On November 14th, 2013, The Titans of Business NYC Real Estate Summit featured a NYC Power Brokers panel consisting of some of the most powerful women in real estate. Brokers included Diane Ramirez (Halstead Property), Pamela Liebman (Corcoran Group), Dottie Herman (Douglas Elliman), Dolly Lenz (Dolly Lenz Real Estate LLC), Elizabeth Stribling (Stribling and Associates) and Wendy Maitland (Town Real Estate), and the panel was lead by Melissa Francis of Fox Business Network.
How do you start a business from the ground up, and how do you compete with the newcomers in the market?
Dolly Lenz: Building a business is a big investment and you have to really pay attention to details. It’s all about relationships…relationships with people working with you, relationships with your clients, relationships with other brokers…its about making sure everyone has the attention that they need and doing good every time you do something!
Dottie Herman: I built by business from scratch, which is very difficult. You really have to build a strong foundation and trust. You have to focus on one section of the market and stick to it.
Elizabeth Stribling: It’s about trust and having a great foundation like Dottie and Dolly were saying. The same principles remain true for business. It’s important to really know yourself. We rebranded our company two years ago and that was in response to how people responded to us…we had a very Upper East Side image, but we do so much more business than that.
Pamela, are people still loyal to their brokers?
Pamela Liebman: It’s completely up to what quality of service the broker has given them and whether or not they stay in touch or were happy with the original transaction. So, I would say when you see a lot of longevity in the business, it’s because people know how to do that. And it’s gotten harder over time, and I think that newer agents are a lot more aggressive in certain ways. This is not done over the dinner table like it used to be!
Wendy Maitland: I think that relationships are very important. People are coming into the business with their own networks and new relationships and different perspectives. You can’t rest on your laurels at any point, you must keep your finger on the pulse, building relationships and sustaining relationships.
Francis also elicited debate over mistakes made in the industry.
What is the biggest thing you see people doing wrong? A mistake that you see and go, “Sucker!”
Pamela Liebman: People sell themselves too cheaply in their desperation to get a property in a market that is very depressed. They’ll do anything to get a listing, and it’s very damaging all around. We’ll all have to compete against that…people are taking a much lower commission and really selling themselves short rather than expressing to the seller why they add value to a transaction.
How do you hit back against that?
Pamela Liebman: I think we would all say that we have a value proposition that companies make to agents and then agents bring to sellers.
Wendy Maitland: The psychology of brokers and agents needs to be shifted. People are going in and asking for listings…we always coach people to be confident that they are providing a valuable service. You’re not asking for a favor, you’re a trusted professional.
Diane Ramirez: So much has to come from the top. It has to be in the training. They have to have the company reinforcing the value of the agent, the value of the company…
Haute Living sends special thanks to Panerai Watches, official Timekeeper of the NYC Real Estate Summit, Fox Business Network’s Dennis Kneale and Melissa Francis, The Related Companies, Fortune International and The Core Club.