Here’s how to make more money in real estate in less time. When would-be agents investigate real estate as a career, they ask questions like:

Is a career in real estate worth it?

How much money can I make in real estate?

To answer those questions–and to sell books–you’ll find dozens of books titled ‘how to make a million in real estate’ or ‘how to be a real estate superstar your first year in the business’. You’re lead to believe anyone who goes into real estate is bound to make gazillions–fast. (Have you seen the myriad of TV shows where those beautifully dressed agents show $10,000,000 homes to adoring clients? It looks so glamorous and easy!)  

Caveat: There’s one book for the seasoned real estate agent that really does lay out a concrete path to making, and then profiting a million dollars in real estate. By Gary Keller, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent is based on studies of successful agents and systems proven to produce those results. If you read it, you will discover that this means setting long-term goals and working like you owned a business (you do) for years! 

The sad truth: Few agents make a million dollars. The really sad secret: Over 50% of new agents fail to make it through their first year in the business. There are a myriad of reasons. From interviewing and hiring hundreds of new agents, and seeing so many start-up plans, I believe the main reason new agents fail–and seasoned agents flounder–is that they are following an activity plan that just won’t work to make them money. 

How Most New Agents Launch Their Careers

Most ‘activity plans’ new agents are given are activity plans for failure. (Agents who are floundering are also following these ‘failure-insured’ plans). The proof: According to the last National Association of Realtors’ survey of members, (2019), 54% of agents under two years in the business grossed less than $10,000 (that’s before expenses!). You don’t want to be one of those people. 

What One of Those Failure Activity Plans Looks Like

The situation: You’re relatively new at sales. Your sales manager has suggested several activities for you to do:

  1. Inspect listings
  2. Organize your desk, files, books, etc.
  3. Review forms
  4. Attend orientation
  5. Get your multiple keys; go to Realtor orientation; attend your multiple listing service orientation
  6. Attend your office training

Following directions,  you dive into all these activities, excited to start your sales career. You’re enjoying looking  at pretty homes, and you don’t mind doing the rest of the activities.  In fact, you find these activities rather easy to do, and you’re looking forward to the money just pouring in. If this is a successful real estate career, bring it on!

The Problem: Those Aren’t The Activities that Make You Money

But, the money doesn’t pour in. Look back at that list. Do any of these activities have to do with meeting and working with clients? (the only way you’ll ever make money!). Unfortunately, no. It’s all get ready. Now, there’s nothing wrong with organizing and educating yourself–if you only do it for a short period of time! The big mistake new salespeople make is that they keep doing those ‘first week activities’ as a priority for the remainder of their careers. Don’t do that! (Up and Running in Real Estate , my business start-up plan for future successful real estate agents, categories these activities as business support activities).

Why Would Your Manager Give You a Wimpy Activity List?

New agents have shared with me their ‘interview’ questions. They are not really interviews. They’re just sales jobs. The manager’s goal is to say whatever needs to be said to get that license on the wall. Then, the agent receives that wimpy activity list to underscore the thought that real estate is easy, everyone can do it, and you’ll do great without much effort (not all managers, of course, but, failure rates prove this is all too common.) 

That List is Pre-Sale Stuff

In real estate, we call new homes that are sold prior to their being finished ‘pre-sales’. I want you to think of that list of six activities as ‘pre-sale’. You aren’t going to start making money until you get, as Up and Running in Real Estate states

                                                    on the sales path.

Here’s what that sales path looks like:


*In my Up and Running programs, these activities are called “business producing” activities. 

When to Get on That Sales Path

Give yourself one week of ‘pre-sale’ activity. Then, start your Up and Running business start-up plan, so you’ll get a sale in 30 days. That doesn’t mean you will quit doing those six preparation activities. It just means they will take a lower priority to your actually working with and selling clients.

Staying On Track Isn’t Easy without a Great Coach

Assure your success by asking someone (either your manager or a professional coach) to coach you to your plan and hold you accountable. Why? Because it’s human nature for us to slip back into those easy-to-do, low-risk pre-sale or business-supporting activities, because they’re easy and risk-free. Armed with a proven business start-up plan and a coach, you have the right priorities, the right attitude, and the support you need to succeed. 

Note to managers: Look at the activities you have the new agent doing in his/her first month. Do these activities include lead generating activities, or are they just keeping the agent busy? Be sure your activity list is a success list, focusing on finding, working with, and selling clients, not a busy-work list.

30 Things to Do While You’re in Pre-License School to Hit the Ground Running

If you’re in a pre-license school now, you know you are getting information to pass the test–not to succeed in real estate. You need an activity plan right now so you can do many of the things that will otherwise slow you down once you’re licensed. Grab my 30 things activity plan here.