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.
Last year, my wife Tracy and I were told that our general practitioner was going into “Concierge Medicine.” This change meant that if we wanted to remain under her care, we would have to pay a steep annual fee of $5,000 per couple.
My wife and I discussed it, and as much as we loved this doctor’s personal touch and short-notice availability, we felt that at this stage of life it was an unnecessary expense.
We couldn’t have been more wrong.
Sacrificing service for money isn’t worth it
As soon as we transferred to a more affordable doctor, our patient care became a cluster of frustrations, including the following: a misread on an important test, long waiting periods for scheduling, multiple wrong diagnoses, zero follow-up on test clarifications and a bedside manner that was literally on a timer.
It took 10 months of patient neglect for us to finally abandon our “money-saving mission,” pay the concierge fee and, like the Prodigal Son, return to the flock where we were reminded exactly what caring and service is all about.
My intention is not to discredit our interim doctor. In his defense, he and his staff were very kind; however, they lacked the one thing we need when dealing with things personal to us — the people skill of being present.
Wondering how my concierge medicine story relates to the world of real estate? Our industry is in a transition where discount agencies and other disruptors are investing a great deal of money to convince our clients to jump ship in exchange for a reduced commission.
All the while, we agents are on deck with shaky sea legs, wondering just how many clients will abandon us to save money. Luxury agent, I’m here to say it is not our time to worry, regardless of the transitions the industry goes through.
What it takes to be a ‘concierge agent’
The term “concierge agent” might be new to some people, but it’s what those of us who care, who are available and who are present have always been. We are all-hands-on-deck Realtors who, just like concierge doctors, are always available to our clients. We don’t have to service hundreds to make a profit; instead, we focus on a few and make sure their needs are met in every way.
As someone who has learned the valuable lesson of “you get what you pay for,” I will never again question or begrudge my concierge doctor for placing a premium on her time. Likewise, we authentic real estate professionals need not apologize for the value we bring to the luxury real estate transaction.
For those who are curious, below are seven steps to elevate your brand to the concierge agent level.
1. Be available
The first step to becoming a concierge agent is to make yourself available. That means taking phone calls, even at inopportune times, and returning emails promptly. It also means remaining in constant communication with your clients so they feel your presence and know they are important to you.
2. Be present
Stay aware of the needs, fears, apprehensions and desires of your client every step along the path of the homebuying or selling journey.
3. Stay focused on your service (not the commission)
As a concierge agent, your job is to focus on the service and caring aspect of the transaction.
4. Be well-equipped
You must have your storage tank of knowledge full and contemporary. You should know your market inside and out and know all the latest marketing tools available to you. Furthermore, make sure you have great relationships with other local Realtors who will want to work with you and strive for the same goal — to sell your clients’ properties.
5. Be patient
Remember clients can be finicky; never put them on a purchase time clock.
6. Operate your business with an all-hands-on-deck mentality
Put your maximum effort into your business as the industry continues to shift and change into something new to all of us.
7. Know your value
The reality of real estate today is that we used to have to set ourselves apart from other Realtors. Now, we have to set ourselves apart from “disruptors” or the discount brokerages that want to change how we do business.
You should approach your clients with the same emotional posture that a concierge doctor has — believe in the value of your service, time and knowledge.
As the marketplace continues to move into a whole new world, it is important to believe in who you are, believe in what you are and believe in why you do what you do. As a true professional, you deserve to be paid for you services and your clients deserve the best from you when they write that well-earned compensation check.
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.