If you’re in real estate, you’ve probably heard the saying, “You have to list to live.”
That’s because listings, at every price point, are truly the lifeblood of a successful real estate practice. Why? Because listings bring the buyers, and the buyers don’t necessarily bring the listings.
And, becoming a listing agent ultimately gives you more control over your business.
Why? Because eventually, when you own the listings, you own the market.
To dive deeper into this concept, the Institute spoke with Matthew Ferrara — philosopher, keynote speaker, photographer, and Dean of Innovation for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (among many other impressive professional and personal roles and achievements) — to get his take on why becoming a listing agent is worth the cost.
Listing Agents Get Extra Exposure (Without the Extra Work)
If you’re a major player in inventory at any price point — but especially at the luxury price point — you get all the benefits of the listing, including the ancillary benefits like automatic marketing from listing portals, people seeing your signs outside the listings, or seeing you at events and special open houses.
Matthew explains, “In a way, the listing is really like having an extra office location for every listing you have. If you have 15 listings, it’s like you have 15 offices. It’s 15 opportunities for people to see your sign, and to see you come up in search results on these listing portals.”
In other words, the work you already have to do can earn you some free marketing simply by doing it, without the extra cost or hassle.
Plus, becoming the listing agent helps connect you with lots of other agents since they’re bringing you buyers and offers. That means listings are another great way to grow your sphere of influence and strengthen your relationships with other agents.
Listings Produce More Listings — But They Do Require an Investment
Another benefit of jumping into the inventory game? Every listing you sell becomes “proof” you can sell listings in that price point, which tends to earn you even more listings in that price point.
Put simply — sellers want to know you can sell homes like theirs. The more you’ve sold, the better.
Of course, listings cost money. In fact, you may spend $5k or more up front on marketing and not even see a return for months.
Matthew acknowledges this can be a huge deterrent for new listing agents.
On the other hand, he warns solely working with buyers can be costly too — but the cost, in this case, is time.
He explains that although listings are harder to master, it’s the “hard stuff” that makes you effective as a luxury real estate professional and helps you consistently grow.
Focusing on buyers alone can take much longer to see any consistent return. As a listing agent, however, you can almost guarantee a return on your time and money spent on a listing.
Online Listing Portals Are a Good Thing for Listing Agents
While becoming a luxury real estate professional in general gives you an advantage over online listing portals, Matthew sees sites like Zillow and Trulia as a positive influence in luxury real estate.
“Sorry baseball — real estate is America’s favorite pastime. People are searching real estate for entertainment value…So Zillow and Trulia are like amplification tools for luxury real estate professionals,” he says.
He talks about how when people are in the “dreaming phase,” it’s fun to look at million or multimillion dollar listings. And in the process? They’re getting exposed to all the listing agents who have listings up.
In this sense, these sites are simply another form of easy exposure.
“I’m not worried that Zillow or any of these portals are outsmarting me in the luxury space — they’re not doing luxury listings. With their new brokerage model, they’re not doing Zestimates on multimillion dollar homes, and they’re not pre-buying million or multimillion dollar homes. And if anyone with millions of visitors wants to put me on their website, that’s a big plus for me and my clients.”
Dominating the Market Is About Asking “How Deep” Your Connections Are — Not “How Many”
Think you have to have hundreds of thousands of followers on your Instagram to “dominate your market”?
Matthew says what successful listing agents understand is that they can have just a few hundred connections in their sphere of influence. The key is they need to go deep with those connections and position themselves as someone of value.
He talks about making consistent “deposits” into those relationships — and says he even spent the morning before our interview sending out texts to his sphere of influence just to say hello. No pitch, nothing real estate related — just a hello.
Why? Because luxury real estate can often take longer than traditional real estate to see a return on some of your relationships.
Dominating the market requires playing the long game, and realizing your biggest value proposition is you.
To that point, Matthew touches on the fact that real estate is largely emotional. No one moves because they “need” an extra bathroom. They often move because they’re in transition in general, like a new career, a new marriage, or a new baby. Their life is changing.
He says, “No one hires a vending machine to help them through a life change.”
He also adds that, ultimately, luxury clients all have the same needs — they want someone who has the skills, marketing expertise, and knows their data.
But what they really want is your presence. They want someone who will become part of their lives and make it easier.
“They want to know we have great systems and tools, great education, all of that matters — but the secret ingredient is always you.”
How the Institute Can Help
Matthew points out that the Institute brings together two critical pieces of luxury real estate success: smart training and smart people.
“In addition to all the amazing best practices and education that’s in it, at the Institute’s heart, it’s the people…It’s an international breadth of people so if I need fresh ideas — say I’m in Park City, Utah, I can talk to someone in Miami, New York, Milan, Toronto — someone I can get really fresh ideas from.”
He adds, “So, the maximum value of the Institute is taking the education that’s there, and getting to know everyone who’s in my class, whether it’s live or virtual…or I go to events…when I go to events, it’s not to talk about myself. It’s to meet people and ask questions so they can teach me.”
Want to Give Your Luxury Real Estate Marketing Strategy an Absolute Advantage?
Becoming a Member of the Institute gives you access to some of the top producers in the industry and done-for-you marketing tools that give you a tremendous advantage.
The Institute also offers a wide range of resources for you to invest in yourself at any stage in your luxury real estate career — even if it hasn’t begun yet.
Visit your Membership Portal for brand new training sessions, as well as our book, Rich Buyer Rich Seller: The Real Estate Agents’ Guide to Marketing Luxury Homes, which is available for free to all Institute Members and also available on Amazon.