This summer we’re looking at the state of the luxury agent and broker in today’s increasingly complex real estate market. In October, we’ll gather in Beverly Hills at Luxury Connect to share best practices, network and create a blueprint for the luxury agent/broker of tomorrow. Don’t miss it.
Finding luxury listings for some seems like a mythical quest that is only granted to the rich and famous. Today, we wanted find out what is actually working and dispel the idea that you need to be technologically gifted to find those unicorn-esque luxury real estate clients.
It makes sense — both of these platforms are where people of all walks go to waste time and connect with others. In addition, these agents know that people love to talk about and look at real estate.
Instead of listing out all the tools and nerdy tech that they used, I wanted to find out strategies.
It turns out that the strategies were pretty simple and easily reproduced by any agent with a smartphone. These strategies leverage the fact that people love to look at homes — and that’s pretty much it.
Going luxe on Facebook
“I can attribute half of my business to Facebook,” said Damian Hall, a broker with the Christie’s affiliates in both upstate South Carolina and the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Hall went from shooting videos of home walkthroughs to hiring a videographer to produce his own version of Million Dollar Listing. (See below.)
“Last month, I closed on a $1.1 million farm that was directly due to Facebook. Another client that was featured on an HGTV House Hunters episode came from posting in a Facebook group.”
He explained that he’s promoting his videos so heavily that everyone in the area knows him. “I’m tripling down on my social strategy.”
Hall was kind enough to break down his strategy for me.
“People love to look at beautiful homes and puppies. So I craft content around our listings using stunning [professional] photography and video. Then, I put an ad spend behind that, so we 10x the number of people who see our content.”
He went on to say he includes personal content as well, “That includes my dog and me at the local ‘dog bar’ and out on the lake.”
Hall’s success seems very replicable. When you look at his relatively small number of subscribers on YouTube and just a handful of videos, it tells me that these videos are highly engaging to the right audience.
He reminded me that, at the end of the day, technology is just a means to help form a relationship, to help someone to know, like and trust you — and feel comfortable doing business with you.
“Through social media, they get to know and like you through your brand, behind-the-scenes, work-life and personal posts. They trust you by seeing your successes — and that’s not in a bragging or obnoxious manner. That’s by telling the story behind the success and making it relatable.”
Hall isn’t the only one that’s caught on to this. Brad Wilkinson, with Coldwell Banker-Residential Brokerage, has been in the real estate industry for only two years and is a member of the global luxury division of Coldwell thanks to Facebook.
Wilkinson attributes his first luxury sale to a $10 Facebook ad he posted for an open house.
Stemming from his investment in the Facebook ad, over 60 people attended his listing, and two attendees resulted in sales — one for $975,000 and the other for $1.295 million. He’s used this snowball effect to target over 5,000 people on Facebook with less than $60 a week.
Facebook has been around for a while, and even with a reduction of use from users worldwide, it’s a clear vehicle for agents. What surprised me most was the number of agents who reported Instagram as a lead source.
Instagram: a lead generation machine
Rochelle Maize, a Beverly Hills Agent with Nourmand Associates, attributed 10 percent of her business sales to Instagram. Maize has coined the Instagram handle “9021ro” and trademarked the hashtag #9021RO in 2018, which continues to be a staple in her business and a way to generate leads on a consistent basis.
Maize really surprised me. I’ll be honest (maybe too honest here) — I dismissed her achievements because it was Beverly Hills. With over 15,000 followers, I thought for sure it was just from the homes and prestige. However, some of Maize’s most engaging posts were videos of her simply highlighting what homes she’s sold — all text, no images.
One Miami agent, Alyssa Jansheski, is a part of The Jills with Coldwell Banker has garnered over 10,000 followers on Instagram. Unlike 90 percent of Instagram users, Jansheski is getting a ton of comments on each post.
She told me the secret: “The highest conversion comes from the story feature on Instagram. It’s usually just a video of me walking through a property on my story pointing out the features. I believe it’s the most successful feature because of three reasons: it’s authentic and not photoshopped like everything else on social media, it leaves room for questions because it’s not giving all the information, and it’s easy to inquire with one tap at the bottom of the screen.”
Jansheski is using Instagram as her own personal “drip campaign.”
You might look at Instagram in particular and think it’s a waste of time. You look at most agents’ Instagram profiles, and it’s a very small group of followers. However, once you know how to use it, business starts rolling in. Even referrals from other agents.
“I have been able to connect with real estate agents in other cities and across the world to build my referral network,” Jansheski said. “I have received over $40 million worth of referrals from other agents through my Instagram page.”
She had a light-bulb moment about two years ago, when she got a call from an agent in Honolulu, Hawaii, who referred her almost $15 million in referrals because she said she has been following her business.
You might be thinking, but those people have 10,000-plus followers. Well, check out Jennifer Eckert, who has fewer than 700 followers.
She told me this story: “A woman was searching for a home for a while to no avail. Because her price point was low, she wasn’t having any luck. She came across my feed and liked the style of houses that were posted, so she started following me.”
Just like that, Jennifer, an agent with Nourmand Associates, started showing the buyer homes and was able to find her a property in her price range — all within weeks of that first message.
These tech tools aren’t just for lead generation, they can also be great for servicing clients as well.
“Luxury buyers often have property requirements that are more nuanced or specific than buyers in lower price points. In an effort not to waste my clients’ time showing them properties that do not fit their criteria, I will often take video of the property (with the owner’s/agent’s permission) when I preview the house,” Kelli Howison, an agent in Kirkland, Washington, with Windermere Real Estate said.
“My clients use my videos and comments about the house to determine if it’s a property they’d like to visit in person,” she added.
OK class, what did we learn? It’s as easy as using your smartphone to shoot real estate videos — because that’s what your future clients want to see.
Make sure the videos:
- Are authentic, not edited like everything else on social media
- Leave room for questions
- Have a simple call to action
Use Facebook and Instagram to build rapport with clients before they even meet you. That’s all it took for these luxury agents to build thriving businesses off of their social media.
Thinking of bringing your team to Luxury Connect? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy those tickets together too. Just contact us to find out more.