AgentBrokerage

The Salefish: How selling luxury real estate is like trophy fishing

The right captain and crew go a long way
  • In real estate, it's important to identify the areas in a market that have the largest congregation of luxury real estate so that any effort spent is focused on this group and this group only -- or at least as much as possible.
  • You want a brokerage that has all the tools onboard to help you create the right level of marketing that supports innovative ideas and offers the highest level of customer service from start to finish of any transaction.
  • You will become the captain of your business, and the lessons learned from a good role model will be invaluable to the growth of it.

The luxury real estate market is considered to be the pinnacle of sellable inventory due to the grandeur, mystique, reputation and, of course, the prices that come with these properties.

It is also one of the most competitive arenas in our business, with a limited supply of properties and plenty of agents vying for a share of the market. I always get asked how I do it. And I always reply, “I go fish.”

Let me explain. Trophy fishing is considered by many anglers to be the pinnacle of offshore sport-fishing due to the size, power and elusiveness of the pelagic species they seek. So many of the tactics for landing big-game fish can correlate to the luxury real estate market.

Not convinced? Let me take you on a fishing trip that will explain the strategies of sales in a way that might seem a bit odd at first. But it will allow you to understand and incorporate these strategies into your own business quickly.

1. The location

Fish, in general, have certain areas where they like to congregate, and often it’s due to water temperature, food source, currents or lack of currents and safety.

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However, when it comes to pelagic trophy fish, they swim to a different beat of the tail. There are fewer of them; they are found in unique locations, and they have different characteristics than other common fish. They often take more time, effort and money to find and land.

In real estate, it’s important to identify the areas in a market that have the largest congregation of luxury real estate (trophy fish) so that any effort spent is focused on this group and this group only — or as much as possible.

Stay focused and put your time, effort and marketing intentions into where these clients are congregating. Remember to make all your marketing efforts consistent in attracting this group of luxury clients.

2. The boat

When fishing for a trophy fish, the selection of the right boat is more complicated than “does it float” or “does it move.” It’s crucial to select the vessel that is best suited and outfitted for the task of catching trophy fish.

This begins with the strategic design of the boat, the extra rigging on board, the latest state-of-the-art technologies that allow for fish tracking and catching, the reputation of the vessel for catching fish, and of course, how well the boat is maintained and respected by its crew.

The same rings true for luxury real estate. It’s imperative that you find the right brokerage that has a reputation of service and performance in this arena and has geared its marketing, training and philosophy to the pursuit of upscale real estate.

You want a brokerage that has all the tools onboard to help you create the right level of marketing that supports innovative ideas and offers the highest level of customer service, from start to finish.

3. The captain

Once you think you found the right boat, you need to find the right captain, as he or she is the one who you will be entrusting with your experience — and, frankly, with your life — throughout your journey.

It’s critical for a captain to have a deep understanding of the seas, weather conditions, knowledge of the rigging, proper baiting techniques, charts and fish activities. Without a good captain, a boat is far less likely to bring fish to the deck consistently.

The captain’s knowledge also helps the crew avoid costly mistakes and teaches them how to operate in the most efficient way from his or her learned experiences. The captain also realizes that he or she can only do so many things at once and trusts the crew with the confidence that he or she would have to achieve the goals in place.

In real estate, it’s important that the BIC (broker in charge) or Principal at the helm of the brokerage is someone who is innovative and an expert on the market, with a reputation for excellence as well as one for understanding and compassion.

The ability of this individual to properly delegate tasks to colleagues within the firm who have a propensity to excel in those areas shows that he or she understands the importance of smart people in the right places as well as showing some humility by releasing controls to others.

You will become the captain of your business, and the lessons learned from a good role model will be invaluable to the growth of it.

4. The crew

A crew’s synergy on board a small boat is paramount. This comradery allows for each to trust another team member while performing their own independent tasks, all with the same goal in mind — to catch a fish.

The boat crew’s hands-on experience on the deck give them insights that are provided by real world instant-reaction situations. The crew’s time is often spent preparing, testing, repairing and preparing again for the moment you get a bite.

This insight — if shared between captain and crew — allows for forward-looking mentalities because recent experiences coupled with past experiences allow for smarter and faster decisions to be made.

Consider a brokerage team that is not afraid to share information and strategies with other teammates; this allows the team as a whole to grow and excel.

A team that communicates regularly spurs an advantage to the members by giving them insight that many other competing agencies might not benefit from — especially if a proprietary-like approach toward ideas exists in competing firms.

Keep an open mind and ear out to suggestions and successes of others, as these are crosswalks to get you to your eventual goal.

5. The plan

It’s now getting close for you to cast off and get underway for this adventure of trophy fishing, and it’s vital to have a good game plan in place with a cohesive goal in mind among the crew.

All the tools and rigging have been gone over to find any nicks in lines, broken lures or other issues that might affect the pursuit and the eventual catch of a large fish.

A certain level of trust has been handed over to your crew members, but this is to allow you to pursue your tasks to the best of your abilities, knowing your team will be there for you when the time comes.

At this point in your pursuit for luxury real estate clients, you have created and reviewed and reviewed again all your marketing materials and strategies that you have researched and believe will attract the client to your services.

You are confident now with your marketing materials and procedures, which will give you a sense of added confidence when the bite occurs.

Your team should consist of like-minded colleagues whose drive and experiences collectively help all members. This can be nothing more than a group that meets in the mornings over coffee to a full-fledged branded team — it’s the cohesive goal that is key.

Now let’s go fish. The next series will consist of how we differentiate ourselves once out of the protective walls of the harbor and on our own in a vast sea of competitors. It’s time to squash your fears, push through the seas and focus on getting out there.

Greg Burns is a partner and luxury home specialist at Elite Pacific Properties, LLC. You can follow him on Instagram at isleluxury or LinkedIn at Greg Burns/isleluxury.com.

Email Greg Burns.