• To be a top producer, you have to learn to communicate, generate leads, make contacts, have confidence, be quick to respond, be accountable and collaborate with others.

This is the time when real estate agents across the country are thinking about what they can do to make next year their best year ever. The market has been very strong, giving many agents an opportunity to increase sales transactions and earn more income than they have in years.

Of course, technology is playing a big role in an agent’s growth. When studying agents across the country, we see that it’s the agents who combine old-school strategies with new-school technology to redefine the term top producer.

If your goal is to make next year your best year ever, you may want to focus on these seven business building strategies.

1. Become a master communicator

Real estate is not much more than a conversation. Of course, there are many facets of a transaction, but every one of them are carried out through a conversation.

The fastest way to master the conversation is to learn scripts and dialogues. There are dozens of free script books on the internet. And, they all work as long as the agents know how to communicate effectively.

The best way to become a master communicator is to master scripts.

2. Learn to generate leads like a pro

There are only a few ways to gain listings or buyer leads. You can buy them, or you can generate them.

You can buy them by taking over-priced listings, cutting your commission or running ads or mailers to attract leads.

Or you can generate them by simply picking up the phone and making phone calls. If you want a more cost effective and sustainable way of generating business, then do it yourself.

3. Make lots of contacts — every day

The definition of a contact is talking to an adult who owns a property. So, contacts are nothing more than conversations.

Stop thinking that making contacts is bad. You are in contact with people every day, so being more deliberate about making those contacts can only help.

The more people you talk to, the more business you will get. Do not overcomplicate it.

4. Be confident, it counts

In most cases, buyers and sellers will choose confidence over knowledge. An agent who has less knowledge but sounds confident will likely get the business over someone who sounds knowledgeable yet lacks confidence.

Buyer and sellers are yearning for certainty, and the confident agent is the one that makes them feel comfortable moving forward.

Imagine going into surgery and having the option of choosing one of two surgeons: both surgeons are highly educated, have tons of experience and come recommended.

One surgeon talks very calmly, answers all of your questions while looking into your eyes and is very assuring.

The other surgeon talks very fast, seems to be rattled when asked too many questions and his or her hands are nervously shaking. Keep in mind, you are about to be in surgery and a steady and confident hand is important.

Which surgeon will you hire?

Of course, the one with confidence because the surgeon’s confidence in himself or herself gives you confidence, and when you have confidence, you have certainty.

5. Accept that real estate is a game of speed 

In the past, a top agent was typically described as having the most market knowledge or greatest lead generation habits.

Today, an agent can be the fastest to answer his or her phone and level up to top agent status quickly. It’s common to see new agents obtain a real estate license and sell 35-40-plus properties their first year. Typically, they do this by buying leads and having a speedy response time.

Of course, market knowledge and great lead generation strategies are important, but don’t underestimate the need for speed. By the way, a five-minute response time is no longer fast enough. The correct time is in real time — right now.

6. Be accountable 

Many real estate agents get their license thinking that real estate is a career where you have the freedom to make my own schedule. And of course, that is true if you are OK with part-time production.

Freedom is something earned, not just granted when you get a license.

When observing top agents, notice that they seem to have simple habits that they follow every day, and in most cases, they have an accountability partner whom they communicate and check in with daily to make sure they are living up to their commitments.

Accountability in real estate seems to be a bad word. But in the outside world, it’s OK. If you go to a gym, that’s accountability. If you are married, have a significant other, have a child or an animal — you are accountable.

Those who are accountable to lead generation seem to earn significantly more than those who are not.

7. Collaborate with the willing

Stop trying to be the resource, and start being resourceful.

The game of real estate is changing faster than it ever has, and it seems to get tougher each year to keep up. It is important to surround yourself with a group of real estate agents who are willing to be transparent and share what’s working and what’s not working in their business.

Having three to four agents in your office or across the country to collaborate with will pay high dividends to your business.

For example, there are multiple agents at Century 21 Expert Advisors in Charleston, South Carolina, who are collaborating with a parent company in Myrtle Beach.

When one thing is working in one market, they quickly share that information with the other agents so they can all duplicate their great results.

The latest example was an email that went out to their database and generated a few “come-list-me” opportunities. Once it was proven to work, an agent sent it to another in the group, and they duplicated the results.

Collaboration is often overlooked. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel when someone else is willing to share theirs.

If you want to be a top producer or you just want to take your business to the next level, execute a few of the above strategies. Choose one, get it done, and go on to the next.

You have so much untapped potential, and sometimes accessing that potential is easier than you think.

Greg Harrelson is the owner of Century 21 The Harrelson Group in Myrtle Beach. Follow him on Twitter.

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