David Kramer is a consistently top-producing agent; his $185 million-plus sales in 2011 landed him the accolades of the No. 1 sales agent at Hilton & Hyland that year. His expertise and talent have made him a recognized leader in the real estate industry.

Kramer will be speaking at Inman Connect San Francisco this year.


We asked him three questions about his business philosophy; here’s what he had to say:

1. What connection have you made — business or personal — that changed the course of your life?

When foreclosures were plentiful, I had the opportunity to represent banks and institutions in selling of their real estate assets. That changed the way I thought about selling homes and gave me a better understanding of some of the complexities that can arise when you have a seller with deep pockets.

I had to deal with a board of directors and legal team on every sale who asked tough questions and brought up scenarios that I had not seen before. I also got to see so many things go wrong due to the volume of the sales — it was like a “bad deal” boot camp.

Knowing that this type of sale would one day end, I started networking with institutions and lawyers to gain more nontraditional business. I was already familiar with various liability issues and what specific protections they needed in a sale, so with this knowledge I was able to parlay this into a nice portion of my business.

In most cases, these are homes that must be sold, so the only tricky part was navigating the various parties involved in the transaction, which I was very good at already. A large part of my business is referrals from lawyers, a segment that the agent population is told to avoid, so I am happy to pick up the slack.

I, in turn, am comfortable and like working with lawyers, and often refer them business, so we have a good working relationship that benefits both sides.

2. What’s your No. 1 tip for building out a network of valuable connections?

I have noticed that through the years of speaking to new agents, they focus on developing new clients through the usual various methods (door knocking, cold calling, postcards. etc.). What they often fail to focus on first is their existing network of “warm contacts,” who are people they already know.

People usually do make an effort to reach out to their warm contacts, but they do not do it in a professional, systematic manor like they do cold leads. So if successful cold leads return in the 2 to 3 percent range and you figure out your cost per lead, it is very expensive when you finally close a sale.

If someone were to spend a fraction of that money on warm leads, I feel their return on investment would be far higher, and those leads generate more future business because you have a history with that person. Personally, I prefer breakfast and lunch meetings with my warm leads, but do what is affordable and within your comfort zone.

3. What’s one thing you want to stop doing in 2016?

My goal for 2016 is to work less and make more. It sounds funny because everyone says that, but I have started a new team and feel it is a very realistic goal for next year. In turn, I need to learn to give up some control, trust more in others, not sweat when small things go wrong (and they always do), and give up some short-term money. Let everyone on my team come along for the success ride with me with the hope that a rising tide floats all boats.

I have always been a one-man show who is on top of all the details, and available seven days a week and on vacation. I am changing that dynamic to allow for more of a team presence and responsibility so clients can speak to more than just me to get answers and make appointments. This year we are off to a record start. This year is looking to be my (our) best, and I expect next year to be up at least 50 percent from there. I think I can work smarter, make more money, and have a far better life for me and my family.

Inman Connect San Francisco is right around the corner — register now and save $200!

Start Inman Connect SF off right! Choose from three powerful events on Aug. 4. Reserve your spot now for Agent Connect, Broker Connect and Tech Connect.

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