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Are you feeling pressure to quickly learn new technology, close transactions quickly, or be in the top tier of your office? If so, you must be working hard to prospect as much as possible, close as many transactions as you can, and do it all over and over again.

That’s all very important. But, in my experience, there’s something else you need to do to truly be at your best. It involves changing your mindset.

Let me start by asking: Do you have repeat clients? Do you get referrals from your clients regularly? Do you have more business than you can handle? Do you have raving fans?

If the answers are yes, congratulations! Your clients perceive that you care more about them and their goals than you do about yourself. That is key to developing a thriving business. I find this to be especially true in real estate, but it is important in all of our relationships. When others perceive that you care about them, they are attracted to you. When others perceive that your motivations are selfish, they move away from you.

I recently had a seller tell me that she chose a “top agent” in the area, but still wound up disappointed. The agent is smart, aggressive and efficient. She sold the home quickly for a realistic price. In the end, however, the seller felt that her agent did not really care about her needs. The emotional toll that the sale caused was not addressed—all the agent cared about was completing the sale.

Now, maybe this was not truly the case; however, this is how the seller remembers the experience and, as we know, perception is reality. The hard feelings caused by this perceived lack of emotional attention has led the seller to speak poorly about the agent. There is no way that she will recommend this agent or select her for future transactions. The agent did not display the qualities of a special, very effective kind of leader: a servant leader.

I have always strived to be a servant leader. Servant leaders demonstrate empathy, listening, stewardship and commitment to the personal growth of others. In my view, you can be smart, hardworking and well-read, but, if you don’t convey warmth to those around you, you will struggle as a leader.

As real estate sales associates, we must be servant leaders in our community and within our sphere of influence. When clients feel that you have all of their wants and needs at heart, they will follow you and continue to do business with you. Importantly, they will also refer other clients to you.

In the end, you must work hard, know the market and be an expert. However, you must also be sure that you are showing your clients that you are a servant leader—that you truly care about their wants and needs. If you do this, I am positive that you will receive everything you desire in this business!

Joan Docktor is the president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® and The Trident Group. You can follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram @joandocktor. She also publishes a blog on business and personal topics at To learn more about the company, visit