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Quantity – Quality – Viability

“Miracles are great, but. they are so damned unpredictable.”
– Peter Drucker

The Sequence

Quantity, then quality, then viability.  That is the correct sequence with regard to leads, listings and leverage.

Leads always comes first.  In this business if one can not generate sufficient leads nothing else will matter.  It will make no difference how smart you are or how much you know – if you don’t have any customers to talk to.  Lead conversion is obviously the action sitting between having sufficient leads to wind up with a sufficient amount of listings.  But just having enough leads is the very first thing.

Getting Careful

Ever “get careful” with a client or customer?  You know, where you don’t dare screw up?  It is a great feeling, isn’t it?  Not.  Nothing succeeds like insouciance.  Show me someone “being careful” and I’ll show you someone who is really “serious” and who is also about to make mistakes.  When one is playing, having fun, there is no need for carefulness.  To achieve this with customers it is necessary to know that you can get more.  If you know there are lots of them and that they are easy to acquire then no need to be “careful with this one”.  You’re happier and the customer gets a much better experience too (as they are being taken care of by someone who is relaxed about about the outcome and knows what they are doing).

Quite often, if one has the viewpoint that customers are scarce, they get into carefulness.  This is common with agents barely making it – as the very reason they are barely making it is they don’t have enough customers.  The reason they don’t have enough customers is either they don’t have an effective lead generation system or don’t consistently use the effective one they do have.  Either way, not enough leads is a “bad” thing as it leads to carefulness.

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Future Viability

The future success and viability of a real estate office can be accurately predicted by how many producing agents they have.  Not how many high producing agents, just how many producing agents.  Offices (particularly those paying rent for space in a commercial office building) with just a few producing agents are often candidates for going out of business.  For agents it is how many listings they have; the average number of listings an agent carries will be the best indicator of their future viability.  Notice it is quantity first, not quality.  Having one or two “good ones” is not a substitute for having many listings.  In the first place if an agent has two “good ones” he won’t have them for long and he is at once down to zero listings for sale.

Obviously we strive for the very highest quality – in every area of our business.  But when just getting an area going (for the very first time or when getting it going again) do not fixate on quality.  It is quantity.

Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and



  1. Brian Brady

    June 26, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Russell, I’m convinced you have ESP. I mentioned that I was holding on pretty tight and needed to get back to the “pick and choose” mentality I had earlier this year.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    June 26, 2008 at 5:32 am

    You right (no surprise there) that being professional and yet still relaxed with your clients is very important. Some of the best clients I had were those who I enjoyed and they knew it. If I didn’t particularly like someone, I never heard from them again after the transaction. Those who I shared meals with or visited after the closing have been a great source of referrals and repeat business.

  3. Greg Cremia

    June 26, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Finally, a blogger who isn’t trying to make me feel like I am wasting my time collecting large quantities of leads. If you can get them in large quantities the odds are in your favor that some of them will be useless and some of them will be gold mines and everything in between.

  4. Mack in Atlanta

    June 26, 2008 at 7:40 am

    It’s no secret, you have to list to last in this business.

  5. Nickie

    June 26, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Great point!

    When you feel good, it rubs off on others, including your clients. Your clients will be attracted to you because they will want some of what you’ve got.

    What you focus on expands. Think about scarcity and you create scarcity. Think about working with the perfect clients, in the best transactions, with the best agents, having the perfect number of transactions and you can attract that. When things get tight, it can be a challenge to remember to keep the negative out of your head, but it sure does make a difference when you stay on track with your goals.

    Thanks for the reminder! Today’s focus will be LOTS of quality leads, the best of both!

  6. Ken Smith

    June 26, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Russell I think besides trying to be “perfect” that not having enough business leads many agents to do things that many would consider inappropriate or even unethical.

    “The future success and viability of a real estate office can be accurately predicted by how many producing agents they have.”

    Thanks for reminding me of that. Thinking of opening an office and I was commenting last night that I don’t want agents doing small amounts of business. My wife said “you really wouldn’t want to take an agent that will do 6 transactions year in and year out”. Naturally she is correct, those 6 transactions a year cover a good amount of bills for an office.

  7. Michael Wurzer

    June 26, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Ever “get careful” with a client or customer? You know, where you don’t dare screw up? It is a great feeling, isn’t it? Not.

    Russell, the quote above summarized exactly my feelings about “sales” when I first started running FBS. We were a small company (still are) and wanting to grow (still do). I’d find myself in front of an MLS Committee or Board of Directors explaining our software and, as questions would come forward, the pressure would mount. I so much wanted their business and the desire to say YES to every question was incredible. As you say, that is NOT a good feeling. In fact, for me, it was the worst feeling.

    I realized I couldn’t live with that and needed to change my perspective. My job wasn’t to “get a sale” or “win” but to figure out with the customer whether what we offered met their needs. If I could convince myself first that we were a good fit for the customer, then I had no problem saying no when it needed to be said — and, for all the reasons you describe, that made all the difference in the world. Immediately, whether we had a hundred or zero prospects in the pipeline, I had confidence working with customers we had pre-qualified that we were a good fit for them and that made the sales process relaxed and fun instead of stressful and awkward. And the results speak for themselves — since adopting this consultative sales approach, we’ve been consistently winning as much business every year as we can handle. And we’re having fun doing it.

  8. Scott Cowan

    June 26, 2008 at 10:22 am


    I was starting to think the listings I have right now were “dogs” and then I read this post. Sure I have some listings that might be a challenge to sell in this market but the more listings I get the better I feel and I find myself being more relaxed. Not that I want overpriced listings or leads that will waste my time. It is so much easier to know when to say “next” when there is more in the pipeline.

  9. BawldGuy Talking

    June 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Note: I’d love to have Michael Wurzer in front of the local yahoos in charge of the San Diego MLS. (Listening Sandicor?) So far they’ve proven they’re not qualified to organize a one man picnic.

    One of the lessons learned while working for Dad back in the day, was how the massive quantity of listings tended over time to generate quality too. The sales of the better looking, priced, financed listings provoked positive change from both listing agents and sellers of the ‘poorer quality’ listings.

    Before you knew it, Dad had quantity AND quality, ‘cuz the smart agents, the ones who lasted that is, benefited from the quantity via a far steeper learning curve. Seems increased income is a motivator, go figure.

    Make sense?

  10. Caesar Parisi

    June 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I feel the quality of agents should be more important than the quantity. Unfortunately that is no longer the case in many brokerages as it has become a numbers game. I do have to pride my company on recruiting mostly quality agents.

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