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By Marylyn B. Schwartz

RISMEDIA, April 19, 2007-To hear Iris Kalt, an agent from Prudential Centennial in Scarsdale, New York, tell it, real estate was as natural a choice for a second career as marriage and motherhood had been years before. When Iris launched her real estate career, she was working as a part-time agent. She held down two jobs, devoting nearly full time to each. Being a self-avowed type "A" personality, there simply was no room for her to be mediocre at an endeavor. She just did whatever it took to thrive.

Having seen many agents come and go (during her 20 years in the business) and succeed and fail, it seemed appropriate that Iris would have some compelling advice for what it takes to go from a part-timer to a superstar ranked in the top 2% of Prudential's 33,000 agents worldwide. In this interview with Iris she offers valuable insight into how she achieved such meteoric success.

Marylyn Schwartz: What would you tell new or struggling agents how to turn the tide and/or ensure success?

Iris Kalt: Treat your business like a business. Schedule your time and don't just wing it. Devote time daily for lead generation and follow up. Focus on scheduling appointments with both buyers and sellers. It is when you are face-to-face that success happens. Learn how to handle the FSBO market as well as expired listings. If you leave opportunities ‘on the table' by claiming you don't do this or that, you'll create a rut that is tough to turn around. Just stay on track, and in 60-90 days you will see results.

MS: What are the worst things agents do without necessarily realizing their mistakes?

IK: Not showing up mentally, physically and/or emotionally. When you fail to embrace enthusiasm and intensity, you're not going to make it in this business.

MS: If you were in charge of recruiting agents, what characteristics would you look for in candidates?

IK: I seek people with positive mental attitudes. People with willing spirits are the kinds of people customers and clients seek. The other critical issue is to ensure that candidates have the willingness to put in the time. This is not a business where you're here one day and gone the next week. Consistency is a critical component of longevity and financial rewards.

MS: Considering the number of awards that you've achieved and your constancy, it begs the question, ‘What is your unique value proposition for your clients and customers?'

IK: Three elements for sure: tenacity; exemplary negotiating skills and understanding that, ‘no,' doesn't mean, ‘no'; it means not for right now. I am able to take rejection and turn it into a challenge for success the next chance I get. On the other hand, I know when it is time to walk away. If a seller is unwilling to reduce a price when I feel that it is necessary to selling the home, the course of action I take is simple… reduce or return the listing to them. I do not lead people on wild goose chases nor do I waste my time.

MS: Are there other elements of your business that you feel are success markers?

IK: I have an assistant who takes the paperwork and day-to-day tasks off of my desk so that I am able to do the things that I do best. I reward my assistant for every transaction we close. In 2006, we closed 65 transactions. She received salary and an incentive bonus for each. It is important to provide incentives in order to keep the excitement going.

MS: Is there anything you would like to add?

IK: Don't listen to all the negative press about the market. Good markets come and go. If you do all the things you are supposed to do and do them constantly, you will continue to be successful. I just had the best January of my career.

Marylyn B. Schwartz, CSP, is an expert in real estate and corporate sales training/management and team development. She is president of Teamweavers and a trainer for Leader's Choice®. Contact her at or e-mail: