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Listings are the bedrock of a successful real estate business, and getting them is often the biggest challenge for agents just starting out. 

Top agents Jordan Cohen of RE/MAX and Santiago Arana of The Agency spoke at Inman Connect New York on Tuesday about their strategies for racking up listings and how they got them when they were first starting out in the industry. 

The two Los Angeles-based agents had markedly different approaches to generating listings when they were starting out but both generated results. 

Arana told moderator Katie Kossev of the Kossev Group that since he had no network of friends in Los Angeles to reach out to when he started out, he took to door-knocking in neighborhoods he wanted to establish himself in to generate his first listings. 

“I wasn’t from here, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have college roommates or anyone to sell a house or to represent to buy a house, so you’ve got to create your own database,” Arana said. “The best way for me to do that was door-knocking, so that’s what I did.”

Cohen, conversely, said he never felt comfortable door-knocking and chose instead to focus on geographical farming and relationship-building when he first started out by taking note of his competitor’s marketing materials and looking for ways to one-up them. 

“I look at my competition and I see what they’re doing and I just elevate it times ten,” Cohen said. “I always look at it as an investment — I never spend money, but I invest money.”

As a well-established agent, Santiago has focused on building his brand in his market to keep his flow of listings consistent by putting his face on postcards and billboards around his market. 

“You need to find reasons every month or every week or how often you want to do it to touch base with these people, so when they go on the weekend for a coffee and they’re driving and they see your signs that you’re going to have an open house they connect ‘Oh, that’s the guy who sent the postcard.’” he said. “What eventually happens is, you have a brand.”

Once you’ve caught the attention of a potential seller, winning them over with a listing presentation is just as important. Cohen said he makes sure not to talk pricing with potential sellers once he’s won them over with his presentation — an opposite of the strategy he was originally taught, which had him talking about price first and often losing potential clients. 

“When I first started I went to a seminar and they said ‘Talk about price in the beginning.’ What would happen is I would do that and I would lose, then I’d see another broker would list it at a good price,” he said. 

Cohen shifted his strategy to emphasize the visibility his marketing strategy would bring to their house, before talking about pricing at the end of the presentation. 

“My goal is to not have them want me, but need me,” he said.

Get Inman’s Luxury Lens Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly deep dive into the biggest news in the world of high-end real estate delivered every Friday. Click here to subscribe.

Email Ben Verde

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