Beer pong, hang gliding, turkey hunting: brokers nurture client loyalty in new ways

From left: Dan Critchett and Michael Rubin
From left: Dan Critchett and Michael Rubin

In order to distinguish themselves, some New York City brokers are taking the aphorism “the sky’s the limit” literally, resorting to tactics such as hang gliding with clients in order to create a strong bond, the New York Times reported.

There are more than 52,000 licensed real estate agents and brokers in New York City, and nearly 28,000 in Manhattan alone, according to the Times. Stribling & Associates’ Dan Critchett, who is a certified hang gliding instructor, offers potential buyers a chance to try out the extreme sport. In such a hypercompetitive market, Critchett told the Times it helps him stand out.

“Buyer loyalty is one of the most difficult things to obtain,” Critchett said. “You’ve got to have a gimmick.”

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Other brokers have also found unusual ways to engage their clients. Corcoran Group’s Beth Benalloul, a former personal trainer, often takes clients to exercise classes, she told the Times. CORE Group’s Michael Rubin has tried out turkey hunting, while Corcoran’s Brian Giambalvo has driven his clients to Costco to stock up on household essentials.

Indeed, even commercial brokers are not immune to gimmicks, as The Real Deal reported. Assemblage broker Robert Shapiro once sent helium balloons to a client he hoped to nab, and investment sales broker Adelaide Polsinelli mailed a potential client who dodged her calls a cell phone with her number on it.

Maureen Johnson, a Corcoran broker in East Hampton, told the Times that such interactions help to add a human touch to business transactions. “You see each other as real people, not as ‘you work for me,’” Johnson said. “And I don’t see you as dollar signs.” [NYT]  – Hiten Samtani