Learn what “Million Dollar Listing LA” star James Harris’ top tips for up-and-coming agents are here.

After my recent interview with Tracy Tutor, you might be feeling a bit fed up with high-profile real estate stars.

But let me tell you, they’re not all bad. In fact, most of the celebrity agents I’ve talked to have been kind and extremely knowledgeable.

Last week, I published a podcast interview between my associate Ian Lobas and James Harris of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles.

James Harris

Unlike Tutor, Harris was more than willing to share his production numbers, his story and details on how he was able to take his real estate firm from no listings to over $500 million in annual sales.

For all that and more, listen to the podcast below. To get a quick overview of the advice Harris had for up-and-coming agents, read on.


Learn to say ‘I don’t know’

Early in Harris’ real estate career, there were several times he answered a question when he really shouldn’t have. In many cases, it backfired and caused headaches that could have been avoided with these two simple sentences: “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.”

As a real estate professional, you might feel like you’re expected to have all of the answers, but you’re not. If you don’t have an answer to a client’s question, just be honest — tell them you don’t know. Make a note of their questions, find the answers, and get back to them.

The vast majority of clients will be absolutely fine with this as long as you do follow up. The alternative — dishonesty — will quickly destroy any trust you’ve built with clients.

Dress for success

Appearance isn’t everything, but dressing the part of a professional can go a long way when it comes to building potential clients’ confidence in you.

Plus, it’s much easier to pitch to a prospect when you’re looking and feeling your best. For that reason, Harris always makes an effort to dress professionally when on the job. He also keeps his car and office meticulously clean so that he’s never distracted or disorganized at work or on the go.

It should go without saying, but it’s not necessary to invest in a wardrobe as extensive as Harris’. Your look doesn’t need to be flashy; it just needs to be clean and professional.

Leverage your strengths

There are so many licensed real estate agents in America today. To be successful, it’s important to identify what makes you different, what unique skills and attributes you can leverage to outperform other agents.

If you’re just starting out and haven’t had a chance to get a feel for your place in the industry, Harris recommends taking some time to write out your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have those down on paper, come up with a game plan.

Create a strategy that plays on your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses.

If you’re really great at getting in front of clients and selling your services, for instance, give yourself plenty of time to do that. And if you need help in certain areas, like organization and scheduling, consider hiring someone who can handle those aspects of the business for you.

Many agents are tempted to take on everything, especially when launching their new career. While it’s certainly possible for an agent to manage all aspects of their real estate business without help, it’s not easy. Besides, dedicating more time to dollar-productive activities — like prospecting — will ultimately put more money in your pocket.

For additional advice on running a real estate business and details on what it’s like starring in Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, listen to the entire podcast with James Harris.

How do you stay ahead in a changing market? Inman Connect Las Vegas — Featuring 250+ experts from across the industry sharing insight and tactics to navigate threat and seize opportunity in tomorrow’s real estate. Join over 4,000 top producers, brokers and industry leaders to network and discover what’s next, July 23-26 at the Aria Resort. Hurry! Tickets are going fast, register today!

Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy tickets together. Contact us to find out more.


Pat Hiban sold more than 7,000 homes over the course of his 25-year career in real estate. Now, he dedicates his time to helping others succeed as agents and investors. As host of the Real Estate Rockstars Podcast, Pat interviews real estate experts to explore what works in today’s markets. He also founded Rebus University, an online training platform for real estate agents and sales professionals.

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