Seller's Connection

In his book, Sell It Like Serhant, Ryan Serhant shares useful lessons and true stories, and one of them is on building relationships

Published 6 years ago on Nov 03, 2018 4 minutes Read

Sales isn’t about delivering a cheesy line, but about finding a way to connect to people. If you want customers to spend their money with you, you must make them feel comfortable in your ability to get them what they want. People don’t like being sold, but they love shopping with friends- this is a slogan my team hears from me all the time. Think about something a person has done for you- a favour, a loan- it’s often not a stranger doing it for you. It’s someone you have a relationship with. I meet so many people who don’t build relationships or network because they want immediate gratification. Never meet someone to benefit you today, meet people who can benefit your future.

Early in my career, two Israeli guys in my office were selling a lot of real estate, and I asked them where they found clients. Unlike Ben Kennedy, they answered. “The synagogue.” Oh, good idea, I thought. But I’m not Jewish, and I did not feel like going to church. However, the one thing I did do religiously was work out.

I had made a deal with the local gym on the Upper East Side to pass out fliers on the street corner in exchange for free workouts. By now I was full-fledged, dues-paying member, and the fancy Equinox in SoHo was going to be my synagogue. I started meeting people the moment I put my mind to it. “Need some water? My name’s Ryan.” “Need a spot?” “Nice Nikes!” These would be strange things to say to someone on the street. But at the gym, these were my client pickups lines, and they worked. They worked so well that i became addicted to meeting people. The first week I picked up a $3.5 million loft and sold it in four days. The 6 percent commission I made paid for 100 years of Equinox. Literally. And they were just my afternoon clients.

I made many connections at the gym, but I was deliberate about how I did it. I wouldn’t walk up to someone on the treadmill, gesture for them to take off their headphones, and say, “Hi, I’m a real estate broker. This is my card in case you want to buy or sell an apartment.” That is weird and annoying- especially if the person is handing you the business card is out of the breath and dripping with sweat. Never start off by talking about the product. Always make a connection first. Once that connection is made, you can ease into talking about your product.  

The point is, I went to gym to work out — not to just stand around baiting clients. People are attracted to other people with similar likes. Other realtors in New York were connected to potential clients through their religion, kids’, school, etc. I had gyms. That was my thing, and I milked it like a protein shake. What’s your thing?

The logical case for diversity bonuses can be constructed by connecting repertoires to outcomes on specific tasks. Diverse categories and mental models improve predictions. Diverse representations and heuristics improve problem solving. Diverse perspectives and categories lead to more adjacent possibles and make groups more creative. Diverse information and knowledge improve a group’s ability to verify the truth.

In all of these domains, the right type of diversity can improve outcomes. On complex tasks, the best team will not consist of the best individuals. Teams need diversity. Diversity, though, is no panacea. Only rarely will the best team be maximally diverse. Most often, the best team will balance individual ability and collective diversity.

The relative importance of diversity depends on the corpus of relevant perspectives, knowledge, heuristics, models, and information. If there is much that can be applied to the task, diversity becomes more important. It follows that as we reach the frontiers of any discipline, we should seek diversity. The search for diversity can spur us to look across disciplines. Chemists look to physicists to better understand chemical structures. Ecologists turn to mathematicians to better understand niche dynamics. Economists turn to psychologists and neuroscientists to construct more accurate models of people.

On many of the challenges we face today, we need diversity to span disciplines. As already noted, America’s obesity epidemic falls into multiple disciplinary buckets. People may have biological predispositions that are exacerbated by abundant opportunities to choose fattening, unhealthy food. The current transportation infrastructure and zoning laws force more of us into cars and fewer of us onto sidewalks. No single cure exists. Making progress on the obesity epidemic will require thoughtful interventions based on input from doctors, marketers, public health professionals, sociologists, economists, and engineers. Finally, if, on the challenges we face, be they improving educational outcomes or selling running shoes, our identity differences correlate with relevant knowledge bases, understandings, and models, then the logic demonstrates the value of identity diversity.

These models reveal logical truths. They do not guarantee that in the world of people, diversity bonuses will always arise. By revealing logical truths, models enable us to interpret and structure empirical data. More importantly, they delineate the routes we must follow to achieve bonuses and help define the behaviors we must adopt to achieve bonuses. To reorder da Vinci’s claim, the models provide a compass and rudder. 

This is an extract from Ryan Serhant's Sell It Like Serhant published by Hachette Books