By Ken Goodfellow

This is the time of year when people make all kinds of New Year’s resolutions to break habits or start new ones, many of which they know full well they can’t or won’t keep.

The expression “old habits die hard” is incredibly appropriate in this case. As real estate salespeople, the success of your business, or business that you generate as a single agent, depends entirely on your personal habits.

If you want your career to flourish you must force yourself to get into good habits and banish bad ones.

Grabbing a double mocha-Frappuccino on the way to the office every day and always choosing the same chair at meetings are harmless habits (unless losing weight is on your resolution list) but other habits may be negatively affecting your business productivity and success.

There are five counterproductive habits of real estate salespeople that I’ve noticed in my career of coaching:
  1. Failing to set and stick to a plan
  2. Setting unrealistic expectations or goals
  3. Working with the wrong type of people
  4. Underestimating the value of work/life balance
  5. Poor time management

These are not difficult habits to address, but the process of making proactive decisions and fruitful actions a habit is where most salespeople struggle.

In my years of coaching I have found that the following habits can drastically improve the productivity and success of an agent:

1. Write a “to-do” list

Top achievers consistently write their list the night before to be prepared for the following day and many say it helps them to sleep better.  The key to productivity success lies in prioritizing the list, clearly indicating the first item that needs to be dealt with and then the second-most important, and so on to the end of the list.

2. Early risers

Multiple studies have shown that “morning people” are more successful, but there are some successful night owls too.  It really doesn’t matter when you start punching the clock – what matters is your drive, ambition and commitment.  Most people find it easier to get started first thing in the morning.  Procrastination is the real issue here.

3. Goal setting and visualization

Ninety-five per cent of top achievers write down their goals, plans and visions for success on a regular basis.  The most successful place them in plain sight, to set their intentions for the day and to prime their mental state.

4. Follow through

Without follow through nothing happens.  Follow through on all of your commitments no matter how big or seemingly insignificant.  An exceptional leader is someone who always follows through.

5. Self development

Top entrepreneurs are lifelong students. They focus heavily on learning new skills.  They take courses, attend workshops, read practical books, watch podcasts and interviews…anything to obtain more knowledge. They believe there is always more to learn.

Habits are called habits because they have become practiced over time and are easy and familiar. It will take time and determination to develop new habits.  Start by focusing on eliminating the bad habits or substituting them with a good habit.  It’s a New Year’s resolution you will be glad you stuck with and your career and your business will reap the rewards.


  1. This article is pretty typical of what has been said on this subject over the years — it’s basically unremarkable. However, there is a more relevant context that could be considered against the current reality of those business models that have been largely designed so as to eliminate the need for much, if any, prospecting. In other words, how can we be diligent with being seen to offer real “added value” verses the kind of “added value” that is attached to some sort of real or perceived: giveaway!

    If a buyer pays $1,000.00 dollars too much for their home, the chances are good that the extra amount will be paid over 25 years and plus interest! In other words, the real value added is: competence and ethics. So when does a commission rebate, or an offer to allow a client the use of one of the moving trailers in your client promotion fleet become a “smoke screen” for genuine value added?

    We talk much about Registrant/ Practitoner shortcomings, but at the same time if the public took a harder look at the smiling face that is trying to lure them in with some sort of giveaway perhaps the red-flags are obvious. For example, when a Registrant or Practioner’s website indicates that their “bio is coming soon” for over 1 year then one should give some attention to that, or when the “about” section of a Registrant or Practioner’s website doesn’t say anything “about” them, and instead talks about what they are going to do for a prospective client — well, perhaps, at least, one should make sure that the moving van they are offering the use of to a client, for free: is big enough to move all their belongings in one load!

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