What does it take to sell a billion dollars worth of real estate?
Steve Kantor’s classic 2006 book, Billion Dollar Agent – Lessons Learned, contains a revealing series of interviews with elite agents who have sold a billion dollars’ worth of real estate or who were on track for doing so. As agents face the fiercest competition ever from more than 1.6 million other Realtors, the lessons learned from this book are more important than ever.
What does it take to sell a billion dollars’ worth of real estate? Here are the steps these agents took to build their real estate businesses.
Passion and delegation
A key theme in the book is to build your business on your passion and to delegate everything else. You cannot succeed at this level without a strong support team.
Hire your first assistant as soon as possible
Another important theme throughout the book is that the billion-dollar agents wished they had hired their first assistant sooner. A sizeable majority saw an immediate increase in their business when they hired their first assistant.
Written goals are a must
Billion-dollar producers have written goals. Brad Korb explains:
Ninety-seven percent of those who have written goals achieve them. Only 3 percent of those without written goals achieve their goals. Write down your major purpose in life every day and write 10 ways to get to it…I have business goals, workout goals, spiritual time goals, family time goals, and financial goals.
‘Work on’ your business, not just ‘in’ your business
Billion-dollar agents take time to “work on” their business rather than just “working in” their business. Michael Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited argues that many businesses fail because the owners are too focused on delivering their services, i.e., “working in their business.”
This occurs because they fail to take time to plan, i.e., “working on their business.” This process is especially important if you want to achieve high levels of production. Taking time to plan allows you to create systems. Systems save time, create order in your business, and improve efficiency.
Kantor draws an interesting distinction between what he calls “hunters” vs. “farmers.” Hunters actively prospect for new business by calling on expired listings, for sale by owners, door-knocking, and following up on web leads until they make personal contact. In contrast, “farmers” rely more on regular contact with their sphere of influence.
Based upon the interviews, a sizeable majority of the billion-dollar agents were hunters. As Kantor puts it:
Almost every Billion Dollar Agent is a hunter — an extreme hunter. You would not go hungry on an island stranded with a Billion Dollar Agent. If there is meat running around the island, they will hunt it down, close the deal, and bring home the bacon.
Billion-dollar agents are highly creative in terms of how they leverage their systems. The methods for building this level of business are as diverse as the agents who are included in the book.
For example, Noah Herrera (Platinum Real Estate Professionals, Las Vegas) prefers to market to multiple clients at the same time.
People try to market one-on-one. If you associate with an organization or a charity, you can do a presentation for 50 people for the same effort as for two people.
When Herrera shows new construction to first-time buyers, he loads them on a bus to see the new subdivisions. His record is 30 deals from a single bus.
Be a voracious learner
Billion-dollar agents are voracious learners. They are always hunting for the next idea that will improve their business. Many of them also have both personal and business coaches. A high percentage attributed their success to the coaching they received.
Share your abundance
It’s not all business for these agents, however. Over half are actively involved in charity or in other events that allow them to share their abundance with those who are less fortunate than they are.
After interviewing more than 1,000 agents for his second book, Billion Dollar Agent Manifesto, Kantor added the following:
What is your unique talent among all billion-dollar agents?
While billion-dollar agents are good at many things, they have narrowed their list down to three areas they do best. This may be serving a specific niche in their market, such as first-time buyers, luxury, or investors. It can also include creating systems, maximizing profitability, or managing a team of buyer and listing agents.
Focus on the three profit pillars with the highest profit margins
Which parts of your business yield the greatest profit? Evaluate your closed transactions to determine which activities generated the most profit based upon how much time you spent.
Also, identify your weak or missing revenue pillars that you either used in the past but stopped using, or that you could implement now that would allow you to focus on your unique talents. Remember, delegate everything else.
What holds ordinary agents back?
According to the billion-dollar agents Kantor interviewed, here are the five most commonly cited reasons ordinary agents fail.
- They fail to follow-up
- They lack negotiation skills
- They fail to put their clients’ interests first
- They lack listening and communication skills
- They fail to stay in regular contact with present and past clients
How long does it take to become a billion-dollar agent? If you and your team sell $50 million per year for 20 years, you would be at a billion dollars.
There’s a tremendous amount of wisdom in these two classic books from the undisputed best of the best. Take advantage of them for your business.
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.