• Highly successful agents work to achieve their goals and have an accountability plan in place, but they aren't afraid to fail.

Every morning at 5 a.m., Realtor Kelly gets up to work out. She’s at the office by 8 a.m., and on the phone prospecting for business 15 minutes later. She hates cold calling, but realizes it’s a necessary evil, so she knocks it out first thing.

She spends most of her day on dollar-producing activities and then heads off to her CE classes or to meet with her accountability partner in the evening.

She knows exactly where she’s going in her business and what it’s going to take to get there.

Does this sound familiar? If not, maybe it should.

Real estate is a complicated, challenging and competitive business. Two agents sitting 20 feet away from each other in the same office with the same training and experience level often have very different results.

There’s no one formula to be successful in this business. However, there are habits among top producers that can benefit any agent willing to implement them.

Below are seven common characteristics of top producers that can help you in your quest for real estate success.

Create a schedule and routine

Real estate agents are not often a fan of either of those things. After all, many choose a career in real estate to be their own boss and set their own schedule.

But here’s the thing: you can still do that.

Setting your own schedule is far different than having no schedule at all.  Having a powerful routine, made by you, is so much more likely to lead to positive results rather just floating around, coming and going as your mood or circumstances allows.

A schedule creates good habits, said Frank Levin, The Quintin Group in Ocean City, New Jersey.

“Routine is a good thing to help get into momentum. Then that momentum equates to less peaks and valleys and instead provides a steady flow of business, and in turn, income,” he said.

Prioritize activities

Instead of doing what’s easy, or convenient, top producers make a habit of doing the things that’ll make them the most money, the soonest. That usually means doing the more difficult things first each day. The proof is in the pudding (and the commission checks).

“High producing agents fit more productivity into each day than Beyonce,” said Stacie Staub of West + Main Homes in Denver. “But they have to prioritize, time-block and focus to get it all done.”

Spend most days looking for business

Not by coincidence, this group of successful individuals tends to spend much more time per day than most other agents on lead generation and cultivation. It’s their primary focus.

And though their methods differ greatly and are very diverse, the common thread is they spend more time trying to dig up business each day than any other activity.

“The bottom line [in] my job is to set one qualified appointment a day,” said Frank Del Rio, Coldwell Banker in Brea, California. “This benefits my sellers to find buyers for their homes, and it benefits my buyers by creating inventory.”

Formulate clear goals and plans

Top producers may simply accomplish more than their peers because they have taken the time to more clearly define their goals. Even more importantly, they tend to have laid out the plans to achieve those goals complete with activities and a timeframe.

“Goals and plans are your map,” said Pablo Rener, Keller Williams in Newport Beach, California. “They are like your navigation system. You need them to get to where you are going. You also need them to tell you if you’ve gone off course.”

Become highly skilled

Yes, most of those who are succeeding at a high level are also highly skilled professionals. They are the Jedi sales masters of the real estate industry. The have honed their abilities at listening and communicating. And they don’t stop there.

They are life-long learners.

As good as they are now, they still read, study, practice and continue to look for ways to improve.

“Skills are so important because you are always talking to people, selling yourself, handling objections and closing,” said Christian Fuentes, Remax Top Producers in Diamond Bar, California. “You need skills and experience today; it’s a skill to be able to listen and to then be able to ask the right questions to get the right answers.”

Don’t fear failure

Top producers seem to be fearless when it comes to failure. They don’t let fear or failure stop or derail them — it’s a motivator.

“The more you fail, the more you will succeed,” said Vija Williams, The Vija Group in Seattle. “They go hand in hand. You can’t have massive success without massive failure. So embrace the failure as part of the path to success.”

Give accountability a place

The four-letter word of the real estate industry is accountability. I could drop the f-bomb, and it would be better received by most agents.

This was the first thing brought up by each top producer I spoke with.

Ultra-successful agents seem to have accountability all over the place in practically every aspect of their lives including nutrition, exercise, lead generation, arriving at a certain time to the office — the list goes on and on.

And the accountability they have to put in place with others is the most magical ingredient of all.

“Accountability is the cornerstone of execution,” said Chris Watters, Watters International Realty in Austin, Texas. “If you’re going to execute in a timely fashion, you must have accountability in place.”

Now comes the most difficult part. Reading about what makes top producers successful is easy. Making changes to emulate them in an attempt to duplicate their success is difficult, and because it’s difficult, very few do it.

Most choose to take the easy way out, even if it means sacrificing success, and that’s why two agents who may only sit 20 feet apart can often have such different results in this business.

Take a cue from top agents, and implement these habits today.

Dan Smith is an authorspeaker, strategist and team leader in Mission Viejo, California. Follow him on Facebook.

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