Popularly known as the mayor of east 85th street, Jennifer Peterson has earned the moniker due to her success in closing deals on the said street in Upper East Side, New York. In this real estate agent success story, she credits her success to the lessons she's learnt by experience. She spent five years at Caliber Associates from 2009 to 2015 and was the #1 salesperson in the company; after which she co-founded her own firm, Cayenne Realty Group. She uses her entrepreneurial mindset and passion for real estate matchmaking to ensure client satisfaction. With her extensive knowledge of the ever-changing real estate market and carefully listening to her client's needs, she never fails at matching them with the perfect home. Jennifer lives by integrity and relationships, potentially why she gets so many referrals and repeat clients. If you're looking for tips on how to succeed as a real estate agent then this interview can be a great starting point.
With a competitive spirit and strong determination, she has personally closed nearly 1200 rental deals and numerous exclusive sales listings. Jennifer Peterson takes pride in being trustworthy to her clients and serving them with integrity. She stresses on interpersonal skills and credits marketing as one of the main pillars of her business. Here’s a gist of her top advice to help you ace this industry and how to master balancing your personal and professional life.
For the people who don’t know you, who is Jennifer Peterson? Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into real estate.
Sure, so I got into real estate in 2008. I was actually working at Morgan Stanley as a campus recruiter, and I was laid off when the market crashed essentially. So, a friend of mine worked in real estate. They asked me to show a few apartments for them. 12 years later, here I am. So, I was hooked from the moment that I did it essentially. So, I've been in the business, like I said, for 12 years. I was at a company called Caliber Associates for about six years, and I was a top producer there, and then I opened my own firm where I'm a broker.
So, can you tell us what attracted you to being a broker and what drives you in this profession?
Sure. So I'd say there are two different things that drive me. I essentially like to be a Matchmaker. So I like to put people. I like to match them with their apartments, right? So they give me clues and I need to match those clues with the perfect apartment for them. Sometimes they don't even know what they want. But I do. So that is what drives me every day. It is from start to finish figuring out what they need and what they want. Second of all, I'm a former athlete basically, so I'm very competitive and I always like to be number one. So, I was always very adamant about being number one every single month when I worked for a larger company.
If you could go back to the beginning of your career, what would you do differently?
Let's see what I do differently. I'd probably try to network more. You know, there's always more things that you could be doing more things you could do with your time, and that's the problem essentially, with being self-employed is that you could be working 24 hours a day. So you sometimes need to know when to shut it off. But if I were to say things I would like to do more of, it would probably be networking. Whether it be meeting other agents, meeting mortgage brokers, or previewing apartments, there are just endless things that we could do in real estate as brokers.
What do you think are the top three skills a broker needs to have?
So, I'd say number one, would be communication and interpersonal skills. And, unfortunately, I feel like that skill, with all of the technology that we have nowadays, it's becoming less and less common for people to be good at. So if you have good interpersonal skills and good communication skills, you will automatically click with your clients, and they will trust you, which leads me to the second point that you have to have integrity. People need to trust you. If they are not trusting you, you're not getting anywhere. So I pride myself on being very trustworthy with the client. I want them to be happy. I want them to be my client for life. Why would I ever act without integrity? And also determination, never give up, you know, you're not going to win them all but you can't let the ones that you don't win. Basically, ruin your day, and then you get into a slump, and then you can't get back into it again. So you have to just pick yourself right back up and get right back on the horse.
How do you stay on top of mind with your existing and former client base? Do you have any engagement tactics to share?
Yeah, so there's always more that you could be doing on that front. Especially I do have social media that I keep in touch with them on, and then I also do yearly check-ins with them as well.
How important is marketing in real estate? And what are your go-to marketing tools?
Sure. So, marketing, I mean, and marketing and interpersonal skills are the most important things. There are so many different aspects to it; ever since I actually started staging my photos using your company, I can definitely tell you that, that increases the hits and increase the phone calls that I'd get for sure. So staging photos is now becoming very important, and other brokers are doing it as well. So, just even keep up with the rest of the industry; you have to be staging your photos. Professional photography is also very important. You see, all too many people are just using iPhone 5S to take photos. So I think professional photography is very important as well. And then also sometimes it depends on what your marketing but actual staging as well. When people walk into an apartment, and it's cold, and there's nothing in it. They can't visualize it. But if you stage it all of a sudden, it's easy to sell. It's easy to rent. In terms of marketing, we've seen a lot of different changes in the industry lately, where especially the younger generation is turning to social media, especially Instagram and Tick-Tock, and I've seen agents, especially new agents. They create a Tik Tok Channel, and all of a sudden, they have hundreds of thousands of followers, and they never have to post an ad in their life.
So you have used Styldod for virtual staging. Can you tell us how was your experience with us?
I mean, I've loved using Styldod so far. I've used it numerous times, and the product always comes out very well. It brightens up the whole picture. It gives the client, they can see now, how older furniture fits. Okay, I can fit my kitchen table. I can fit in my desk; I can because now they're working from home, they want to see if they can fit the desk. They can see what kind of couch can fit. It just adds so much to the marketing. It's just amazing. So you guys work very hard and always have a very quick turnaround.
Who's your favorite kind of client? And when you meet a prospective client do you instinctively know whether this person is worth spending time with or not?
Yeah, so that's two different questions. So I actually have very good intuition to know who to spend time on. I mean, there's you're “A client”, your “B clients” and your “C clients” if you're spending time with your “B clients” and your “C clients” all day, you're probably going to make zero dollars. You really need to zone in and know who you're “A clients” are. And I've always been very good at being able to pick out the, “A clients” and working with those clients. As a new agent, that's what they struggle with this the most unfortunate, and that's why they tend to get burned a lot and they lose interest sometimes. But if you can just fight through that and every client that you need take note, okay? This client, they sold for me. “How Did how did the first interactions go? What was the key that I got from them to know that they were willing and able and ready to make a decision?.” So it takes time. But once you get it or once I got it, I had it for life. The other question was about my favorite kind of client. So I love clients that give me free rein. They trust me and they tell me,” okay, this is my budget, and this is what I'm looking for,” and I can do the rest. I love being creative. I love them showing up, and I have ten things lined up for the next three to four hours. You're under my control. Let me take you where I want and you're gonna be happy. So sometimes clients send you, way too many links to many criteria. I know the market, so just tell me what your budget is, and I will get it done.
What's the biggest challenge you faced in the industry? And how did you overcome that?
So I would say that covid was a very big challenge for really everybody in this world. At first, it was definitely very challenging for me because I had never done virtual showings before. And to be honest it is a necessity at this point. So I will do it. Every time there's something that shakes up the market and real estate, it creates opportunities. So while you had, let's say, six months of challenging time, it created this year later of exhilarating time, and it opened up all these different possibilities in the market here in Manhattan. Additionally, in New York City, at least in real estate, there are no 12 months of the year that are continuously busy. So I'd say my summer season is incredibly busy, and my winter season is a bit slower. So it’s challenging to balance both of them.
How did Covid changed real estate? Did you have to tweak your business model to suit the new normal?
And certain aspects- yes! So I needed to become more comfortable with the virtual showings. Like I said my interpersonal skills are what made the deal happen and I liked it. I liked the person in front of me. I like to talk to them. Now, so I try to, when I do a virtual showing, at least have a conversation with the person beforehand and get to know them a little bit more just so that it's not like a blind date essentially on the showing. But another thing that was positive, that came out of this is I'd say in New York; we weren't doing a lot of paperwork electronically. So now everything's become more electronic, which is made things a lot easier here.
We know that real estate isn't a 9 to 5 job. So how do you balance your personal and professional lives?
So since I've been doing this so long, I really perfected working as an agent and keeping my personal life as well. So what works for me might not work for others. But what I do is I kind of like petals to the metal. Work, really, really, really hard, and then, once my battery gets low, I get to go out of Manhattan for a few days recharging, my battery comes back, and I'm fresh and ready to go.
What advice would you give to upcoming aspiring real estate agents?
So for aspiring real estate agents, I love that they come into this business because it is a very challenging business, and you're starting it's a hundred percent commission. So anyone that comes into it really wants to do it, and I always appreciate that. Now you need to find yourself a good mentor because if you're just on your own, it's very difficult. So you need to go to a company that has brokers that have been in the business for a very long time and are willing to mentor you. I'd also say just don't give up, you know, your first six months in the business is your make-or-break time and you're going to have disappointments of course, but you just need to fight through it, and trust me, if you have the passion for it. It'll work out.
With her utmost dedication, hard work, and passion, Jennifer has always tried to maintain her competitive streak and be number one in her business. We wish her all the best in her career. We hope this discussion will help you fast-track your career growth in this industry. Here's the link to the playlist of real estate broker Jennifer Peterson’s complete interview with us.
Hooked to our interview features? Check out our blog feature on New Jersey-based agent Drew Thompson's real estate journey, where he speaks about the power of real estate marketing and his top strategies and engagement tactics.
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Styldod is a design-tech company that aims to simplify real estate marketing and help agents present homes in their most favorable light online by reimagining and automating the listing photography process. Having begun as a virtual staging company, today, Styldod has affordable and best-in-class products and services for every facet of real estate marketing and photography. Styldod’s suite of services include virtual staging, image enhancements, floor plans, virtual renovation, 3D renders, 360 degree virtual tours, and Matterport virtual staging, to name a few. We're trusted by over 10,000 realtors from all over the US and from companies like ReMax, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams. Know more about us at https://www.styldod.com.