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Answers to real estate agent career questions. Have a question for Mike, go here:

What practices can help take an agent from good to great?

– question submitted by Marlene Rogers.

Let me re-phrase the question:

What can a good agent DO to become a great agent?

MORE of what they are ALREADY doing to be good.

For instance, let’s say you are closing 10 transactions a year from your 1,000 home geographic farm.  If you want to close 20 transactions next year, increase your farm to 2,000 homes and keep marketing the same way.

There is a side benefit to this approach.  The more you do something, the more EFFICIENT you will become.  So odds are good you will improve from the first year and actual close 25 transactions form the 2,000 home farm.

Here is another example.  Let’s say you closed 5 transactions last year from your  100 person Sphere of Influence database.  To double your closings, double your database.  You need to meet and add 100 more people to your SOI database so you can close 10 transactions this year.

Another way to say it is this:

Duplicate Your Success.

Although there are many concepts on the topic of good to great (focus, systems, leverage, etc.), this one idea will help most agent go higher faster.

Good luck!


When farming a condo complex, what do I do about the rental units?

You should double up the marketing.

On the rental units (non-owner occupied), sent TWO pieces of mail each time: one to the landlord and one to the tenant.

To experience the biggest results, you want to mail THREE different pieces each mail-out:

1. To the owner occupant, send traditional “Sell with me” or “Sell & buy Up with me”.

2. To the tenant, send an “Owning is Cheaper than Renting” piece.

3. To the landlord, send a “Sell with me”, “Manage with me”, or “Ready for more rentals?” piece.

Custom design each piece to each market segment and you will dominate your niche.

Good luck!


I want to farm a new condo complex with a pre-designed newsletter 10 times per year. Thoughts?

My biggest concern is this: you are not contacting the home owners with enough frequency. To establish your name and build market share, you need to contact (mail) your farm at least twice per month. After you built your market share to the level you want it, you can pull back to once per month.

I like the idea of targeting the NEW condo complex. Lots of turn over happens in the first 18-24 months in new construction.

Not crazy about the newsletter. It needs to be either branded with a lot more YOU or unbranded with nothing but condo info and offers. You can really customize it to the condo complex. “The ____ Condo Report.”

I recommend you create your own newsletter, flyer, postcard, etc. You can test different offers and different approaches.

If you are aggressive, I recommend you mail two pieces a month and take over the complex. Mail 1 branded piece per month and 1 unbranded (stealth) piece per month.

As a general rule, condos are great for farming because they usually have a higher turn-over rate than houses.

Good luck with the farm!


Where can I get cheap business cards for real estate agents?

Can you do some work yourself?

I design my own business cards and create a PDF.  I use an old program called PageMaker.  I am sure there are newer, easier, cheaper options.

Then I send it to

They are SUPER cheap, fast, and easy.  I have printed full-color business cards and post cards with Got Print for years.  I think they have a program you can use to design online – right on their site.  You should check them out.

Good luck!


Do text message sign riders work for real estate agents?

Real estate agents place a rider on top of the for sale sign with an offer “For home price and details, text this number.”  Then a text will come back with all the details.

The advantage of text reply sign riders is this…you get their mobile/cell number.  Now you can follow up with a call AND a text message.  You know the caller’s phone number and the home they are interested in…immediately by email/text notification.

You have a hot (at least warm) lead sitting in front of one of your listings searching for more info.  You (or your buyer agent) can call immediately and convert the buyer (may also be a seller).  Plus, you can now show your seller PROOF that you are generating interest in their home.

This is a great idea.  People have gone TEXT crazy.  So give them what they want…and get what you want in exchange.

Beats the snot out of letting these people walk away with a paper flyer that they lose.

Many of the top agents are using this technology. It is simpler/faster than designing a flyer or even recording the old IVR scripts.

Be sure to follow up ASAP.  Most top agents agree 5-15 minutes is ideal.  Any longer and the trail grows cold…fast.

Good luck!


Should I buy a new car to impress my clients?

Keep the old car.  Invest the cash in marketing.

Real estate agents need more CASH…not more BLING.

Think Sam Walton (Wal-Mart).  He would be the wealthiest man in America today if he were still alive (his combined family fortune is north of $100 billion).  Sam drove an old beat up truck.

You could use that cash to build your real estate business and throw off even more money to…invest in MORE marketing.  : )

Or buy a new car…only if you want to.

In 19 years, I do not believe I was ever judged by my car (and I too drove mine into the ground).

People judge you by your personality and results…more so the results.

Best way to diffuse this, joke with client.  “I can’t help myself…I invest every dime I have in appreciating real estate…not depreciating cars.”

Good luck!


How did your real estate career start?

Like most agents, I struggled my first few years.  I closed 12 transactions in my first 18 months.  It was not pretty.

Then I stagnated at 20 transactions per year for several years.

The big break came when a veteran agent gave me a cassette tape (dated myself) of an interview with a top agent.  It opened my eyes.  I realized that this business boils down to one thing…

Spend 80% of your time FINDING a buyer or seller.  You must have clients to work with or you do not have a business.

Most of us find a client, work with the client, track the client, and close the client.  Then 30, 60, 90 days later, we have to start all over again and FIND a new client.

You need to keep the FIND A CLIENT machine going all the time.  You need a system.

My recommendation to you, focus all your time on finding buyers and sellers.  Your broker and other people in the office will get behind you and help you with the rest.

Every agent needs clients FIRST.

Oh.  You probably want to know if it worked.  Yes it did.  My business shot up when I started focusing on lead generation.  I averaged 100 closings per year for three years in a row (95, 105, 113).

Hope this helps.

Good luck!


P.S.  How did your real estate career start?  (Tell us your story below.)

I’m a new agent. How do I keep up with all the changes in real estate?

If you’re smart, you’ill niche into one market segment.

You’ll spend all your time working that market.  You’ll quickly determine what you need to learn and will seek it out.

You’ll be in the MIDDLE of the action.  You’ll absorb the knowledge by osmosis.  You’ll become the expert.

BTW, most agents don’t niche/specialize.  Therefore, they have to know everything about everything.  It is impossible, so they waste time spinning their wheels.

The key is to specialize.  Then everything will fall into place.

Good luck!


I am a part time real estate agent with kids. Can part time agents do well?

The reality is this…most agents are only working part time.

It is not how many hours per week you work, but what you do with those hours.

My most successful buyer agent worked “part-time” (without my knowledge).  She was watching her kids all day.  This should have been a recipe for disaster.  But it worked because…

She made all of her follow-up calls every day (from home).  She immediately responded to all the leads I gave her.  I mean immediately.  She was very aggressive about calling and setting showing appointments.  It paid off big time…

She closed 6-9 transactions per month…working part time.

She is unusual and exceptional.

The key was this:  She did not mess around with time wasting activities.  She did what makes the most money…she talked to leads and converted them to clients.  She worked the calls around her family obligations.  She was aggressive in this pursuit.

Good luck!


How does a new real estate agent get clients?

As a real estate agent there are really only two ways to get clients:  prospecting or marketing.

In prospecting, you chase prospects (i.e cold calling/door knocking expired listings and for-sale-by-owners). In marketing, prospects chase you (i.e. direct mail, geographic farming, print ads, online ads, etc).  Both work…if you do.

The best advice I can give is this:  pick one method and get good at it.  Spend 80% of your time FINDING home buyers and sellers.  The TRUE business of a real estate agent/broker is to FIND clients.  Everything else is secondary.  Don’t waste time on file organizing, software selection or other money losing activities.

So HOW do you find clients?  That is THE question you (and every other agent/broker) MUST answer and re-answer each and every day of their career.  Focus on lead generation and everything else will fall into place.

As proof, I was just talking with a top agent Wednesday who closed 463 transactions last year.  I asked what he needed help with.  His answer:  How can I get more listing appointments?  His market shifted and he is scrambling to FIND new clients.

Again the news flash is this…you will spend the rest of your career searching for buyers and sellers.  So get good at a technique/method you like…and keep doing it…and be open to trying new ways to find clients.

Take a deep breath…and get focused.  You are asking the right question.  Only you have the answer.

Welcome to the profession.  Good luck!

Where can I buy some cheap real estate agent business cards?

Can you do some work yourself?

I design my own business cards and create a PDF. I use an old program called PageMaker. I am sure there are newer, easier, cheaper options.

Then I send it to

They are SUPER cheap, fast, and easy.

I have printed full-color business cards and post cards with Got Print for years. I think they have a program you can use to design online – right on their site. You should check them out.

Good luck!