This summer we’re looking at the state of the luxury agent & 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 blueprint for the luxury agent/broker of tomorrow. Don’t miss it.
Luxury real estate enthusiast Peter Lorimer of PLG Estates confesses that he “is everywhere” when it comes to social media. “I am one of the maniacs that does Twitter, LinkedIn — Instagram is my main focus — and I still do Facebook and run a Facebook Business page as well, plus I’m considering dialing up Snapchat again,” he said.
Lorimer is going to be talking about how to use technology and social media to make connections in luxury real estate at Luxury Connect, October 16 through 18 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. He’ll talk about the changes he’s seen sweep through social media and how to stand out from the crowd.
“I’ve been heavily posting on social media for a decade,” he explained, “and I noticed in the beginning that everything lived on every platform, and it was all the same. Someone would do the same post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and everybody looked at everything. Now what I’m finding is, people tend to look at the same one or two platforms all the time, and then occasionally dive into another.”
This is why he’s decided to focus mostly on Instagram for the time being — it has better engagement than many other platforms. But he’s also careful to cater to each audience specifically. “My LinkedIn audience is completely different from Instagram, and my Facebook audience is, for the most part, different, too. I subscribe to the shotgun approach of getting everything everywhere, and I also subscribe to the philosophy that you can never post too much as long as the content is good.”
Hear how Lorimer crafts high-quality content, how he decides to deploy it and how it’s all shaking out in his business when he sits down for a facilitated roundtable discussion as part of “Secrets of Success: Learn From the Experts,” happening only once this year at Luxury Connect.
What do you think the luxury agent of the future looks like?
It’s a tall, British, handsome guy. (laughs)
I do believe that high-touch will never go out of style. And if anything, I think that the luxury agent of the future will actually resemble the agent of today far more than the traditional agent of the future. Because in luxury, it’s all about trust. I can put out all the cool videos I want and use digital social media to open the door, but if at the end of the day I can’t be trusted, trust is the most valuable commodity and I think that will always remain.
I think there are things you can do with technology that can help. I put my clients on an automated anniversary gift, once a year the house gets a happy birthday present from me and I’m blissfully unaware of it. That’s easily done. The phrase I do really stand by is there’s such a buzz on technology — technology, in my opinion, is not the answer. For me, technology is just, it allows us to augment our business. We will not be replaced by technology. The shitty agents will. But the good agents can have technology enhance their business. In fact, I think as there are more automated solutions available, the more high-touch and personable agents are, the more they break through the white noise by doing great social media and high-touch client service. You do a great social media post, pay to advertise it for your entire base, then you start prospecting. “Just checking in — how’s Joe, how’s the dog?” It’s warming up your entire database.
What do you feel are the challenges facing the luxury market this year?
In Los Angeles, I feel the luxury market has contracted and it’s been contracting for at least the last couple of years. There’s too much inventory in the luxury range, it’s the opposite of the regular real estate market. I think the challenges are — I remember selling in the Hollywood Hills when a luxury home was $3 million. Luxury represents trophy properties, and the really good ones tend to get bought. There’s a glut of properties in that range. If you can afford $30 million, chances are you can afford $45 million or $50 million, and a $50 million house is way more luxurious than a $30 million house.
What are some of the biggest problems you’ve faced in growing your business?
There is very little loyalty between clients and agents. It’s amazing. I’m a broker now and have 200 agents, but when I focused solely on luxury, it’s like you eat, sleep, breathe what your clients’ thoughts are, and if you’re prepared to do that, you stand a much higher chance of winning a luxury client, when the odds are massively already stacked against you. In order for you to even compete, you have to live, breathe, eat, think luxury real estate 24/7.
The biggest challenges are if you want any kind of life. You have to be prepared to be at your grandmother’s 80th birthday and run out the door before she cuts the cake to show a client a house they probably won’t buy. To be quite honest, I think a work-life balance is beautiful because I don’t want another million bucks on my deathbed, I want to know I spent time with my children. Money’s not the object for me.
I am just a passenger, I’m passing through, and I came into this world with nothing and I’m going out with nothing, so I don’t really give a shit how much I’ve got of anything, And I’m very fortunate because I’ve managed to accrue a bunch. But there is no deal big enough that would make me leave my kids’ birthday. I have dinner with my children every single night, and I have breakfast with them every single morning, and I make sure I have as much face time with them as often as possible. I may go out and work after dinner for a bit, I might not, but I am not an absent parent. I value family way above and beyond any monetary thing.
How has technology changed your business, and what are you most intrigued by that you’re not currently using?
I am hopelessly addicted to technology. Have been since I was a child with my first digital watch. I try everything. I reach out to all the people in Startup Alley, check everything out — I will look at absoltuely every piece of technolgoy that I can lay my hands on.
Very few of them provide massively game-changing solutions. This is not particularly new, but there’s something at PLG we adopted called RealScout, and I find that to be a game-changer with our business. I find Contactually to be a game-changer with our business. The tools I love are Iconosquare, I can schedule Instagram Stories posts and get really great analytics. Sprout Social is another one I live and die by. I’m exploring
What’s the question you hear most from your clients? And what’s your answer to them?
The question I hear the most, “where are interest rates,” I just tell them where they’re at. The question I hear the most from my clients, which is gratifying — I’ll be standing at a property with my clients, they’ve got Zillow and Redfin open, they’ve got all the apps and technology out the wazoo, they can see what I can see, but the question they always ask me is this — and this is why good agents will have a career — “what do you think?”
All the technology in the world that will allow them to make a decision without me, yet they still need my blessing. As long as agents can bring a value add, very much like a family doctor or great attorney, they will be around. If I’m in jail and I need to be bailed out, I’m not going to be going on the internet and dialing an 800 number. I’m going to call people I trust and ask for a referral.
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