Assist-2-Sell Elite Properties Inc.

“I sell myself first, then the product.”

What makes her special: Dougherty entered the business in 1992 with a combination of good timing and chutzpah. Needing money to pay back college loans, she approached a builder, who gave her a job selling his homes. “People were standing in line to buy homes,” she says. “I’d sell six to eight homes a week.”

How she learned the ropes: Many of those early buyers were “analytical engineers,” she says. “I had to describe homes to them in precise detail, so I quickly learned about the product.” She opened her company in 2000, and the company now represents a large local developer working with 15 builders.

Getting two sides out of new-construction deals: She encourages builders to send their buyers to her for the sale of their existing house. Then, she discounts her commission rate for those sales, leaving the sellers more money for their new home. “I take a small hit,” she says, “but I make up for it in volume, because the builders recommend me to all their buyers.” The strategy helped Dougherty close $11.2 million in sales in 2002.