Fredrik Eklund kicks
it up in “The Sell”

Elliman broker’s self-promotional
tome mixes fluff and substance

Apr.April 01, 2015 07:00 AM

Fredrik-Eklund-The-SellFredrik Eklund boast is usually not complete without a ranking, record or accompanying superlative.

The “Million Dollar Listing New York” star and Douglas Elliman power broker leads the No. 1 real estate team in the U.S., closed $3.5 billion in sales in the past decade and has 100 active listings at any given time, by his count. And with his first book, “The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone,” he is on pace to break another record.

He makes more than 55 references to his trademark “high kick” in its 300-plus pages — presumably more than any other book.

“The Sell” is meant as a flamboyant how-to guide for finding success in the sales world, not exclusively the real estate industry.

Eklund’s jubilant, assured persona and his eagerness to brand both himself and the book itself are apparent on each page. Whether readers find the book enjoyable or informative is largely dependent on whether they like him. If not a fan, it would be harder to wade through the fluff (“I am that duck. And you are too. We are all ducks.”) and trite analogies to find valuable insights.

He shares his take on social media, finding a signature look — getting a $275 haircut every three weeks, for example — and what it takes to close a big deal.

One of his tricks during a tough negotiation is to pretend that his mother just emailed him with plans to visit New York. He steps out of the meeting for five minutes, then returns to talk about his mother and ask about the counterpart’s mother. Abruptly, he says, “Now, let’s get back to the deal. Not a dollar above $2 million!”

“By suddenly talking about your family and the other side’s family, your background or something else highly personal, you can go back to the deal and come in from a new angle, with newly won control and energy,” Eklund writes.

There is barely a mention of his “MDLNY” co-stars Ryan Serhant and Luis Ortiz, but the book does offer a closer look at his Elliman partner John Gomes, who Eklund describes as “driven almost entirely by money.” Eklund writes that he and Gomes are 50/50 partners and best friends, and in negotiations, they often adopt a “good cop, bad cop” routine. Eklund focuses on bringing in new business, while Gomes specializes in showing the apartments.

Fredrik Eklund High Kick

Fredrik Eklund

Many of the tips are boilerplate advice for self-promotion and maintaining wellness. Even Eklund, at least jokingly, grows bored at times. In one chapter alone, he writes in two different sections, “I’m tired of talking about this!” as a transition.

To be fair, his career has not been without financial hardships. He says he initially ran out of money trying to get his companies, Eklund Stockholm New York and Eklund Oslo New York, off the ground in Sweden and Norway. The offices, launched in 2009 and 2014 respectively, later became profitable. Before breaking into real estate, Eklund co-founded Humany.com, a Swedish software startup that too ran out of money, though it still exists. He quit before moving to New York.

In reflecting on his childhood in Sweden, he shows vulnerability with a story about cutting off his eyelashes with his mom’s manicure scissors after schoolyard bullies chided him for having “girl eyes.” We then fast-forward to pop diva Jennifer Lopez calling his eyes “beautiful” while he showed her $20 million penthouses.

Even as Eklund wrote this book, he was selling it. He notes throughout that the book is already a bestseller based on pre-sales. Multiple and explicit references to the book itself throughout the chapters make it practically a supporting character.

That unabashed promotional quality tends to muffle Eklund’s attempts at sincerity. But it also provides first-hand proof that he is qualified to dole out career advice. As a result of his combined triumphs at sales and marketing, Eklund has amassed a sizable audience at his feet.

The book is published by Avery Books, and is due out April 14.


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