How To Get Ahead Of 99% Of Real Estate Agents

by | Sep 25, 2023

Real Estate is a 90/10 business, meaning 90% of the sales and the money are made by 10% of the agents. But even within that top 10%, the top 1% take home nearly half the income. What makes them different? What do you have to do to be in that 1%? 

If you do the SEVEN things I’m about to reveal in this blog post (or video, if you like videos better) starting today you will get to that level.  


In my 17 year career I sold over 750 homes and was well within the top 1% of real estate agents nationally. I know what it took to get to that level, and honestly, it didn’t take superhuman ability and I didn’t have to work myself to the bone for a decade. If you are willing to work hard for a little while, and more importantly work very smart, you can be a top 1% real estate agent within a few short years.

The FIRST thing you need to do to become a top 1% real estate agent, and this is tough but real is …


1. FORGET Having A Balanced Life For Your First Year In Real Estate

Many people get into real estate thinking they’ll have freedom and a flexible schedule, but what they don’t realize is that the only agents who have that are either

 (a) those who aren’t doing any business, or

 (b) those who worked very hard during their first year in business to build their foundation, so that they are NOW able to handle a large volume of business and still have a balanced life.

Nothing in life is free, so if you want that result you’ll need to push really hard to get established early on. If you never make that sustained push at the beginning, you won’t get anywhere near being a top 1% agent. You need a year of 150% effort, sacrificing other parts of your life temporarily, if you want to get near the top of this profession. 

If you didn’t invest that year at the beginning of your career, you can start at any time. The sooner you start, the sooner it will be done and over with forever.

Now, at this point, some will say, “Well, I’m not going to sacrifice time with my family to chase the almighty dollar.” It’s fine with me if you want to feel that way, but if so, I think you’re completely missing the point. Your family might see you half as much for a year, but if you build the foundation of your business the right way, they’ll see you twice as much for the rest of your life, you’ll have financial security, and you’ll be able to take some really amazing vacations with them. 

I know from whence I speak… Being a top real estate agent for ten years paid off all our debts: our homes, cars, and everything else, and our most recent family vacations included Sedona, then a high-end ranch in Montana, and almost two weeks in Europe. That’s all because of a big push at the beginning of my real estate career.

Since then I’ve simply maintained it by working smart. Of course I know all good things actually do come from the Lord, so THANK YOU JESUS, but I’ve also always believed that as Ben Franklin said, “the Lord helps those who help themselves.” 

So, be smart and help yourself out. Most of those who are listening to this are in America. This is the land of opportunity now more than ever before. Don’t listen to all those whiners and complainers… and go get you some big success.


The second thing you need to do to become a top 1% agent is …

2. Become a World-Class Real Estate Professional

You need to learn how to be a very good real estate agent, which means being a world-class expert in how to help people buy and sell homes. And that means becoming a true expert in economics, supply and demand, marketing, negotiation, project management, and logistics.

You can’t just show up and be a nice, smiley person. You are asking people to pay you a lot of money to guide them through transactions often totaling in the millions of dollars, and when they ask you what to do, you need to have high-level professional answers for them. 

Some brokerages will help you learn a few of the basics, and leave you having to learn most of it the hard way. That makes no sense. I’m sharing a list of blogs/videos below (from our Client Learning Center) that will shortcut the learning process a ton for you:

Seller Advice:

How to Get the HIGHEST Price for Your Home in the SHORTEST Amount of Time

How to Get An Even HIGHER Price for Your Home Even FASTER

Why You Need TWO Prices When You Sell Your Home

How To Get TONS of Buyers To Come See Your Home

Buyer Advice:

How to Find the BEST Home for the BEST Price

How to Find an Even BETTER Home for an Even BETTER Price


The THIRD thing you need to do to be a top 1% real estate agent is…

3. Fall in LOVE with Lead Generation

Once you know how to do real estate, your #1 job is lead generation, and it always will be as long as you want to stay a top 1% real estate agent, because no one is going to give you clients (well, there is one exception I’ll describe below, and you can’t be a top 1% agent if you go that route).

Right now would be a good time to think about this:  Do you want to SELL and SELL and SELL and SELL and SELL and SELL, or alternatively… are you 100% willing to do that in order to become and stay a top 1% real estate agent? Because that’s what you will need to do consistently. 

Legitimately, you might be thinking, “Well it depends what kind of selling we’re talking about.” I understand that… 


Which brings us to the FOURTH thing you need to do to become a top 1% real estate agent, and that is…

4. Choose YOUR Method of Lead Generation and MASTER it.

There are ten different ways to generate leads in real estate. None of them are even remotely easy (if they were us 1% agents wouldn’t make the big bucks, right?) In my opinion these are the FIVE BEST ways to generate leads, and THESE FIVE ways are not the best. However, any of them will work, if you invest enough time and money and trial and error into them. Depending on your preferences, strengths, and weaknesses, some of them will instantly repel you, and you might think other methods seem like they’ll be right up your alley.

The key is to pick one of those ways, maybe after a short amount of experimentation with a couple of the methods, and stick with it till you master it. Only then will that method consistently generate leads for you. You need to avoid the mistakes too many agents make of trying to do two or three approaches at a time, or continually jumping from one to another as soon as each one gets kind of challenging.

A few minutes ago I talked about how no one gives you leads, except one exception, when you join the team of a top 1% agent as a buyer’s agent, and the team leader gives you some of their leads to work with. However… they aren’t really giving you those leads because when they close you’ll need to give them half of the commission, and the clients, and their future business and referrals, will forever belong to the team leader, not to you.

And so, the FIFTH thing you need to do to become a top 1% agent is …


Look, I get it, these leads can be tempting for a new agent. But here’s the problem: life as a buyer’s agent is tough, because you are always working, always showing homes and dealing with problems and only taking home half the money, but almost every agent who takes these leads becomes addicted. 

Once you have these leads it’s a hard step to walk away from them and go through the parched dry desert of learning how to get their OWN leads. So you’re trapped. By becoming a buyers agent, you become dependent, and your chances of ever becoming a top 1% agent will be dramatically diminished. By the way, New Agents Have Three Possible Career Paths … You Must Choose Wisely (becoming a buyers agent is one of them. I recommend chosing one of the other two paths 🙂 )

The SIXTH thing you need to do is…


6. Have a Superior Home Selling Process and Sell It To Your Clients

Notice I didn’t say a superior home selling pitch or “presentation”, I said a HOME SELLING PROCESS. You need a detailed step-by-step plan for exactly how you are going to go about getting your clients the highest possible price in the shortest time for their home.

Many agents don’t have an actual clue how to do this. If you think about it, the most important job of a real estate agent, the part that takes the most judgment and expertise, is helping homeowners sell their home. Even non-real-estate agents know this, and as a result clients are much more likely to trust a newer agent with the home buying process than the home selling process. If you want to be seen as a top agent and get clients to trust you with the sale of their homes, you must show them a superior home selling process.

Do you have a top 1% home selling process? If not, study the two blogs/videos (also from our Client Learning Center) below carefully and implement the concepts described into your home selling process, and you’ll be well on your way to being a top 1% real estate agent.

The 16 Things Your Agent MUST Do When Selling Your Home (Part 1)

The 16 Things Your Agent MUST Do When Selling Your Home (Part 2)


And finally, the SEVENTH thing you must do to get ahead of 99% of other agents is …

7. Have A Smart Plan To Manage Your Growing Real Estate Business

I say this because when you’re a 1% agent you can’t do it all by yourself for long, and if you don’t plan in advance for the support you’ll need, I promise you’ll eventually crash and experience massive burnout, and the rewards of all your hard work will be interrupted for six months or more while you recover and pick up the pieces.

One option for organizing your business is written in detail in Gary Keller’s book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, wherein he advises you to become a manager and hire and train a team to work directly for you, and help you with client service, marketing, and paperwork. Gary’s method works for some top agents, but most agents can’t stand the idea of being a manager.

The alternative approach for top 1% agents is the method I used, which got me all the support I needed in a more flexible way, at a lower cost, and without having to become a manager, thank goodness.  (There is also a third way to get support which is really more suitable for those doing less business than a typical top 1% agent). In any case, here is a three-part complete guide to all three support choices:

The TRUTH About Building Your Own Real Estate Team

What is the Best Type of Real Estate Team for Client Service, Cost, Volume, and Income?

Which Type of Real Estate Team is Best for Branding, Leadership, and Life Balance?

Well that’s it, those are the SEVEN things you must do to become a top 1% real estate agent, plus links to TONS of additional information that will definitely be super helpful.If you are an agent in the Triangle Area of North Carolina area and you’d like to visit with us to learn more about Relevate Real Estate, click HERE to set up a time to talk with us.


AND… here are more topics you might be interested in reading next:

How to Get Your First Clients in Real Estate (The Complete Guide)

The Five BEST Ways to Get Clients in Real Estate

The Five WORST Ways to Get Clients in Real Estate

The Truth About Personal Branding: Does It Help Or Hurt?

The Ten Different Types of Real Estate Brokerages (for Agents)

New Agents Have Three Possible Paths… Choose Wisely Grasshopper

Three TERRIBLE Career-Crushing Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make When Growing their Business

Three More HORRIBLE Business-Destroying Mistakes Agents Make When Trying to Grow Their Business

How To Choose the Best Brokerage For You (for Agents)

Five NEW Agents Who Failed at Relevate, and Five Who Succeeded Brilliantly

*What New-to-Real-Estate Agents Need to Know Before Joining Relevate*