Paul Benson is the CEO and license partner of Engel & Völkers Gestalt Group, the global luxury real estate brand’s largest presence in the Americas region with shop locations in Utah, California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Idaho. Benson was the number one advisor globally with Engel & Völkers for three of the past five years by volume and over the past ten years, has closed over 1,000 transactions and sold over $2,000,000,000 in volume. Here’s a look into his approach to taking on many different roles in the luxury space.
Q: How do you maintain culture among your team amidst growth and expansion?
Too many real estate companies today focus on being the biggest. This puts pressure on systematizing agent culture into a “one size should fit all” dynamic, which ultimately doesn’t foster culture or real individual growth.
We maintain our culture by helping our advisors grow in their most authentic way, with an emphasis on collaboration and transparency. It’s much more effective to help each advisor grow within their specific areas of specialization, whether that’s in terms of servicing distinct geography, clientele, or property type. This type of growth ultimately helps our advisors — and our clients.
Q: What are the core business and real estate philosophies that have led to your success?
Never focus on the sale. In today’s world, selling is not closing. Rather it is about the ability to communicate all of the available data as efficiently as possible. I believe the more helpful and sincere we are to each and every contact that we make, without a focus on a transaction, the more our value as real estate professionals increases.
The catch is understanding that you can’t be everything for everyone. It’s really important to know and lean into your areas of specialty. Focus on what you love and learn every detail until you are an expert. Share that knowledge openly and freely, and in my experience, success will follow.
Q: What advice would you give to a real estate professional looking to take their career to the next level?
Start with a vision of where you want to be in a few years and write down a plan to get there. Stay the course even when it seems like it is not working, because there simply is no fast track to being an expert. Our clients want transparency, information, and advice and you have to invest the time to be able to show yourself as someone capable of giving this advice. Similarly, align yourself with a brokerage that cares about people and puts culture first so that you are surrounded by like-minded individuals.
Q: You’ve recently launched Engel & Völkers first yachting shop in the Americas. How did you make the decision to expand in this direction?
Yes, we are opening our fourth yachting location in less than two years. I started this venture out of my passion for sailing and a realization that the typical level of service in the yachting world is very poor.
Knowing that Engel & Völkers is a service-focused, lifestyle brand with a yachting division in Europe, I thought about how I could bring it all together to give our advisors more reach by being able to offer boating services to their clients anywhere in the world. We have had many referrals between yachting and real estate, which is great, but what is most exciting to me is that it brings out passion. This is a time when people are craving experiences and adventure, and yachting brings it all together.