If you’re seeking an expert on how a high-net-worth consumer thinks, and their decision-making process before they make a purchase, then David Friedman, co-founder of WealthQuotient, is your guy. He’s been studying the habits of buyers with a certain amount of money for years, and he’s turned that study into a lucrative business helping salespeople of all stripes (including real estate agents) connect with those buyers.

Friedman will be joining a panel discussion about how the housing market will work in 2019 at Inman Connect New York, January 28 through February 1 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square; we talked to him about opportunities to focus on in the real estate industry and his vision of high-net-worth buyers in the housing market next year and beyond.

Tell us a little more about your session. How will it address how the industry can embrace the shifting market?

We believe two core principles that transcend macroeconomic gyrations because they’re grounded in foundational beliefs about human nature. When it comes to high-net-worth buyers, referrals are going to be the way to reach someone, the key driver for them and the macro-level in terms of marketing. They have passions, hobbies, and interests that they care about, and those are more important than you are.

If you accept our two transcendent principles, then the question is “what do I do.” I would argue that you need to develop relationships with people before they buy or sell. The buying or selling is going to happen and you can’t control it, but you can control your pipeline regardless of the macroeconomic backdrop. You should be cultivating relationships with people proactively, and the most efficient way to do that is understanding the social graph of all your key relationship and building relationships with those people where you’re not selling. You’re basically managing a portfolio of relationships. Out of that portfolio, like any portfolio, things will turn over and happen, but you’re managing it.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities to focus on in the real estate industry right now?

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the market starts to compress or go down and therefore you have more time on your hands. The truth is most brokers don’t spend any time sitting down and thinking strategically about how to engage their prospects.

A lot of brokers are really good at throwing events and developing relationships with luxury brands. I call it “hope marketing” — we’re going to have a dinner and invite an executive chef and have luxury items on display. They can throw those things together very quickly, but I don’t know any people who say they’re going to carve out a day and reverse-engineer the marketing process and build an event for the sole purpose of engaging this group of people across our clients’ social graph. We’re going to start with the clients — it so happens they all love basket-weaving.

It takes time to do that, and I think people prefer to be busy doing what they’ve always done to meet a psychological need that makes them feel like they’re doing something every day. There’s no immediate reward for doing that, it takes time and effort, but I would argue it’s much more effective. I think as the market starts to compress, people need to take more time to think and to plan, and a lot of brokers are into, I would say, the softer side of planning, which I do think they should be doing — they visualize, and I think that’s fantastic; you should be visualizing the connection between our client and this prospect you’ve strategically mapped out. So let’s add some really concrete, strategic things. Visualize in the morning, “I’m going to connect with 10 people from my one client” — you have to see it before it happens.

To stay competitive, agents, brokers and companies need to execute quickly. What do you feel are key areas where quick execution can vastly improve the customer experience?

The most important area for a sales professional in the real estate industry is warm lead generation. It doesn’t exist today. None of the firms — there’s not one that offers their brokers a platform for accelerating referral-driven, warm lead generation. This is not a criticism of them alone; every industry recognizes referrals are the lifeblood of growth and yet they don’t know how to then take that to the next step or next level and build a platform that would support sales professionals like that, and they’re too busy doing other things. I don’t fault the major platforms out there because they don’t know what to do, but I would fault them for not answering the question by sales professionals when they ask “how can I effectively grow my business through referrals and where are the warm leads that can help build my pipeline?” The answer is a new technology system that allows better inventory.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months, and what will you be working on?

My hope is that I can spread the gospel of WelathQuotient, that you don’t have to spend all your time running around feeling like you’re not building a business; if you really apply the methodology that we have — being proactive about referrals, mapping the relationships with your clients and so forth — you can spend a tenth of your time and get ten times as much business. You spend less money and have more time with your family, your spouse, your children, or passions, hobbies and interests. And people would feel like they’re growing their business in a proactive way. I’m excited about sharing this good news, if you will, about what we’ve bottled and discovered and how it can help sales professionals.

Dig deeper into the 2019 buyers market and discover the opportunities in a changing market at Inman Connect New York, January 29 – February 1. Jumpstart 2019 with tactical takeaways, unlimited networking and thought-provoking speakers. Learn more.

Thinking about bringing your team? You may qualify for special group perks! Contact us to learn more.

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