Ryan Serhant offered to coach Brown Harris agents. It didn’t go well.

“It seems like he reached out specifically only to BHS to poke a bees’ nest:” Freedman

Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman and Serhant's Ryan Serhant (Getty)
Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman and Serhant's Ryan Serhant (Getty)

Stay in your lane, young’un!

Ryan Serhant’s two-year-old brokerage ruffled some feathers over an offer to brokers at a storied New York City residential firm.

A salesperson for Serhant Ventures, the brokerage’s educational arm, emailed Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman last week to offer a “tailor-made” program for agents derived from the company’s training products, including a sales playbook, performance coaching, a social media boot camp and mentorship from founder Ryan himself, according to emails obtained by The Real Deal.

When Freedman asked if she had correctly understood the offer was to pay Serhant to train her agents, the salesperson replied: “It may seem unorthodox, but you’re understanding it correctly.”

“There is a fine line between being unorthodox and being a schmendrick,” Freedman replied, using a Yiddish term for a fool. “Thank you but we are going to pass.”’

Kyle Scott, president of Serhant Ventures, said no offense was intended.

“We don’t view the industry so much as a series of competitors as we do one large community,” said Scott. “We partner with broker/owners all around the world to help train their agents.”

Freedman said in an interview that she “has incredible respect for” Ryan Serhant, but pushed back on the pitch because her brokerage has invested “so much money” into its own marketing and technology.

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“I asked other brokerages and he hadn’t asked any other firms,” Freedman said. “It seems like he reached out specifically only to BHS to poke a bees’ nest.”

For its part, Serhant said the program already counts some BHS agents in its enrolled ranks.

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The testy exchange between the companies comes  months after their chief executives laid out differing philosophies on branding.

Serhant and Freedman participated in a panel discussion on the residential real estate landscape at TRD’s New York City Showcase + Forum, which at times turned into a showdown between the industry’s old guard and the new wave.

Douglas Elliman CEO Scott Durkin and Freedman emphasized the value of legacy firms as opposed to a brand-centric approach.

“It’s a relationship business,” Freedman said. “You need technology, that’s a given, but you also need to understand the buildings and the process.”

Serhant pointed to the in-house production and marketing teams at the core of his brokerage, aimed at giving “those agents the resources to build their own brands so they can generate leads in their sleep.”

After exchanging barbs over the rise of real estate reality television shows, Serhant shot back at Freedman in an Instagram video, saying legacy brokers like BHS are ill-equipped to take advantage of the opportunities reality TV shows create and that they’re “kind of scared.”