How to make it to the top

by Meg White

It’s not just luck that got the agents you see on our Real Data lists where they are today. Hear their advice for how you can up your game and increase your numbers, as well as how to maintain your top producer status once you’ve made it.

“First, build an image and a brand that tells clients and other agents that you are hardworking, honest and sophisticated. That starts with your everyday calls and texts. They need to be ‘on brand’ as much as any advertisement. Second, put closing the deal ahead of your ego, conflicts with the other agent, or any of the other personal things that can get in the way. Your job is to get your clients the best deal they can get. Don’t get in the way of that.” Dawn McKenna, founder of The Dawn McKenna Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate — No. 3 in Chicagoland and No. 1 in DuPage County

“Use a CRM every day — all day. There is just too much information to be running your business with just your contact info in a cell phone. A robust CRM will make you money every day if you utilize it to the fullest.” Tamara O’Connor, co-team leader of the Tamara O’Connor Team and broker-owner of Premier Living Properties in St. Charles — No. 3 in Kane County

“Work harder than everyone else until you can afford to work smarter by hiring an assistant.” Mario Greco, founder and leader of The MG Group at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices — No. 5 in Chicagoland and No. 4 in Cook County

“Never give up. Also, remember that to get to the top, you need to start at the bottom and climb. Start small, dream big and anything is possible.” Jane Lee, leader of The Jane Lee Team with RE/MAX Top Performers in Lake Bluff — No. 8 in Chicagoland and No. 1 in Lake County

“There are a lot of unnecessary and inefficient ways that you can spend your time and money in residential real estate. Do what’s truly important and abandon the rest.” Bryan Bomba, team leader of the Bryan Bomba Group at @properties in Hinsdale — No. 3 in DuPage County

“Your foundation of past clients and their referrals are your strongest and most profitable pieces of business. Take care of them and keep in touch. Also do not sacrifice profit for volume just to make a list. The best top producer runs a true business and needs to be focused on profitability as well.” Rich Toepper, team leader of The Toepper Team at Keller Williams Success Realty in Crystal Lake — No. 5 in McHenry County

“You should go into this and know that you are going to fail. But after you fail enough, you will start to succeed. Those who learn from their mistakes succeed. Those who don’t, fail. Fail forward, and you win.” Matt Laricy, managing partner of The Matt Laricy Group at Americorp Ltd. — No. 2 in Chicagoland and Cook County

“If you are closing homes, but not keeping in touch with your clients and building lasting relationships, you will be stressed out and not likely to maintain a top producer status. Client relationships are the key (and most rewarding, fulfilling part) to being a great agent.” Sarah Leonard, leader of the Sarah Leonard Team at RE/MAX Suburban in Schaumburg — No. 13 in Chicagoland, No. 5 in Kane County and No. 7 in McHenry County

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