The National Association of Realtors logs its membership to date at 1,117,566 people (as of May 31, 2015). That’s a LOT of real estate professionals.
However, only 2% of that number earns more than $250,000 per year, and even getting in the upper five-digit range is rare - the median gross income of Realtor®s is $45,800.

Why such a large gap in pay grade? While there are certainly contributing factors such as geographic market fluctuations and effort put in, we have noticed that there are several habits most successful real estate professional share.

1. Get up early and get into a routine. This is a habit practiced by most successful professionals in general – getting an early start to your day as part of a daily routine is crucial. Get into the habit of knocking out the task that you are least looking forward to that day first. Doing this will leave the rest of your day open to doing the things that inspire you. Kudos if part of your routine includes a morning exercise session, which has been shown to increase productivity and increase blood flow to your brain. Some people like to schedule a block of time for working in the morning (answer emails, handle paperwork), breaking for a few hours before starting back in the afternoon with showings and meetings. Whatever your routine ends up including, the important part is that you get up early, and maintain consistency throughout your workweek.

2. Return calls and emails immediately. Successful real estate agents never miss out on an opportunity. This means picking up their phone whenever it rings and answering emails promptly. They make their clients (and potential clients) feel important and maintain consistent contact with them throughout their relationship. Being available constantly to answer any questions that may arise or deal with any problems that pop up will lead to extremely satisfied clients, and referrals! When those referrals call or email it’s incredibly important to (you guessed it), return their calls and emails as quickly as possible.

3. Are technologically savvy. In this day and age, there is no excuse for a person working in real estate to be unfamiliar with the latest technology. Technology is such a large part of how we, as a society, communicate and as we’ve established, good communication is key! Most highly successful agents own smartphones and tablets and know how to use them to their advantage. They leverage technology to give their clients the best real estate experience possible. Most real estate brokerages have websites that allow clients to search for homes, save those searches, and learn about neighborhoods in their area of interest. A select few websites even have sold home data available for registered clients to view. Being an expert at working with these tools, and teaching their clients to do the same sets them apart from the competition as a knowledgeable resource. Additionally, there are tons of applications available to assist Realtor®s with CMA presentations, open house client information capturing, and marketing. The ways technology can support a real estate agent are endless - utilize them!

4. Work their SOI. Top producing real estate professionals are expert networkers, and usually have vast spheres of influence (SOI). What is a sphere of influence? It’s the people in your network. Neighbors, friends, coworkers, fellow PTA members, friends-of-friends, all of these are potential clients that should be marketed to. Successful Realtor®s spend their marketing budget wisely, making sure they touch everyone in their SOI with some form of communication at least once a month. An excellent way to do this is through email marketing. Sending out a monthly market update or newsletter keeps agents top of mind with their clients. Another great way is to send a monthly postcard to everyone in your sphere, or send a small gift to some of your best clients on holidays or special occasions. Letting clients know that you are available and ready to share your skills and knowledge at all times will lead to referrals and repeat business. Who wants to miss out on that?

5. Know their area well. Most importantly, the best real estate agents know their area of expertise like the back of their hand. They should know what’s currently on the market, what has been sold recently, and for how much. They should know more information about a neighborhood than the average Joe can find using a simple Google search. Knowing about the entertainment options, outdoor activities, and schooling options in their neighborhood(s) and surrounding areas is one of the most important things a Realtor® can do. This helps them truly find the best home for their client based on the information they have collected through working together. Having a wealth of knowledge leads to happy clients, and happy clients lead to more business. You see where we’re going here, right?

These are all essential components to any successful real estate agent’s career. Striving to incorporate them into everyday life can make the difference between a real estate career flop and becoming a top producer!