What does it take to succeed in one of America’s ultra-high-end luxury markets?
Other than Beverly Hills, Calif., there is probably no market more competitive than the Manhattan market. Richard Grossman, executive director of Manhattan-based Halstead Property LLC, shared some of the key secrets that have helped Halstead agents compete and succeed in the hypercompetitive Manhattan market.
1. Have a vision that includes written goals
The most successful agents at Halstead — those making between $200,000 and $2 million in commissions annually — have a vision and a written business plan. Whether it’s lead generation, or managing and closing the transaction, the secret to their success results from systematization of their processes.
Based upon their vision, they also have a clear understanding of the value they provide to their buyers and sellers. They are able to articulate these values in their face-to-face, print, digital and social communication.
As part of their business plans, they have incorporated a wide variety of touch points, including being actively involved in various organizations and charities. Again, the secret is to have a vision, create a plan and then follow it.
2. Avoid the negativity
Grossman trains his agents that every negative can be overcome with a positive. For example, Manhattan is in a strong seller’s market where there is very little inventory. Grossman recommends that you can create inventory where none exists by being creative. Some marketing campaigns that have worked for his agents include “Claim your appreciation” or “Trade down and retire.” Be creative and think outside the box.
3. Develop good communication skills
Successful agents differ from mediocre agents in terms of their tone, the tenor of their voice, and their confidence. They have superb product knowledge. (This is especially important in Manhattan where they do not have an MLS.)
Strong communication skills result when you have a strong mastery of real estate fundamentals. It’s also important to be truthful, authentic, and to listen well. In fact, listening is probably the most important of all the skills you need to succeed at the highest possible levels.
Beyond this, however, is understanding the nuances of negotiation. For example, instead of saying, “The seller is countering your offer at $50,000 more than you offered,” say, “The seller has countered back at ‘X’ but may be willing to settle for ‘Y.’ “
Or, “The seller received your offer, but is looking for something more in line with their thinking.”
Each of these two statements encourages the buyer to continue the negotiation. The first statement tends to shut down the negotiation rather than encouraging it.
4. Offer solutions
Offering solutions to the challenges that your clients face is one of the best ways to work with your clients. For example, when the buyers demand that the sellers repair the roof, instead of becoming irate or indignant, provide solutions from which to choose.
“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, there are a number of ways to deal with this issue. First, you can elect to do the repair prior to closing. Second, you could give the buyers a credit for the roof repair and let them handle it. Third, you could elect to provide a partial credit. Fourth, you could make a counterproposal or you could walk away from the deal. Are there any other solutions that you see to this issue?”
Once you have reviewed the solutions available, always remember that it is the seller’s decision, not yours.
5. Market mastery matters
How do Manhattan agents cope with an overheated seller’s market when they represent buyers? Grossman suggests that preparing your buyers properly will help you avoid potential problems when negotiating during a multiple-offer situation. Here are some of the key points that agents should explain to buyers prior to submitting a multiple offer.
First, advise buyers right from the beginning when they are looking in a price range or location that is rapidly appreciating. What this means is that when they submit an offer, the seller may come back with a price that is substantially higher than the seller’s current asking price.
Second, Grossman suggests that you share the story of other clients who have made recent offers. Share those stories where the asking price was “X” and the property ultimately sold for 20-30 percent higher than the original asking price.
Be truthful with them and ask whether they are prepared to deal with this type of competitive bid situation. If not, then they may not be ready to purchase in this market.
On the other hand, if you can also show them how people who purchased six months ago have already gained equity, this can ease the sting of paying over asking price.
These five simple steps form the ABCs of having a successful real estate sales career, no matter where you live or what your market is doing.
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.