In the Miami Beach real estate market, agent Nick Quay doesn’t so much cold call or door knock — he calls it “dock knocking.” An adept paddleboard racer, he will arrive in the bay of one of Miami’s many islands or waterfront areas with his cute rescue dog Mia (in her life jacket, of course) and strike up conversations with people in the area.

  • When marketing yourself as an agent, do what comes naturally, however unusual.
  • Don't be afraid to go the extra mile for your buyer clients -- you will be repaid many times over if they turn into sellers.

In the Miami Beach real estate market, agent Nick Quay doesn’t so much cold call or door knock — he calls it “dock knocking.”

An adept paddleboard racer, he will arrive in the bay of one of Miami’s many islands or waterfront areas with his cute rescue dog, Mia (in her life jacket, of course), and strike up conversations with people in the area.

“There’s always a ton of stuff going on, people playing football and volleyball,” he said.

The keen marketer had shirts made up for this type of occasion, so people know he is an agent.

Photo credit: Robert Sullivan photography with special thanks: Zari Alvarez and Nancy Corey

“If I’m going to be in a certain neighborhood, I might have an image of the neighborhood on the shirt — one of the waterfront homes that I’d like to sell there, for instance,” he said.

Quay, whose average home sale is around $700,000, would like to sell more attractive $5 million to $6 million waterfront homes, and with that in mind, it’s important to be seen in these places, he says.

In addition to his innovative marketing approach, Quay’s also making his mark and working toward this goal with white-glove customer service (though he’d gladly get his hands dirty to help a client) and digital prowess, a high-touch, high-tech way of doing business that’s making waves in South Florida.

Customer service the Ritz-Carlton way

Now in his 12th year in real estate, eight months ago Quay joined the Coldwell Banker Residential Miami Beach office after having his own business.

The agent, who runs the Quay Team, has a goal for this year to have 80 percent sellers and 20 percent buyers and achieve $20 million in transactions.

Miami is a real estate market all its own, an international melting pot and a favorite playground for successful migrators coming from New York City and New Jersey.

And to cater to his eclectic group of clients, the 36-year-old agent believes in going the extra mile, giving them what he calls the “Ritz-Carlton” treatment.

He will try octopus in five different restaurants because he doesn’t want to take a good client, who has bought and sold through him, to a restaurant where the mollusk isn’t up to standard.

A former chef who worked in the hospitality industry, Quay would never ruin his “only chance” to please a worldly client in town for a short few days.

Foreign nationals and those arriving from out of state like that he provides this level of service.

“If people come to town, I will get them reservations in restaurants that don’t take reservations,” he said.

He will happily pick up people up from the airport to save them time. Many clients are only around for 72 hours, so Quay recommends their accommodations, gives them a list of restaurants and asks what their favorite dishes are.

He presents himself as their Miami liaison.

“I say, ‘I’m your tour guide; you tell me what you like, what you are into, and I’ll tell you: These are the neighborhoods you are going to like.'”

A resident for 16 years, he prides himself on being a “walking, talking Miami and South Florida guide book.”

Quay’s reasoning is if people come to Miami and have a poor experience in the city, they may reconsider buying there.

Part of the family: ‘Not my job but who I am’

The Realtor’s extreme customer service has led to family-style relationships.

A former internet lead client, who lives in New Jersey, now calls Quay his “Miami son.”

Quay would do anything for him. He’s been asked to pick up a part for his boat this week. No problem.

The same client asked him to babysit his Aston Martin for a time because he needed room for another car; Quay also visited during Christmas and cooked with his wife.

For another client, Quay picked up her kids from school because she was stuck in a meeting and they were going to see three listings.

Is the Realtor doing this with an agenda?

“I consider this to be not my job but who I am,” he said.

“What I love about it … is to go those extra miles before being asked and also upon request.

“That has led to many clients not only returning to me and sending referrals, it also led them to considering me as part of their family, inviting me to all their life events. I honestly feel I have a responsibility to ensure they have the best experiences possible and that they truly love their home.”

Let’s not sugarcoat it

As part of his service, the agent does not believe in holding back if he has concerns about a property.

Quay was very frank about a small investment he was selling to a couple who made an inquiry. He told them he wouldn’t suggest they view it; the building had some problems, and he had others that were better.

It was the beginning of a fruitful relationship.

Quay has done close to $2 million of business with the couple, who later went through a divorce.

He advised in buying a home for each of them after the breakup — a 1920s architectural do-up for the husband on the Miami Shore and a brand new condo for the wife in midtown Miami.

Remote selling with the right tech (and connections)

An enthusiastic early tech adopter, Quay has found some success selling apartments sight unseen to clients overseas, thanks to his prowess with a Matterport camera.

He has brought in more than 10 offers from overseas buyers with his virtual reality tours.

He owns all the equipment for his listing and does Skype tours, Facebook Live and 3-D scans, which all helps to sell high-end property, he said.

Quay has a production team and a photography crew he calls on for property marketing.

From one of Quay’s Matterport tours

His ability to show homes virtually won him a regular client who has bought properties sight unseen from his home in South Africa.

He called Quay out of the blue on Christmas Eve seven years ago, and Quay just closed his 10th deal with him at the end of March.

How does he find his international clients? “Honestly, a lot of them find me — on airplanes, walking around the neighborhood, in restaurants and bars, through referrals, and a lot of internationals love my videos.”

Quay has kept up his Portuguese after living in Brazil after high school, following a girl. He maintained his links there from 15 years ago, and this has led to business with Brazilian buyers.

A sounding board at Coldwell Banker

Quay said he gets a lot of inspiration from other agents in his Coldwell Banker Miami Beach office, which has some big names, including “The Jills” (Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber) as well as top producer Jeri Jenkins.

He joined the office, however, because of its manager, Nancy Corey, who keeps him focused and is a sounding board to all his pitches — both sane and insane.

“I’ll come up with a crazy idea for a video and she’ll ask: ‘But do you see a person buying a $6 million house with you after this?'”

He listens.

Corey pushes everyone, getting everybody back to the basics, he said. According to Corey, Quay’s reputation in the office is for his expansive digital footprint and his innovative ideas.

“He is always looking for something new and different that will elevate the marketing,” she said.

And while he’s very approachable and friendly (as demonstrated by the video above), he’s also serious about the business, she added.

Changing consumer perceptions

Quay gives his philosophy on life. “I want to be the person who changes the perception on real estate — for people who have never had a good experience with an agent, who don’t trust Realtors, I want to change the perception, one deal at a time, that we are people, too.”

In Miami, every man and their dog is an agent, thinking it’s a way to earn a quick buck.

Quay takes anything but the easy road. As he works his network and is on the way to his next wild idea, one of his latest deals was personal.

He sold his single-family home and moved to a one-bedroom loft apartment on an island in the North Bay Village, Normandy Isles area.

You might see him around, “dock knocking” in his new neighborhood.

Email Gill South.

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