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The thrill of being able to make as much money on one transaction as other agents might make on several deals over a month is enough to make many real estate agents want to try their hand in luxury, Katie Kossev of the Kossev Group pointed out while moderating a panel at Inman Connect Now on Tuesday.
But getting into luxury real estate isn’t as easy as merely saying you’re going to do it. It takes time and dedication to build the right connections and show off one’s authenticity, panel speakers Ige Johnson of RE/MAX Generation and Josh Tucker of Corcoran HM Properties said.
“For me, it was natural; it was just the connections,” said Johnson, whose market is outside of Houston, Texas. “I started out with a couple luxury clients and then that relationship just grows and they start to refer you out. Then, as you grow in the industry your name starts getting out there.”
Tucker agreed that his connections from his previous career working in the NASCAR industry was a huge help when he decided to transition into real estate just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, where many NASCAR professionals live. But, his connections weren’t everything — Tucker had to first grow his market intelligence.
“I came in [to real estate] with some pretty good connections,” he said. “[But] I had to work my way into it — it took a few years, but it’s all about making the connections and gaining the trust in those people.”
Johnson and Tucker have been intentional with building their distinctive brands, they said, making clear that they operate in the luxury space while also showing off their authentic selves.
“[I was] very intentional to make sure my brand screamed luxury,” Johnson said. “And I just worked on a new rebrand and it was even more … I needed to just scream luxury because that’s the clientele we’re going for. We have to look the part.”
“These affluent buyers and sellers want to see you, they want to know who you are as a person and what your activities are, what your passions are outside of real estate, and a lot of it’s about connections,” he said, noting that he also posts a lot about his volunteer efforts with a local animal services organization.
Showcasing volunteer efforts on social media or otherwise is a great way to connect with clients, the speakers said, but, again, it needs to be done in a genuine way.
“I like giving back,” Johnson said. “I feed the homeless, I do a lot of giving back, that’s just where my heart is. But yes, your clients love to see this … They want to know that this is someone that’s a real person, that they care.”
“I think people read right through whether or not it’s authentic,” Tucker said.
Getting involved with a charitable organization or nonprofit in the community is as easy as picking up the phone and introducing yourself, Tucker said.
“With Lake Norman Humane, it started by me [reaching out] to them saying, ‘hey I’m in real estate and would love to be a resource to you guys if you ever need help’ … and turns out they were looking to make a land acquisition.” Tucker helped the nonprofit find the land they needed for a new location, and donated his commission to the organization.
With their luxury clients, Johnson and Tucker said they take extra steps to stay in touch and make them feel appreciated. Johnson said she makes sure to make an appearance at any events her clients invite her to because it shows she appreciates and supports them and also gives her an opportunity to connect with future clients. Tucker goes the extra mile by doing something nice for his clients every quarter, like hiring a chef to cook them dinner at home or buying them tickets to a local professional sporting event.
“It’s not always just the client that you have to do this with,” he said. “I probably spend more time and more money and more effort doing this with wealth managers, with sports attorneys, different people like that, because ultimately that’s where a majority of my luxury business comes from. It’s not always from the buyer or the seller themselves calling me.”
In closing, the two speakers reiterated that the best practice for luxury agents is to engage with clients in an authentic way, on social media and in real life.
“Don’t think it’s just going to fall into your lap,” Johnson said. “Reach out to different organizations, be a part of it, and just nurturing that will get you more luxury clients.”