Trying to get in with the high-end clients in your market? It might not be as hard as you think…
As part of the latest RISMedia ACE Webinar Series, attendees learned some top tips for taking one’s business to the next level in the webinar entitled “Listing Mastery: 7 Secrets to Working with High-Net Worth Clients.” Unsurprisingly, panelists said that to court high-end clientele, one must use tools already in their arsenal: expert knowledge of market numbers and a high-level confidence.
According to the webinar’s panelists, Anthony Marguleas, broker/owner of Amalfi Estates in Los Angeles and Julie Toon Timms, broker in charge of Hilton Head Island Real Estate Brokers, Inc., those seven secrets are:
- Care about what they care about
- Be consistent and keep in touch
- Know the market
- Remember that they’re regular people, too
- Have the right tools for the job
- Advocate for them
- Know that it’s not about the gimmicks, but the investment of time
In order to set his team up for success, Marguleas made the distinction of calling his team members “sales partners” as opposed to any other industry title. “The credibility and respect is a lot higher. ‘Buyers agents’ are great, and are doing the same role, but we’ve found ‘sales partner’ has been very effective from a branding perspective.”
His company is choosey with who they select for their team, as sales partners need to align with the company’s core values, and be okay with the 10 percent charitable giving. In addition, to appeal to the higher-end market, Marguleas said you have to up your game all around, especially in the marketing department.
“You have to step it up on the advertising side and do something unique and different,” he said. His company sends direct mail to every home in the community, showing photos of the luxury homes that sold and educating potential clients about what the market’s doing, which could possibly throw a potential buyer or seller off the fence and into action.
Your apparel may make or break you as well. “Dress how your clients are going go dress. In Malibu, wear a shirt and tie. If you’re working with people in the entertainment industry, you can be a little casual. But it really depends on who they are,” said Marguleas. (Cliff’s Notes: If the client is wearing a $1,000 suit, you need to wear a $1,000 suit!)
“It really comes down to confidence. They’re not an expert in real estate. When you bring confidence to the table, they really respect it. The reality is they still know significantly less about real estate than you do. Once you can sit down and educate them, they’ll treat you as one of their trusted advisors, and that is key.”
Timms added that wealthier clients get up in the morning and put their pants on one leg at a time…just like the rest of us.
“People are not any different than anybody else; they have just been more successful and have a different mindset,” she said. “Many of them, if not all of them, have families, dreams, desires, things they like to do for fun…they’re just real people. There’s no point in being intimidated. If you talk to people and understand them and what their goals are, surely you can answer their questions.”
Timms agreed with Marguleas about the power that confidence can have, and instructed agents to avoid having “commission breath”—clients can smell it right away.
“You just have to build relationships with people. They really don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” she said.
Another piece of sage advice: Listen well, but not to respond. Listen to understand.
Presenting yourself well is important, agreed Timms. Match your style to fit the person you're meeting with. In her case, Hilton Head, S.C., is a popular vacation spot. “If I showed up with pearls and a dress with high heels, and I met with somebody just off the tennis court or golf course, they’d feel uncomfortable. Recognize who you’re with, and make them feel as comfortable as you can.”
According to both panelists, knowing the numbers will forever make or break you. “Luxury clients didn’t get to be luxury clients by making poor financial decisions,” said Timms. “Give them the information and back it up with real numbers.”
Timms also stressed that following up is key. Contact prospects 3 - 4 times per year, send out a newsletter to keep people informed, and make sure to respond quickly to questions. Also, getting testimonials that showcase your negotiation skills is important. “People like to hear from third parties, and not just from you, about how good you are,” she said.
View the webinar in full below: