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Leading Coach Sherri Johnson Shares Tips for Building a Winning Business

After 20 years as a top agent, the executive of a top three national independent brokerage and a successful real estate coaching career, Sherri Johnson has tips for any agent wanting to do the same.

Johnson has been a huge success with her own real estate business, but she has also recruited, trained and coached thousands of agents, and is responsible for leading over 700 agents to earn over $1.6 billion in annual sales volume.

“If you’re a REALTOR®, you’re the CEO of your business,” Johnson says. “It’s vitally important that you run your business as a business. Many agents sell a bunch of houses, then spend all their time servicing those houses and neglect their business. That results in months where you sell, followed by months where you don’t sell. It’s the ‘feast or famine’ syndrome—but it doesn’t have to be.”

Building a personal pipeline is the secret to eliminating that up-and-down earning curve, and Johnson recently gave webinar viewers plenty of instantly implementable tips that have helped thousands of agents. Her tips are simple and practical, but life-altering. Agents can begin to literally start building their own $10, $20, or $30 million pipeline (future business) and more importantly, a predictable monthly income strategy the same day. By following her pipeline tips, any agent can earn a consistent, predictable income every month. Start, she says, with the basics: a mindset change.

Mindset Change
You are the CEO of your company. You need to work on your business, not just in it. Get serious about your business success:

  • Write down and review your goals daily.
  • Focus on making appointments.
  • Have an accountability coach other than yourself, a spouse or a casual friend. They have to be willing to truly hold you accountable.
  • Use a daily activity sheet and weekly call-tracking.
  • Tracked and measured activity exponentially improves your success rate. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. When you write down your goals, track and measure them and report the results to an accountability coach, your results will exponentially improve.

Radically Differentiate Yourself
Don’t just sell a house. Radically differentiate yourself first—sell yourself first, then sell a house. People need to know what you’re doing for them that another agent can’t. They need to see the value you offer. That’s why you need to be in the mindset of radically differentiating yourself. Every single person you meet is a potential client. The agent who adds the most value and differentiates themselves from the herd is the agent who gets hired. Once you’ve done this, move on to creating a successful sales cycle.

The Successful Sales Cycle
The successful sales cycle is simple. Decide if your goal is to only work with people actively looking to buy or sell, or if your goal is to pursue the long-term relationship and work with all potential clients. Once you know that, the cycle is the same—but how you get leads and what your pipeline looks like may differ.

In the successful sales cycle:

  • Contacts and past clients turn into
  • Leads, which turn into
  • Clients, which become
  • Appointments, which become
  • Written Contracts that lead to
  • Closings that result in
  • Commissions

Johnson emphasizes that the minute someone contacts you about real estate, whether a friend, a past client, a new acquaintance or a neighbor, etc., they become a lead. They may be asking a general question, or a specific one. They may just need information about something, or mention they’re going to be needing an agent at some point. At that point, you need to proactively convert them into a client, and go from there. Johnson explains how, and provides a simple form her agents use to create the pipeline that helps convert people you meet or know into clients who buy or sell with you.

How do you create the mindset to make this cycle successful for your business? By becoming proactive.

“Don’t leave your house or office without knowing if you are making money today. Do you have a listing appointment? Do you have a lead? You have to know what you have in the pipeline. You have to wake up every day and say, ‘I’m going to list or sell a house this week,'” she says. 

Tips on How to Convert Leads to Clients
“Agents are surprised at how many leads they have that they aren’t taking advantage of. Opportunities aren’t lost; they go to someone else. If you’re not maximizing every opportunity, that opportunity doesn’t disappear—the person buys from someone else if they don’t buy from you. If you’re not overcoming objections and converting leads, some other agent will, and they’ll get the sale,” she says.

Start by looking at your pipeline. If you don’t have one, create one. Most agents only work with the “here and now” when they should be thinking 9-12 months down the road (their pipeline). Don’t discount the neighbors who come to an open house—they may be nosy, but they may be future clients, as well. Put them in your pipeline. A pipeline is your spreadsheet of people who are going to need your services down the road. 

Your Pipeline
The Alaskan pipeline goes on forever, and so should your sales pipeline. Think of the future as well as the present, so you always have someone and something waiting (in the pipeline).

  • Organize your leads. Figure out where they are. (Johnson goes into more detail in the webinar, so watch it!)
  • Drive yourself for listings and sales by the potential business in your pipeline
  • Decide how much you want to sell every year. That helps you create and set your goals.
  • Build relationships and let your clients know you’ll work at their pace, whether it’s something in the next two weeks, two months or two years. People like knowing they’re not being pounced on to buy. Earn their trust through building a relationship.
  • The key is asking for the appointment.
  • Build an inventory of clients.
  • If you’re not able to convert or close, then change your written and verbal scripts and find ones that work.
  • Remember the 90-day rule. Whatever you were doing 90 days ago is why you’re where you are today (90 days later). What you do today will result in where you are in the next 90 days.

Avoid the ‘3-Eggs-in-a-Basket’ Syndrome
Things happen. People change. Life changes. Deals fall through. If you have people in your pipeline, you won’t be devastated when the unexpected kills what you thought was a “sure thing.” A pipeline creates income later, but most agents focus on the here and now. Focus on the future, as well.

Value Added
Johnson offers more than pipeline advice; she also has tips for agents on creating scripts that sell, both in-person and on the phone. Body language helps, but “enthusiasm wins every time,” she says. “If I’m enthusiastic, and it shows in my body language and tone of voice, people are attracted to that.”

Being genuine, letting people know you’re not going to call them after an open house if they don’t want to be called, and then adding value after a tour can turn the worst attendee into a listing appointment if you know the words to use—and, Johnson shares those words in this webinar. You can watch the entire webinar for free here, and get the rest of her advice! 

Mark Mathis is VP of Sales for For more information, please visit