How I Made Over $100k in My First 90-days as a REALTOR®

Real Estate Broker/Owner with CENTURY 21 OneBlue BK3293206

Key Takeaways... 

  • The millennial generation is the most connected generation and represents the bulk of home buyers.
  • Agents must adapt to the ever changing digital landscape to be competitive and stand out.
  • Leveraging technologies like websites and display ads will help you convert lookers to quality leads.

I’m often asked how I been able to achieve the success that I have in real estate. I’ve only been selling residential real estate since August 2014 and in May 2016 I will surpass over $500k in gross commissions. Before I explain to you what I do, let me explain to you a little bit about my background.

A Career Rooted in Hospitality

I began my professional career in the hospitality industry as a night auditor for a Hampton Inn in Slidell, Louisiana (pictured on right). That is where the hospitality “bug” bit me and I realized I had a passion for serving others. Not long after I moved to Orlando, Florida to pursue my dream of working for the Walt Disney Company. I had a great time working for Disney in roles that ranged from quick service food and beverage, to concierge, and eventually I was offered a position with Guest Relations at the Magic Kingdom Park. My time at Walt Disney World taught me many amazing skills and service related principles. The biggest one I learned there was the guest always comes first. This principle of putting the guest first in rooted in everything Disney does and is in all of their training programs. One shining example of this is how they address guests with disabilities. Many businesses, and people in general, will refer to someone as handicapped, but not Disney. They are “Guests with Disabilities.” You see, at Disney, the guest always comes first and that includes coming before a disability. 

My journey of learning the importance of putting guests first continued when I left Disney and went back into hotels. I was working as the General Manager of a Hilton Garden Inn trying to help the hotel turn around their financial and guest service results. I was having dinner with my VP of Operations one evening and he mentioned to me a phrase that has stuck with me to this day, “always make great guest based decisions.” All to often in business (and yes this includes real estate) we make decisions that are good for us but might not necessarily be great for our customers. He shared this with me as he contributed the hotel's struggles to my predecessor cultivating a culture of staff based decision making. This led to disenfranchised guests who rated the hotel poorly on surveys, online review websites, and ultimately never returned. I worked hard to change the culture to one that was guest-centric and the results were staggering in every measureable category.

Closing the Door on Open Houses (and much more)

When I started my career in real estate I went through the standard training that we all go through when we get started. It was pounded in to my head that we need to hold open houses, mail postcards, and go knock on doors. You hear it from your franchise training programs, from your brokers, and senior agents. While yes, those methods can work the results they yield for the effort are horrific. 

Let’s take a look at open houses. Recently the National Association of REALTORS® came out with several safety suggestions in the light of recent violent crimes against REALTORS®. Some of these included meeting new customers at the office and getting a copy of a driver’s license so that your peers and office leadership know who you are with and where you are going. These are GREAT guidelines to follow and I follow them to the letter and more. Yet, as REALTORS®, we throw those guidelines to the wind when we hold open houses. We open the doors to our customer’s home and invite anyone and everyone into the home. We don’t know who is coming into the home and what their true intention is. Additionally, the percentage of people visiting the home that are qualified buyers is statistically very low. Lastly, I can count on one hand the number of agents I have talked to that have sold the house they are having the open house at to a buyer that they first met through the open house. The decision to hold an open house is a great agent-based decision, but a bad customer-based decision.

The Millennial Generation

We all know the term “Millennial” right? The term millennial is typically used to describe those people born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s. They are poised to overtake the baby boomers as the largest generation and already make up the largest block of home buyers. The millennial generation is also the most connected generation we’ve ever seen and technology is never far from their hands. According best selling author and keynote speaker Erik Qualman, 53% of Millennials would rather lose their sense of smell than their technology. It is also a fact that more people own a mobile device than own a toothbrush (eww). These are the facts and the trends will only continue to grow and more millennials enter the home buying market. This leaves the question, if the millennial generation is the most technologically connected generation ever, why are real estate agents trying to market to them using techniques developed in the 1970’s?

New Marketing for a New Generation

A Real Estate Marketing Concept for 2016

Now that you know my background a little bit more as well as some facts on the millennial generation, you’ll better understand why I abandoned the “traditional” approaches to real estate marketing and wrote a new marketing play book. How did I earn over $100,000 in commissions in my first 90-days and a half-million in less than two years? Digital Marketing.

The first thing I did was hire a website designer to design and launch a website, a real one not one of these $29/month waste of money websites. I spent $1500 and hired to develop me a website that would have hyper-local content that I would update with regular, original content that was relevant to my target audience. I wrote blogs and shared them on social media pushing traffic back to my website. I made sure that I watched as many YouTube tutorials as I could on how to write great web content that users would like and that Google would love. I installed Google Analytics (free) on my website so that I could track my traffic and see which pages on my website were not engaging my visitors so I could change them or get rid of them. The result is that my website now gets an average of nearly 300-unique visitors a day from my local area and around the world.

The next thing I did was take the money I would have spent on direct mailing and other print advertising and invested that into digital advertising including targeted demographic Facebook ads and display marketing in my farm areas through Adwerx. Both of these platforms combined account for over half of my business and I am so thankful for the product and service they offer. As my business grew so did my advertising budget. I now advertise on other websites, in expanded areas with Facebook and Adwerx, and have added additional social media advertising to my portfolio with great success.

The results have been amazing. Thanks to my strategic partnerships with companies like, Adwerx, and Facebook, my business is booming and my website is flourishing. On average, we self generate over 200-leads a month from my marketing and website. The results of been so amazing that I no longer participate in my office’s lead distribution program and my average sale is nearly $60,000 over the median home price in our area. 

Final Thoughts…

As an industry, we have been very slow to react to the changing digital landscape and the major brands are the biggest anchor in this area. It is up to us, the individual agents, to push our brands, our brokers, and ourselves to not just think outside the box, but to throw the box away. Step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to take risks. A real estate agent is a self-employed entrepreneur and it is time we think like one. Every single business needs a well thought out business plan, marketing plan, and above all a marketing budget that puts our business where the customer is, not where we are comfortable.


CENTURY 21 Orlando Real Estate Agent Kevin JohnsonAbout Kevin Johnson

Orlando REALTOR® Kevin Johnson is an award-winning, top-producing real estate agent with CENTURY 21 Roo Realty in Orlando, Florida. Kevin’s dedication to his clients and his peers has been recognized by CENTURY 21, his brokerage, and his local board. His honors include being named a 2016 Orlando Style Magazine 5-Star REALTOR®, 2015 CENTURY 21 Centurion®, 2015 CENTURY 21 Quality Service Producer, and 2015 National CENTURY 21 Top Producer for the Home Partners of America program. Kevin is very active in his community and is currently a Board Member for the Osceola County Boys and Girls Club.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. John Lemos 04/27/2016 04:50 AM
  2. Winston Heverly 07/21/2016 01:15 PM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

While walking the Honolulu Business district, 9 out of 10 are out holding their cel phones, texting, watching the screen or talking to someone.  Kevin Johnson KUDOS to you for your achievement!  We are envious!  Will be watching your future blogs to pickup more advice. Liked and following!

May 03, 2016 01:57 PM #50
Rick Gehrke

I am so glad to hear you don't like open houses. I hope more Realtors follow suit.
I get many clients from open houses every weekend. My sellers love the exposure and I love the leads.

May 03, 2016 02:08 PM #51
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Really enjoyed reading your post Kevin.  Agree .. we need to step up to the plate and play the New Game ... think outside the box and attract the larger section of the buyer market - the Millenials.  

May 03, 2016 03:41 PM #52
JoAnn Young
Young & Young Properties - Melbourne, FL
Florida Real Estate

You go Kevin!  I try to implement the techniques of those agents who are successful.  I think I will be working on several of yours in the Melbourne market.

May 03, 2016 09:08 PM #53
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Great Job, Kevin Johnson!  It's great to see examples of successful people making their way, "their way".  I have said it time and time again, this is a customer service job on steroids.  Your hospitality beginnings will serve you well.

May 03, 2016 10:28 PM #54
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Very interesting read about your experience, Kevin. It kept my attention. It's interesting to learn the things that are working for you. I am sure your guest/service focus also contributes to your success. Much continued success to you.


May 03, 2016 10:35 PM #55
Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

Congratulations on a job well done.  Whatever works take advantage.  Thanks for your well thought out blogg.  Wishing you continued success.

May 04, 2016 12:18 AM #56
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

Congratulations Kevin!  I think there are actually a lot of agents who are trying to take advantage of digital media.  But I believe that it's not just a question of creating digital ads and getting them out there, it's about creating the right  ads directed to the right target audience.  That takes doing some A and B trials to see what really works and for some agents I know, they have simply given up if an ad didn't pull the way they had anticipated.  It really is a process and there is no one right ad as every market is different.

May 04, 2016 01:26 AM #57
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

Congratulations on your success! Great tips for building a growing and ever changing business.  

May 04, 2016 02:05 AM #58
Marilyn O'Donoghue
Long & Foster Avalon - Avalon, NJ

I  say congrats on your Adwerx campaign as I have not had any success in almost two years of paying for zip codes!  I must be missing something or not taking advantage of everything the program offers.  I do like to host open houses and have had great success with them.  I work in a resort area so I do think open houses work differently here.  

May 04, 2016 03:19 AM #59
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

You make a lot of good points about marketing here. I might have to break down and try the FB ads. I really tend to think FB is a waste of time but I must be missing the boat.

May 04, 2016 03:48 AM #60
Theresa Akin

It's been a while since I've hosted an open house, years and at another brokerage. Two scary incidents even though I took the necessary security steps.  Was lucky enough my husband was nearby and the second the home owners were on their way home. I was taking up signs when another couple wanted to see the house. They were both police officers and recognized the visitor who wouldn't leave but did as soon as he saw the officers. Showed them the property and another. That was 6 years ago. I will co host but not alone.  My current broker keeps his agents updated on marketing and Technological trends/tools to use. He is always encouraging never discouraging.

May 04, 2016 07:00 AM #61
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Good detailed information and congrats on your success!  I agree with many of your points--what they teach you regarding how to get business is so outdated now and not worth all the time you put in compared to the business you may get out of it.

May 04, 2016 07:49 AM #62
Dan Derito
Success! Real Estate - Brockton, MA

Thanks for such an informative post Kevin.  As a Boomer, I really enjoy working with Millenials and I think they are largely misunderstood.  They do appreciate my work ethic and are much more informed than we ever were. I'm glad to see that homes are flying off the shelves there in Orlando.


May 04, 2016 11:28 AM #63
Scott Phillips

As a Realtor with over 30 years of experience, I tend to do many things in this business face to face. There was a time when there were no computers involved, and Realtors did the qualifying process as well as advertising,
open houses, and closings. Things change so quickly these days. In other industries sharing this kind of information is taboo. Its refreshing to see that it is possible to share this information without worrying about competition.

May 04, 2016 12:51 PM #64
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

This is interesting. I think the statistics about who has the money and who is buying must depend upon who does the study. Millenials are no doubt the future, but most of what I read says that for right now, most of them simply don't have the wherewithall to become home buyers. 

I totally agree that open houses are a poor idea - for many reasons. 

May 05, 2016 04:08 AM #65
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

Great article. I agree, I think all of us need to realize the computers and technology will not be going away so might as well embrace it but the #1 thing that never changes is CUSTOMER SERVICE. I am with you!

May 09, 2016 08:59 AM #66
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for sharing what works for you.  I read this right after I sent out 200 post cards!  85 of those post cards go to my former neighborhood and those folks know me.  While I could keep those, I'll ditch the other lists as I have gained nothing from them.  I will definitely start making changes, so thank you for the inspiration!  

May 10, 2016 05:20 AM #67
Youree Lundy
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty - Orlando, FL
Your Realtor For Life

Thank you for sharing this information.  Excellent explaination of the workings of an internet based lead generation program.


May 12, 2016 09:54 AM #68
Anne Peck
Hodnett Cooper - Saint Simons Island, GA
real estate agent in lovely coastal Georgia

This is a very inspiring post, Kevin! Thanks for taking the time to write it and share it with us all! My market is just north of you, in coastal Georgia, and I think that your methodology can help me a lot!

Jul 05, 2016 03:14 AM #69
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Kevin Johnson

Orlando's Premier CENTURY 21 Office!
Ask me a question
Spam prevention