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It’s hard to imagine luxury broker Aaron Kirman ever getting stuck in a rut.
The L.A.-based Christie’s International Real Estate broker is the star of CNBC’s Listing Impossible, and has sold over $7 billion in real estate over the course of his career, including some of the world’s most noteworthy properties, like Nile Niami’s “The One.”
But he says he is not immune to getting stuck — and each time, he’s had to come up with a new idea for how to dig himself out.
“Whenever I’ve really felt like I’ve plateaued, each and every time, I’ve made a major shift in my business,” Kirman told Inman during a recent conversation.
Kirman and Damian Hall, an agent with the Damian Hall Group at Blackstream | Christie’s International Real Estate, drew on their extensive experience representing some of their markets’ most unique, high-end properties, as well as their experience weathering difficult markets or personal challenges, to share some of their top tips for success with agents at Christie’s International Real Estate’s Agents Conference this week.
Here are some of Kirman’s and Hall’s biggest takeaways.
When you hit a plateau
“When you’re selling luxury, it takes a lot of strategy, energy, hard work and deep philosophical thought,” Kirman told Inman. “You always want to be better than your last sale.”
But sometimes when an agent makes a name for him or herself at a certain price point, it can be a challenge to prove he or she is capable of surpassing that figure. Kirman said he’s constantly analyzing what kind of alignments and partnerships will take him to the next level, and watching the people at the very top of the market to learn what they’ve done to get where they are.
And each plateau may require a different strategy to push through it, Kirman added.
“It could mean looking at marketing and advertising strategies and changing, it could mean expanding the dollars we’re spending on marketing,” he said. “It could be as simple as adding an assistant, or two, or three. It could be expanding your team, it could be making a team. It could be expanding the team lead generation systems — or it could be as big as switching brokerages.”
That latest change came for Kirman when he and his team left Compass in order to launch a brokerage with Christie’s International Real Estate at the end of 2022.
The move “has been amazing,” Kirman told Inman. “In a market that’s unbelievably challenging, we’re down ever-so-slightly, [but] we’ve mitigated our losses. And we’re still on track, even in this very difficult market, to have a wonderful year.”
How to secure and sell trophy properties
For Hall’s part, the singular listings he represents in his markets surrounding Greenville, South Carolina — the most recent of which comes with a kangaroo named Irwin — are often secured because of the Christie’s International Real Estate name recognition, he said.
“Typically the seller knows that they need either a Christie’s or a Sotheby’s, so that’s how [the kangaroo listing, Circle Creek Farm] came about,” Hall told Inman. “[The sellers] were really impressed with our Bespoke Marketing Program, which is an exclusive program that Christie’s has where we can tap into the auction house clientele. We get extra exposure on the Christie’s homepage, a lot of press, which I think is one thing that really helps attract these kinds of listings.”
On top of revealing the property with an exclusive in The Wall Street Journal on a Friday, Hall’s team also released several cinematic teaser videos to add to the buzz over the weekend, then the following Monday officially launched the listing. That type of generated hype and press make the affluent take notice, Hall said, noting that his team was already in talks with a serious buyer 30 days after listing the property.
Ensuring that the property is flawlessly and beautifully presented is also “everything,” Hall added. “My videographer/photographer is incredible. We’ve been working together going on five years now, so he knows what I expect … It’s really just paying attention to the details.”
Auditing your online presence
In addition to his unparalleled marketing, Hall said that making sure his online footprint is flawless is also crucial to gaining the trust of trophy property sellers.
“Sellers will Google who’s the biggest power player for ultra-luxury homes, so you have to do an audit of your Google Profile because that’s the first place they’re going to go,” Hall said. “So we’re always curating that. It’s kind of ever-evolving so you always have to be mindful of that — that’s your Google reviews, whatever news articles are coming out about you, your website. I think keeping all that fresh and current is very, very important.”
When it comes to trophy properties — which Kirman and his team tend to represent a lot of — the name of the game is targeted marketing, he told Inman. And with most COVID restrictions now virtually gone, that means reaching out to a lot of international buyers as well as American ones.
“We’re really going back to the way we used to work, which is really finding the right buyer for the right house, targeting our database, targeting the people that either need or want to move, and figuring out why,” Kirman said. “And then we’re aggressively doing campaigns all around the world to be able to accomplish that goal.”