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Prior to joining Compass, Bill had over twelve years experience at Corcoran selling everything from multi-million dollar Chelsea lofts to Upper East Side penthouses to Greenwich Village studios. In the process, he attained membership in Corcoran’s coveted Multi-Million Dollar Club and earned many referrals from past clients.
Bill formed the Gilmartin-Herbst Team with Ralph Gilmartin, combining Bill’s background in sales and marketing with Ralph’s 35+ years as an attorney specializing in negotiating tough deals. Together they share a passion for real estate and an incredible eye for recognizing the possibilities of a space. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bill and pick his brains about what it is he does that has made him so successful in New York for so many years.
What are the 3 most effective things you do every day to grow your business?
Despite our various marketing efforts, most of my business comes from my sphere of influence and past clients. That means staying in touch with them (phone calls, personal emails, hand-written notes, etc.) and I try to do it every day. That’s number one. Number two is to set aside times to work “on” my business every day – lead generation, marketing, social media, etc. If I don’t set the time aside I can get so caught up in working “in” my business – showings, following up, property searches, etc. – that it doesn’t happen. The third thing is spending time in the morning getting my mindset in the right place – positive, energetic, and service-oriented. This is a tough business and it’s easy to get caught up in a negative frame of mind, which will kill your effectiveness.
What tactics do you use for driving referrals and winning listings presentations?
Make it about them, not you. Provide value so that it’s a no-brainer.
Also, and It’s really simple, you need to remember to ask for the business. I once had coffee with a friend and we spent the bulk of it discussing what was going on in our professional lives. At the end I asked who he might know who could use my services. He responded that he and his boyfriend had broken up, and that his ex is moving out and considering buying a place. Despite our having talked about our businesses for over an hour I wouldn’t have gotten this information if I hadn’t directly asked!
How do you handle working with sellers on pricing?
Most sellers have an idea of what the price “should” be, so I ask them what it is and how they determined it before I give them my input. Then I tell them my price range and the reasoning behind it. We have a great tool at Compass that helps us to set and present the range in a simple graph.
I may suggest three options and ask them to choose one: pricing aggressively in case there’s a buyer out there willing to pay it, pricing at market, or pricing below market to elicit multiple offers and get the price bid up. I always tell them we’ll know very quickly if we’re on the right track, and that we will revisit it in two weeks and pivot if necessary. I follow this conversation up with an email so it’s in writing. And I never give them a pie-in-the-sky number just to get the listing!
What’s the best piece of advice you ever heard?
Done is better than perfect.
If an agent should stop doing one thing today, what would it be?
Beating yourself up. I think a common trait amongst entrepreneurs is feeling like you’re never doing enough. That’s good in that it motivates us, but bad in that we’re doing a number on our heads. We should feel good about what we accomplished today.
You can also contact Bill at his office address:
Compass, 90 Fifth Avenue, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10011