Real Estate

As the barrier grows, the top agent will prevail: Jimmy Burgess

The CEO of Florida’s Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Beach Properties argued at Inman Connect Miami on Wednesday that real estate is like a race — and this moment is like a curve.

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Jimmy Burgess believes that this moment in real estate is very much like a drag race.

“We came out of the pandemic and there was no way to separate myself as a professional from an amateur,” he said, arguing that COVID was straightforward in a race where all the cars were one. They were stuck together. But now the industry is “turning”.

“It’s in the twists and turns where separation happens and champions are made,” he added.

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Burgess, an Inman contributor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, made the analogy Wednesday on stage at Inman Connect Miami. Going around a turn, drivers downshift, slow down a bit, and look for opportunities to get ahead, he said.

With the challenges currently facing housing industry professionals, real estate agents must be on the lookout for opportunities to stand out from the pack, he said.

“When we come out the other side,” Burgess said, “they’ll be way ahead.”

Burgess spent much of his time on stage Wednesday giving advice on how agents can take advantage of the current “turn” in the market. Here are some of its points:

Conflict destroys communication.

Burgess argued that communication breaks down when emotions run high and tempers flare. Instead of letting this happen, agents should act as a “thermostat” that keeps the space cool even on a hot day.

“People will forget what you said,” Burgess continued. “People will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Jimmy Burgess on stage at Inman Connect Miami on Wednesday. Credit: AJ Canaria

Statistics tell but stories sell.

Later in his presentation, Burgess talked about statistics and the power of numbers. Data can be a valuable tool, and many real estate agents rely on statistics to accurately communicate with clients. But he also argued that statistics alone are not enough to truly convince most people.

“Find your own story, but find a story,” Burgess said.

How we communicate makes a big difference.

Burgess later elaborated what he called the “7-38-55” rule. The idea is that only 7 percent of communication is verbal, but 38 percent is “tonality.” And still more communication, or 55 percent, happens through body language. Burgess’s point was that agents need to be aware of all these types of communication when talking to clients.

“When you just text or email,” he argued, “you’re only communicating at a 7 percent level.”

Now is the time.

One of the recurring themes of Inman Connect Miami has been that the real estate industry faces several significant challenges. These challenges range from a sluggish and uncertain market to litigation settlements that promise major changes. But despite these challenges, Burgess is ultimately optimistic, saying the “turns” are actually opportunities.

“I’ve never been more excited in 30 years in this business,” Burgess said. “Now we have a situation where the pros are going to prevail.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II.

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