By Maria Patterson
RISMEDIA, March 12, 2008-Recently dubbed the “real estate queen of Manhattan” in a Vogue magazine article, 20-year industry veteran Dolly Lenz certainly has the stats to warrant the crown…and then some. As vice chairman of New York City brokerage firm Prudential Douglas Elliman, Lenz has been ranked as the top-selling broker in the U.S. for the past four years, responsible for well over $3 billion in listings.
“New York City is one of only two or three good brand markets in the country,” says Lenz of the current marketplace. “The market is fairly fluid, but since August, due to the credit crunch, things have changed a bit in the above-$20-million part of the market, which is all about confidence. The under-$10-million market, however, is very healthy and has buoyed the upper end.”
True, many real estate professionals can only dream of such numbers, but for Lenz, it’s standard operating procedure. While there is no ultimate secret to her phenomenal success story, there are certain constants that are critical to fueling Lenz’s high-powered, celebrity-broker lifestyle. Talk to Lenz about BlackBerry, for example, and one of her passions is revealed.
“Anybody who works with me-and I run various divisions and departments-has to have a BlackBerry,” says Lenz emphatically. “I buy it for them. We’re always in meetings or doing something where you can’t take a phone call readily. That is why we PIN each other or e-mail each other-it’s taken the place of the phone call. We used to have to wait three hours for a phone call, but now it’s instant. Now we expect our agents to get back to us within 15 minutes.”
Lenz has been hooked on BlackBerry for so long that she can’t exactly recall when she became a user, but it feels like “since the first day it came out.” For Lenz, it has enhanced both the efficiency of her business and her quality of life.
“Personally, I am a multi-tasker,” says Lenz. “I’m not happy unless I’m doing 30 things at a time and my BlackBerry allows me to effectively do 30 things at a time. I can be negotiating a contract on my BlackBerry while responding to every inquiry I get in real time.” No small feat, considering Lenz receives 700 e-mails daily, give or take.
The use of BlackBerry devices throughout her company allows Lenz to keep all team members informed; whether they are present for a meeting or not, notes are taken and shared via their respective BlackBerry smartphones. “It keeps everyone truly efficient and keeps their eyes on the ball,” she explains, adding that, “I can tell by looking at the responses who is on the ball and who isn’t.”
Lenz’s BlackBerry also acts as an important documentation and research tool. The broker frequently refers back to files and e-mails that she’s saved on her BlackBerry as far back as 2004. “I’m able to do a search on anything that’s happened between now and then,” she explains. “With the written word, there is no possibility of misinterpretation and that’s huge. It makes things very clear and comfortable for everyone. My BlackBerry enables me to be very methodical and accurate.”
Of course, the portability factor cannot be overlooked. Lenz clocks about 10 minutes per day in her office-the remaining minutes are divided between client meetings, media interviews, visits to sales offices and job sites. There is no doubt in her mind that she couldn’t maintain this pace without her BlackBerry.
Lenz also scoffs at the notion held by some real estate professionals that technological devices like the BlackBerry detract from the tried-and-true value of personal relationships in real estate. Just the opposite, she says-her BlackBerry allows her to build relationships to a degree that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Not to mention the fact that she uses her BlackBerry to keep up with her kids throughout the course of the day. Of course, they have BlackBerry smartphones too.
Powering the many benefits of the BlackBerry is the product’s extreme ease of use. Lenz stresses that she is not technologically inclined and, therefore, has quickly abandoned many a gadget. As she puts it, “I’m not good with technology, but I am great with a BlackBerry.” So confident is she in its user-friendliness, that she has gifted BlackBerry smartphones to many people in her life.
Ultimately, BlackBerry helps Lenz follow her life’s mantra: “Go forth unafraid.”
“My whole life is work,” explains Lenz. “With my BlackBerry, I can get done in my 80-hour workweek what would take 160 hours otherwise. When I look through my rearview mirror, I’m clear.”
For more information, visit www.blackberry.com.