Ep 102: How to Close 78 Deals by Focusing on Your Sphere (with Stephen Acree)


The last time Stay Paid listeners heard from Stephen Acree, he was coming off an incredible rookie year as a real estate agent. Since then, his business has skyrocketed. After completing 35 transactions in his first year, he closed 78 deals in his second. This year, he’s on track to close 120 sales.

Today on Stay Paid, Stephen updates our listeners on his journey and shares strategies that you can use to grow your own real estate practice.

Key Points:

  • You can win FSBOs and expired listings with persistence (and a little help from a dialer).
  • Your sphere of influence is the cornerstone of your business.
  • Don’t lose sight of the long-term while chasing short-term goals.

Q: How do agents get the leads they need to grow?

When I first got in, it was all about FSBOs and expired listings. Those categories really are a good way to get started, but they’re not a solid long-term approach. Every new agent starts with the low-hanging fruit, but then their pipeline eventually runs out.

You need to focus on the long-term by going with a sustainable approach. This means building relationships with your sphere and your database.

Q: Having said that, how do you prospect FSBOs and expired listings?

The big takeaway is that many agents are too focused on instant gratification, regardless of the lead source. Yes, you should try to close every time. But if you’re not focused on building the relationship—the know, like, and trust factor—you’re never going to win.

Most FSBOs and expired listings probably won’t close the first time you call them. That’s why I try to touch base with them every week. Even today, they’re still a great lead source. Plus, you can close them better when you’ve developed confidence.

We’ve tried out a bunch of different dialers, like RedX and Mojo. We’ll find absentee owners on Pioneer Data Solutions. I’d encourage agents to get a dialer. You simply can’t call at a high rate without one.

Q: Where do most of your deals come from?

My sphere. They’re the easiest to work with. They already know, like, and trust me. We also do a ton of social media marketing. You should still be making phone calls, but you can get great results with social media marketing.

You want to post things that are real estate-related, as well as personal stuff. The big thing we post is properties—our listings, and other people’s, too (with their permission).

We’ve gotten great results with videos. This is done to win sellers over, because it makes us look good. We do get recognized from our branding—social media, signs, our magazine.

I still host other agents’ open houses, which is another source of buyer leads.

Q: Talk about how you focus on the long-term and offering value.

You have to find the right people, and those are the ones you follow up with. They’re constantly asking questions and reaching out to you—they’re seeking out the relationship.

If you don’t have the value, you can’t close people. Ask people what you can do for them, and then work to make that happen.

Q: What have been the biggest pain points for you?

When you’re just starting, you don’t know your value. It’s trial by fire. You just have to push through and learn.

When agents get into real estate, they’ll work really hard to get their first deal. But they’re so focused on one deal that when it closes or falls through, there’s nothing else to do. We’ll have two or three deals fall through each month—it’s just reality right now.

That could be $15,000 that you were counting on. When you’re a new agent coming in, that’s a really big deal. You just have to keep going and move on to the next one.

Don’t spend your whole life trying to reinvent the wheel. Improve the wheel that’s already been created even a little bit, and you’ll build an amazing business.

Q: What do you have to do to get to the next level?

It’s all about getting the people in and enabling them so they can do what they need to do. Previously, I was spending so much of my time getting people through to closing. Now, it’s more systemized.

If I had done this sooner, we probably could’ve gotten to 200 deals this year. You need to find the right people and give them the responsibility to do what they need to do.

Q: Talk about the role mind-set plays in this.

Most agents let deals fall through all the time because they don’t give serious thought to what they need to do to make it happen—whether that’s going and buying a warranty for the seller or even fixing something yourself.

Q: Why should agents invest in real estate?

You’re investing in your future.

Action Items:

  • Look at the people in your database and figure out how you’re providing long-term value to those people. Start sending them an email, making phone calls, or text messaging them to stay in touch. Then, figure out how you can solve their problems.


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