There’s more to business than “behind every no is a yes.”

Key Takeaways

  • The numbers game is based on repeatedly pestering your sphere for referrals and and chasing a high number of low quality leads.
  • There’s a better way to attract new business — by building a community and helping people in ways that make them deeply grateful.
  • When agents go out of their way to help others, they create a culture where people are eager to give them referrals.


I’ve been told repeatedly by teachers, gurus, and respected agents that real estate is a numbers game. In other words, it’s a race for leads. And the more leads, the better your odds, because only a small percentage of leads actually make it to closing.

“If you upset people on the other end of the line,” these experts say, “just brush it off and keep making calls. Behind every no is a yes. Keep pushing.”  I’m sure you’ve heard that many times before as well.

These experts preach the numbers game when they coach agents to aggressively contact leads, and people in their sphere for business or referrals. The Reason: it works. Friends and contacts often give in – mostly so you will stop bugging them.  But what are costs of such actions. What does this do to your reputation in the eyes of your contacts.

Some of the most popular books for real estate agents preach that you need X-number of contacts to sustain X-level of business. For example, they say you need a database of contacts in the thousands to become a top producer. However, I’ve seen agents make close to half a million dollars a year with a sphere of 150 people with whom they regularly communicate in a non-pushy way.

Answer this question: Is your goal to pester and annoy enough people until one of them caves in and uses you as an agent or sends you a referral so you’ll leave them alone? Is that really how you want to be perceived by the people you’re contacting?

There’s a better way

Agents focus too much on getting leads and not enough on building a community and helping others in ways that make people deeply grateful. If agents focus on the latter, leads come to them.

Referral leads will always be the best kind of leads, because in reality they’re not leads and they’re not prospects — they are ready-to-go clients. Someone else they trust has already convinced them that you’re the right person to hire. Your job is to not screw it up.

If you study agents who have been in the business for quite some time, you may notice that the ones who have the most desirable business, who work when they choose to yet seem to always have new listings and clients in their pipeline, are often not the mega-agents who have a team and who work tirelessly each day to keep their lead machine running.

Rather, they’re often the solo agents who seem to get referrals handed to them every month from friends and past clients. These agents have created a culture where people are eager to give them referrals.

They are competent, professional, and have consistently shown they will always go out of their way to help others, not just in real estate, but in many ways. Just like a good friend does. Once the people in your sphere consistently see that you are more focused on helping, rather than chasing leads, they’ll be more likely to refer you. If you make the process of referring you fun and enjoyable, and they feel appreciated, they’ll refer you even more often.

You don’t need a giant number of people in your sphere or hundreds of leads each month to build a solid and profitable real estate business. I’ve seen agents make in excess of $400,000 a year by simply being hyper-focused on their sphere of 150 people and building a cult-like following through monthly newsletters and offering unique services to their clients. They don’t have a giant team to pay earnings to, nor do they spend thousands on buying leads each month.

Real estate is not a numbers game to an agent like that, and it doesn’t need to be one for you either.

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