Dear Zuess,

I have been in real estate for just over 2 years and it’s been very good.  I’ve done over $100k in gross commissions in my second year.  Almost all of my business comes from buyers.  In fact – I’ve only had three real estate listings in all that time. I like my buyers but listings seems like a lot less work.  I see top agents in my office get real estate listings all the time. What gives?


Hi Pat,

Congratulations on a great couple of years and welcome to the big leagues, almost.  You’re thinking right – the key to making big money in real estate without becoming a workaholic zombie, is definitely get real estate listings into your everyday business.  This is true regardless of whether it is a sellers’ market or a buyers’ market.

There are several reasons for this:  Let’s use a retail store analogy to explain the most significant one.  If you have listings, it’s like having product on your shelf.  There is a reason for people to come into your shop and look around.  Once they are in your shop, you have a chance to speak with them, build rapport, learn what their needs are, and use your masterful sales skills to help them choose the best product.  In real estate, when we have listings people don’t literally come into our shop, but they do call, email, inquire via the web, walk into open houses, tweet us, or reach out to have a conversation in a vast number of ways.  This gives us a chance to speak with them, build rapport, find out their needs and use our masterful sales skills to help them make a decision to hire us as their agent.

You can’t build a big business if you have to go out and find every single client from scratch.

Another significant reason that a listing based business is better than a buyer based business is:  You can build effective systems for listings that streamline the process and still ensure a super high quality of service for your clients. Systems for buyers tend to depersonalize the process and deliver a lower quality of service.

Here’s the truth though. Buyers are much easier to find and get a commitment from than sellers are.

Most agents will not want to do the more difficult work of building a listing business.   They  prefer to work with the business that shows up.  A few forward thinking and courageous individuals will make the decision early to truly step into the big leagues and begin marketing and get real estate listings fast.

Shift your intention and things will begin to shift.  Change your language.  “Who do you know of that needs to sell their home in the next twelve month”, instead of, “who do you know that is moving.”  One of the most valuable psychology lessons I ever learned was this:  People will assume we mean “buy a house” when we say “move” and they will check their brain for people that are buying and not people that are selling.  Don’t ask me why – I don’t know – I just know it’s true.  Psychology is complex.

Once you’ve shifted your intentions and shifted your language, the next step is to get serious about finding people that need to sell and building a rock solid lead follow up system.  It takes courage, tenacity and persistence as well as optimism,  patience and compassion,  but the upside of a listing based business is huge.  More business, more consistency, more balance, and a better quality of life.

Go get real estate listings!


Columnist, The Nature of Real Estate

May 2013


Dear Zuess is a column dedicated to offering advice for real estate agents that want to create lasting connections with their clients. Share your story about how you get real estate listings. Drop Zuess a line at