Establish yourself and harness opportunity in the growing luxury market
Successful agents working within the luxury niche have three things working for them: First, credibility as a luxury agent; second, access to networks and promotional resources to target luxury buyers and sellers; and third, quality materials to market their listings.
As the economy continues to strengthen, the luxury market has become a focus for agents seeking growth. According to the World Wealth Report released in June 2014 by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, the number of Canadian millionaires climbed to 320,000 in 2013, up 7.2 per cent from the prior year. This has impacted property sales in excess of $1 million, with lower borrowing costs helping to drive growth in this segment. There is increased activity as high net worth individuals move up, move in, or invest.
While the health of the luxury market is apparent, capturing your slice of the pie requires panache, with your credibility bubbling to the forefront of your efforts. Luxury property buyers and sellers expect more knowledge and expertise, demand performance and a higher level of service. So, how do you hone those attributes?
Accreditation and experience are core to establishing your credibility within the luxury market. Seek out the best training available, preferably through a program that comes with a marketable designation. One such program is the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® (CLHMS) designation through the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM). It provides training and requires sales performance in the top 10 per cent of your local market to earn the designation. Delivered by renown luxury real estate trainer Laurie Moore-Moore, CLHMS is a luxury designation of choice and is available live or online. (Full disclosure: Royal LePage has retained Moore-Moore to deliver live sessions in Toronto and, for the first time, Calgary this May.)
Canada is a desirable destination for relocation and investment due in part to excellent educational opportunities and economic and political stability. The ability to reach key prospects and agents internationally is therefore another key to success. With that in mind, your networking and marketing should include a focus on international. Look for affiliations, advertising programs and print publications that attract an international high net worth audience.
What else is important to luxury? The prevalence of print is a big one. We hear a lot about being online, from websites and apps to social media. While all of those avenues are still important for luxury home marketing, print can’t be ignored. High net worth individuals read more publications and look for tangible quality to put between their fingers. And, with a focus on print comes the expectation for professional photography and well-designed marketing pieces.
Your marketing pieces should not only showcase a luxury property’s distinctive visual attributes, the copy itself should go beyond a statement of facts. Tell a compelling story to persuade high net worth buyers who may be attracted to a lifestyle, a historical element, or a renown architect, for example. Make sure your copy speaks the language of your unique property’s prospects. Meet your seller’s expectations with a variety of print and web marketing materials that leverage a distinctive and consistent iconography. And keep in mind, print materials demand high quality stock to give the best impression.
With the right training, networking opportunities and marketing, it is possible to break into luxury market. For those already established, staying current, continuing to expand your network, and keeping an eye on economic and marketing trends will keep you on top of your game.
Kelly McCain is director, business services at Royal LePage Canada, where last year, she helped to relaunch the company’s Carriage Trade luxury property marketing program. She can be reached at KellyMcCain@royallepage.ca.