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Aug.August 07, 2020 10:00 AM

Three of the Country’s Top Real Estate Agents Share Their Secrets to Success

An Exclusive Interview with Lisa Lippman, Rob Johnson, and Jeff Miller

The Golden Rule applies in real estate, too. 

According to Rob Johnson, the foundation of his real estate success is simply treating his clients the way he would like to be treated. The Greenwich, Connecticut-based agent—who has been at Halstead for seven years but will join Brown Harris Stevens as the two firms merge—was recently named the #1 agent in the state by REAL Trends, whose annual list ranks the top 1.5% of agents out of 1.4 million real estate professionals in the country. 

Lisa Lippman, a New York City agent at Brown Harris Stevens echoes Johnson’s sentiment. For the 23-year real estate veteran, it’s all about showing a client or prospective client that their time is valuable. Not only does Lippman always say “yes” when someone asks her for an appointment, but she makes sure to set up a time to speak rather than asking them to give her a call. As she recently told Business Insider, “In my business, we are in and out of appointments all the time. I find that if I don’t [set up a time to talk], I’m playing phone tag.” That makes the other person feel unimportant, Lippman explains. 

 Setting up an appointment to speak, on the other hand, shows the interested party that she respects their time. Lippman is just as diligent when it comes to email. She believes every email should be responded to within three hours and suggests “figuring out which ones have to be responded to right away and which ones can wait two to three hours.” For those that can wait, she recommends flagging them so they don’t inadvertently get lost in your inbox.These simple yet effective approaches have certainly played a role in Lippman’s success. She has been the top agent at Brown Harris Stevens for each of the last four years, during which time she has sold over $1 billion worth of real estate. She and her team were also recently named the third most successful in New York State by REAL Trends, as well as #21 in the national “The Thousand” rankings

Another Brown Harris Stevens agent who joins her in these esteemed rankings is Jeff Miller, a Miami agent who is also Director of Luxury Sales for the firm. Ranked #6 in Florida and #42 in the national “The Thousand” rankings, Miller considers himself a strategic advisor to his clients. The high-end real estate expert focuses on sharing knowledge rather than pushing for a purchase or sale. “Everyone’s goals and needs are different,” he says. “The one thing I always provide is a true understanding of the market that we are in and together we decide if it’s the right time to buy or sell.” This value-driven approach has resulted in Miller’s successful 20+ year career working with an extensive list of high-profile clientele. It has also garnered over $1 billion in sales. 

Johnson also prioritizes sharing insights and serving as an advisor. Once he establishes trust between himself and a client, he shares his market and industry knowledge so that his client can make informed decisions. “Understanding current inventory and real-time trends in your specific market may seem like obvious industry rules for any agent, but you would be surprised how much you will differentiate yourself if you demonstrate this clearly,” Johnson advises. 

He, too, was included in “The Thousand” rankings this year, recognized as #48 nationally based on sales volume. Johnson emphasizes the importance of making smart investments in your business as well. “Be prepared to spend some money (wisely) on your business,” he says. Just like any other kind of business, he believes that investments need to be made before you can see results. “We need to constantly invest,” Johnson says. “Some things work. Some don’t. Experiment.” 

Financial investment is important, as is investing your time, according to Lippman. Prior to the pandemic, she worked 16-hour days. Then, with the ensuing shutdown of much of the real estate industry, this became six-hour days from home, during which time she maintained communications with her buyer and seller clients and managed ongoing deals. Now that the industry has reopened in New York City, the real estate veteran is clocking in at 12 hours of work a day.

Brown Harris Stevens recently announced that Halstead is joining the brokerage to create a firm of 2,500 agents and 55 offices, which will operate under the Brown Harris Stevens name. 134, or over 5% of the total number of agents, were recognized by REAL Trends as being among America’s Best Real Estate Professionals, with the agents spanning New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Florida.

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