If you can succeed in Los Angeles's cutthroat real estate market, you can succeed anywhere.
That's according to David Parnes and James Harris, co-founders of L.A.-based real estate firm Bond Street Partners and stars of Bravo's reality series Million Dollar Listing L.A. Since founding their company in 2011, the British transplants have competed with L.A.'s top brokers for some of the most coveted real estate listings in the city. The pair sold over $165 million worth of real estate in 2014 and are on track to sell more than $200 million in 2015, according to the company. Current properties for sale range from $1.5 million to $45 million.
Here are three of their tips for dealing with fierce competitors in any industry.
1. Go around the competition.
One of the ways Parnes and Harris built their own inventory in the highly competitive real estate market--where anyone with a real estate license can be a competitor--was by knocking on doors of properties that weren't for sale. The conversion rate is low, but this method was a good way to win business in the early days of their company, according to the founders. "It was always about separating ourselves from the way everyone else is doing things," Harris says.
2. Kill the competition with kindness.
While the real estate business is known for brokers with sharp elbows, and Million Dollar Listing L.A. co-stars Josh Flagg and Josh Altman have had at least one physical altercation, Parnes and Harris avoid conflict with the competition at every turn. As with most industries, real estate is largely a relationship business, and having bad blood with your competitors can make it harder to grow your contacts list. "At the end of the day we all need to do deals together," Parnes says.
3. Set the bar at your competitor's numbers.
To try to compete with the best real estate agents in L.A., Harris says he'll find the most successful broker he can and make that person his sales target to beat. How? By studying real estate information on sites like Trulia and crunching data to see what it would take to match that broker's business. "It's hugely a numbers game," Parnes says. "Throw enough mud at the wall, and some of it will stick."
Though building a brand requires developing relationships that can take years to bear fruit, investing the time to do so during the early years of your company is crucial, according to Parnes. "You'll be setting yourself in good stead in terms of work ethic, but you'll also be increasing your chances of actually closing business," he says.