It’s a pleasant evening in Palo Alto, and a group of 25 tech entrepreneurs, their wives and friends, plus a sprinkling of architects and designers, are gathered in a nice restaurant at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley hotel.
In charge of all of this with his team of 10 is Matt Beall, principal broker at Hawaii Life, a top-selling agent and a man with a laid-back but professional manner, used to dealing with the extremely wealthy who prefer a minimum of fuss.
The point of the evening? Beall has brought over a portfolio of properties from all over Hawaii for this group to peruse, and he and his team are on hand if they have any questions about the market with its various unique sub-sectors.
Creating a guest list
The guest list came together organically. “We had maybe 20 or 25 clients, and they brought about 30 or 35 friends, and another 10 were architects and designers,” said Beall.
“There was an instant rapport with these client’s friends,” he added. “People who I hadn’t met came up to me and said, ‘I’ve got a $3 million to $5 million budget; what would you recommend?’”
These businesspeople — some of them billionaires — are not necessarily sophisticated, seasoned homebuyers, he said.
“These are middle-class people who have had a big liquidity event — they don’t necessarily have a taste for fine things. They don’t have a staff. None of that,” he explained. “They still need to be counseled and in most cases they have never done this before.”
Taking a cultural approach
This is a luxury property roadshow, Hawaiian style, and it’s executed with its own cultural approach. In Hawaii, it’s all about relationships — not just with people and social circles, but with the land and the ocean.
“There is this love affair between Hawaii and Silicon Valley and California,” said Beall, telling the story to the Luxury Connect audience last week.
All they want is a place they can escape and have some downtime.
As Beall puts it: “With tech, there is this giant quality-of-life issue.”
A laid-back evening of browsing luxury properties
The evening was carefully structured. “This crowd does not necessarily want to mingle. They are often in social environments where they don’t want to be cornered,” said Beall.
It kicked off with cocktails, allowing a short time of informal conversation, then a multi-course meal was served with a sommelier on hand, and a jazz singer performed to finish. Each table had been arranged in a market-specific way — an agent from each island sub-sector seated and available for questions.
“It was super sweet — we brought a market update, our magazine, a report of the year, explaining the market,” Beall said. “They got an overview of high-tier luxury properties, and we were able to distill it down for them.
“The feedback was great, really really great,” he added.
Beyond Silicon Valley
He stresses he doesn’t just do roadshows just with Silicon Valley clients. He also visits groups of clients in Malibu and Vancouver, but this was the first event of this magnitude.
“Palo Alto was so successful, we are almost guaranteed to do it again,” he said.
“It was so obvious what we were doing and why we were there,” he said. But there was no pressure.
His advice to other agents is to monitor and build up interest before implementing an initiative like this one.
“For us, it was about demand fulfillment,” said Beall. “We know the demand is there; it’s very obvious. They were already our clients.”