What it Takes to Dominate the Luxury Market

In just two days, Howard Lein of RE/MAX Excalibur more than doubled the number of RE/MAX agents with the CLHMS designation in his state and expanded use of The RE/MAX Collection branding. Here’s how.

By Stephanie Visscher
CLHMS
Owner Howard Lein and CLHMS course instructor Tammy Simms outside the Scottsdale Association of REALTORS Corporate Headquarters

Is the power of a unified brand enough to take over the luxury market? Howard Lein certainly thinks so.

The luxury market is changing in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Lein is the Owner of RE/MAX Excalibur. He saw a tremendous opportunity for agents to seize their fair share of the luxury business. They just needed the right resources, knowledge and, above all, confidence to sell luxury.

“People dream of selling luxury but have no idea how to get into it,” Lein says. “I knew it wasn’t going to take a lot to increase our luxury market share.”

So he found a way to boost agents’ access to the right tools: the top-tier Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) course and the elegant, sophisticated luxury branding of The RE/MAX Collection. In late October of last year, RE/MAX Excalibur hosted a two-day CLHMS training. “It’s one of the hardest designations to get,” Lein explains. “In Arizona, over 70 percent of RE/MAX agents list luxury as a specialty, but previously only 38 individuals had the CLHMS designation.”

The comprehensive course covers everything from what luxury clientele look for in an agent to the best terms to use in marketing materials. Sales Associate Gayle Henderson, a local luxury professional with The RE/MAX Collection, helped organize the event and coordinated several networking opportunities for attendees.

“The online course is really excellent, but there are several advantages to attending the course in person — one of the biggest being meeting people outside of your market,” Henderson says. “This provides the opportunity to exchange referrals and ideas.”

Henderson says it’s important to serve luxury clients “in a way that’s spectacular,” so that is exactly the same treatment attendees of the course experienced.

“We were careful to speak the language of luxury clientele throughout the event,” she says. “For example, we hosted a Welcome Reception on the first night, not a casual ‘happy hour.’ When you do everything to a high level of quality, it speaks volumes to the message you’re trying to broadcast in the luxury market.”

Any time a potential client can see The RE/MAX Collection logo and have a positive experience,
the closer the brand is to grabbing No. 1
market share in luxury.Howard Lein

The importance of branding was a major component of the workshop. According to Lein, many agents miss out by not using The RE/MAX Collection brand in their marketing and signage. Many may assume that the listing has to be in the multi-million dollar range to be considered. In reality, any home that is listed for two times the average sales price in a zip code is eligible for The RE/MAX Collection.

“Any time a potential client can see The RE/MAX Collection logo and have a positive experience, the closer the brand is to grabbing No. 1 market share in luxury,” Lein says. “We have the momentum to take the lead in the luxury market. There’s no doubt we can do it.”

Although the CLHMS course was originally marketed to RE/MAX Excalibur agents, Lein quickly discovered there was enough of an interest to open the event to RE/MAX agents throughout North America. In total, 78 agents attended the event — 30 of them traveled from out of state, and three were new recruits to Lein’s office.

“The goal by inviting RE/MAX agents from out of state was to create a long-term networking relationship between the agents,” Lein says. “By opening up the event to agents from across North America, it more than doubled the number of agents in my office who were interested in attending the event.”

Lein added that he is happy to consult with other owners who may be interested in hosting a similar event. “This can be done anywhere, and it’s not that much trouble considering the tremendous outcome,” he says. “The event boosted the already strong impression of RE/MAX locally, plus put a spotlight on the support, resources and collaboration agents can expect when they join.”

Henderson, an Associate with RE/MAX Excalibur for 18 years, called Lein a “visionary” for organizing the event.

“He understands the value of spending time and money on an event like this. For him, it’s always about how he can help agents succeed.”

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