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What makes a top producer in real estate?

What makes a top producer?

Stop and think for a few minutes about who the top producers are in your market?

Ok, now think about what they doing that has allowed them to continue to consistently produce in a down market, when everyday REALTORS are throwing in the towel.

Every day I scan the MLS to see, what has sold, what is active, and what went under contract (I assume that is something most agents do every day.)

Over and over again the same names pop up as the listing agent with the home that sold or the actual buying agent that sold the home.


Except for one agent in my area, all the top producers have teams. Now it may be a two person, husband and wife team or a well oiled team with a team leader, several assistants, a listing coordinator or a closing coordinator. But, they all have HELP.

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In my area, the names that keep popping up are on Teams. I believe it is virtually impossible to be a top producer without help. Well, you could do it alone but if you do how is that effecting time with your family? Realistically how many transactions can you juggle and give good service?

Running a Business

The second thing I notice about those top producers is the fact that they treat their business like a business. Real Estate to them is not just selling a house, but something they brand, allocate resources for, grow and manage. Not only are they thinking of ways to grow their business but they also thinking of the future and how to sell it down the road.

I remember being told by a entrepreneur friend of mine years ago, “all businesses are built to be sold.”

Far to many REALTORS, think of Real Estate as a job they do and someday when they retire then all the hard work of creating and nurturing relationships they have built is gone. (I’m outta here)

Focused and Positive

One other observation I have observed with top producers is they are focused and positive. I never see them “hanging out at the office”, or attending broker opens, or really for that matter, serving much at all on their local boards. Oh there are a few, but really very few.

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Finally, I don’t see many top producers in my market on Twitter, Facebook, Empire Avenue or other social media sites during the day. I don’t see them at every conference known to man around the country.

What I do see is they work everyday, on their business and in their business.

How ‘bout you?

Think of the top REALTORS in your market, what characteristics do you see?

Flickr Photo Credit

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Written By

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.



  1. Rachel LaMar, J.D.

    June 21, 2011 at 10:17 am


    I agree that to be a top producer one has to have help and treat real estate as a business. I do not agree on the social media issue – I think socializing with other Realtors teaches the agent not only how to keep a pulse on the market, but also provides a tool whereby the agent can learn from other agents. Twitter has connected me with top agents all over the country (and beyond), and what I have learned from those connections is invaluable in my business – both to me and to my clients as well. In this day and age we agents simply MUST be in contact with each other in order to do the best we can do as Realtors.

  2. Missy Caulk

    June 21, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Rachel, I was wondering "if" anyone would think I was saying that. Not so I use Social Media everyday, just pointing out an observation of the top agents in Ann Arbor.

    In my local market I just don't see those at the top using it very much if at all.

    To those of us growing our business it is one of the best places to me because that is where the consumers are.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Daniel Bates

    June 21, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I love the post. I'm still trying to get there myself, although I don't ever want to be a top producer in my MLS, just the respected agent in my small neck of the woods, but my eyes are always toward building a brand that can be passed on.

    I think that there's a changing of the guards we are witnessing. Current top agents can be still be at the top through their previous years/decades of hard work not in social media (including blogging), while most new comers to the list are getting there through social media. Give it another 5 years and the former will have either retired, adopted social media, or continued to ignore it and started to see a decline in their bottom line. While you'd have a hard time finding one of the latter without a heavy presence in social media.

    PS – If I had something more pressing to do right this minute, I probably wouldn't be commenting on this article, but selling a house instead 😛

  4. sfvrealestate

    June 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    One word on what it takes: money. All those team members and all the raising of profiles costs money. You can buy yourself a career in real estate and many have.

  5. Ben Fisher

    June 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    No top producers here are using social media which is why I am not on board with this huge trend of doing it to generate business. It does not do it, in the vast majority of cases.

  6. ken brand

    June 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    That sums it up nicely. It's hard work, put it pays-for-performance well. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Sue Adler

    June 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I'm the top agent in my region and I do agree with everything you you are saying with the exception of the social media aspect, as long as the agent has a social media strategy. I'm definitely on facebook every day but this is how I stay in touch with my clients/past clients on a regular basis. If you're playing, then, yes, it's a waste of time, but if you have created private mastermind groups with other top agents, and have your clients /sphere categorized into lists and follow their newsfeeds, then you are using it purposefully. Look at Ben Kinney. He's now the #2 agent in KW, yes, with a team. And he's MR social media. But you can be damn sure he's got a social media strategy.

  8. Missy Caulk

    June 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Sue, agreed…but you and Ben are exceptions to the rule. There are just not many in my market using it, non of the top ones.

    Daniel,I like your observation, the top ones are older, established and work mainly by referrals. New agents or should I say up and coming ones do embrace it.

    Ben,if you are new in the business, Social Media is the way to connect with friends and your sphere. I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water. I use it everyday and even though I have been a REALTOR for 17 years I have embraced it. IMHO it is far more effective than open houses and cold calling, which is old school. And no the top producers don't do those things either.

  9. Cindi Hagley

    June 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I would add one other element – PASSION. The top producers are passionate about the industry, their business, their brand, their team members, and their clients.

  10. Michael Hon

    June 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    You have to treat it like a business not a hobby. It takes mental and physical fortitude.

  11. Matthew Thomson

    June 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    In our area, almost everyone who serves on our local Realtor board is a top producer. About 1/2 of our top producers attend broker's opens.
    I guess I could throw myself into that realm (top 2% in my area, but my area is small…I only do approx $6M/yr), so I'm not sure if that fits as top producer or not.
    I believe that one element of treating your business like a business is being a productive member of your industry community.
    For me, attending broker's opens is essential. We are a small community and a small market, and I believe the relationships I've built, largely through broker's opens, has given me a level of validity and respect that many others don't have. I think agents bring offers to my listings, and receive my offers, with a bit more optimism because of the relationships I've built.
    My involvement in our local Realtor board I believe has done the same. It's also given me a greater understanding of my industry as a whole.
    If there's one thing keeping me from being a top producer, I'd agree it's my lack of a team.

  12. Missy Caulk

    June 23, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Broker opens here Matthew are only attended by newbies, learning the market. Oh we get a few more if we serve lunch. I attend if one of my friends is holding one.

  13. Joe Loomer

    June 23, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I think it's important to say that one thing top producers do best is know their niche. In our area, you won't see a sign on a lower-end property by a luxury agent, and likewise the king of foreclosures here never lists anything higher end. They know what they're good at, they focus and grow it every day, and they have teams – as you stated.

    We've been blessed to reach the point of hiring a buyer specialist, and the freedom it's given us to continue to grow is absolutely astounding. We're hoping for an assistant by year's end, and another buyer specialist by mid-2012. Much of this growth has come from social media. I was fortunate to have heard both Ben Kinney and Sue Adler speak, and have implemented core strategies learned from both of those wonderful, sharing people. Oh, and by the way – I heard them at three separate real estate conferences ;).

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  14. Missy Caulk

    June 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Awesome Joe!! Are you winking?

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