The real estate business is a relationship business. This statement is never truer than it is in the luxury end of the market. High-net-worth individuals like to be with others who are like themselves and want to deal with people they know or are known by someone they know.

Depending on who you listen to, there are those who tell you that the concept of geographic “farming” in real estate is over; it’s dead; it’s for the losers of the business.

I don’t subscribe to this extreme position, but I do believe that we need to elevate the process of finding luxury clients to be more on the level of “gardening.” Farming is a hot tractor tilling hundreds, if not thousands, of dusty, manure-laden acres.

Gardening takes place in a smaller area, it is more precise, and there is rarely a tractor involved.

Gardening is so effective because the decision to buy or sell high-end real estate often is impulsive.  A high-end owner of real estate will wake up in the morning, look out the window and wonder what the view of the mountains or water are like from another angle.  That afternoon the call goes out, the house goes on the market and the search begins for a home half a mile away.

This concept of musical houses is why it is critical for you to use gardening to be “top of mind” with high-net-worth owners of real estate in your desired market area.

Select a small, defined geographic area in where you want to dominate the market.

Gardening this geographic area based on an organized plan of action can yield results because people of means like to be around people like themselves. Gardening geographically, therefore, can yield results as high-net-worth individuals are given the opportunity to “hand pick” their neighbors. In addition, a neighbor will often purchase adjacent property for added privacy or for a family member.

How do we garden? Again it is like farming, but on a smaller, more elegant scale:

Mailings: Mailings should be consistent, planned about a year in advance and reflect the quality of the service and product that you are representing.  The services, of course, are you, and the product is the high-end real estate you represent. 

Calling: The method of calling that has returned the greatest results for me is to call first with a very brief explanation of a mailing, usually a survey, they are about to receive and ask them to keep an eye out for it.

Events: “By invitation only” property previews are a great way to meet people in your garden. You can join forces with a high-end retailer to enhance your event.

A master gardener would never till, plant, water and feed and then expect a beautiful floral display by the weekend. You might be surprised, however, at how fast results can come from real estate gardening.

Jack Cotton, CRS, CRB, has worked continually in the real estate company he started in his college dormitory room 37 years ago. Over the years, Jack has been involved in most of the record breaking luxury residential sales on Cape Cod, either directly or as coach to the agent involved. His books, Selling Luxury Homes: 12 Secrets Luxury Home Buyers Know and 12 Secrets Luxury Home Sellers Know  hit the Amazon bestseller list at the same time in October of 2011. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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