30 Under 30 Honorees of 2003

Pick another year

Laverne Burroughs
Broker-owner
Burroughs Real Estate
Age: 
27
Individual volume: 
$1.5 million

“Learn as much as you can from more experienced salespeople.”

What makes her special: With a goal of increasing racial diversity in a small neighboring town, Laverne Burroughs got her broker’s license, left her hometown of Jackson, Miss., and set up shop in nearby Durant. The town was underserved, says Burroughs. “It had only two real estate companies and no minority salespeople.”

Her biggest challenges: Finding startup capital and building a clientele. “There was little cooperation among brokers,” she says. “Each company wanted to keep and sell its own listings.”

How she responded: Burroughs credits her father with giving her the backing she needed to get started. And after she hired a salesperson, competitors warmed up to the idea of cooperation. In 2002, Burroughs generated $1.5 million in sales—a quantum leap from $25,000 in 2001. She now has two salespeople and a diverse clientele.

Management secret: She role-plays with associates during monthly sales meetings. That way, associates are prepared for what-if scenarios: “I teach them to turn a negative into a positive.”