Alfred Ekuban, 36, plans to sell $6 million worth of houses for the Shannon and Luchs' real estate firm this year.

That's a heavy goal for anyone selling moderately priced houses in Prince George's County and the District. But then Ekuban handled $5.1 million in sales last year and $4.3 million the year before.

"I set my own goals to motivate myself," he said. "But I break down the goal by months, weeks and days. This has been a good year so far."

Ekuban said that most of his sales are between $50,000 and $60,000; the houses tend to be 10 to 25 years old. Most of his customers are married couples in the late 20s and early 30s, he said.

The Ekuban formula for success is fairly simple. He works six days a week, usually from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

"I put my cards on the table and tell them that I cannot afford to waste my time and theirs. I listen to what they say about what they want and try to give them a choice."

But Ekuban says that he lets his potential customers know that he expects them to make a choice on the basis of his offerings - and to buy from him.

"Most of my business now comes from customers referrals," he said. "I don't send flowers, but I do let my buyers know that I depend on them to send me new clients.

And many of them do."

Although he drives a Lincoln and makes a six-figure income, Eukuban lives with his wife and five children in a fairly modest, five-bedroom house in Kemp Mill Estates in upper Silver Spring. A native of Ghana and a former soccer player, the 150-pound, 5-foot-6 salesman now settles for ping-pong.

Ekuban finished high school after arriving here 11 years ago, then earned a degree in accounting from the University of the District of Columbia and a master's in business from the University of Maryland.

This man, who brought 85 houses to settlement last year and had 59 listings, said is to "find out exactly what the buyer wants and how many dollars he can afford to spend to buy it."