Two agents launch their real estate careers with the same training, the same high-quality coaching, and both face serious personal problems that could potentially undermine their careers. One flourishes and becomes a multimillion-dollar producer in less than a year. The other leaves the business to take a job outside the industry. What made the difference?

Why do so many promising agents fail while other agents with less promise have tremendous success? Is the difference in how well they are suited to the business? Is it how hard they work? Or is it whom they know? Consider the two following case studies.

Agent #1:

Imagine you’re working more than 80 hours per week, not making any money, and in a very dysfunctional office. Peanut butter sandwiches are about all you can afford. Nevertheless, you decide to invest in the best training and coaching program you can find. You memorize the scripts, use the “proven” strategies, and your business starts to increase. Your coach tells you to make more time for yourself because when you’re stressed out, that’s who you will attract–people who are also stressed out. The people in your existing office are draining you of your time and energy. You know it’s time to move, but you’re afraid to do so, especially since you have had a serious setback with your health. After several months of prodding by your coach, you finally decide to take the plunge. As an experiment, your coach suggests investing in one or two “power suits” to see if it makes a difference in your production. It does. After a number of months of having your coach hound you to take time off, you try it. Your business takes another leap. Your coach constantly hounds you about taking time off. You try it and your business keeps growing. Your coach encourages you to say “no” to those sellers and buyers who make you a nervous wreck and are virtually impossible to close. You do so and the quality of the clients you’re now representing also improves. You hit your first million-dollar month–no more peanut butter sandwiches for you–it’s champagne and multimillion-dollar production in your future, and better yet, you’re working only 30 hours per week.

Agent #2:

You’re in the enviable position of being able to set up your business perfectly and have six months of cash reserves in the bank. You do extensive research, purchase the best training and coaching you can find, and pay for a terrific Web site. Using the scripts from the training, you go out door-knocking and really enjoy it. The first day out you receive a $400,000 listing lead. The second day, you land an $800,000 lead. The materials really work. You become busy with all the leads you have generated, but are having a difficult time converting them since you haven’t mastered all the scripts and strategies in the training. You start working 10-14 hours per day, seven days a week. You have little time for your family, no time to study, and stop prospecting. You start to take shortcuts. You know you should qualify every buyer before you take them out to look at property. Nevertheless, you spend hours showing properties to people are who not pre-qualified and who never seem to purchase. The listings you take seem to have a host of title and other types of problems. You should say “No” to the business, but you need the money. Your coach is imploring you to spend time with your family and to master the fundamentals. You’re soon out of money. The long hours away from your loved ones threaten to destroy your marriage. After a promising start, you have no choice but to take a job outside the industry.

Both of these hard-working agents were bright, motivated, and should have had great success. The difference boils down to five key factors:

1. Mastery of the fundamentals.

Real estate success is strongly correlated to mastery of the fundamentals. In the example above, the agent who became a top producer did so by mastering proven techniques. The other agent did not adhere to the fundamentals, and this lack of mastery contributed to her poor results.

2. Strong market knowledge.

You must know the inventory as well as its value. Combined with a mastery of the fundamentals, strong market knowledge gives you confidence and creates credibility in the eyes of our clients.

3. Willingness to step outside your comfort zone to do what works.

Let’s face it, almost no one likes door-knocking, writing a business plan, or having to say “No” to buyers who are not pre-qualified or to sellers who are over-priced. Agents who succeed forget about what they don’t like to do and focus on what works.

4. Self care.

Chaos attracts chaos. If you’re running on adrenaline and constantly stressed out, you will attract clients who are uptight and difficult to close. Taking time to care for yourself and to spend time with loved ones actually makes you more attractive to those clients who are fun to work with and much more likely to close.

5. Consistency and dependability.

All top producers have one thing in common: they consistently focus on their lead-generation activities on a daily basis. Consistency comes from having a plan and regularly evaluating where you are in terms of executing that plan. They also share another important trait: dependability. When they promise something, they deliver on what they promise. This keeps their referral pipeline running strong. Consistency in delivering what you promise is one of the cornerstones of real estate success.

If you’re ready to make the transition from peanut butter to champagne, mastering these five steps can help you do it!

Bernice Ross is an owner of and can be reached at


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