SAN FRANCISCO — When Larry Altschul began researching a high net worth individual he wanted to lure to one of the casinos he represents, he discovered that the high roller loved wine.

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Takeaways:

  • Researching a high net worth individual’s interests and preferences can help you win their business.
  • Providing specialized services is an effective way to court well-heeled foreigners.
  • Casino representative is looking to form referral relationships with real estate agents.

SAN FRANCISCO — When Larry Altschul began researching a high net worth individual he wanted to lure to one of the casinos he represents, he discovered that the high roller loved wine.

That would be his “in,” he decided. He called the man’s assistant and asked her to relay a message to her boss: Altschul had a $10,000 bottle of wine that he wanted to share.

From there, everything went according to plan.

“The moral of the story is he lost $4 million with me,” Altschul said, referring to the amount of money the high net worth individual dropped at the casino he visited at Altschul’s prompting.

The takeaway for real estate agents?

If you want to bag a wealthy client, learn as much about them as possible and use that knowledge to pique their interest.

As the senior vice president of customer development at MGM Resorts International, Altschul has mastered this art.

He’s charged with hunting down “whales,” individuals ready to bet at least $100,000 at casinos, and providing them with a maximum level of comfort when they gamble at one of the many casinos owned by MGM Resorts International.

Speaking onstage at Inman Connect, Altschul related another occasion where he used his knowledge of an individual’s tastes to build rapport.

Altschul knew one prospective gambler didn’t like garlic in his Italian food, so when he was courting the mark, he brought the individual to an Italian restaurant.

“This is great,” Altschul said, when pitching the restaurant. “They’re really light on the garlic.”

“You’re unbelievable,” the man responded.

Extending this philosophy to its foreign recruiting efforts, MGM Resorts International has established departments around the world that cater to different nationalities.

“The best is to understand their culture,” Altschul said of targeting well-heeled foreign gamblers. “Watch that you don’t make them lose face.”

Some brokerages have taken a similar approach to reeling in foreign buyers.

To target well-heeled Chinese buyers, Pacific Union offers up concierge services, feeds its listings to Chinese-language websites, networks at events for Chinese silver spooners, communicates through Chinese social networks and uses targeted advertising.

larry altschul

Larry Altschul

One of Altschul’s lead generation strategies is to tap real estate agents for referrals. In fact, that’s the reason why he decided to speak at Connect, he said: to form relationships with agents.

“They sell a house to someone for $10 million,” he said of some high rollers. “They say, ‘I want to go to Vegas.'”

MGM Resorts International can send one of its seven jets to expedite the journey, Altschul said.

Other tactics real estate agents can use to attract and serve luxury buyers and sellers include:

  • Sponsoring or attending events targeting wealthy people.
  • Attending industry conferences to forge referral relationships with other luxury agents.
  • Embracing listing videos and 3-D representations.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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