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Agents are often thought of as solo entrepreneurs who go out on their own to track down leads and establish themselves in their markets.

But for star agent Fredrik Eklund, being a team member has been a key part of his success story.

The leader of one of Douglas Elliman’s top teams — Eklund Gomes — and former Bravo reality television star spoke Wednesday at Inman Connect Las Vegas about his path to success in luxury real estate and how he balances his life as a father with growing his business.

The Swedish-born agent told moderator Katie Kossev being a member of a competent team is what helped him first get started in the industry and has remained an important factor in staying at the top of the industry.

“I came from Sweden by myself, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t even know English — business English at least,” he said. “Being on a team has been everything for me, my business partner Julia who runs the team, we have a very well-oiled machine.”

“It sounds like I’m bragging up on stage, but it took 10 years to get there,” he added. “A lot of fighting, a lot of trying different things, a lot of fiascos and periods where we felt stuck — but if there’s one tip I can give to anyone whose new it’s start on the best team.”

That team atmosphere has helped Eklund through the highs and lows of his career, such as when a new development building, his team has brokered $400 million in sales for before it was even built, ended up scrapped and all of their deals fell through.

“What are you going to do? Are you going to cry? We had to laugh at it,” he said. “And that you can only do if you have partners and best friends you can work with.”

“That is key with a team, when things go bad, you can share and laugh about it,” he added.

As his career has progressed and he’s found himself traveling often while raising his young family, Eklund says he’s had to learn the importance of setting boundaries with clients and not being afraid to take time off — while still staying involved with deals at all times.

“You have to be able to say no to clients,” he said. “I think as real estate agents we absorb a lot of emotions, friction from our clients.”

“If you’re not recharging your batteries, how can you perform?” he added.

The key is preparedness, according to Eklund.

“You have to be smart about it, you can’t just go away and turn your phone off of course,” he said. “You have to have a system in place and really be up front.”

Eklund also spoke about the importance of sincerity for agents looking to establish a personal brand, which he said must feel genuine to be effective.

“I always say it has to come from within,” he said. “It sounds so cheesy but it was Oscar Wilde who said ‘be yourself; everyone else is already taken.'”

He also recommended agents invest in professional photographs of themselves and take the time to learn photo and video editing skills.

Email Ben Verde

Fredrik Eklund
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