Decades of research shows that high-performing salespeople consistently do these seven things to build more business.

Researchers from many different institutions have discovered that the most productive sales professionals have certain personality traits and work habits. We’ve highlighted some of the pertinent findings from multiple studies applicable to real estate. Though not all these studies are scientific, they provide a good base for determining items that are important to your sales success.


Showcase the technology you use in your marketing. Without boasting, you want your clients to know that you’re ahead of the technology curve and better equipped than your competition. Putting your tech tools on display subtly suggests that other agents are behind the times and can give you a sales edge, according to the 2016 Real Estate Tech Trends report by Properties Online Inc. It’s not just about what you use but how you use it. Enabling faster response times, paperless transactions, and more fluid showings are reasons why 55 percent of consumers say they want an agent who uses technology, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report. Therefore, making technology a bigger line item in your budget is advisable. For example, agents who spend $1,000 or more annually to maintain and upgrade their website generate an average of three times more leads than those who spend $500 or less, according to the Properties Online report. Further, the highest-performing salespeople are 24 percent more likely to attribute their success to technology tools that better track leads or prioritize and automate follow-ups, according to LinkedIn’s State of Sales in 2016 survey.



Stop multitasking. Checking email and text messages while performing other duties makes you less productive. A Stanford University study found that people who multitask can’t maintain focus, recall information, or seamlessly switch from one activity to the next as well as those who complete one task at a time. On top of that, it takes a person an average of 23 minutes to regain focus once they’re interrupted, according to a separate study by the University of California, Irvine. Multitasking leads to higher stress, heavier workloads, and ineffective time management, researchers found. To work smarter, block out time during your day for special tasks such as prospecting, social media management, and showings. Learn how to create a time-blocking template.



Keep improving your response time. Many practitioners blame follow-up failures on technology overload and disparate software systems, as 40 percent of prospective buyers report not receiving a response from an agent after submitting a form online, according to a survey® presented at last month’s REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago. But don’t forget the pervasive stat from’s Lead Response Management Study that leads who receive a response within five minutes are 100 times more likely to convert. “Personalized responses are more important and directly impact customer satisfaction and the likelihood consumers will use you as their agent,”® Senior Vice President Suzanne Mueller said at the conference. To improve your response time, consider hiring an assistant or taking a more critical look at the systems you’re using for lead capture and follow-up. Several programs offer automation, including a “lead concierge service” from, which provides a personalized call center that will respond to consumer inquiries and even qualify buyers. The operators will transfer hot leads to you immediately. Get other ideas for possible solutions.



Have the ability to feel what your client is feeling. Empathy is a key sales trait, according to the landmark 1964 study “What Makes a Good Salesman,” which was originally published in the Harvard Business Review. The study was conducted over a seven-year period, using 7,000 salespeople as subjects. The study concluded that showing sympathy for a client was not as powerful as being empathetic. You don’t have to agree with your client, but you’ll build rapport faster if you help him or her feel understood. If you sense a customer’s dissatisfaction with a contract item, for example, be proactive in addressing it. Being empathetic is the ability to identify your clients’ frustrations and react appropriately, according to the study.



Let your ego drive you. A need to conquer is healthy in business, according to the 1964 study. But a more personal desire to succeed rather than being driven by money is what sets top salespeople apart. Allow each sale to boost your ego, and in turn, the failures will be motivators to work harder. Salespeople with a healthy ego also tend to crave competitiveness and are constantly comparing themselves to their peers. This doesn’t mean having a “win at all costs” attitude, researchers note. Empathy and ego go hand-in-hand; a salesperson who displays empathy but lacks ego won’t close deals effectively, according to the study. In other words, such a person may fall into the “nice guy” rut, not being assertive enough to close the sale.



Maintain a conscientious attitude. Salespeople who feel a noble purpose in their work and want to make a difference in their customers’ lives tend to close more sales, according to a 1993 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. The study found that sales associates who conform to such a belief were more likely to set and stick to their goals—and they received higher-rated reviews. Salespeople who truly care about their customer’s needs are able to be more assertive during negotiations, according to sales consultant Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Selling With Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud. You might show this attitude in your marketing by changing your tagline from “we sell houses” to “we help you sell your house.” It puts the emphasis not on what you do but what you do for the client.



Make others feel grateful. A giving mindset can help you reap bigger rewards. Givers are quick to recommend contractors and other professionals who can help a client reach a goal, and they’re not selfish with their time. Salespeople with a giving approach bring in 68 percent more revenue than those with a taking approach—who put their own ambitions first—according to research documented in Adam Grant’s best-selling book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. Givers tend to earn more respect and trust from others—an essential element of building client relationships—due to their generosity. But they are also at risk of being exploited for their time and energy, so a careful balance must be achieved between giving and taking, Grant notes. But in the end, “givers end up delivering something better suited to what their clients are looking for,” Grant writes. “They see more of an increase in referrals and repeat business, too.”