It’s a common dream for real estate professionals: work less, make more by targeting high-end buyers. The truth is, you have to work harder to reach these clients since everyone else wants their business, too. It’s also extra work to sell the properties, as there are fewer buyers for expensive homes. But get ready–if you really want the business, here are some ideas compiled from top agents who work with high-end buyers and sellers.

1. If you don’t know any wealthy people, start by marketing to those who cater to them, such as boat and luxury car dealers, trust officers at banks, tax or estate-planning attorneys, or golf club dealers.

2. Send marketing materials to high-rent apartment complexes and high-end homes in your area.

3. Wealthy people are extra careful about who they do business with, so social connections are important for building trust. Participate in charity activities or associations popular with the rich and well-connected set in your town. Take on a lead role, but stick to groups you enjoy.

4. Specialization matters. Develop a luxury division called “Prestige Properties North,” or something similar and develop distinctive marketing materials for it.

5. Sellers respond to image advertising. Your ads, flyers, direct-mail pieces and Web site should all present a luxury look. Advertise high-end properties separately and label them “Prestigious Properties.”

6. Buyers respond to property ads. If you are trying to find a buyer for a very nice property, try a targeted mailing to doctors, attorneys, company presidents or move-up buyers in a neighborhood priced just under your listing.

7. Know the history and architectural details of your high-end listings. Be present at showings and offer information to prospects as they tour the home. Sell softly, pointing out details of interest and commenting on renovations or additions that have added value to the home. It’s a lot of work to attend every showing, but it pays off.

8. In your listing-box flyers, use heavy paper, glossy finishes, and lots of color photos. Make sure your logo is prominent. Neighbors are nosy! They will pick these up and may call you for their own listings just because the neighbors are listed with you.

9. Develop product knowledge. Research luxury properties in your market. Preview the listings, attend tours, drive the neighborhoods, visit open houses, and know the sales and market statistics.

10. Don’t blow it. Once you have your first high-end listing or buyer, do the best job you know how to do. Top agents say most of their high-end business comes from referrals.

A final thought–always give great service to every client and keep in touch after the sale. Everyone will move up eventually! In a rising market, it may be just a couple of years before they decide to trade up.

Howard Brinton is a real estate sales motivational speaker and the founder and CEO of Star Power Systems, a sales training organization that offers tapes, books, videos, conferences and a club that distributes selling techniques from the nation’s top producers.

***

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