I recently had a sit-down with one of the top real estate agents in Boston, Michael Carucci.
Last year he closed 16 sales in Boston, for a combined total of $71 million in transaction value. He caters to Boston's elite, people who are in the market for multimillion-dollar properties.
His niche is marketing to the affluent and, in a recent meeting, he shares with me five simple steps to gaining business and trust from the elite.
The most important skill in sales, Carucci says, is connecting with people -- not through mailings, social media or advertising but rather through personal, one-on-one dialogue with everyone you meet.
To do this, Carucci explains, you must always be listening and taking mental notes about what people care about and then step into their shoes to figure out what would make them feel special and cared for.
Recently, some buyers were driving from New York to Boston for a closing on a property and weren't expected to get home until late at night due to traffic and weather delays. Carucci thought about what he could do to help them in their stressful situation.
Carucci came up with an idea: food shopping. He had a team member do a full food shop for the clients, even taking into account their child's allergies.
Upon reaching their home, the clients were delighted to find their new kitchen stocked with enough food to feed an army. "When you listen to people, you can find out what they need and act upon it," Carucci says. "That's how you connect."
2. Immerse yourself.
You must live the life that your potential clients live. You can't decide to just market to the affluent unless you live, work and play among them. People do business with people who are like them.
One of Boston's most elite addresses is The Four Seasons, a hotel and luxury condominium development. Carucci sells units there every year. Why? He lives there, among the people he works with. They are his friends, neighbors and business associates, all rolled into one.
3. Remember it's quality vs. quantity.
Too many sales professionals pursue huge quantities of prospects, Carucci says. He concentrates on quality, he says. He doesn't want to sell 100 properties: He wants to sell 10 or 20 to elite Boston clients.
When Carucci hosts an open house for a unit, he prefers to do it during a Patriots football game or a snowstorm. Why? The best prospects are the ones out shopping for a property when nobody else is.
4. Mention you're never too busy to help.
One of the biggest misconceptions about highly successful salespeople is that they are too busy for more business, Carucci says.
Therefore, Carucci makes it a point to remind people he meets throughout the day that he is always available to them if they need any help with real estate or anything else. He says that he's doesn't go over the top asking for business all the time, but rather he regularly reminds potential clients that he's never too busy if they need him.
5. Keep in touch after the closing.
Most salespeople think their job starts when a potential client falls in their lap. "Not true," Carucci says. His work really begins after the closing, he says. That's when he has the opportunity to truly show clients that he cares about them. A big part of his work includes helping clients with whatever they need in life after they've bought their home.
He has helped children of clients be admitted into private schools. He has made business connections for his clients. He has even procured hard-to-find concert tickets. Sales is a relationship business and as such, the relationship continues after the sale has been made.