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1,000 TRUE FANS

1,000 TRUE FANS

From the work of Kevin Kelly

Condensed by Matthew Regan


To be a successful salesperson you don’t need a lot of money. You don’t need thousands of dollars or thousands of clients. To make a living as a salesperson you need only one hundred true fans.

A true fan is defined as someone who sings your praises from the tops of mountains. At dinners with friends, at the hockey arena, to their dentist and doctor, accountant and dog walker.

Here’s how the math works. You need to meet two criteria. First, you have to create enough each year that you can earn, on average, $5,000 from each true fan. This is easier to do in some markets than others, but it is a good creative challenge because it is always easier and better to give existing customers more, than it is to find new fans.

Second. You must have a direct relationship with your fans. That is, they must pay you by virtue of telling everyone they know how great you are in the form of a referral or of course, they themselves hire you to sell their home. If you can garner $5,000 from each true fan, then you need only 100 true fans to earn $500,000 a year.

The number 100 is not absolute. Its significance is in the rough order of magnitude. The actual number has to be adjusted for each person. If you are able to only earn $50 per year per true fan, then you would need a lot more true fans to earn a living. Or you may need only $75,000 to live on, so you adjust accordingly. If you have a partner, then you may need to multiply by 2 to get the math to work. For a team, you need to multiply further. The good news is that the increase in the size of your true fan base is geometric and linear in proportion to the size of your team. If you increase the team by 33% you only need to increase your fan base by 33%.

And of course, not every fan will be super. For every true fan you may have 2 or 3 regular fans. These regular fans may refer occasionally or may have bought only once. But their occasional referrals expand your total income. Perhaps they bring an additional 50%. Still, you want to focus on the super fans because the enthusiasm of true fans can increase patronage of regular fans. True fans are not just the direct source of your income, but also your chief marketing force for the ordinary fans.

The truth is that cultivating a thousand fans is time consuming. Done well (and why not do it well?) it can be another full-time job. But after all we are in the real estate business which means we are in the people business which means we are in the relationship business. Of course it’s time consuming. So, you need help. Perhaps this is where joining a team comes in. Of course, one that gets this basic principle. Maybe you hire your sister to help you with this – after all she loves to be organized.

How to keep your true fans yelling your name from the mountain top is where your creative genius comes in. From client events, to a 33-touch point system, you’re limited only by your imagination. And of course, speaking directly to people and asking for business doesn’t hurt. They already know who you are and what you do. Don’t be shy, ask for business. You’ll be amazed at what happens to your referral business when you develop this habit.

The takeaway: 1,000 true fans is a road map to success. Aim for direct connection with fewer people. You’ll have to start at one and work your way up from there. On your way, no matter how many fans you succeed in gaining, you’ll be surrounded by genuine and true appreciation with the understanding that you actually are likely to arrive at 1,000.


The original essay was written by Kevin Kelly. All credit is given to the essay he wrote, 1,000 True Fans. His work was abbreviated to a real estate agent audience with the opinions and insight of Matthew Regan, CEO, Regan Real Estate Inc.