Mastering the luxury market can be rewarding — but it’s also a lot of work. If you want to take the plunge into the world of the high-end, here are a few skillsets to hone.
October is Luxury Month at Inman. All month, we’ll be talking to top producers from across the country, offering advice on how to join their ranks, and more. That all leads up to Luxury Connect at the Aria Hotel (Oct. 25-26, 2021, join us) and the live presentation of the Inman Golden I Club honorees for this year.
If your goal is to enter the luxury real estate market or you simply want to increase your average listing or sales price, the key is to understand what’s important to the clients you’re aspiring to work with and the level of service they will expect.
Whether your clients are avid collectors, philanthropists or world travelers, you have to be able to see the world from their perspective. This means anticipating their needs and desires and asking the right questions that will spark conversations to uncover their passions and interests.
Mastering the luxury market can be rewarding — but it’s also a lot of work. Luxury properties are more expensive and yield a higher commission, but they can take longer to sell and sometimes require a significant upfront investment on your part.
Here are some tips to help you help you build your “luxury” skillset:
1. Get to know the ‘gate-keepers’
In some situations, you may only be working with a business manager, family attorney or family office employee — you may actually never even meet the client.
Make sure to understand the needs and expectations of these proxies, especially since they are most likely well-connected with other consultants or advisers in the luxury space and can be a great source of referrals.
2. Luxury is an experience
When you’re working with luxury clients, be sure to learn about the lifestyle and prospective usage of the property.
For example, are you helping clients who own a boat or yacht purchase waterfront property? If so, you’ll need to learn everything you can about their boat so that you can show them homes with the proper frontage, water depth and regulations. Be prepared to introduce and connect them to fellow yacht club members and service professionals.
3. Luxury means service beyond the sale
Luxury clients expect a turnkey experience. For agents, that can mean managing everything, from coordinating remodeling that needs to be done to finding a temperature-controlled unit to store wine or even finding an appraiser for artwork that will be sold along with the property.
Be knowledgeable about the different types of luxury appliances and fixtures in the home — and know who can repair or replace them.
4. Discretion is critical
Most luxury clients are paying for discretion. Many will require a nondisclosure agreement and have specific demands. Buyer clients might want to limit who can be present when they’re viewing a property, while sellers may want you to vet prospective buyers in advance to ensure that they can actually afford to purchase the property.
Remember: You are your clients’ advocate and representative, and you need to do whatever you can to maintain their privacy — no matter how tempting it might be to “brag a little.”
5. Always be professional
Luxury clients aren’t looking for a best friend; they want a professional who will be respectful, smooth the way and solve problems. We tend to be more casual in the U.S. versus other countries, so if you’re working with a client from another culture, be sure to understand appropriate forms of address and respect.
Finally, make sure that you keep notes about your clients’ interests and birthdays in a CRM so that you can reach out and stay top-of-mind.
Remember that the recent college graduate of today could be the billionaire of tomorrow. Stay in touch, and serve as a resource to all of your clients, so when they’re ready to “move up” to a bigger home, you’re ready and able to help them.
If you want to take the “high-end” plunge, it’s important to do your research and educate yourself. Join luxury groups, attend luxury events, and immerse yourself into the lifestyle. Take sailing lessons, and learn about art by visiting museums and art galleries. Advance preparation is the best way to determine if the high-end market is right for you.