How to Become a Trusted Real Estate Advisor for Your Luxury Clients
This post was written in collaboration with the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Below, Certified Luxury Marketing Specialist (CLMS), award-winning real estate agent, and Institute speaker Patrick Ryan shares what it takes to be the go-to agent for luxury clients.
Patrick Ryan has been in the business of serving affluent clients for fifteen years. His focus on providing unparalleled service has helped him build a wide network of repeat and referral business.
Ryan has worked hard to build a great reputation, and he regularly serves as a trusted advisor to his many clients. Today, he offers insight on how to build and nurture relationships with luxury clients and explains what these clients expect from their go-to agent.
Going to the Texas REALTORS® Conference?
Stop by the Side Recharge Lounge, located at Acre Distillery across the street from the Fort Worth Convention Center, to see Patrick Ryan speak! Representing the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Ryan will be presenting a two hour Luxury Branding Mastermind session.
Join us from 11:20AM to 1:30PM on Saturday, September 14th.
What Luxury Clients Want
Luxury clients are unique. These clients are “affluent” or “high net worth” individuals. A majority of these buyers and sellers travel, they have multiple homes, and they have very little time to commit to any one project. For this reason, it’s important for agents supporting these clients to be smart, organized, well-versed in brevity, and ready to provide context for every situation. Rather than serving as a real estate agent, you need to serve as a real estate advisor.
What it Means to Be a Real Estate Advisor
Ryan explains, “Luxury clients expect the best service and a high level of expertise from any professional they choose to work with because they have a choice, and their time is precious. These clients want a credentialed expert in their field who’s going to take charge, direct the process, provide consistent communication, and be available any time to answer questions. These clients also want to be informed of current market conditions, and to get insight backed by local, national, and international market data. It’s important for luxury agents to offer insight in a digestible way because these clients want to be able to verbalize this knowledge to others.”
So what are some practical ways to apply this advice to your day-to-day client interactions?
Respect Your Client’s Time with Direct Communication
Put bluntly, Ryan says, “Affluent clients don’t waste time, and they don’t want others to waste their time.” That’s why this client segment tends to respond well to people who show up with a plan, take charge, and have a direct communication style. Ryan continues, “My clients always look to me for honest, straightforward advice.”
Inform and Guide for Now and the Future
It’s easy enough to find properties in a target price range and schedule a showing, but when you’re working with clients making decisions based on long-term wealth goals, you need to provide a broader forecast. Ryan explains, “It’s important to be able to succinctly advise clients on what their real estate options are now, and to be able to verbalize how decisions they make now may impact them in the future.” This may mean looking to market data to see what areas are gentrifying, what’s expected to be a good rental area in ten or twenty years, and what types of returns clients can expect to see if they rent or sell a property down the road.
To accomplish this, you must be able to speak to real estate across multiple markets. Having friends in the industry who know local markets that are popular among your target clientele is a good way to add value to your service.
Be an Active Listener to Tailor Your Advice
It’s also important to become an expert at understanding and evaluating your client’s wants and needs so you can speak their language and provide them with a logical action plan. Ask lots of questions and become an active listener. Doing so will help you start to identify client profiles that can guide you in the right direction.
For example, Ryan says, “If you work with lots of baby boomers, they have kids going off to college. They may be looking to downsize or they may want to purchase a second home somewhere warmer for the winter.” Having a specific client profile in mind that you can leverage as a starting point and cater to will help you quickly build rapport.
Provide Compelling Proof of Your Success Advising Luxury Clients
Generic advice isn’t good enough. Ryan explains, “These clients deserve to work with someone who can offer relevant advice. You need to have a strong track record of success, and you need to be able to give concrete examples of times when you helped other clients achieve real estate related life and wealth goals.”
Build out a success deck that you can share at listing presentations and use concrete data to illustrate why you’re a better choice than your competition. Include data points that put a dollar amount to your value, like comps showing list-to-sale data that shows your negotiating power packs a punch compared to other agents.
Make Luxury Marketing Experience Work for You
Ryan says, “You need to have a firm grasp on different real estate marketing avenues; digital, social, and print.” By understanding and being able to communicate what a successful marketing plan looks like for a luxury property, you’re able to establish trust.
Ryan elaborates, “Incorporating data from the Luxury Report and other similar resources helps me establish a listing price and plan of action. I also communicate that I use the negotiation skills I learned at Leaders in Luxury to get the best price for my buyers and the maximum return for my sellers.” Whatever your unique value propositions are, be sure to communicate them to your potential buyers and sellers so they understand what you bring to the table specifically to affluent and high-net-worth clients.
Nurture Long-Term Client Relationships
Ryan says, “I stay in contact with my clients so they know I care about them, I care about their lives, and I’m here to nurture a long-term relationship.” He’ll get a call, and he’ll tell a former client who is considering selling to hold off because the market is poised to turn; or he’ll tell someone to snap up a diamond-in-the-rough and leverage it as an investment property.
“But often, it’s not transaction-based,” says Ryan. “Putting my client’s interests far ahead of my volume or commission is the key here, and that comes easily when you’re genuine. Eventually, you may even start getting calls from your client’s kids, asking about real estate opportunities, saying ‘My dad told me to call you.” Just like that, you’ll tap into the next generation of referral business.”
Once you’ve proven that you’re savvy, quick, direct, and knowledgeable, you’ll start to get those “let me run something by you” phone calls. Affluent clients like to have people on standby who can offer a quick, informed opinion on various opportunities. You have to be ready to provide that expert opinion on real estate, and on other things that come up in life.
All said, you need to be genuine, truly care for clients, provide incredible service, and incorporate the guidance outlined above to become the go-to agent for luxury clients.
About Patrick Ryan
Patrick Ryan, a frequent speaker for the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, has been in real estate since 2004. Prior to opening his own brokerage, he served as Managing Broker at Related Realty and Sr. VP of Sales of Related Midwest. He holds a negotiation certification from Harvard Law, has received multiple Top Producer awards from The Chicago Association of Realtors®, and opened his own brokerage in 2018. As a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), he’s been designated as being among the top 3% of brokers in the country.