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The 100 Days Trick

100 Days Trick

I have seen the future and it is a lot like the past, only longer. There is a “trick” that time plays on people. For most working Realtors the trick that time plays is about 100 days.

In this business, it takes about 100 days from the time you do the things that matter until you get paid. What you did or didn’t do (Dollar Productive Activities) in March will determine how much income you receive in June. This lag in time contributes to many agents failure to realize that they personally control their income. But there is a time lag. This isn’t to suggest that if you were hit by some natural disaster that you won’t be effected – you will. I have a Realtor friend in Biloxi, Mississippi whose entire office was physically under water after Katrina hit. That can kind of wreck your day. Another friend of mine, a top ERA agent, who woke up to find that every open escrow and every listing she had was just gone or under water. No surprise, those escrows didn’t close. I am not suggesting that these things don’t matter or can’t cause quite an effect, at least a temporary one. But those agents – both winners – bounced back.

Over the years, sometimes you catch a buyer at just the right time or happen across a seller who wants to list immediately and as luck would have it, you wind up with an escrow in just a few weeks from the time you first made contact. Because it is so easy to to remember when you connected with them it is common for an agent to wind up with a very false picture regarding how long it takes to get business and get paid. It is very seldom just a few weeks. Very rare, indeed. It is usually about 80 to 110 days – about 100 days. Don’t depend on luck. If you were to actually do the things this month that really matter (not the pointless, silly and non-productive actions that are so “important”) like working directly on Lead Generation, Lead Conversion and Listing Appointments – your income this next September could be your highest ever.

I swear this isn’t some trick I’m trying to play on you.

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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. Eric Blackwell

    June 3, 2008 at 2:58 am

    IMO, the key to it is in how you reacted to this post. If your first thought was “Yeah, but….(insert you explanation of why you are different and the rabbit doesn’t apply to you.) ” Then you need to go back to the top and read it again. (grin)

    If you cannot help but going through that process 3 times because you keep saying “yeah, but”…I see a J.O.B. in your future. Attitude (actually, the effort it generates), is IMO what carries the day here.

  2. Bill Lublin

    June 3, 2008 at 4:40 am


    You always amaze me because we share so many business philosphies – For years, in previous tough times, I would ocme home after spending the day working, and hearing about people “spinning their wheels” – and I would tell my wife that if you spin your wheels long enough, eventually you get through the snow or slush and hit solid ground, taking off and moving forward.

    I always felt that if I went to work and worked hard every day, things wouldhappen for me. Often they weren;t the things I was working on, but I think its sort of a work version of “What goes around – Comes around”. If you work you get rewards –

    Ain’t nothing takes the place of a good work ethic and dogged determination – Dang I love people that work hard! 😉

  3. Joe Manausa

    June 3, 2008 at 5:17 am


    Very well written. I teach this all the time to my agents as well. Do not celebrate the closings, for they are what you did. Celebrate the contacts and the follow-up calls; they are your job today!

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    June 3, 2008 at 5:17 am

    This is an important point in that while working with new agents, I’ve found over and over again that they have the “45 Day Syndrome.” The agents (even new-new ones) think that they find the client, show houses for two weeks and then take the next 30 days to close. This leaves them disregarding the fact the a lot of clients take up to 9 months to incubate from first contact. This is why so many agents only return calls to “right now” clients instead of looking for future business to sustain them.

    Great thoughts!

  5. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 3, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Some of you may recall the saying: Keep on Truckin’! It definitely applies to real estate. Its (generally speaking) not a 9 to 5 job with a weekly paycheck, so the expectations that go along with a “regular” salary need to get pitched in the trash can. One corollary I would add to the post is: Avoid hanging with those agents that are consistently negative about everything. Their negative outlook can impact your outlook as well. Keep on Truckin’!

  6. BawldGuy Talking

    June 3, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Russell — You brought back a lesson one of my most treasured mentors taught me back in the day. It must be the affects of inflation, ‘cuz he called it the 90 Day Miracle. 🙂

  7. Benn Rosales

    June 3, 2008 at 11:00 am

    When the market was firing on its own cylinders here in Austin, it was 45 to 60 days, but it’s feeling like 100 right now.

  8. Eric Blackwell

    June 3, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I guess the bottom line is that no matter whether 45, 100 or 300…the only way we are gonna survive (thrive) in any of those markets is to fill the pipeline and keep it full..

    @Benn–That is about the same here. I have some REALTOR friends in Austin and your market seems to parallel ours very closely.



  9. Ken Smith

    June 3, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    100 days sounds about correct. I have stepped up efforts a number of times and our team always seems to see the rewards about 3 months later. We always try and increase our prospecting before bringing on new team members so the current members will not see a decrease in leads and closings.

  10. Rich Jacobson

    June 3, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Russell: So true! I think the most common mistake by newer agents, and some of us seasoned salts, is to forget to be constantly marketing to keep the pipeline full. Many times, we can get so focused on the deals at hand, that we forget to promote ourselves at the same time, to attract the next few deals. Multi-tasking, it’s what we do best, right?

  11. Frank Jewett

    June 3, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    When I worked at the board, I was recruited to become an agent by several brokers. Most of them promised that within a couple of years, I’d be working by referral only, as if the phone would just ring by itself. This seemed to be an admission that farming and marketing were the least desirable aspect of the business. When I worked at the title company, I got a chance to see which agents were farming and marketing based on requests for information. Most of those agents were posting consistent numbers, even in a down market. Persistence is the key, regardless of what method you use. Even if you grow your business over cocktails, you still have to show up.

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