As the wise and wondrous Aristotle once said, “quality is not an act, it is a habit.” For over 270 years, the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand has continuously proven this mindset true with its unparalleled service and continuous record of excellence. Encompassing over 150,000 agents and 850 offices throughout 63 countries and territories, the firm is clearly a world leader in luxury real estate, and a supreme professional family of which we are proud to be a part. In fact, just this past week, William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty agents and senior leadership were fortunate enough to attend this year’s Sotheby’s International Realty Global Networking Event held in Las Vegas. Over the course of three days, a total of 2,300 attendees experienced firsthand the matchless offerings of this great brand, as they joined representatives from across the globe to honor our already established principles, and become even more empowered by the sophistication of our marketing, industry of information, resources, vast global affiliate network and so much more.
The main goal of the Global Networking Event is to provide the opportunity for our agents to forge new relationships and maintain longstanding ones with those in other luxury markets served by our brand. With agents from all over the world attending the event, our team members and sales associates were not only able to personally speak with countless people in the field, but also had the privilege to hear the motivating words of many distinguished individuals, including President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC Phillip A. White. White discussed the brand’s impressive $80 billion achieved in sales volume last year, driven by a record of over 100,000 total transactions. This wealth of sales marks a 13% increase from the prior year, illuminating the constant growth the brand is seeing across its markets.
Other featured speakers included President and CEO of Franchising for Realogy Alex Perriello and President of NRT Bruce Zipf, who both sat down in an interview setting with White to articulate the challenges agents face in remaining relevant and valuable in the industry, despite increasing access consumers have to online sources. Perriello highlighted the importance of being in the marketplace, which our dedicated agents tirelessly aim to do, and acting as a specialist, not a generalist, that constantly brings new insights to the table. Zipf agreed, encouraging agents to gather and fully interpret data for clients, while staying committed to their business services, passion and beliefs. Senior Vice President of Sotheby’s International Realty Fran Santangelo also spoke at the event, bringing to our attention that 75 of the top-ranked 250 agents in the USA are from our brand. The keynote speaker was Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of the inspiring global brand Cirque du Soleil. His speech was greatly philosophical, harboring ideas related to being the absolute best in the industry by maintaining the finest talent and pushing all boundaries. Henry Howard Sneyd, Chairman of Asian Art, Europe and Americas from Sotheby’s auction house, was yet another guest speaker, in addition to the brand’s Chief Marketing Officer, Wendy Purvey, who revealed to an excited crowd a number of new marketing announcements that we will share in this space soon.
The world’s premier “SandStory” performer Joe Castillo, a unique live presenter, gifted speaker and storyteller, closed discussions with beautiful scenes drawn with his fingers in the sand. Castillo’s constantly evolving picture was truly inspiring, coming to life to “speak” to the crowd, and motivate all with “life lesson” sand stories from the heart.
A variety of breakout sessions took place revolving around many areas of interest. Discussions covered the numerous tools and services that benefit our clients, tips for developing more effective interaction skills, compelling marketing and sales strategies, best practices for selling ultra high-end properties, and more. Our company’s very own team members were specifically involved with three of these sessions. The first focused on our brand’s digital listing presentation app Anthology, where brokerage managers Jason Wilson and Carolyn Fugere participated in a panel discussing the power of the app. Southport brokerage manager Brad Kimmelman was additionally featured in a session on marriage equality and the resulting changing landscape in homeownership, discussing ways to connect with the LGBT community. Finally, Old Lyme agent Byron Lazine was part of the panel of guests interviewed for a session on the effective use of public relations and social media in our industry.
While the saying does go “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” it seems safe to say that the 2016 Sotheby’s International Realty Global Networking Event offered an abundance of invaluable takeaways that are, without question, worth carrying home.