Ten Tips to Success in Luxury Real Estate
Where To Begin If You’re Just Breaking Into The Luxury Real Estate Market:
Find & Stick With A Niche
What’s a niche? A niche is a specialized market. Luxury Real Estate may be a segment of your business AND it may be a market you want to expand into. If it’s your primary market, what are you doing to keep and GROW your market share?
Tip #1: BEGIN! Put Your “Toe Into The Water” And Register For Training
If you’ve not previously worked with luxury buyers and sellers, register now and plan to attend the November 3rd “Selling Luxury Homes” session at the NAR Convention in Chicago. Seek out the presenters, Jack Cotton and Gee Dunsten, and dive deep into their recommendations. While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to meet other agents who share an interest in luxury Real Estate and follow-up with them when you return home.
Next, look into the Institute For Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) training. Do you get the most out of in-person training or are you just as effective with online training? The ILHM offers both! I originally took the course with the founder, Laurie Moore-Moore, more than a decade ago and have audited the course several additional times. New ideas and different instructors keep me abreast of changes in marketing and selling luxury homes!
You’re going to be working with some of your clients’ most valuable assets and they expect you to thoroughly know and understand all of the complexities of selling luxury Real Estate. So get the book “Rich Buyer, Rich Seller” by Laurie Moore-Moore and read it cover to cover!
Tip #2: Get Involved, Make Connections And Step Up In Leadership
Does your state association or local board offer training or networking opportunities for agents who focus on luxury Real Estate? If this is your primary market and you’re an influencer, have you considered offering your assistance and volunteering to become a leader? If you’re looking for referrals from agents outside of your local market, this is a great way to make connections. Consider this: All things otherwise being fairly similar, agents who have met you in person are more likely to send you a referral than someone they haven’t met!
Tip #3: Know What The Difference Is Between Selling And Marketing
Let’s recall the difference between selling and marketing. The simplest description of selling is trying to get someone to buy what you have. And the most basic concept of marketing is meeting a need of someone who has something you can offer.
So ask yourself first: What is it that someone in the area(s) I serve REALLY, REALLY, REALLY needs that I can meet, and what am I committed to do to become a master at providing that service at the highest quality level? If luxury Real Estate is a niche for your business and not your primary business, how will you compete in your local market with others who have luxury Real Estate as their primary business?
Tip #4: Define Your Luxury Real Estate Market
The ILHM requires Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) members to have at least three unique, closed, residential property transactions in the TOP 10 percent of the market area within a 24-month period of each closed date.
In your local market, a property which is in the top 10 percent may technically qualify to meet the definition based on its price, but is it truly a luxury property? A large tract of vacant land probably doesn’t qualify whereas a small unique property in the best location in the top 10 percent of the market area MAY!
How do you define “Luxury?” A search of Google for “Definition of Luxury Real Estate” will bring you some interesting websites and articles. Here’s a good blog post I like.
Tip #5: Look at your luxury market through the eyes of your clientele
How does your sphere of influence view luxury Real Estate? For some it may be living in select neighborhoods and developments in your local market. For others outside of your area, it may be what they see in the media. Subscribe at least to the Robb Report and read Architectural Digest, Unique Homes, Dupont Registry, Town and Country as well as the luxury Real Estate sections of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and your nearest publications for luxury Real Estate. Your clientele likely will and you need to as well!
Tip #6: Ask Yourself If The Luxury Real Estate Market Is The Highest And Best Use Of Your Time And Resources
Have you read the book or watched the video on YouTube of “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson? Even seasoned agents have found the message in this short book a reminder to frequently check on where you are in your business and when it’s time to adapt to changing market conditions.
Have you read the book SHIFT by Gary Keller with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan? When the economy is good we tend to focus on what has been working for us in the past and the “low hanging fruit” that we’ve been accustomed to having. When the market begins to SHIFT we begin to look for other areas we haven’t previously focused on. Even the most experienced luxury Real Estate professional knows the timing is critical and you need to know what’s happening in your local luxury Real Estate market at all times.
Tip #7: Ask Yourself If You Have What It Takes To Develop A Luxury Real Estate Business
After all this is a business! Let’s face it. You’re going to need some resources to make this a successful part of your business. You’ll need some financial resources to front some of the expenses involved. Flexibility is essential; if you’re rigid and lack resourcefulness you’re likely to fail. Persistence is critical. From your communications with your clients to following through on every detail in the transaction, be prepared for extended “Days On Market” for luxury listings. And remember that for many buyers and sellers they likely don’t HAVE to do anything on your time schedule. Leverage is also necessary—meaning having others to help you in handling the myriad of details.
If you’re inexperienced in selling luxury Real Estate, seriously consider partnering with another local agent and get a closed sale that you can include in your marketing and conversations with potential future clients. Remember: “I’d rather have half a loaf than no loaf at all!”
Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone? Luxury Real Estate is a specialty and if it were easy, EVERYONE would be in it. How far are you willing to stretch and adapt to meet the needs and demands of your market?
Tip #8: Success Leaves Clues! Become The Local Luxury Real Estate Market Expert
You have a robust tool at your fingertips to become a local luxury Real Estate market expert—your MLS. KNOW YOUR COMPETITION! Dig deep into the data and statistics, identify those agents who have listed or sold homes in your target market in the last two years in the top 10 percent of the sales. Run a Google search of their name and perhaps their company. Study what seems to work for them, but don’t look to copy everything they do. Even the best experiment and sometimes make mistakes. And be sure to get to personally know them!
Also, study industry leaders and the luxury agents within your company or franchise. Success does leave clues! Just remember to adapt to yourself while maintaining the core principles. “Don’t try to shove a round peg into a square hole.”
Tip #9: Time Block To Mastery
Time blocking is putting in the MOST important daily and yearly tasks into your calendar to be sure you accomplish your ONE Thing!
Becoming a luxury Real Estate master isn’t likely to happen overnight and maintaining it requires a commitment of time and resources. If you don’t commit to working on it in a consistent manner, it’s unlikely to occur. So plug in reading, training, networking and marketing as a part of your daily calendar. Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day, the results will multiply like a domino effect.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” How are you sharpening your “axe?”
Expanding your mindset about time blocking will greatly benefit your business. Have you read John Moscillo’s recent blog on LCA, “Use The Tortoise And The Hare To Change Your Mindset”?
Wealthy and high net worth buyers and sellers expect their agents to be masters of negotiations. Invest your time by becoming a Master Certified Negotiation Expert (MCNE) through the Real Estate Negotiation Institute (RENI).
Listen frequently to podcasts about the financial, investment and global markets. Bloomberg is excellent!
Tip #10: “Up Your Game” To Exceed Expectations
There’s the old adage: “Promise less and deliver more to exceed the client’s expectations!”
Luxury Real Estate sellers and buyers expect from their professionals: high-quality photography, professional video, print materials, an agent to have their own luxury website, online and social media marketing, strategic advertising and targeted mailing at a minimum. Ask yourself what’s necessary to compete in an ever changing market and what’s new in selling luxury homes.
BONUS TIP: In The End, It’s About Creating The Ultimate Customer Experience To Build A Positive Reputation And Referrals
While it’s necessary to convey your marketing plan to assure the Sellers that you’re highly qualified to market their home, consider a few surprises and bonuses to WOW them throughout the process. Keep in mind that in some areas, luxury homes can take considerably longer to sell depending on the supply and demand in a specific local market or neighborhood. Your responsibility as the leader of your business is to create The Ultimate Customer Experience. That’s the topic of my next blog post!
If you are purposeful, diligent and consistent in providing quality service, your reputation and referrals are likely to produce on-going new business and profitability for you!
My last adage to share is, “There’s only one way to eat an elephant; one bite at a time!” (No, I don’t mean this literally!) There is no magic pill, silver bullet or memory chip to plug in. As Nike says, “Just Do It!”
Thank you for reading. These eleven tips for success in luxury Real Estate come from more than 22 years of selling Real Estate and from decades of learning from the best. No blog post can cover everything—so maybe this is a reminder or a call to action for you!
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