Starting a brokerage in the middle of a pandemic might seem counterintuitive, but for Ryan Serhant, it was a natural progression. Find out how he differentiates his brokerage, SERHANT., and what he sees happening next.
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Name: Ryan Serhant
Title: Founder, CEO of SERHANT.
Experience: 13 years
Location: New York City, New York
Brokerage name: SERHANT.
Size: 120 agents and nearly 60 full-time employees
Sales volume: Nearly $2 billion in total sales volume in 2021
Awards: Inman’s Golden I Club Award for Best Sales & Marketing Campaign for a Luxury Development, 2021
Why Ryan Serhant is in the spotlight
After 12 years in real estate, Ryan Serhant decided to strike out on his own, founding SERHANT. to create a “content-to-commerce real estate ecosystem that is mobile-first.” Focusing on organic lead generation and customer acquisition for its two core businesses, brokerage and education, the company has had a stellar start.
While starting a business in the middle of a pandemic might seem “counterintuitive,” Serhant says they were confident that their unique approach would resonate. Since then, they’ve “grown to over 120 agents and nearly 60 full-time employees,” closing nearly $2 billion in total sales volume in 2021. SERHANT. is also the most-followed real estate brand online across platforms with more than 4.5 million followers.
What makes a good leader?
The top two attributes of a good leader are communication and trust.
The people and teams you commit yourself to need to feel your support, and that means setting priorities and committing to a clear line of communication. Remember the 3 Cs: Create Clear Communication. From there, shift your attention and efforts as priorities shuffle to find the flow that works for you.
As for trust, that is developed over time. You have to earn it but you also have to give trust upfront to allow it the opportunity to flourish. You need to empower those around you to lead and make decisions, and every single day your trust in them grows until you’ve built a team that you know will help you take over the world.
Tell us about a high point in your brokerage career. How did you get there?
I founded SERHANT. in the fall of 2020 and our entire first year of business was a high point in my career. We started the company in the middle of a pandemic, and no one knew what was going to happen in the market; everyone said we were crazy.
Right out of the gate, we represented buyers in a number of record-breaking transactions, including a sale that closed for just under $140 million in Palm Beach, still the most expensive home sale ever in the state of Florida.
From there, we went on to secure the exclusive agreement for the most expensive listing in New York City at $169 million, and we signed 15 new development projects representing nearly $6 billion in inventory.
I’m so proud of everything we accomplished in that first year, and it’s exhilarating that we’re just getting started.
What are 5 things you’d like readers to know about you and your brokerage?
- At SERHANT., we have a set of core values — our ABCDs — that we live by. Everything we do levels up to our values and, if it doesn’t, we don’t do it: Amplify Together. Be Relentless. Create for Tomorrow. Disrupt for Good.
- SERHANT. is taking a forward-thinking approach to marketing — we are a content-to-commerce real estate ecosystem with a first-of-its-kind in-house film studio for organic lead generation, creating customer acquisition for the brokerage. With that, we also founded our own media network called LISTED, which is designed to be HGTV for GenZ. LISTED provides entertaining lifestyle and real estate shows that star our very own agents and provides them with a platform to further build upon their personal brand. Our in-house film studio, SERHANT. Studios is responsible for the entire production of LISTED, including programming development, casting, filming, editing and promotion.
- Our office, and all future offices, are designed as clubhouses; we call them “SERHANT. House.” We wanted to build a high-end yet relaxed and inviting atmosphere where agents want to be and come work. At any time of day, SERHANT. House is buzzing with activity and has really become a hub for networking, collaboration and building a strong company culture.
- We are future-obsessed and mobile-first. We’re always looking for new ways to enhance the agent experience and are constantly working behind the scenes to develop proprietary technology that will help support on-the-go salespeople.
- We are not just a brokerage, we also have an education division: SERHANT. Ventures. They are responsible for managing the Sell It Like Serhant ecosystem which has a network of over 11,000 agents across 109 countries where we foster education, collaboration, community and generate countless global referral opportunities.
What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?
Being a real estate agent is the greatest profession in the world, but it also takes a lot of hard work and commitment. We have limitless potential and opportunities as long as we have the know-how, tools and confidence to run our own business and generate leads.
I recognized that there is a gap in an agent’s early education and so, through the education division of SERHANT., SERHANT. Ventures, we are working on developing a complete pre-licensing education solution to help aspiring agents pass the exam and also achieve success once they start their new career.
What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?
Being successful in real estate is reliant on one key thing: generating leads. And the best way to do that, and to eventually generate leads while you sleep, is to build a strong personal brand.
In our digital-first world, agents need to use their online presence to be authentic, create genuine connections and position themselves as trusted partners.
A clear, compelling, memorable personal brand built on you is the most important marketing strategy that will help any agent cut through the noise and stand out in a sea of salespeople in their market. People hate being sold, but they love shopping with friends.
How do you build a strong personal brand? The secret sauce at SERHANT. is what I call the “Serhant Brand Strategy System,” and it includes three steps: understand your core identity, share consistent content and shout your successes from the mountaintop.