In real estate, there is no single recipe for success. Nevertheless, if you examine the characteristics of top-producing agents, there is a consistent pattern linked to their success.

Do you know the secret recipes that are associated with success in virtually every type of sale? If not, here’s what most top performers know that can help you in your business.

1. Write down your goals
Do you have a written business plan with specific goals? If so, you are part of a select group of about 3 percent of all salespeople. This select group represents the top salespeople who are doing the bulk of the business in real estate. If you don’t already have a written set of goals, take immediate steps to create a short list of the income you would like to earn, the number of transactions you will need to close deals to make that income, and the share of closed deals that will result from listings vs. buyer sales.

2. Two secrets that make written goals a reality
A piece of paper with numbers on it is not motivating to your brain. An important key to being successful is identifying how you will use the money you make. For example, many real estate salespeople have decided that they want a certain type of car. Their strategy is to go to the dealership, drive the car, and have their picture taken "behind the wheel." The next step is to post that picture in a place where they will see it constantly.

This strategy works for two important reasons. Visualization is one of the key ways our brains create what happens to us. Psychologists call this "self-fulfilling prophecy." What we expect to happen actually does happen. If you see yourself driving the car (and remembering what it was like to actually drive it), then you will have anchored that experience in your brain.

The part of your brain that recalls the experience has no awareness of whether you own the car or not. It simply recalls the feeling of being behind the wheel. These feelings are what motivate us to take the actions we need to take to achieve success.

The second reason this strategy works is that it serves as a constant reminder. To make your goals a reality, write them down and review them regularly. People who achieve major success review their goals every day. The very top performers carry their written goals with them everywhere. They also review them at least once a day. …CONTINUED

3. Who’s in your posse?
Some members of Generation Y (born 1977-1994) refer to their close friends as their "posse." If you take the 10 people in your posse (i.e., the 10 you spend the most time with) and average their income, you will have a close approximation of how much you can expect to make.

If you’re not happy with your current income, spend more time with people who are earning more money than you are. A good way to do this is to become involved in charitable fund raising or with your local chamber of commerce or rotary club. Not only will you meet many high-earners — the act of serving others is an excellent way to attract high-quality clients to your business.

4. The three most expensive words in real estate: "I know that"
Everyone knows what to do. The issue is that most agents aren’t willing to do what it takes to succeed. Successful agents have formed the habit of doing things every day that agents who are failing don’t feel like doing. If you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to create the same results. Furthermore, when you do what everyone does, you get the same results that everyone else gets.

5. Commit to lifelong learning
Top-producing agents are lifelong learners. In any given real estate seminar, they’re almost always seated in the first few rows. Even though they’re busy, they still make time to learn constantly. In fact, most attend a minimum of three or four seminars every year. Their goal is to uncover one or two nuggets of information that will give them a competitive edge. They also listen to tapes and podcasts, and watch online videos. In contrast, most unsuccessful agents simply don’t make the effort.

6. Find a coach or mentor
Tiger Woods is undoubtedly the best golfer in the world, yet he still has a coach who works with him daily. A coach tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. In contrast, some people choose to surround themselves with "yes men" who do not offer helpful advice when needed.

7. Do a checkup from the neck up
Ultimately, the only competition you have is you. Mindset is everything. You can either react to circumstances or you can actively create opportunities. Everyone faces trials and tribulations. It’s not what happens to you, your business, or the market — it’s what you choose to do about it.

Bernice Ross, CEO of, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at and find her on Twitter: @bross.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

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