Interview with Top Producers Gary Giffin + Nicole Mazzola

What Does it Take to Become a Top Producing Real Estate Agent?

It’s a known fact that some real estate agents barely get by while others thrive. What does it take to be among those who thrive?

In search of that answer, we quizzed two of AARE’s top agents, Gary Giffin and Nicole Mazzola.

Question: What personality traits help you stand out as an agent?

Nicole: I’m incredibly determined and never spare the energy when it comes to turning my client’s real estate goals into reality. I’m always looking for ways to do better and be better so I can serve them better. I also have the ability to look at the big picture and keep the escrow and the clients on track to the desired outcome.

While I do treat all parties with kindness and respect, I never forget that my clients come first when the going gets tough.

Gary: Along with dedication, integrity, and a sense of humor, my leadership qualities have a lot to do with my success. I work in partnership with my clients, and once a transaction is in escrow, I turn all parties into a team, with all of us working at a good pace toward success for my client.

I also have a “Just do it” attitude that keeps my own work moving along.

Question: Can you point to any one thing that you credit for your success?

Nicole: My priority at all times is my clients, and they know it. I’m fanatical about customer service and I never take my client’s trust or business for granted. I’m vocal in my appreciation and gratitude for their loyalty to me. I treat my clients like family, and most do become close personal friends.

Gary: My clients are always number one, and all receive the same “5 Star” service no matter how small or large the sale. My focus is never on the commission, but on having happy, satisfied clients.

Question: What do you do that you believe struggling agents don’t do?

Nicole: I create and nurture relationships with people and clients. I’m responsive and always do what I say I’ll do. People say they like how I make them feel.

Gary: The average agent doesn’t follow up and communicate properly. I tend to over communicate to all parties involved until the deal is done and the buyer is in their new home.

Question: Do you spend time cultivating past clients and/or finding new clients? 

Nicole: I spend a lot of time communicating with past clients simply because so many of them have become close friends. I always send cards for birthdays and anniversaries, but also schedule time to meet them for coffee or dinner, and to visit with them in their new homes. On average, I see them three or four times per month. I’ve even visited a past client at her new home in Oregon.

My past clients are the source of most of my new business, but I do take time to work new lead sources.

Gary: Referral business from past clients is the key to any stable business, and a key to my success. Since many of my clients become good friends, I enjoy growing that list. I schedule time to meet with clients and friends on a weekly basis by just having a quick cup of coffee or lunch and taking time to catch up on their busy lives. I also follow up on leads from website searches.

Question: What led you to a career in real estate?

Nicole: My father is a respected commercial real estate broker, and while I admired his success, I was drawn to the relational aspect of residential real estate. I was excited by the prospect of working with an ever-changing group of people and I love the “Sky’s the limit” aspect of real estate. I feel tremendously blessed to have met such wonderful people and to have gained so many dear friends.

Gary: My father and mother bought and sold San Diego real estate as investors when I was young. They both had full time jobs, so the family worked together fixing up and managing properties after school and on week-ends. While I first pursued other interests, somehow I always knew that I’d come back to real estate and make it my career. 

Question: What are your personal goals – outside of real estate?

Nicole: My relationship with the Lord and my family are of utmost importance to me. One ongoing goal is to find a balance between work and my personal life – it’s always a work in progress. I also love to travel and like to always have a trip planned so I have something to look forward to.

Gary: I strive to not only work hard, but to work smarter, as my father did. I believe God put me on the earth for a purpose beyond selling homes, so I want to be able to continue to give back to my community and to structure my schedule to spend more time with family and friends.


Top Producers Gary and Nicole are more alike than different. Both put their client’s needs first and work with tenacity to achieve their goals. Both strive for excellence in customer service and communication. Both enjoy their clients and love turning those business relationships into lasting friendships. Both reap the benefit of referrals and repeat business because of their relationship-building skills.

Last but not least, both are strongly rooted in their faith and strive to not only earn more, but to live well and support their families as contributing members of society.