Would you like for 2018 to be the year that you enter the ranks of top performers? The difference between top performance versus mediocre performance is often quite small.

  • Most clients want the best. If you want to be top performer, work on developing your market knowledge, improving your negotiation skills, doing a better job of marketing and keeping in contact with your referral database.

Would you like for 2018 to be the year that you enter the ranks of top performers? The difference between top performance versus mediocre performance is often quite small.

If you’re ready to bridge that gap in 2018, here’s what it’ll take:

1. Do you have at least one niche where you are perceived as the expert?

Top performers normally have one or two niches where they are the recognized expert. If you haven’t decided upon a niche for your business, do so now.

Niches can include geographical areas or market segments such as relocation, probate, estates or new homes. They can also include serving seniors, families, single women, etc.

To determine which niche will generate the most return for you, identify which types of sales generated the most income for you in 2017 and niche your business there.

2. Can you accurately price properties without looking at the comparable sales?

Because top performers have a deep knowledge of the inventory, they can usually price properties without looking at the comps.

To improve your pricing skills, study the inventory and the comparable sales. See the homes in person rather than relying exclusively on viewing them online.

When viewing property, estimate the selling price before looking at the list price. Track where listings sell and how accurate your predictions were. Remember, knowledge is power.

3. Do you price your listings close to where they sell?

Top performers price properties accurately. To evaluate your performance in this area, look at the last 10 properties you listed.

Did at least eight houses sell within 5 percent of your initial asking price?

If not, strengthen your pricing dialogue. The longer a listing stays on the market, the lower the price. Show the seller the financial benefits of selling in 30 days rather than in six months.

4. Are you obtaining a full commission on at least 80 percent of your listings?

Top performers earn full commissions. To increase your commission rate, determine what services will motivate sellers to choose you over competitors.

Some ideas include using the new chatbot technology to convert online leads, a Matterport 3-D virtual tour, plus creating a social media marketing plan that includes a separate business page on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest that uses the property address as the name of the page.

5. Are you strong enough to stand up to the attorney, business manager or accountant when they are wrong?

Top performers recognize that they are the real estate experts and speak up when necessary. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, consider taking a negotiation or an assertiveness training class.

6. Are prices in your area increasing, decreasing or flat?

Top performers know the market statistics cold. To determine what type of market you are in, look at how much inventory is on the market.

If there is less than six months, you are in a seller’s market with upward pressure on prices. If there is seven to nine months of inventory, you are in a flat market.

If there is more than nine months of inventory, you are in a buyer’s market with downward pressure on the prices. You can have buyer’s and seller’s markets in the same area.

7. Do you have a written business plan?

Virtually all top performers have a written business plan. They know how many listings they must take and how many buyer sales they must close each year to hit their goals.

They also monitor and control expenses. If you need help creating a written business plan, consider taking a business planning class and/or hiring a coach.

8. Do you give sellers a written marketing plan as part of your listing presentation?

Top performers have a written plan for selling their listings. They create a “profile” of the sellers’ ideal buyer and then target their marketing efforts to the profile.

Their marketing plans include both print and digital advertising strategies that differentiate their services from those offered by competitors.

9. Do you contact past clients and your sphere of influence at least 6-8 times per year?

Today it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with your sphere using the social media. Comment on (don’t just “like”) what members of your sphere post.

Send a video email to wish them a happy birthday or happy-anniversary-of-buying-their-house.

Although technology is also important, being face-to-face contact at least twice per year is critical if you want to generate on-going referrals.

10. Do you have excellent problem-solving skills?

Top performers have excellent problem-solving skills. When they need answers, they know whom to ask. Most are also good at being the calm in the middle of the storm.

If you lack strong problem-solving skills, find a mentor who can help you strengthen this skill.

11. Do you follow up on all leads in a timely fashion?

Top performers seldom let a lead get away. If they are unable to respond immediately, they have a system in place that addresses this issue.

It could be an in-office assistant, a service that responds to calls, or as mentioned above, the new lead conversion chatbot technology.

12. Do you delegate?

Top performers recognize their strengths and weaknesses. They focus on what they do well and delegate everything else. If you are too busy, ask yourself what you could have someone else do.

Easy places to start are using a transaction coordinator, having someone drop off keys and brochures, or having a personal assistant who handles errands. Use the time you save to prospect for new business.

13. Do you actively prospect for new business at least four days a week?

Top performers are proactive in their approach to business. They do not expect leads to come to them.

Instead, they door-knock, call on expireds and FSBOs and regularly prospect their referral database. If you are waiting for the business to come to you, you will never be in control of your business.

Ultimately, top performance is about controlling your lead generation and lead follow-up activities.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and

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