Taking Market Share

Wow, I just came back from a top broker retreat in Palm Beach's Breakers Hotel with my company Douglas Elliman and our owners Dottie Herman and Howard Lorber. The emphasis of the trip was a simple retreat to reward the top brokers, but for most of us who attended, the trip became about learning & sharing.

There is an old adage that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of business... (I'm sure everyone has heard of the 80/20 Rule) and the other 80 percent vie for the leftovers. So, the question becomes: In the highly competitive field of real estate, how do you gain more market share? My good friend and colleague, Ann Lenane and I stopped at our Miami office to speak with the salespeople about doing just that.

I am a big believer in sharing and helping others. I've been very fortunate over the years to have so many amazing influences and mentors, now I want to pay it forward. Ann and I were basically unrehearsed but, we were a great tag team. We talked about what we are doing to reinvent ourselves. We talked about being organic and authentic and making it about our buyers', sellers', renters' and investors' needs, not our needs as salespeople.

We talked about being a source of information, resources and providing real value to our customers. We talked about how important it is to stay in touch with people (out of sight, out of mind). We talked about some of the things we are doing that separate us from the other 8,000 real estate salespeople in New York City. One of the things we spoke about was getting groups of people together for lunch, dinner, drinks or even as Ann does a scavenger hunt once a year which has grown from six people to 120 people.

This should be done weekly, monthly, or yearly. We talked about joining organizations, clubs or networking groups but this too has to be organic. You have to love what you are involved with otherwise people are going to feel that your sole purpose is self-serving. We talked about how you can be different, how you can stand out by really finding what people want, and then giving it to them. Giving people what they want means a slew of things from how they like to communicate to what kind of apartment they are looking for, from giving them advice on the home buying or selling process to giving them an ear to voice their concerns. Always keeping in mind they are going to buy or sell one of their biggest assets, their LARGEST asset for most people. It can be very nerve-racking for most, especially if it's your first time.

So then, off we went in our convertible to our retreat except it was a torrential downpour. So, mostly we got together to discuss ideas and brainstorm. I'm very glad to be working with such talented and caring individuals. So the summary of our retreat was that it is amazing to get together with so many great minds and for all of us to stay in touch and share with each other what is working and what is not. I got some great ideas. It was inspiring to hear the Dottie & Howard speak about our future.

For the first time our culture is right, we are all aligned, we've got some amazing talent and we've completely rebranded ourselves. I think our marketing supersedes any in the industry. Plus we are expanding to all the areas where all our buyers, renters and sellers live and play. I must say having been at Douglas Elliman now for 23 years through four owners, I have no doubt we are poised to take huge market share right now.

Taking market share is all about understanding what your customer wants and giving it to them, I've even heard it called "mind share." That's what Dottie & Howard understand and that is what the 20 percent understand. Where do you fall in, in the 80/20 rule? And what could you be doing to stand out from the pack? For more tips on grabbing a bigger piece of the pie, email toni@elliman.com.