Big commissions. Big names. Big homes. With these perks, who wouldn’t want a career in luxury real estate? If you’ve entertained the idea of moving from traditional sales to the high-end market, here are some points to consider as you journey forward. Remember, with the proper mindset and commitment to leads, listings and leverage – anything is possible!
Understand the affluent consumer.
“Study consumer trend reports on the affluent to understand what their buying habits are,” says Kay Evans, co-owner of the Southeast Region. Per the report, affluent consumers recognize loans are a part of life, they have a higher tolerance for risk, they will prosper in spite of dips and they are shifting from piling up possessions to buying experiences. These key findings are invaluable as you develop your business plan. At the same time, "study up on proper etiquette and customs when doing business with international clientele to ensure you do not offend,” she adds. Evans recommends books by Jack Cotton, Thomas Stanley, and Matt Oechsli as a good place to start.
Polish your image.
Image is everything when it comes to attracting luxury consumers. “Position yourself to the clients that you aim to work with and you will be more likely to attract them to you and your business,” recommends Evans. This begins by having a classy, elegant personal brand – both on and offline. Use professional designers, photographers and printers on all of your marketing materials. If you are a KW Luxury International member, make sure to take advantage of your exclusive suite of marketing materials, including a customizable listing presentation, property fliers, just listed and just sold postcards, and more.
Once your brand is in place, amplify it on your social media channels. If you’re low on followers, give your brand a bump “by purchasing followers and following others in the luxury community,” says Zach Wysocki, marketing director at the Keller Williams Beverly Hills Market Center – where the average price point is $3.5 million.
If you are considering going down this route, Marliese Gowin, social media manager at Keller Williams Realty International, offers this advice:
“Before you purchase followers on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, make sure you have an engaged audience that is already interacting with your posts. Also, don’t purchase a bulk of followers all at once and never exceed 500 per purchase; add incrementally, so it looks like your audience is growing naturally.”
Go BIG on marketing.
“When it comes to marketing, don’t be scared to spend,” advises Wysocki. KW Beverly Hills agents have won over celebrities such as Faye Dunaway and Paul Marciano (cofounder of Guess) because of their marketing investments.
“We’ve spent up to $25,000 on the marketing of one listing,” he says. “You have to spend [money] to reap the reward. Keep in mind that you won’t see a return on investment immediately, but it will come.”
Wysocki is an advocate for unconventional marketing.
“We had an agent who was struggling to break into the market, so I worked with him to amp up his marketing strategy. We went to high-end neighborhoods and asked homeowners if we could put up signs that said, ‘Please come to a full stop,’ and they were happy to do so! After saturating the neighborhood with the signs – which had his name on them – he began dominating the marketplace!”
Increase your market knowledge and be a community expert.
Have a comprehensive understanding of the luxury home market. “Know numbers such as months of supply, percentage change in sales, and number of active luxury listings in your area,” Evans emphasizes. Additionally, stay abreast of information in the community you’re working in. This means knowing which schools are in the area, proposed community improvements, and environmental issues.
Branch a connection.
Build your database of luxury clientele quickly by spending time in the communities you’d like to be the real estate agent of choice in. Go to professional happy hours and meetups, get a membership at the local country club, or enroll in fitness classes at a gym in the area. Once you begin meeting people in the neighborhood, stay connected on social media to see if there are any upcoming events that you should attend.
“If there’s someone you would like to be introduced to, look them up on LinkedIn or Facebook and see if you have any mutual friends that could connect you,” says Wysocki.
Credentials can help assure affluent buyers and sellers that you have what it takes to meet their needs. Within Keller Williams, you can add a KW Luxury International membership and a KW Global Property Specialist membership to increase both your credentials and your education. The Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) is another designation that can add value to your specialization.
Ready to dive into a career in luxury? Qualified agents can attend the KW Luxury Homes Retreat, April 15 - 17, to learn from and network with the industry’s leading luxury agents.