Million-Dollar Sales Strategies that Work: 5 Practical Systems from the Best Realtors in the Business

Lead Conversion
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In 2015, Forrester analyst, Andy Hoar boldly declared, “we believe 1 million [sales] jobs will be net displaced by 2020.”

It’s a stat that’s gotten a lot of play at sales and marketing conferences around the globe, and for good reason. With disruptive new tech trends like AI and automation now firmly in the game, it’s never been more important for salespeople to take an active interest in their customers’ wellbeing.

But as with any big shift, the question is never really why or when. It’s how.

Here are 5 proven sales strategies that have resulted in multiple millions of dollars in commissions. From “old school” approaches that still work, from a decidedly human approach to sales automation, there’s something here to inspire every type of rep.


Strategy #1 – Network to win

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Your network is your net worth.” But for many entrepreneurs and sales reps, friends and family are the last people you want to talk business with.

But ignoring your personal contacts is usually indicative of a bigger mindset problem. After all, if you’re not confident telling your current friends what you do, how are you going to build profitable friendships with your leads?

The other major problem is you’re leaving a TON of cash on the table.

We see it all the time in real estate. Most agents would rather cold call 100 leads than talk to someone they know about their business. But when founders of the Graham Seeby Groupdecided to go against the grain and center their sales strategy around referrals, sphere of influence (SOI) and past clients, their business skyrocketed to $90 million in just 4 years.

Here’s how they did it:

The team launched a four-part follow up campaign targeted at a list of just 279 contacts, some of which hadn’t heard from them in years.

  • On the 15th of every month, the team sent a postcard to everyone in the database.
  • On the 7th of every month, they sent a short 90-second video email.
  • On the 21st of every month, an email.
  • Once a quarter, all contacts on the list would get a phone call.

The Group started running this process in 2013, the same year they founded the business.

Once they started gaining traction, then they invested in new leads. In November of 2014, the group launched their website and started getting in front of the ‘non-mets’ via Pay Per Click ads on Google and Facebook. By 2016, they had a 30-person, full service company boasting revenues of $90 million.

The eureka moment

The light bulb moment came when co-founder Justin Seeby realized he was getting phone calls from past clients ( some of whom were ready to list homes of $800,000 in value) and he was passing them on to other agents, simply because he didn’t have time to help them.

“I started to recognize that I was ignoring all my past clients, my whole database…I’m just basically pushing them off because I don’t have time for them,” he recalls.

Key outcomes

  • Within 1 year of launching, they had employed a 5-person team and 100 new contacts without spending a fortune on marketing.
  • In 2016, the group was named the #1 Keller Williams team in the southeast region.

Why it works

  • Leverages existing contacts and requires low marketing budget
  • A consistent, repeatable process for getting — and staying — in front of leads
  • Supported by 2 key metrics: Speed to Lead and Number of Follow Ups
  • Completely trackable system

Strategy #2 – Use the phone wisely

In these days of texting, emailing and chatbot-ing, it can be tempting to ignore the phone.

But done right, phone follow ups (and yes, even cold calling) can play an important role in boosting your numbers.

Mitch Ribak is the former broker owner of Tropical Realty Beachside in Melbourne, Florida. He’s also known as The Grandfather of Lead Conversion. In 2014, Mitch had a whopping 1,600 closings and in 2015, he closed $127 million in transaction volume. According to Mitch, 42% of internet leads NEVER get a phone call, and the other 58% wait more than 24 hours to hear from an agent. That’s just not ok.

The way Mitch sees it, if a lead gives you their phone number, they expect a call. So he trained a team of high-octane Inside Sales Agents (ISAs) to pick up the phone and help move leads further down the pipeline.

Here’s how they did it:

Mitch and his team used a 4-step call-back schedule for all new leads:

  1. Agents always call within 24 hours of the lead being qualified by their ISA.
  2. After the call, send them exactly what was discussed (not enough agents actually do this).
  3. 1 week after the initial call, follow up with another call to make sure they received everything and see if they have any other questions.
  4. From there, organize lead follow up according to buying timeline:
  • If they’re buying in 12 months or more call every 2 months.
  • If they’re buying in 6 months, every 6 weeks.
  • If they’re buying in 3 months, once per month.
  • If they’re buying in 1 month, call weekly.

The eureka moment

When your sales have plateaued, it’s probably because you’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing, with little to no impact on your leads.

Sometimes the simplest truths can get us back on track. Once you accept that yes, your leads actually want to hear from you, you’ll see that it’s irresponsible not to call them. Or, to put it in Mitch’s words, “Call your leads! This is the cornerstone of lead conversion.”

Key outcomes

  • $127 million in transaction volume in 2015
  • In 2015, Mitch and his team closed 45% of their deals within 3 months of the lead registering on their website, and 82% within 6 months

Why it works

  • Top salespeople call first, fast and keep in touch
  • Mitch and his team always know their numbers
  • Leverages ISAs so your best reps can focus on the leads most likely to convert
  • ISAs take care of first follow up calls and track agents’ callbacks so you don’t have to

Strategy #3 – Focus on caring, not closing

Pressed for time? Guess what. So is every other sales rep out there.

According to a study by Ken Krogue of, most reps spend 64.8% of their timeon non-revenue generating activities. But neglecting your clients after the deal is signed is a massive mistake.

The good news is, when everyone’s running left, it gives you a crucial opportunity to swerve right and be the one who stands out. That’s exactly what CRG, a real estate company from Myrtle Beach did when they created a ‘Client Care Team’ with the sole purpose of delighting clients, after the deal is inked.

The result? The CRG team tripled their conversions and closed over $25 million in sales volume.

Here’s how they did it:

  • They reduced the amount of automated messages going out to leads and instead focused on personalization.
  • The Client Care Coordinator tracks the follow up activities of ISA team and takes responsibility for all post-closing follow ups.
  • The Client Care Coordinator attends closing meetings, bringing along a basket with goodies like, coffee mugs, local honey and a thank you card.
  • The Client Care Coordinator receives regular training on the latest market trends so they can pass that knowledge on to existing clients and leads via their CRM.

The eureka moment

“After looking at stats, we were great on the front end at generating leads and staying in front of people, but we kinda sucked after the close,” says CEO, Preston Guyton. Now everything they do is about client service.

According to Preston, hiring a ‘Client Care Coordinator’ instead of a “traditional” sales manager was one of the best decisions for his business.

Key outcomes

  • Tripled conversion rate
  • Nearly doubled sales volume year on year from $27 million in 2016 to $47 million in 2017
  • Set to reach $80 million in 2018

Why it works

  • Switches focus from closing to nurturing
  • Makes the relationship with each client relevant and personal
  • Focuses on value first, before asking for anything from clients

Strategy #4 – Supercharge your in-person events

As more and more reps become overly-reliant on tech, field marketing and live events will be a big part of what separates the best from the rest.

Counterintuitive as it may sound, in this digital age, all your prospects really want is a stellar in-person experience. And in real estate, that includes open houses. Mega agent Monica Diaz and digital marketing expert Jay Campbell have closed more than $300 million in sales by supercharging their offline sales strategies.

To be fair, social media is still a big part of their method. They run well-targeted Facebook ads to promote listings and open houses. But the real magic happens after the open house, when they turn each visitor into a long-term source of consistent leads.

Here’s how they did it:

  • Optimize online promotion – They found the 6-7 core criteria that work for promoting events via Facebook ad.
  • Optimize offline promotion – Combined signage with door knocking to maximize awareness locally.
  • Get the timing right – If you’re having an open house on the weekend you have to enter it in the multiple listing service (MLS) no later than Tuesday afternoon to ensure it gets promoted in time.
  • Make sure the right people are there – There are always 2 agents and a lender at every open house to help move leads closer to conversion.
  • Cover all bases – Monica and Jay use a  68-point checklist for every single open house.
  • Capture leads – A tool called Spacio captures contact info from open house visitors and automatically uploads it into the CRM.

The eureka moment

Open houses don’t have to suck. While most agents complain about having to work weekends, Jay and Monica view open houses as intermittent events that bring in hundreds of leads over time. According to this dream team, the right attitude is everything.

“It’s not about it being an inconvenience. This is just part of the process, something you’re doing for your business and for your client as well,” says Monica.

Key outcomes

  • 30+ people waiting outside the door for an open house
  • 350+ homes sold
  • $300+ million in revenue

Why it works

  • Views Facebook ads and in-person events not as a magic bullet but as a long-term sales strategy
  • Encourages out-of-the-box thinking (e.g., twilight viewings, aligning timings with local school, church or other activities)
  • Capitalizes on face-to-face interactions, letting you “learn the script” in real time
  • Captures data from every potential prospect

Strategy #5 – Leverage your systems

There comes a time in every salesperson’s career when you’re so overwhelmed, you literally want to give up.

It may sound like a champagne trouble, but the stress of burnout is very real. And if you’re doing it right, you will inevitably end up with more work than you can handle. That’s when you need to work smarter than ever.

That kind of make-or-break pressure is exactly what led rainmaker Barry Jenkins to scale his business to the #1 Better Homes and Gardens team. In an effort to be there for his family andhis customers, Barry structured the core of his business around the principle of leverage.

He automated his entire business — from lead gen to follow up, to team member onboarding and transaction management — using a killer combination of smart systems. With this approach, Barry nearly doubled his transactions to 240 deals in 2017, while working just 25 hours per week.

Here’s how he did it:

  • He started by dedicating a period of blocked time to creating relevant content for leads.
  • Then, he used Zapier to automate all workflows and send customized emails, voicemails and videos to leads via Follow Up Boss.
  • He also created his own “intranet” to help agents manage their workflows better and close more deals in less time.

The eureka moment

When Barry had to leave the movie theatre with his son to take a call from a lead, he realized he couldn’t continue to be the bottleneck in his own business. It just wasn’t worth it.

By combining the principles of leverage and the Golden Rule, Barry automated his business while providing a better, more relevant experience for leads and team members. “Automating lead generation and follow up gave my agents the flexibility to have some kind of rhythm in their life,” he explains.

Key outcomes

  • Transaction volume skyrocketed from 140 deals in 2016 to 240 deals in 2017
  • The group was named the #1 by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate
  • The business can be run in just 5 hours per day

Why it works

  • Optimizes automation without alienating leads
  • Creates the ultimate repeatable business system
  • Offers more value to leads and team members
  • Delivers relevant, long-term follow up

No matter what product or service you’re selling, the most important tool you can ever own is your ability to think strategically about how to give your leads what they want.

While it’s great to look for inspiration in proven strategies, the best approach is always the one that fits the unique ethos of your business.

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