Building a career as a real estate agent doesn’t happen overnight. Once you’ve completed your state-required coursework and have passed your licensing exam, there remains a world of reading to be done to help you build your business.  These books can help you network, develop your style, and become a better negotiator on behalf of your clients.  Some of these titles can also help grow your business generally, including marketing techniques and business-minded decision making.  Some of the business’s greatest minds, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both, read extensively – it can’t hurt for you to take on the habit as CEO of your own real estate business!

It’s easy to burn out in real estate, especially when your buyers aren’t submitting offers or your seller has difficulty selling the property.  Don’t let the market get you down; take advantage of the opportunity to continually learn to maintain your motivation as a real estate professional. Don’t think of reading as something you get to do in your downtime. Approach reading is imperative to your professional success and something you build into your work time as a learning behavior. Don’t be afraid to utilize audiobooks as well as hard copies – or as some experts recommend – BOTH of the same titles.

Real Estate Specific Reads

There are thousands of books out there to teach you the art and business of real estate. Rather than weed through the titles, get started with these tried and true lessons in making the deal and building your business.

The HyperLocal HyperFast Real Estate Agent: How to Dominate Your Real Estate Market in Under a Year – I Did it and so Can You! written by Daniel James Lesniak

Essential reading for any new real estate agent, industry leader Daniel Lesniak offers up his exact methods for making the deal – down to the script.   Lesniak encourages readers to strategize their business based on a hyper locality, becoming the expert in one area to the point that you become the must-have, go-to agent. He then teaches you how to scale this model across new zip codes.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, written by Gary Keller

Gary Keller’s books are all must-reads for any real estate agent looking to grow their career. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent is the pinnacle of his work and an in-depth guide to mastering the system of buying and selling properties. This book pushes the reader to set both long and short-term goals and is so in-depth that it breaks down the necessary skills into even daily tasks creating a blueprint for lasting success as a real estate agent.

Ninja Selling: Subtle Skills. Big Results, written by Larry Kendall

Not unlike Keller, Larry Kendall is a giant of real estate. In Ninja, Selling Kendall breaks down database marketing to lead to more sales through smart prospecting.  This book heavily quantifies the day-to-day tasks necessary to succeed in real estate sales.

Essential Reading For Realtors

In any industry, some titles are considered essential reading for success. These books will give you a foundation for success with tips and anecdotes you simply won’t learn in a classroom. You may notice these titles are not all specific to real estate, these books are related to business generally but will drive you toward habits that will set you up for success in real estate.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, written by James Clear

James Clear is a known leader in ritual setting and building habits for success. In addition to his electronic newsletter, we recommend starting your reading habit with Atomic Habits. Success in real estate, more so than other businesses, can be broken down into adopting and keeping good habits and breaking bad habits. This seems simple, but as we all know, it can be easy to lose focus especially in the fast-paced environment of real estate. 

One clear tenet Clear brings forward in this book is the idea that habits do seem insignificant – until they are too ingrained to change. Changing bad habits is difficult, and maintaining good habits is equally challenging. This is true in real estate as well.

Grit, written by Angela Duckworth

This book is a must-read for anyone in business, especially women in real estate. The concepts in Grit teach you how to develop the skill of perseverance no matter the odds. If you continue with open houses, tough clients, and tougher markets – when no one else would – you will build a successful career in real estate.  Where inherit intellect and talent are helpful attributes, staying the course and sticking out the rough patches are equally as important to your success as a real estate agent.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, written by Carol Dweck

No matter how long you’ve been in the real estate business, Mindset matters.  Mindset by Carol Dweck is a quick read that will make clear the difference between what is called a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset.  A Growth Mindset is a goal – one where you know you can learn and improve with effort and time. A Growth Mindset is necessary to develop your real estate practice in a competitive work environment and to learn from temporary setbacks.  

Contrary to a Growth Mindset, a Fixed Mindset is one where you feel as if your skills, talents, and ultimately, your success are capped at a certain point regardless of effort. If you naturally have a Fixed Mindset, this doesn’t mean you cannot be a successful real estate agent, but pushing yourself to learn and move toward a Growth Mindset will only benefit your business in the long term.

The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launch Their Careers, by Alex Banayan

Unlike many other business endeavors, real estate agents truly put in the effort with the risk of NEVER receiving compensation for this time. It can be difficult as an agent to not become frustrated and laser-focused on the deal, sale, and resulting commission – when the process grows long.  

In The Third Door, Banayan reminds us to remain focused on a high-quality process and not the result. If we focus on our clients, the results will follow.  With this comes the reminder to not compare yourself to agents who have been working in real estate for decades, when you have just started in the industry. Hard work pays off, and building a career takes years of building relationships. Don’t get discouraged.

Smart Reads for Landing Clients

Real estate is a sales-based business. Just like any career in sales, it is important to maintain a list of target communities, networks, and customers.  These titles will help finely tune your skills in prospecting and learning how to close the deal with a potential homebuyer or someone seeking to sell their property. We all know that most clients enjoy long-term relationships with their real estate agents, so if you can nail down that client early, you may have a client for life.

Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling, written by Jeb Blount

In preparing for your real estate licensure exam, you’ll learn all about contracting and real estate laws; one thing you won’t learn how to do is negotiate, close the deal, or prospect for new clients. It takes many new real estate agents years to understand how important it is to prospect. 

Prospecting can make or break your career – especially as a new agent. You should make time in your schedule to prospect for new business every day – Fanatical Prospecting will show you how to do it right.

Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection, written by Jia Jiang

As you grow more accustomed to the practice of prospecting for new clients, you may experience more rejection than you are used to. This is just part of the process – the more you ask the more clients you get, but also the more “no’s” you’ll hear. Rejection Proof will help you beat the fear of asking for business and prevent you from internalizing the inevitable rejection that comes along with sales prospecting.

The Compound Effect, written by Darren Hardy

The compound effect highlights the role that every day, small habits “compound” to create a more successful life and business. There are many ways to apply this book’s principles to real estate but a specific example or two lies in making regular prospect calls, or hosting open houses for your clients.

The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt, written by Russ Harris

In any new career, especially in real estate, it can be challenging to get started. It’s no surprise that many new Realtors or real estate agents lack confidence in their first few months or even years.  The Confidence Gap will help you overcome your struggles and put your most confident foot forward on behalf of your clients and your business.

In The Confidence Gap, you will learn to recognize and record the small wins – thereby building confidence over time.

Tactical Skill-Building

These titles are perfect for a real estate agent who is just getting started but also for more experienced agents looking to grow their business or explore new tactics to grow their existing business.

The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales written by Chris Smith

It’s a new age in real estate marketing and getting the word out via social media is more important now than ever.  The Conversation Code is a necessary primer in social media advertising, online prospecting, and lead generation. This book includes tips and tricks for managing both free and paid online advertising methods.

#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness, written by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is an expert in social media and digital marketing. His tips and tricks in this book are especially useful for real estate agents with a particular focus on long-term vision and strategy, and yes – delayed gratification. This is a perfect reminder for the real estate agent that may be slogging through showing after showing with no contract in sight.

The Road to Recognition: The A-to-Z Guide to Personal Branding for Accelerating Your Professional Success in The Age of Digital Media, written by Seth Price and Barry Feldman

The Road to Recognition is full of helpful, practical tips to keep your name front and center in a heavily digital media market. A living guide, this book is best to revisit each year as you plan your goals for marketing your real estate firm.

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, written by Vanessa Van Edwards

This book is a game-changer for becoming a better people person, mastering relationships. The pages’ theories are all based on science and tested by professionals from all industries – including successful real estate agents.

In Captivate, you learn actionable strategies to improve your networking and social skills. 

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, written by Keith Ferrazzi

Relationships are the only surefire way to build a real estate empire, but not every agent knows where to get started.  Never Eat Alone provides tips and strategies for leveraging your connections to build your network and eventually, your net worth.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, written by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan

What you say and how you say it – to both your clients and other parties – can make or break any real estate deal. Unfortunately, Crucial Conversations are not taught in real estate school. Learning when to speak and when to stay quiet and negotiating is all part of the critical skillset for any successful real estate agent.

Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, written by Chris Voss

When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, most clients share that a master negotiator is top of their list of desirable traits in an agent or broker.  Never Split The Difference is written by one of the world’s leading negotiators – Chris Voss. Voss will teach you the imperative value of tone, balance and when to push, and when to pull. Negotiation is a helpful trait to master when dealing with third parties but also with your clients directly.

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea, written by Bob Burg and John David Mann

The Go-Giver teaches the concept of leading with value: giving rather than getting. This book is an incredibly quick read with 5 lessons that will fundamentally change how you think about your business.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, written by Brene Brown

Brene Brown is a life-coach icon and has changed the way the world looks at professional vulnerability and culture.  Her concepts are applicable in a variety of industries, not excluding real estate. It’s easy to constantly compare yourself to other agents in real estate, including those who have been at it a lot longer. In Daring Greatly you will learn to be a leader and arrive in your own time.

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM), written by Hal Elrod

One of the greatest perks of real estate work is that you can set your schedule. However, if you’re not a morning person, you may benefit from the motivation laid out in The Miracle Morning. It’s a simple concept – wake up before everyone else and get a head start on the competition.

7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals by Michael Maher

As a real estate agent, you need a wide network to feed your referral base, but it can be hard to know how many referrals it takes to get your business to take off.  The Seven Levels of Communications helps you purposefully transform your social and existing professional networks into income-generating referrals.

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, written by Simon Sinek

Based on his popular TED Talk, Sinek shares how identifying the living the “why” you got into the business (including real estate) and living that why throughout business interactions and decisions can lead to long-term success. Start With Why will teach you to identify your purpose, your “why,” and then translate that to your customers in the work that you do. Start With Why helps you build your brand. 

The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone 

Spoiler alert: The 10x Rule means aiming for a goal that’s ten times higher than where you are now. Now you know the rule, but you should still pick up the book to discover how to identify your goals, establish an action plan to achieve them, and overcome obstacles in your path so you can succeed regardless of the state of the economy.

Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman 

Every business has processes — but are yours working for you, or are you working for them? “Traction” introduces the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, a comprehensive and practical set of plans, strategies, and tools for making your business run more smoothly. It’s not just theoretical, either: Over 80,000 companies use the EOS principles outlined here.

Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results by Jack Mitchell 

Let’s be clear about the title of this book: A “hug” here means a way to show clients you care: coffee and a danish when they drop in; cards on birthdays and anniversaries; a shoulder to cry on when they’re having a bad day. “Hugging” is a simple way to deliver above-and-beyond service to buyers and sellers — and employees — so they hug you back with long-term loyalty.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

In the 1991 movie “City Slickers,” the tough-love cowboy Curly says the secret to life is just “one thing” that everyone has to figure out for themselves. Keller and Papasan take that quote and the concept and show you how to identify the one thing that will keep you focused on making your business the success you envisioned.

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Sean Achor

The old formula of hard work = success = happiness doesn’t always hold. As a real estate agent, you can work seven days a week and not reach the goals you set for yourself. Even if you’re making money hand over fist, are you truly happy? Achor flips the formula on its head and argues that happiness generates success and performance — not the other way around.

Endless Referrals, written by Bob Burg

A must-read for salespeople, including Realtors, Endless Referrals builds on Burg’s proven relationship-building principles to bring even more clients to your business. He shows how to maximize your day-to-day activities for the best returns from your network.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich written by Tim Ferriss

World-renowned for its ambitious title, this book addresses work-life balance with healthy long-term practices to make your life more vacation and less work – while thriving professionally.

Pick up these reads to enhance your education beyond what is taught in real estate courses and build your business.

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