Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

By Christopher M. Leporini, REALTOR® Magazine

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent By Gary Keller (Rellek Publishing Partners, 2003)
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Dreaming small limits your success. When you set your sights on the seemingly unattainable, you might surprise yourself by how much you can achieve, says Gary Keller, who co-founded Keller Williams Realty International in 1983. His book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, written with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan, provides readers with step-by-step advice–including models, budgets, and charts–on how to receive $1 million dollars in real estate sales and beyond. It draws from several sources, including Keller’s own twenty-plus years of experience building his real estate company, input from mastermind programs, and interviews with the nation’s top 50 real estate salespeople (as ranked by REAL Trends). Keller is quick to point out, however, that seeking to become a millionaire real estate professional isn’t about the money, it’s about achieving your highest potential. He presents the million-dollar benchmark as a symbol of excellence, rather than a monument to materialism.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent provides a step-by-step, best practices approach to scaling the progressive stages necessary to complete this goal: think a million, earn a million, net a million, and receive a million. Its systematic approach allows readers to keep their overall goal in mind, while setting smaller goals along the way. Keller identifies three core issues that he says lead to success in real estate sales—leads, listing, and leverage. These “Three L’s of the Millionaire Real Estate Agent” form the cornerstones of your business, he believes.

Lead generation should come “first, last, and always,” Keller says. Even experienced real estate salespeople often drop the ball on this key aspect of their business. Pursuing seller listings give you a better return on your time investment than focusing on buyers. Plus, having a listing in hand can often lead to representing a buyer. Finally, leverage means using people, systems, and tools to make the most efficient use of time.

Keller also emphasizes the importance of business models—tools that provide you with a solid foundation, such as specific target goals, for different stages in salespeople’s development. The basic categories of business models remains constant, however, their makeup evolves as readers progress toward their ultimate goal. The book describes four fundamental business model for keeping your real estate activities on track.

  • The economic model gives you a formula to calculate what numbers you’ll need to achieve in specific areas, such as appointments, listings, and sales, to reach your desired net income. It shows you your gross revenue, expenses, and net income. Your conversion rates—from listing presentations to listing agreements and from listing agreements to sales–drive your ability to meet these goals.
  • The lead generation model maps out the strategies that you will employ to reach your desired lead volume, such as setting up a contact database; using seller listings to develop buyer leads; and combing e-mails, mailings, cards and other promotional items to “touch” prospects several times throughout the year.
  • The budget model provides the expense budget categories that you should track, as well as how much of your gross revenue you should devote to each one.
  • The organizational model sorts out which support staff you’ll need to hire as your business expands. For instance, the book advises hiring administrative help first to systemize your business and allow you to concentrate on selling.

These four fundamental business models apply to every real estate salesperson, from the greenest newcomer to the top producer with the golden touch. Once you have reached the millionaire level, the book says, you simply face different issues and require different numbers to carry them out. “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent Models” provide concrete numbers and steps for moving from earning a million to netting a million. For example, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent Economic Model” suggests that if you want to net $1 million in income you need to have goals of $2.4 million in sales revenue and $700,000 in cost of sales.

The book closes on an inspirational note with profiles of 16 real estate professionals who have become millionaires through listing and selling existing single-family homes. This chapter personalizes the advice presented throughout the book, allowing you to absorb these top producers’ methods and motivations in their own words. Putting a human face on the millionaire real estate salesperson underscores the book’s lesson: these are real people who dared to dream big and defined the steps that they needed to take to achieve their goals. If you are determined enough and ground your ambitions in a well-defined plan, the next real estate millionaire could be you.

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