throw you off track.
It all comes down to making choices… and making the right choices. By having a very clear and specific schedule it is much easier to be focused on what you need to do to succeed.
When first designing your daily schedule start by breaking it down into three sections:
- Your early morning routine (before you start work) – this gets you off on the right foot so everything falls into place the rest of the day
- Do your lead generation and your lead follow-up between 9 AM and 12 o’clock noon – be careful with this one… if you don’t do it in the morning you’re going to find it doesn’t get done every day on a consistent basis
- Use the afternoon/early evening for lead servicing and home buyer and seller appointments – get out of the office enjoy meeting with people and helping them reach their goals
Here’s a great affirmation that I have on the wall in my office… “I can tell time by what I’m doing right now”. When you have a solid routine in place, it not only makes the days more predictable, it builds your confidence because you are in control at all times. It sets you up for mastering the 9 characteristics that follow. Read on…
Intentional appointment setting every day.
It is critical to know how many buyer appointments and home seller appointments you must conduct on a daily basis to meet your sales targets. The whole purpose of lead generation, contacting more people, and consistently following up is to set appointments.
Your main task should go beyond “talking to a lot of people every day”. The real issue each day is — how many appointments did you set and how many did you actually go on? Consider this equation:
My Activities Must = My Goals
Not going on enough appointments with your home buyers and sellers is a sure way to fall short of your overall home sales targets.
Start out every day with the full intention of conducting a predetermined
number of home showing and/or listing appointments. This will then force you to ask for business and not just have meaningless conversations with people.
Here’s a final breakdown to help you get started…
Calculate the # of appointments set minus fall-out X your conversion factor = home buyer offers written or listings taken
Actual Example: 5 appointment set minus 1 fall-out = 4 appointments done
4 appointments done X 75% conversion factor = 3 offers written or 3 listings taken
They follow-up on 100% of their leads – on time.
One of the most common failings for real estate Salespeople who only produce average results is failure to follow up on their leads on time. It is not uncommon to lose business because “I didn’t want to be pushy so I just let it go for a few more days”. A big mistake! Your home buyer or seller might have moved on without you because you didn’t stay in touch in a timely fashion. (“We thought you were too busy”… OUCH)
Your leads must be documented either online or on paper. Either way, each lead must be supported by a very specific follow-up date. Understanding this is critical… exactly what date should you be contacting them next?
Superstars never miss following up on the exact date – that way nothing slips between the cracks.
Two requirements to make this work smoothly:
- Get in the habit of recording the follow-up dates on all leads after every conversation. Even if your home buyer or seller doesn’t have a date in mind, you need to know exactly when you are going to be calling the next. Either write it down on their lead sheet or record it in your database CRM.
- Make sure that lead follow-up is part of your daily schedule as discussed in Characteristic #1 above. For example… you could do your lead generation from 9 AM to 11:30 AM and then your lead follow-up from 11:30 AM till 12 o’clock noon five days a week.
They prequalify all leads thoroughly.
As you get busier in your real estate Sales business, it is critical that you not waste time with “time vampires”. The most effective way to eliminate those buyers and sellers who are not motivated to act in a timely fashion is to have a solid prequalification script ready at all times.
There are some very specific questions that you need to ask. These questions must go beyond the basics of “Where are you moving to? When you want to be there? Why are you moving?”
Here’s exactly what I mean. This is an example real estate script for home sellers from my “All the Right Words” Scripts and Dialogues Package:
Pre-Qualifying the Seller
Mr. /Mrs. ____________, In order for me to be properly prepared for our meeting on _________ at______pm, there’s a few more questions I should ask you… have you got an extra minute or two?(*) Great!
- So you’re moving to _________, correct?
- And you want to be there by _________, right?
- Tell me again, why are you moving?
- Great, well this is very exciting! Just so I understand, what price range do you feel your home belongs in? (*) OK, thanks!
- [Use if not a FSBO] Now tell me Mr. /Mrs. _________, you’re not planning on selling your home yourself are you? (*)Terrific!
- And I’m curious, are you interviewing any other agents? (*) If yes then say… OK and when are they coming to see you? (*) Interesting!
- Now, you’ve told me quite a bit already, is there anything else I should know about your home? (*) Great!
- Thanks for all your help, this gives me enough information for us to have a great meeting… now will all the decision makers be there on _________ at _____pm? (*) Super!
- Lastly, one more question… if everything makes sense on ________, are you prepared to go ahead and list your home with me? (*) Fantastic!
Sales Tip: If the answer is no, find out why. Ask them…
“Really, why is that?” OR “No problem, could you tell me more about that?”
- We’re all set then, I look forward to seeing everyone on ___________ at ______pm.
By asking more probing questions in a conversational fashion you can decide whether or not you want to work with them or not.
Here’s the key that will separate you from the average Salesperson… make sure you ask ALL the questions. It’s not a buffet where you just pick the questions you want.
Not only will this prepare you for making a stronger real estate listing presentation, it also prepares you in advance for most of the objections you can expect on your appointment. Great Salespeople choose their prospects carefully. No surprises that way.
They take time to prepare thoroughly for every listing appointment.
The opposite of great preparation is “winging it”. Not only is that a very unprofessional approach… it catches up with you very quickly. It becomes an expensive mistake because your conversion percent of listings taken vs. listing appointments will suffer.
You should be converting a minimum of 2 out of 3 appointments that you go on (66%). This calculation includes going on appointments with people who do not know you in advance. In a highly competitive marketplace, you need to demonstrate that you are different from the competition.
Considering it takes several hours of prospecting and preparation to set up and prepare for one highly motivated and prequalified home seller… it is critical that you arrive ready to take the listing on your terms. Winging it is unacceptable.
You need to arrive at their home well prepared both mentally and physically. By doing so, you will stand out from the typical real estate Salesperson. How to do that? Start by understanding that you don’t need to complicate the process. Follow these steps and you will stand out as “being different”…
— know in advance the objective you intend to accomplish
— practice your presentation (“winging it” is what average real estate Salespeople do)
— master real estate objections that turned up when you prequalified them
— dress professionally
— show up on time with all your materials well-organized
— present confidently in a conversational fashion
— ask for the signature (remember to close 3 – 5 times)
Most Salespeople don’t take the time to do this. By following this approach you will be a lot more relaxed, you will listen much better, and your presentation will be significantly more compelling than your competitors.
They provide balanced customer service.
There is a fine balance between looking after your Customers and overdoing it. The top producing real estate Salespeople treat every transaction like a business and don’t spend an excessive amount of time “bonding”.
The concept of “under promise and over deliver” is an excellent approach… but be sure to proceed with caution. The danger is if you spend all your time “over delivering” you will never have enough time left over to generate high sales volume.
FACT: the average real estate Salesperson in North America generates 4.5 home sale transactions per year. This is a ridiculously low number when you think about what is possible. One of the reasons that this is the case is because the average Salesperson spends too much time on each transaction. This is an example of “over servicing”.
While some home buyers and home sellers can be “time vampires” (see Characteristic #4) there are many situations where the Real estate Salesperson is guilty of over servicing. Surveys have shown that while people want great service, they don’t want you to “move in with them”.
One of the best ways to manage your time is to understand in advance what your prospect’s expectations are. Ask this question…
“Tell me Mr. Buyer/Seller, what’s most important to you in this transaction, what do you need to make this home purchase/home sale highly successful for you?”
Once you have established that then you will know to what extent they need excellent service. Also, you are in control — beware of those customers who are high maintenance. Make sure they understand what the limitations are for your capabilities of supporting them. It all comes down to having realistic expectations from both sides. Be balanced in what you offer.
They are great at planning and setting sales targets.
The first part of operating a successful real estate sales practice is to have very clear targets for your production. Great real estate Salespeople know exactly how much revenue and total home sales they intend to generate on an ongoing basis.
As you might expect, this starts with yearly measurable targets. There are 6 basic targets that the best real estate Salespeople follow on an ongoing basis:
— Listing appointments
— Listings taken
— Listings sold
— Buyer sales
— Transactions closed
— Commissions earned
Once you have established your annual targets then you can break everything down on a monthly basis. Don’t make the mistake of just “dividing by 12”. Be sure to build in some seasonality relative to your marketplace and your lifestyle. For example, it’s unlikely you will have the same number of home sale closings happening in December that you would in June.
Also, recognize that you may need to make some adjustments throughout the year based on your production so far. On the positive side – if you are ahead of production then you may need to “up the ante” for what you’re targets should look like for the balance of the year. It’s a happy problem to have!
One final point, there needs to be some rationale between your projected Sales for that month and the leads you are currently working on. You never want to be starting a month with zero leads and a hope and a prayer that “something good is bound to happen”.
The way to prevent that possibility is to make sure that you are consistently loading prospects on your conveyor belt five days a week (as discussed in Characteristic #1). That way you will always have future opportunities coming to fruition.
The main thing is to be sure you have specific targets set up in advance to show you where you’re going. Zig Ziglar had a great line to put this in perspective,
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”.
They track and monitor their numbers consistently.
This is the second half of operating a successful real estate sales practice. Characteristic #7 sets the targets and this discipline measures the results. The first half tells you “where you’re going” and the second half tells you “where you are now”. Successful real estate Salespeople are never afraid to look in the mirror to get a clear picture of the current state of affairs.
Sometimes they do not like what they see but this just provides opportunity to make adjustments. That way, small problems never become big problems.
The only reason people don’t want to keep track of their results is because they don’t like what it tells them. It’s sort of like not wanting to get on the weigh scale. The key is to always be aware of where you are compared to your overall target.
As a minimum standard for yourself, get in the habit of recording your results once a week compared to your targets. Not doing so is like playing golf and not keeping score. Use the six categories identified above as your key measurements items.
The use of visuals is critical for this approach. Post your monthly targets on a white board in your office and then check off the results frequently. This creates a very powerful self-accountability. You don’t have to spend time over analyzing your numbers, you just need to know where you stand at any point in time. That’s how you will always know whether you are “winning or losing”.
And finally, use the knowledge you gain from comparing your results to your targets to help you make adjustments midstream. To put it bluntly… trackers are winners and guessers are losers.
They are Coachable and Accountable.
The Salespeople who sell the most homes understand the need to use three realizations to their advantage:
- “If I’m going to keep growing and I’ve got to keep my ego out of the way”
- “To build on my success I accept the fact that I’m capable of more than I’m doing right now”
- “By having some tough accountability in place it will ‘hold my feet to the fire’, especially on those days when I don’t feel like doing it”
Being Coachable requires you to “swallow your pride” sometimes and face the reality that you are capable of achieving even more than you are currently producing. My definition of a great Coach is…
“Someone who won’t let you settle for what you think is your best”.
Hire a Real Estate Coach. Here’s what you should expect:
— A definite plan with specific action steps to help you overachieve in a specific timeframe
— Encouragement to help you focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses
— “Tough love” accountability to ensure that what needs to be down gets done
— The Result – more balance, more business, in less time
The discipline of being Coachable becomes much easier as your confidence grows. The higher your level of confidence, the less resistant you become when an expert helps you see ways for even greater success. It doesn’t mean you aren’t doing well already… it just means that you need to keep an open mind on how you can do even better!
Putting your Coachability and strong Accountability together ensures much greater success every time. Bottom line…there is no advantage to “trying to do it all on your own”.
They improve their mindset daily.
It has been proven over and over that Sales success is 90% mental. There are always going to be ups and downs in the Sales business. Dealing with the pressures of earning a commissioned income and the swings in your emotions requires a definite mental toughness. Great success one day and canceled deals the next. It can be draining.
One of the characteristics that the top real estate Salespeople consistently exhibit is understanding the need to keep “filling up their tank” every day. This comes from many sources.
Your tank is being drained every day. That’s the nature of the real estate sales business. Your job is to make sure that you are not “bankrupting your mindset”. How do you prevent that?
Keep feeding yourself a steady diet of reinforcement for your attitude towards the real estate sales business and life. This is another one of those items that must be in your daily schedule. Typically the best times to provide that reinforcement is first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Things like…
— great reading material
— inspiring recordings
— consistent exercise
— healthy eating
— surrounding yourself with positive people
— avoiding negative people, newspapers, news, etc.
— and writing out your personal goals every day
By using these aids you are always adding to your mental toughness. This ensures that you bounce back quickly. It also keeps everything in perspective… it eliminates the energy sapping drama! Your mindset is like a muscle that consistently needs to be strengthened.
They schedule time off every week.
Selling houses can easily become a 7 days a week profession. Successful real estate Salespeople understand the danger of burnout. It can sneak up on you and take control without you even knowing it. As the expression goes…
“If you don’t take time off, your body will do it for you”
Here’s what the top producers have discovered…
It’s easy to see how overwork affects others but sometimes we neglect to see how it affects us. It’s one thing to have a strong work ethic… and it’s another to overdo it. Not only is it unhealthy to overwork yourself, it is not productive. In this case a simple mantra applies… “Less is more”.
Working 5 to 5 1/2 days a week will give you better production than working all the time. It has been proven over and over that not giving yourself some planned time off results in reduced efficiency and less sales.
The key is to regularly schedule time off each week. You do not have to be available for your home buyers and your home sellers 24 hours a day (refer back to Characteristic #6). Make an appointment to schedule “me time” the same way you do for your lead generation, showing appointments and seller appointments, etc. It then becomes part of your overall scheduling as described in Characteristic #1 above.
The most successful approach is to pick one 1 – 2 specific days each week that you will not be working. Make it an appointment that you keep – for yourself. Lastly, don’t lose sight of the value of planned vacations that you can look forward to. The by-product of all this is you will be much more effective during the hours you are working because you have something to look forward to. Keep everything in perspective. Remember… one of my favorite expressions… “It’s only real estate”.
“Discipline is how you package who you really are.”… Bruce Keith