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The NAR Power Broker Roundtable: Top Producers: How They Stay at the Top of Their Game

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The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Jeff Barnett, NAR’s Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

Jeff Barnett, Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Susan Fitzgerald, Prudential Georgia Realty, Atlanta, Ga.
Rick Wanamaker, Iowa Realty, Valley West, Des Moines, Iowa
Mike McCann, Prudential Fox & Roach REALTORS®, Philadelphia, Pa.

Jeff Barnett: No matter the state of the industry, there are always the much-admired few. Those “top producers” who consistently populate the “what-does-she-know-that-I don’t” list of superstars. What are their secrets? How do they stay at the top of their game? For answers, we’ve invited three high achievers who are making it look almost easy, but whose day-to-day routines are worth a second look. Susan, how did you get where you are today and how do you stay there?

Susan Fitzgerald: For me, it’s mostly plain, hard work. I work long hours—sometimes 12 or 15 hours a day. I love what I do and I’m on the phone a lot, and I never put off anything that needs to be done now. I was an Army wife early on, and I know what it feels like to try to make a life in a new place. So I think I relate pretty well. I also treat people the way I sense they wish to be treated and I make an effort to bring value to each and every transaction.

Rick Wanamaker: Real estate is definitely a people business. Customers have to trust you, both for what you know and for your honesty and integrity. And no matter how much experience you’ve gained over the years, you always have to keep learning. Also, no matter how much business comes from referrals, I know I will always be prospecting. My wife and I—she’s a highly successful agent as well—are always out there at public events, seeing and being seen.

JB: So, making the most of your own strengths and putting in some pretty long hours apparently come with the territory. But what are the tipping points? How do you maximize all that time and effort and make it pay off exponentially?

Mike McCann: For me, it was giving myself the freedom to do what I do best, and that’s relate with clients. I started my team in the mid ’90s with one administrative assistant. Today, the McCann team has five full-time assistants and 11 agents. I have my own photographer, my own stager and my own handyman. Working with the team ensures that we have a world class website, the most effective marketing programs and impeccable customer service.

RW: Good marketing is a must. I love emailing and texting, but every client is different. I’m a real believer in high tech, but I know that high touch matters.

SF: There’s a fine line between pushy and persistent and it’s important to be sensitive to that. I try to make every listing, every closing and every client feel special.

MM: You have to go the extra mile. But you also have to work smart.

JB: Duly noted. Working smart includes giving yourself some quality time off. No matter how good your management skills or how good your team, you need to balance all those long hours with a chance to recharge your batteries.

MM: Amen. Taking a break every once in a while brings you back with a fresh perspective.

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