What does it take to succeed in today’s highly competitive real estate sales environment?

Tyler McKenzie, managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate in Seattle, argues that real estate success boils down to five factors: focus, adaptability, integrity, realism and fun.

How many of these do you possess?

1. Focus

A common trait among most top producers is a laserlike focus on their business. This starts with their lead generation strategies. They understand that if they don’t regularly prospect for leads, they will soon be out of business. This is especially true for those who do cold calling and door knocking. They don’t leave this to chance. Prospecting appointments are treated with the same level of priority as a listing appointment. Only a true emergency would cause them to cancel their prospecting time.

Top producers also tend to be highly focused in one or two niches, as opposed to trying to be everything to everyone. They have become the experts in their niche and are generally the dominant player in their area.

Top producers are also results-focused. Most carefully track where each lead originates. They also track their Web statistics, which marketing campaigns work and which do not, and what is happening in their general market. Knowing the inventory, knowing the market and knowing their numbers are critical components of their success.

Most importantly, they have a written business plan. They not only spend time working in their business (i.e., delivering services related to real estate sales), they also spend time working on their business by evaluating results, searching for potential new opportunities, and shifting to meet market demands as the market changes.

2. Adaptability

McKenzie attributes part of his success to being an early adopter of new technologies. The ability to adapt to what is wanted and needed by the client is equally as important. For example, a younger client may want a digital listing package, a mobile document signing app, as well as a cloud-based transaction tracking platform. An older person who doesn’t use a computer will want everything to be handled the old-fashioned way — with paper. McKenzie takes the attitude that it is the agent’s job to adapt to the client rather than the other way around.

Adaptability also means jumping in and embracing the fact that your local MLS system has just changed providers or letting go of some other part of the business or technology to which you are attached. The sooner you adapt, the less pain and hassle you will experience.

3. Integrity

Everyone has some level of integrity. The question is exactly what level are you willing to tolerate. The law of attraction says that you attract who you are. There are two steps to attracting higher-quality clients. The first step is to work on raising your personal standards. No bending or ignoring the truth. Go out of your way to help others. The better the job you do, the higher-quality client you’ll attract.

The second step is to be willing to say “no” to business that is not a good fit for you. For example, any client who asks you to bend the rules or hide information is someone who should probably be fired on the spot. If the client is asking you to engage in this type of behavior, it’s likely that he will be engaging in the same behavior throughout the transaction.

Also, be willing to say “no” to business that is outside your local area or your area of expertise. For example, if a past client asks you to help her sister with a short sale 30 miles from your office, refer it to someone who works that area and who specializes in short sales. The best way to handle this is to tell the person making the referral, “I would like to introduce you to the best agent to handle your sister’s transaction. She specializes in short sales and is an expert on the area where your sister lives.”

4. Realism

Realism means being able to recognize that not all opportunities are right for you. It also means being aware of your strengths and building on those. As Joeann Fossland of Advantage Solutions Group likes to say, “No one ever got to the top by developing their weaknesses.”

Realism also extends to what you can afford to spend. Many real estate professionals have become trapped in the “I’ll just do one more deal per year to pay for it” mentality. Make a tiered budget. Plan for a 20 percent increase in your income, static income from the past year, and a 20 percent decrease. Adjust your budget as your business changes throughout the year.

5. Fun

The late clinical psychologist Paul Pearsall’s research shows that laughing 100 times per day is better for you than jogging. Laughter raises beta-endorphin levels, which in turn strengthens your immune system.

In addition to laughing, get in the habit of rewarding yourself when you hit the goals you’ve set for yourself. Your reward may be your favorite latte or a long massage after a tough price reduction conversation with a seller. If you have set a major income goal and you hit it, reward yourself with a big treat such as a much-deserved vacation.

If you’re not working on all five of these areas in your business, there’s no better time to start than right now.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription