7 Tips for Closing High-Net-Worth Real Estate Clients
Everyone wants the glory — not to mention, commissions — that come along with those multi-million dollar sales. But not everyone knows how to go out there and get it. And despite the fact that high-end buyers are human just like the rest of us, there are some nuances to this niche that can be a little daunting at first.
We sat down with Gary Ashton, Owner and CEO of the #1 RE/MAX Team in Tennessee and the world to get his real-world insights from decades of selling luxury homes to high-net-worth clients. Gary and his team are also the official Real Estate Team of The Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Soccer Club. So, yeah. When it comes to luxury real estate, Gary knows his stuff.
Here are his best tips for selling to luxury buyers.
#1 – Experiment boldly
Gary’s been using the internet to generate real estate leads since Facebook was just a glimmer in Zuckerberg’s eye.
An early adopter of web marketing, Gary was one of the first to start using SEO and PPC strategies to bring in leads. “With the internet, you’re only limited by your imagination. You could do whatever you wanted to do in order to help people experience the property. Instead of using a tri-fold brochure showing off a floor plan and pictures of a room, now people could see the details,” recalls Gary of his earliest days in web marketing.
Still, Gary’s massive success with internet lead gen didn’t happen overnight. He had to play around and learn on the job, constantly tweaking his nurture process along the way. “Originally, I’d text incoming leads but then I realized if you call immediately, your chances are much better.” These days, longevity is just as important as speed but beyond any “set rule” of sales, your commitment to testing and experimenting to find what works for your leads is the key to bringing home those high-end commissions.
Technology changes fast and if you want to outrun the herd, you have to be willing to lean in. So it’s no surprise that when Google came into the picture, Gary was quick to switch focus from paid ads to SEO and organic lead gen, until it finally reached the point that he simply couldn’t handle all the incoming leads on his own.
#2 – Gather your Intel
Once Gary had built up his dream team to help handle the overflow of incoming leads, he was finally in a position to pick his favorite prospects. Gary had always wanted to enter deeper into Tennessee’s growing luxury market, but there was just one problem. The biggest luxury district, Franklin, was one full hour away.
“I spent all my time trying to learn that area. People thought I was crazy to drive an hour away for a sales meeting, but I knew I needed to know those neighborhoods.” Gary dedicated himself to learning the ins and outs of every sub-division in the area, right down to the materials the builders used and the names of tiles in the kitchen.
“You need to know all the terms. You need to put yourself in that world. You can’t be surprised when a potential customer starts talking about Italian tiles.” For Gary and his Rock-star team, Intel is the competitive advantage. Not only does it empower you to offer more value to your customers, it also helps you relate to them on a deeper level.
#3 – Network with other luxury real estate agents
When Gary came over to the US from the UK in the early 1990s, he didn’t have a single high-net-worth individual in his sphere. He made it his mission to get to know the established agents in this market.
And that’s important. Because while the process of closing a high-net-worth real estate deal is generally the same as with any other real estate deal, there are some differences in terms of the types of banks and intermediaries you’ll need to work with in order to manage larger transactions. Knowing about the private banks and other parties involved (and of course, not being afraid to broach the topic of money both quickly and directly) is important. According to Gary, you need to get introduced to the right people so you know how the process works and who to call to get the ball rolling.
Gary also recommends spending some time with luxury listing agents in your area and of course, he suggests you always preview the homes first.
#4 – Write about luxury real estate
One of the best ways of showing off your expertise as a real estate agent is to have a blog. People love to work with knowledgeable experts. Why not write about luxury real estate? Good idea right?
People constantly are doing searches online. The luxury real estate market is no different. Here are some tips for writing an effective real estate blog. Start sharing your luxury expertise now to reach another segment of the market.
Here is an example of tips on how to capture luxury real estate buyers. If you do some searches on luxury home sales you’ll see this article at the top of many online searches.
#5 – Don’t get intimidated
When Gary sold his first $3 million home, he was living in a home that was worth $150K.
“These people definitely weren’t in my sphere so I had to find a different way to connect with them. My way of doing that was to treat them the same way I would treat anyone else. At the end of the day, we’re all the same.” One of Gary’s biggest clients (the former CEO of a large bank) was impressed by the simple fact that Gary wasn’t in awe of him. “I treated him with respect and deference, but I wasn’t bowing down,” explains Gary.
While you don’t want to go out of your way to force an image, Gary does recommend making a conscious effort to make high-net-worth prospects feel comfortable. “I didn’t want to be rolling around in a Lamborghini, but I bought a nice Lincoln Navigator to make sure my buyers would feel comfortable getting in my car.”
#6 – Know your market
Luxury SUV aside, Gary believes the best way to connect with a high-net-worth client is to simply know your stuff.
“The best way to make them feel comfortable is by demonstrating your knowledge about the market. Talk about the builders, the area, your past clients. Make sure you’re as knowledgeable as possible,” Gary advises.
Don’t be afraid to dive into the details, either. How does your luxury client live? Would they have a coffee bar? A Sub-Zero refrigerator? According to Gary, knowing your client right down to the simple things like the kind of appliances you can expect to see in a high-end home can help create a sense of ease and trust with your prospects. “Even though they know you’re not making $1 million per year, they know you know the product.”
#7 – Offer value at every step
“The internet created the leads, but the knowledge created the respect,” says Gary of how his luxury business snowballed into becoming the official team of the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Soccer Club.
Decades after launching into a career in real estate, Gary has now sold multiple millions of dollars in luxury properties to many different types of high-net-worth buyers, from sports legends to former senators. But beyond that, he’s become a catalyst for creating lasting relationships within the community.
In a transient market like Nashville, many of Gary’s customers relied on him as their principal advisor for getting their feet on the ground in their new home. Whether it was figuring out where to pursue their passion for equestrianism, dock their boat, or send their kids to school, Gary was always there to point them in the right direction. “You can bluff to a point, but everybody does that and people see through it very quickly. But if you’ve done your research and you’re knowledgeable, that’s what matters most. Really, that’s what every buyer wants, some are just at a different price point.”
#8 – Trust in your process
Now that Gary has established a firm foothold in the market, his focus is on generating high-value opportunities for his team. “It’s important to have the best process and make it as simple as possible for your team to follow. But you also have to stay ahead of the curve, testing things and making sure agents have the tools and training they need to be successful and to set them apart from other agents.”
Gary and his world-leading team use one central CRM to store their lead Intel and ensure all leads are nurtured with regular, value-driven follow-ups. “As real estate develops, knowledge is what makes agents more valuable to buyers. Buyers don’t want to spend time learning. As an agent, you’re the catalyst — the connector between the buyer and their new community. It’s your job to open that door and make it as easy as possible to walk through it.”
Landing luxury real estate clients is not easy but can be fruitful once you hone your skills. Quite often the commission generated from a luxury sale can be equal to selling two or three other more typical homes.
If you enjoy working with luxury clientele your efforts will be rewarded!
Other Helpful Articles For Real Estate Agents
- Why it makes sense to write about local communities via RIS Media.
- How to promote your real estate content via RESAAS.
- How print media can be still be effective for real estate agents via The National Association of Realtors.
- Blogging tips for real estate agents via Point 2.
Use these additional resources to increase your business as a real estate agent.
About the author: Dave Lawrence is the Head of Growth at Follow Up Boss, a CRM for real estate teams. In his role he spends his time ‘under the hood’ of many of the top performing real estate sales teams in North America, helping them leverage technology and process to become more effective at delivering value and service to their clients. Find Follow Up Boss on Twitter: @FollowUpBoss