YPN Breakfast Panel: Top Producers Share Ways You Can Improve Your Business

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YPN breakfasts are back! We kicked off the 2018 breakfast series at Manny’s with a panel of Top Producers. Tommy Choi, Keller Williams Chicago-Lincoln Park, Carrie McCormick, @properties, and Greg Pekarsky, Vesta Preferred LLC, shared their personal experiences, advice and tools for success.


  1. Surround yourself with professionals and learn from industry experts. McCormick suggests joining community networks to connect with people. Technology will change but “relationships will never go away in our industry,” she said.
  2. Build the right habits for success. “See the first six months as a make or break situation,” Pekarsky recommended. “Most people don’t make it through the first year because they don’t build the right habits for success from the very start.” Get in the habit of adding contacts to your list and following up on a regular basis. As he noted, “Real estate is a contact sport.”
  3. Be super intentional and purposeful. Choi emphasizes it’s vital to create an environment where you’re surrounded by people who constantly give you feedback to improve and not only tell you what you want to hear.
  4. Invest in a coach. Align yourself with someone who is an industry leader or office team leader, added Choi.


  1. Invest in lead generation and set standards. Create a system for following up. Choi said it’s important for real estate professionals to set minimum performance standards, too, not just goals.
  2. Manage activities within given time. Set a plan to manage activities within a set time. Choi encouraged real estate professionals to make time on Sundays for “thinking business.” He advises spending this time figuring out your next move. Then, spend a few minutes looking at your calendar and ask, “Does my calendar reflect the goals I want to achieve?” If not, make some changes.
  3. A system is only as good as its user. Pekarsky said he uses Top Producer 8i as a reminder to follow up with contacts but encourages others to use what works for them. “Follow up with them through the appropriate CRM or whatever tool you use that’s going to remind you to be in touch with them on a regular basis.”
  4. Your voice is your best tool. “Voice and relationships will trump everything you do,” McCormick pointed out. Other systems proven to be effective are yard signs placed around targeted neighborhoods. Social media has been a go-to platform for her, where she looks at engagement as a measure of success instead of ROI. “I really try to make posts authentic to myself and brand, and respond to followers and engage with their businesses, as well. Once I have that relationship, that person goes into my database.”


  1. Enter the booming rental market. “Chicago is probably the best place to be practicing rentals across the country,” Pekarsky explained. “Use that to your advantage. … We know that 25 percent of renters will turn into home buyers every year.”
  2. Be where you want to be in the market and focus. “Be present in the market and be the expert there,” McCormick said.
  3. Solve problems for millennials. According to market statistics, millennials were a leading demographic in 2017. “Out of all the homebuyers in the Chicagoland area, 43 percent were under the age of 35,” Choi explained. “If you find a way to solve peoples’ problems, then you will solve your problems.”


  1. Understand your purpose as a REALTOR®. “Figure out who you are as a broker and why your clients should care for you to help them. Once you figure that out, it will be your breakthrough,” McCormick said.
  2. Get uncomfortable. “The moment I started doing things that were out of my comfort zone, it became easier to have conversations,” Pekarsky said.
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail. “Experience just means you weren’t afraid to fail,” Choi declared. “We [Top Producers] just failed way more times. When you stop moving forward is when you fail and retreat.” He advises you to look back and learn from mistakes, as well as move quick, act fast, and focus on the activity, not the results.

Join us for March’s 2018 Design Trends breakfast.