On Friday night, Michael Shvo was profiled in The Real Estate Assassin of New York City [ABC News Nightline] with the tag line Michael Shvo Became the Most Successful Broker in the Big Apple – and Generated a Flood of Controversy Along the Way
Shvo’s marketing slogan, has become a verb associated with real estate but cannot be said without sarcasm by many in the real estate community.
In a high density housing market like Manhattan, the competition is fierce and quite often, contrarian marketers will float to the top. This is no guarantee that they will be successful in the long run. Here were or are some of the best:
- Barabara Corcoran — One of the pioneers of real estate marketing who did go the distance was Barbara Corcoran. She formed the Corcoran Group real estate brokerage firm in the early 1980’s and brought new marketing concepts to a pretty boring marketing environment. She was seen as a marketer first and a real estate expert second. She had a reputation for saying anything to get attention for her firm and drove many crazy with the things that she said. She has since sold her firm to NRT and moved on to television but her influence remains.
- Louise Sunshine — who (has literally one of the best last names in marketing) sold her firm to NRT as well, has been one of the most creative marketing minds in the real estate marketing business. She was able to understand the intricacies between the development process and the marketing process of luxury residences in many different markets. She is not without controversy as noted in this recent article [NYT]. I remember once being on a real estate panel with her, hosted by New York University and the New York Times and she arrived about 5 minutes late and left 5 minutes before the panel ended because she was working on several deals. She walks to the beat of her own drum and maybe that’s the point.
- Donald Trump — There is no one like him and no one in New York real estate that is an international household name. He has created a brand that attracts international buyers of New York real estate and has expanded his brand into many other venues. His style is brash and comes from the school that if you say something positive often enough, people will believe it. He has developed a following unmatched by anyone in the business as evidenced the success of his television reality series The Apprentice and his recent appearance and deal with the Learning Annex.
There have been and are many other successful real estate marketers in Manhattan and now there is Michael Shvo. He has made many enemies with his brashness. With three blackberries and two cell phones, love or hate him, the man can sell.
Our first-hand impression_
However, my appraisal firm was assigned to appraise a unit in one of the projects he is currently marketing. The sales representative was unbelievably rude and abrasive…over – the – top. The Shvo agent was not busy yet seemed to thrive on this type of behavior and would _not show my appraiser the unit even though we had made an appointment well in advance. During this interaction, a potential buyer came in who was trying to get information and the sales staff would not help him. The potential buyer eventually gave up. My appraiser finally had to find a construction foreman who provided access to the unit.
To be fair, this was the first and only time that we have inspected this particular project, although I suspect we will be returning soon as the units that are sold get set to close. Hopefully this incident could be the fault of a few poorly trained agents, but thats the rub. The brashness of Shvo doesn’t allow him to be given slack by the real estate community. And to his own admission, he could care less about what anyone thinks. Perhaps thats the key to his success as a salesman.
In a market with limited supply, rapid marketing times and eager buyers, this type of behavior probably doesn’t really matter. Many brokers were order takers until recently. As we enter a market where there is more balance between supply and demand and new developments are the primary source of new supply, I have my doubts about the long-term staying power of in your face selling.