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‘Will Your Wins’: Luxury Agents Share Tips For Breaking Into The High-End Market

Real estate agents gathered at the Palladium Theater in New York City’s Times Square on Thursday to learn networking and lead generation strategies from some of the nation’s top luxury real estate agents at the Goldbar Live conference.

While every real estate professional had their own nuggets of advice to share, one overarching theme was agents’ belief in manifesting their success.

“Will your wins into existence,” Ryan Serhant, the founder of SERHANT., told attendees from the Palladium stage.

Serhant relayed a story from the early stages of his career, in which he met a couple looking to buy a property in New York City. After a year of showings in nearly every neighborhood of the city, the couple ghosted him. But Serhant continued to follow up — for five years. Eventually, in 2017, he heard back from the husband.

“You know what he said?” Serhant asked. “’We were busy.’”

In finally catching up, Serhant learned the couple had divorced, but the man was looking to buy his own place in SoHo.

“The initial call was on Monday and on Friday he had bought something for $16 million,” Serhant said.

Serhant used this story to illustrate how he manifested this deal by religiously following up with the client. Since then, he has helped the same client purchase multiple properties and has gained loyalty for life.

Dina Goldentayer, the top Miami-based Douglas Elliman agent, shared her spin on this advice.

“I mean, you have to fake it until you make it,” Goldentayer said about agents looking to break into the ultra-luxury market. “You have to be comfortable acting like you’re in the room when you’re not quite yet in the room.”

While other professionals agreed with Goldentayer’s advice for agents in putting themselves out there, they did not believe in being disingenuous.

“Just put yourself out there, and be genuine and be yourself; you don’t have to be something you’re not,” said Talia McKinney, the founder of her eponymous team at SERHANT.

Aaron Kirman, CEO of AKG | Christie’s International Real Estate, told attendees that they don’t have to do different activities or act differently in order to meet high net worth clients.

“There is no one size fits all in this business,” Kirman said. “It is super random. I always tell people to be the most authentic they can be and they will meet their people. For some people, it is at temple or at church. I have one agent in my brokerage that does nothing but play golf all day and he makes millions of dollars selling real estate.”

Although networking is essential in real estate, other speakers noted that agents must also have a strong understanding of the real estate business and, specifically, their business model.

“It’s about simplicity and getting really clear about what you declare,” Frances Katzen, the founder of Douglas Elliman’s Katzen Team, said. “You can’t say, ’I want to make lots of money.’ It is also about how you back into it.”

Katzen said she works with agents to help them plan out their year in order to achieve their financial goals. They need to know how many deals and how many buyers they need to work with to meet those targets.

For Tal Alexander, the co-founder of The Alexander Team, agents must also have a strong understanding of products and the areas they are selling in.

“At the end of the day, we are advisers to our clients and the only way I am able to advise my clients to make the best decisions is by giving them the information that they are looking for,” Alexander said.

“It is buildings, but it is also the neighborhoods and the markets we are selling in, and understanding who lives where, what the unit mixes in the building are, the floor plans that are offered, and obviously what the comps are.”

Although it was not a hot topic of discussion during the conference, some speakers noted that agents need to focus on these types of skills in the wake of the commission lawsuits.

“Our industry is currently in a shift,” said Veronica Figueroa, founder of the eXp Realty-backed FIG Team. “We are experiencing something that will reward the skills. It will reward the most knowledgeable person; it will reward the expert who has the best negotiation skills, who has the best Rolodex, who has the processes and systems to scale.”

Alexander shared similar advice for agents who may soon find themselves competing for clients with other agents who are willing to work at discounted rates.

“You need to understand who you are pitching against,” Alexander said. “Anytime I am going into a pitch, I do what I can to best understand who a seller is meeting with and who my competition is.

“I know what they are presenting, and I know what kind of commission rate they are offering. I just think if you stay true to yourself and understand yourself, you can let your results speak for themselves.”

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