As a young, green real estate professional, rock-star agent Madison Hildebrand wanted to break into the industry in the exclusive, uber-luxury oceanside town of Malibu, California, ignoring those who scoffed at his impulse and desire to work there.

Illustrating the passion, drive and smarts that have earned him great success, Hildebrand, then in his 20s, decided to get to know every single piece of Malibu intimately — a market that stretches along 27 miles on the Pacific Coast Highway north of Los Angeles.

In an exclusive interview with Inman Publisher Brad Inman that aired live online today, Hildebrand, 34, said he drove every Malibu road over the course of a few days to build a mental map of the market.

“Knowledge is power,” Hildebrand said.

He may have made his name as a star for seven seasons on the hit Bravo TV show “Million Dollar Listing,” but Hildebrand is all agent and more human.

Brokers and agents can use a similar focus on knowledge and integrity to achieve success, especially if they cling to integrity as a north star, he said. “Integrity is what guides me and it never steers me wrong,” he said.

Last fall, in conjunction with announcing that he had decided to quit the TV show, Hildebrand left Coldwell Banker Real Estate to become a founding partner of a new Malibu, California, office for the Los Angeles-based independent brokerage Partners Trust.

Hildebrand emphasized that agents should go out and find the best brokerage for them, particularly one that will support them and help them focus on what they can do best to grow their business: negotiating, networking and prospecting.

That’s part of what appealed to Hildebrand about Partners Trust. It had top-notch and smart in-house professionals in marketing, advertising and communications that would allow him to put his energies in areas where he gets the most return.

Hildebrand suggested a smart way for agents new to the business to settle on a brokerage: They interview the manager at every single brokerage in their market, starting with the brokerage they think is least promising and working up to the one they think is most promising.

At the end, agents will get a feel for what different brokerages can offer them, know how to interview smartly and begin a career with relationships with every brokerage in their market.

Inexperienced agents can also benefit by aligning themselves with specific escrow and title companies, offering loyalty in exchange for their extra attention as the agents learn the ropes.

As for technology, Hildebrand says agents should embrace the technology rapidly taking hold among their consumers, particularly those that allow them to be paperless, like transaction management platform DocuSign and paper-to-digital app CamScanner.

Email Paul Hagey.

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