Wondering how to break into the luxury real estate market if you’re not already rich and successful? Turns out, it’s a common apprehension for many people considering a new career in the luxury market.
The good news is, even people who start out with zero connections to the luxury real estate market still become successful luxury real estate professionals all the time. In fact, almost anyone with a passion for marketing and relationship-building can learn how to work with luxury clients with the right training, planning and mentorship.
Even some of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s (The Institute) most successful alumni started out in careers that not only had nothing to do with luxury real estate, but also didn’t have anything to do with real estate at all! For instance, before Christine and Carl Battista of The Battista Team became Top Award recipients in Leaders In Luxury, earned their Million Dollar Guild Certification, became part of the Who’s Who In Luxury Real Estate Network and earned a number of other prestigious luxury real estate distinctions…they worked in nursing!
But with luxury-specific training, designations and their passion for providing incredible care for each and every client, they were able to break into the luxury real estate market during the 2008 recession.
How’s that for breaking into luxury real estate?
Fortunately, they didn’t just “get lucky.” Stories like these happen all the time. So if you want to know how to break into the luxury real estate market yourself, here are a few ways to start:
1. Make Strategic Connections
The easiest way to break into the luxury real estate market? Connections.
There’s a problem, though. A common mistake both new and seasoned luxury real estate professionals make is taking what Wealth Quotient founder David Friedman calls an “outward-in” approach to connecting with their ideal clients when, really, an “inward-out” approach is more effective.
What that means is luxury real estate professionals believe they need to make a direct connection with prospects they’re after, essentially trying to break into an ideal prospect’s “bubble” from the outside.
Friedman warns this direct approach can “deposition” the luxury real estate professional and ultimately tarnish the relationship by moving too quickly. A better approach? Aim to connect with your ideal prospect’s circle instead. This is the “inward-out” mentality, in which you become a vetted “referral” rather than an unknown real estate professional.
Additionally, it’s important to put yourself in social settings where you’ll actually get to know prospects from your local upper-tier market. To do this, you may have to consider “affluent hobbies” like upscale gym memberships, country club memberships or even spending a few extra dollars on coffee every day at the coffee shop in the nicest part of town—part of your start-up business expenses to start making connections in the first place.
2. Find a Mentor
Mentorship is common in real estate, but especially when you’re trying to break into the luxury real estate market. Many successful luxury real estate professionals started out under the mentorship of a more experienced agent or broker, and even continue to receive support from coaches and other top-tier agents as their careers grow.
Even though it may feel intimidating at first to seek mentorship from an experienced luxury real estate professional, keep in mind that mentorship in the luxury real estate market is often mutually beneficial and helps both parties involved. Often, prospective mentors are happy to take you under their wing in exchange for a commission split or even have you help with their administrative or marketing tasks.
When you do reach out to a potential mentor, be sure to make “what’s in it for them” the central focus. While many are ready and willing to help, it doesn’t hurt to sweeten the deal by letting them know you’re open to reciprocate.
3. Prospect Local Luxury Expired Listings
Forward Coaching Founder and Coach Debbie DeGrote often speaks on working expired listings as a great way to break into the luxury real estate market and even grow your client network once you’re in.
In our “Breaking Through to Luxury Real Estate” Estate of Mind podcast episode, DeGrote gives a real-life example of how one of her brand-new students secured an expired listing originally above $3M—even after three failed listing attempts by the owner.
Her student was able to secure the listing at $1.4M and sell it for $1.3M, which the seller finally admitted was a more reasonable price. What’s more, this student was prospecting expired luxury listings in a popular Southern California market saturated by “old players.”
DeGrote goes on to explain how her students create booklets that show expired sellers how unsold listings aren’t always about the property itself, but about the marketing, the targeting or even the timing. This helps encourage the seller to try again, rather than wondering, “What’s wrong with me and my house?”
This is a more indirect approach, but it helps position you as an expert without being pushy. This approach, coupled with relentless follow-up, often helps new luxury real estate professionals stand out from the crowd—especially in saturated markets where expired listings will inevitably attract many other luxury professionals trying to secure the listing as well.
Bonus Tip: Receive Luxury-Specific Real Estate Training and Designations
In traditional real estate, the question most prospects have is, “Have you sold in this neighborhood?” In luxury real estate, on the other hand, the question is, “Have you sold at this price point?”
While having a mentor and getting your feet wet with expired listings will certainly help you answer this question with a resounding “yes!”, immersing yourself in luxury real estate-specific training and designations will give your prospects more confidence—and it will help your confidence, too!
The Institute is a leader in luxury real estate marketing, and our Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™ designation is respected worldwide by affluent clientele.
McKissock Learning is the nation’s premier online real estate school, providing continuing education courses and professional development to hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. As part of the Colibri Real Estate family of premier education brands, McKissock Learning, along with its sister schools Real Estate Express, Superior School of Real Estate, Allied Schools, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Gold Coast Schools, The Rockwell Institute and Hondros Education Group, helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their real estate career. Learn more at mckissock.com/real-estate.