Broker Botox — for lunch

In quest for clients, agents turn to injections and chemical peels

SmoothMed
SmoothMed on East 59th Street is popular among brokers.
Bloomingdale’s is out and Botox is in as realtors’ new favorite lunch-hour pastime. According to a broker at one of the major firms, who asked to go unnamed, many agents from Corcoran, Brown Harris Stevens, Sotheby’s and Prudential Douglas Elliman often step out of the office for midday injections. “They say, ‘Let’s go to Botox for lunch,’ and of course they all look like Martians too. It’s the closest thing to ‘Star Wars,'” the broker said. “They walk in one way, and walk out looking frightened.”

But, the broker said, many view it as a business necessity . “I’ve seen the rise in this once the market went south,” the broker noted. “They think if they look better, they’ll get more clients.”

Dr. Jack Berdy said brokers’ increased interest in cosmetic procedures has been influenced by the economy. He opened SmoothMed, a Botox clinic mere steps away from the Midtown offices of several of the city’s biggest brokerages, in 2008. The storefront operation at 111 East 59th Street advertises walk-in procedures, no appointment necessary.

“I think brokers feel that Botox makes them more attractive and makes them look younger, and I would assume they associate that with getting clients,” Berdy said. “Wouldn’t everyone rather be around a youthful pretty woman? It’s inherent in sales.” (Berdy, incidentally, said 20 percent of his clientele is male.)

SmoothMed’s most popular procedure is Botox between the eyebrows, followed by dermo fillers. Lip plumping, laser treatments and chemical peels are also highly sought after. For the average between-the-brows injection, SmoothMed charges $360. Restaylane injections, for “smile lines” and crow’s feet, cost $700.

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“The area between the brows gets scrunched, making you look angry, and people don’t want to be around someone angry,” he said. “They want to be around someone happy and smiling.”

Americans seem to agree. Botox and related injections jumped 509 percent between 2000 and 2009, according to a recent report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Meanwhile, Allergan, the company that manufactures Botox, says total Botox sales could reach $1.39 billion this year.

The broker said Botox is openly discussed at the office because it’s become the norm among image-conscious realtors.

Industry veteran Barbara Corcoran said the increase of cosmetic treatments among brokers is no surprise because the procedures are on the rise everywhere. Ten years ago, she said, “only the freaks had [Botox] and everyone gossiped behind their backs.”

Corcoran, who said she tried Botox last year, said she believes cosmetic procedures can be useful to agents in today’s market. Anything reasonable that builds confidence is good for sales, she said. However, Botox was not right for her. “My face looked younger, but lost its personality!”