Brokerage

How to roll out the red carpet for high-end clients

Serving the ultrawealthy client

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

What does it take to successfully compete against other luxury real estate agents? Mastering these key best practices from the best luxury agents in the world will prepare you to attract and build a more successful luxury business.

Part seven of this series outlined five best practices to implement in your business if you want to serve the luxury market. Today’s column outlines five additional best practices.

6. Luxury agents go the extra mile

The best luxury agents treat their clients in much the same way a concierge would treat a valued guest at a five-star hotel. In order to provide your clients with this level of service, you must know what matters most to them. This goes way beyond just picking up their favorite type of coffee or tea for them to enjoy on your appointment.

The top luxury agents have developed an extensive network of resources that includes the best service providers in their area. This is extremely important for out-of-town buyers.

This list includes more than just the best plumber, contractor or pest control service. It includes such services as jewelers, art dealers, decorators, hair stylists, baby-sitting, dog-sitting, catering, and mechanics for their antique car collection, boat, or airplane. If you don’t have this type of network set up, begin developing it now. The more people in your network that your client uses, the more likely the client is to send you referrals.

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When you want to share one of your “premium” service providers with your clients, never use the word “referral.” Instead, you always “introduce” your client to “the best caterer” or “the best jeweler” in town.

When you want to share one of your 'premium' service providers with your clients, never use the word 'referral.' Instead, you always 'introduce' your client to 'the best caterer' or 'the best jeweler' in town.

7. Discreetly marketed properties

While developing a strong network of service providers is important, many of the most expensive properties never show up on the MLS. Instead, these ultra-high-end clients turn to agents who have developed a strong network of high-wealth influencers. This can include people who manage hedge funds or large stock portfolios, or are personal bankers, estate attorneys or wealth advisers.

8. Help them become integrated into the community

The very best agents go beyond making introductions. They actually help their clients become integrated into their community.

For example, if your clients have children who play soccer, introduce them to other people in your sphere who have children who play soccer. If they play tennis or golf, arrange a lesson with the best pro in town as a closing gift.

In other words, it’s not just giving them a list — it’s about making sure that a face-to-face connection takes place because of you and that this connection helps your clients assimilate into the local lifestyle more quickly.

9. Give the buyer an experience of the lifestyle you are selling

If you’re selling a home that has a spectacular sunset view, instead of doing your open houses during the middle of the day, set up a twilight open house with refreshments poolside looking out on the view. If you’re not holding the house open, invite the buyers’ agents to show the home at sunset and to enjoy some refreshments as part of the showing. The key is to tap into all five of the buyers’ senses that will give potential buyers what it’s like to live in the property.

The best luxury agents actually live the lifestyle they sell. If they’re selling lakefront properties and they own a boat, they show lakefront properties by boat, not just by car. As the salesperson gives the buyers a taste of their lifestyle, the buyers are much more likely to want a piece of it.

10. The most important criterion: privacy

While there are the publicity hounds who want to see their names and activities plastered all over the media, the large majority of luxury clients want their business to remain private.

Many ultraluxury clients are paranoid about kidnapping and other threats to their personal safety. They don’t want a criminal to know where their children’s rooms are located or that there is a safe room inside the property. In fact, it’s common for some ultrawealthy clients to allow pictures of the exterior grounds only.

If your buyers are looking at a very expensive property, don’t be surprised if the listing agent requires proof of the buyers’ ability to purchase before scheduling a showing. This may mean that the buyers’ accountant or tax attorney will have to confirm proof of funds for the seller’s financial representative first.

The most important step that an agent can take is to NEVER discuss any financial or personal details with anyone other than the client and his or her designated financial representative.

This is especially true for international clients. In many countries, the wives have no access to what is happening financially. If you are asked for this type of information by anyone, claim ignorance and ask the person to either ask your client seller or the client’s designated representative.

If you want to become more active in the luxury market, it makes no difference where you begin. Instead, start with any of the steps from this series and begin implementing them one at a time. You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your luxury business begins to grow.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.