How to be a successful real estate agent

New book highlights lead generation model

There should be a law requiring every novice or “old pro” real estate agent to read “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” by Gary Keller or lose their license to sell real estate. However, such a law does not exist so agents who truly want to be super-successful won’t have competition from the lazy agents who won’t bother to read this great new book.

When I began selling real estate a zillion years ago, I wish there had been a step-by-step guidebook like this one telling me what I needed to do to earn $1 million a year in net sales commissions. Yes. You read correctly.

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Author Gary Keller, co-founder of the huge nationwide Keller-Williams Realty chain, reveals facts he discovered by researching the steps super-successful real estate sales agents employ. What makes the book especially fascinating is the quotes from many of those agents interjected throughout the book.

For example, Jim and Linda McKissack of Denton, Texas, who sold a mere $34.2 million of realty in one year, said, “We’ve learned to play the numbers game. The more we play it, the more success we have.” William Barnes of Taylors, S.C., who sold $58.8 million in one year said, “The key is to get people to call you. I do all kinds of marketing, the Internet, newsletters, real estate magazines, newspapers, and investment groups.”

The “Keller System” for real estate sales agent success involves (1) overcoming myths, such as “I can’t do it” or “It can’t be done in my market”; (2) thinking like a millionaire; (3) generating seller and buyer leads; (4) netting $1 million; and (5) keeping that $1 million.

Especially impressive is the quote from millionaire agent Tim Wood of Big Bear Lake, Calif.: “It took me 20 years to have $1 million in the bank, but only two more years to have $3 million, and another two years to get to $5 million.”

Yes, there’s a lot of positive thinking rah-rah material. But that’s the kind of encouragement most real estate agents need. For example, realty agent Gregg Neuman of San Diego, Calif., said, “I’ve always thought big. The opportunities in real estate are limitless.”

The book’s emphasis is on “lead generation.” Keller emphasizes the importance for realty agents to concentrate on property listings. He says buyer generation will come from buyer prospects who inspect the listed properties.

However, Keller neglects to explain a specific program for realty agents to generate seller leads that lead to listings. Perhaps that should be the subject of his next book, “Lead Generation for Real Estate Agents.”

Midway through the book, it gets a bit complicated and hard to follow. The author talks about an economic model, lead-generation model, budget model and organizational model. The diagrams help, but more details, shorter chapters and specific examples would be helpful.

The book’s secret of success for realty agents is to leverage their leads and listings. This is done, Keller explains, by the agent hiring assistants, such as an administrative assistant, listing assistant and a buyer assistant.

The author emphasizes the importance of hiring “talent,” not “cul de sac” individuals who merely perform their current tasks without looking toward future job growth.

This is one of those rare real estate books that should be read slowly two or three times to understand and retain its full potential. Some of the systems documentation chapters are difficult to fully comprehend in just one reading.

The magnitude of this book is difficult to explain. At the beginning of the book are group photos of the realty agents who contributed the book’s input. At the book’s conclusion, individual photos and details about their personal career successes are revealed. This obviously was not a one-person project to write this amazing guidebook for realty agents who want to be super-successful.

Chapter topics include “Six MythUnderstandings Between You and High Achievement”; “Think a Million”; “Earn a Million”; “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent Models”; “Net a Million”; “Leads”; “Listings”; “Leverage”; “Money”; “Receive a Million”; and “Putting It All Together with Focus.”

This is, by far, the best of the “how to be a successful realty agent” books. The charts help illustrate the principles. But Gary Keller obviously had so much more to say that he left out some of the details, especially about the key lead-generation techniques. But this is still a great book for new and experienced realty agents. On my scale of one to 10, it rates an off-the-chart 12.

“The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” by Gary Keller (McGraw-Hill, New York) 2004, $19.95, 347 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

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