Barbara Corcoran's Secrets to Success

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 9025089

Barbara Corcoran won't take "no" for an answer.

Speaking at the Greater Boston Associaton of Realtors' Roadshow, Conference and Expo yesterday in Norwood, MA, she recounted the story of how, just days before she was to fly to California to sign a contract securing her role as one of the star entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, she received a message from producer Mark Burnett saying that she had been relegated to merely a "backup" Shark.  Rather than accepting that disappointing pronouncement, she shot back an email to Burnett, asserting that she was in the habit of being #1, she had already purchased her plane ticket, and she planned to be on that flight.  Burnett was so impressed that he told her to come on out for the meeting, and of course, the rest is history.

"I'm great at failure," Ms. Corcoran told an appreciative audience.  "My great talent was taking a bad hit and turning it into something good."  She's proved that again and again, not only in her determination to win a seat on Shark Tank, but in her scrappy development of the prestigious Corcoran Group, which she sold 13 years ago for $66 million (cash), after having made an initial investment of only $1000.

During the lean years, when she didn't have any money to advertise, she invented The Corcoran Report, using only sales statistics for New York city apartments that had been sold in-house, and sent it off to The New York Times.  To her amazement, it appeared in the next Sunday's Times' Real Estate section.  She was off and running, and she parlayed her wits and fearlessness to create the hype that attracted well-heeled clients, such as actor Richard Gere, whose agent called Corcoran to ask if she might have the time to work with him.  "Perception creates reality," she believes.  "The big mouth inherits the earth."

Corcoran noted that she looked for particular personality traits in the agents she brought on board.  "If you're not aggressive, you won't make it in real estate.  We're hunters, not gatherers."

Posted by

Maureen Harmonay

Specialist in Massachusetts Country Homes,

Antique Homes, and Horse Properties



Comments (32)

Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Maureen - Barbara is a great role model and in so many ways.  Her posiioning and PR expertise has been amazing for all of her businesses.

Oct 18, 2014 09:43 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

I  enjoy that program when I have a chance...and appreciate her creative approaches to marketing.

Oct 18, 2014 10:48 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Maureen, Barbara is sometimes a bit overboard on the show, but one to admire for her persistence. Enjoy  your day!

Oct 18, 2014 10:49 PM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

I came over from Kathy Streib's post to read yours.  I'm very glad I did.  Great message read ... and absorbed, Maureen Harmonay ... thank you!


Oct 19, 2014 01:40 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Wow, good for her. I need some of that spirit right now. Thanks

Oct 19, 2014 02:49 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Barbara Corcoran is pretty amazing. I'm reading her book, Use What You've Got, and other business lessons I learned from Mom now. It's a good one.

Oct 19, 2014 03:08 AM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

Love this insight, I'm a big fan of Barbara and what she's done to make it to the top.  It doesn't take much, and like she says, perception is a very powerful tool.

Oct 19, 2014 03:57 AM
Scott Gleason, CRS
Coldwell Banker Realty - Westfield, NJ
Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist

Thanks for sharing this article. Hard to argue with success.

Oct 19, 2014 05:22 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Maureen Harmonay - well, Barbara Corcoran sums it up in just one sentence -----

"If you're not aggressive, you won't make it in real estate.  We're hunters, not gatherers."

Oct 19, 2014 09:00 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

I'm so glad Kathy included this in her weekly review!  "The big mouth inherits the earth".  I LOVE that line!

Oct 19, 2014 10:08 AM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Maureen, I had the good fortune to experience Barbara Corcoran at one of our state conventions.  She is a great inspiration!

Oct 19, 2014 10:14 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Hi Maureen, great post! Barbara Corcoran is indeed an amazing person and would love to meet her in person.

Oct 19, 2014 12:43 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I do love reading about success! 

 “perception creates reality.” 

Oct 19, 2014 12:53 PM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I think there is some great advice in here for all of us.

Oct 19, 2014 02:46 PM
Claude Labbe
RLAH / @properties - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Funny about the big mouth inhering the earth.

As long as it's big & consistent and done in such a way as to not turn off the listener.

Oct 20, 2014 02:42 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  I am glad I didn't miss it thanks to Kathy and her wrap up!

Oct 20, 2014 10:55 PM
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC

I read her book years ago -- I think it's time to read it again.  It was full of advice from her mama, which obviously worked well for her!

Oct 20, 2014 11:04 PM
Ann Marie Clements
Remax Realty Group - Gaithersburg, MD
Montgomery County & Frederick County

I can't wait to read her book! Great post. She is a very interesting person. Perception does create reality.

Oct 21, 2014 10:46 AM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Maureen, chutzpah! That's what I love about women like her. We need that to be an intrinsic characteristic in women. We can rule the world!! 

Oct 27, 2014 06:59 AM
Will Johnson
Hendersonville, TN
The Sell and Stage Team

Fantastic post.  I love Barbara on Shark Tank and I think that she can be an inspiration to all of us.  It's crucial that we don't give up when the going gets tough.  We can learn a lot from failure and a good attitude and perserverance can get us far.  Thanks for sharing!

Oct 28, 2014 06:37 AM