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An unprecedented market run in 2020 and 2021 saw a historic gain in new real estate agents — further stretching an arguably oversaturated talent pool.
Although the veracity of new entrants has slowed over the past 12 months, it’s still a challenge for real estate agents at all stages of their careers to stand out — a key to success during a precipitous slide in consumer sentiment and activity.
Beyond mastering the basics of a transaction, star Engel & Völkers broker Josh Peters and leading SERHANT. team leader Nile Lundgren said agents must master the art of social media marketing and storytelling to connect with potential clients and build a foundation of trust well before they meet.
“The biggest thing you have to realize is that it takes time right? Everybody wants to go quickly. It’s important to push the boundaries, but you have to be patient at the same time,” Lundgren said. “And for me, the niche I found when I first got into the business was that I was very savvy with social media, so the way I branded myself is that I’m not a real estate broker. In fact, I’m actually a media expert.”
“If you’re selling widgets on Amazon, you still need to be a media company and have some sort of aspect of photos and videos for yourself,” he said while noting one of the first things he did as an agent was start a YouTube channel. “The main thing I did was focus on the media first and by doing that, it was just lights out. It really helped me amplify who I am and where my clients are coming from. It helped me become the agent I am today.”
Peters echoed Lundgren’s sentiments and cut straight to the point: “I’m Josh Peters, I represent the biggest estates in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Phoenix. I specialize in new development and being super f—ing authentic,” he said, garnering scattered laughs from the Agent Connect Las Vegas audience.
The Arizona-based broker said he initially wanted to become a team leader for Engel & Völkers but turned his attention toward the luxury market. Once he locked into his new goal, Peters said he was obsessive about learning every bit of data, spent days prospecting out in the Arizona heat and used his boisterous personality to build a loyal client base that’s yielded a lifetime sales volume of $1 billion.
“I just rolled up to this house that started construction and there was an older woman that was outside kind of like gardening, and I asked her, ‘Ma’am, can I speak with you one of the house?'” And she said, ‘Yes,'” he said recounting one of his first door-knocking experiences. “And then I was like, ‘Can I speak to the owner of the house?’ And at this point, I thought maybe she had dementia. But she’s like, ‘No, I am the owner of the house. Who are you?'”
“And I say, ‘I’m going to be your realtor.’ She says she’s been with the same realtor for 25 years and I’m like that’s a huge mistake,” he added. “It’s just about taking chances. That was the biggest thing out there to do — just take chances. You’re only gonna get one shot and you’re screwed if you don’t take it. So just take the shot every single time.”
Peters said he won the woman over with his knowledge, and in the eight years since he’s continued to leverage his data expertise to stand out among the competition.
“I just did a little faking it till I made it, but then I really just studied. I outhustled everybody in our market and I just became crazy about learning and analyzing the market,” he said. “I’ve built my own algorithms for valuation modeling in my specific zip code. And it’s crazy. I mean, if you provide your clients value, they will come back. They will be loyal forever.”
While Peters is all about the data and algorithms, Lundgren said he’s obsessive about social media marketing and storytelling. Effective and personal storytelling has enabled him to create friendships with potential clients well before they came to him about buying or selling homes, he said.
“I travel a lot with a lot of my clients, and I become friends with them and my content on social media reflects a very luxurious lifestyle,” he said. “Sometimes I fly in private jets. I go kite surfing in the Red Sea on a big yacht. If you talk to certain people and say, ‘Hey, I was kite surfing in the Red Sea,’ it’s subtle. But they understand and they’re attracted to it.”
“I also wake surf and do a lot of water activities and boating activities, and then I put those reels or clips on Instagram, and that clientele they see that sand they see high-end properties,” he added. “They see me making authentic videos, they see me traveling, which is what they do, and then they call me.”
Both men said finding your niche takes time and dedication; however, when agents find their sweet spot, it will continue to yield dividends for years to come.
“It’s a very daunting task to wake up one day and just start creating content,” Lundgren said. “Do not worry about making content. Just focus on documenting what you’re doing and just post it — be authentic and other agents are going to identify with that and they’re gonna want to follow you.”