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Sotheby’s International Realty top 100 offers guidepost for new luxury trends

Photo of Ritz-Carlton where Sotheby’s International Realty hosted its Top 100 event
A view of the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. (File Photos/

Top 100 dinner in New York City reveals
tools for 21st century marketplace

By Frank Aazami | Special to the Digital Free Press

I was fortunate enough to share an evening with the Top 100 of revenue producers at Sotheby’s International Realty, which is one of the world’s largest real estate firms. Our company includes 25,000 real estate professionals working from 1,000 offices in 75 countries.

The group that night was told collectively we produced more revenue far and beyond any relocation company worldwide.

To accomplish this level of success through residential real estate, we network with associates to provide our clients the finest properties to buy — from New York City to the American Southwest to Dubai. For our buyers, we ensure properties offered are best in class, every time.

Russ Lyon is the local franchisee, and from the Camelback office, which is just an arrow’s shot from Scottsdale Fashion Square, I lead the 15-member Private Client Group where we specialize in Scottsdale, Town of Paradise Valley and Arcadia properties.

A few associate agents from the Russ Lyon Desert Mountain office joined me at the iconic Ritz Carlton hotel at Central Park in New York City, which of course is not far from the stateside HQ of Sotheby’s International Realty.

I knew many of these local experts through our regional or global networking events or zoom conference calls, but meeting those others in person, one on one in this high-tech, low-touch world, was so important.

“My key takeaway from the Top 100 is witnessing the astounding network of talented real estate professionals from coast to coast that we get the good fortune of collaborating with by being at Sotheby’s International Realty,” recalled Daniel Heider, who is an associate in the District of Columbia.

Jeremy Stein, who represents the luxury real estate brand on Avenues of Manhattan, offers Sotheby’s International Realty is a real estate endeavor second to none.

“Sotheby’s International Realty is the single strongest luxury brand in the world and when you bring together the top 100 agents within that brand, the opportunity to forge relationships which will ultimately benefit our client base is almost unavoidable,” he pointed out following the dinner.

Mr. Stein, founder of The Stein Team, co-chairs a group of top agents who meet virtually every month and in person at least twice a year.

“If you go into such events with a goal of meeting agents in markets that are important to your own client base — where your clients summer, vacation, own second or third homes, have migrated to or from — you can create a network of like-minded, successful agents who will be able to provide to your clients the same top tier service they have come to expect because of their experience with you,” he pointed out.

Where do we need to pivot
at Sotheby’s International Realty?

Up until this year, Sotheby’s International Realty feted only those 50 agents who produced the highest volumes from company-owned offices, but, at this years’ event, included agents like me and a few other Russ Lyon associates who work for franchisees. The reason for this is to hone the level of networking so we asked ourselves, “How we can elevate our performance for this select caliber of clientele?”

Consider this, a Sotheby’s Top 100 agent in one of our major Arizona feeder markets — places like California, Seattle, Colorado, the state of Washington, Minnesota, or Chicago — has a client searching for a second home in Arizona. The reason for that desire? To visit the car auctions in January. To golf at world-renowned venues and to capture a piece of the American Southwest for themselves.

Without the Top 100, he or she might have to check me out, taking hours of stressful, time-consuming internet and phone vetting. Alas, by working with a Top 100 agent, a high score is a given as the agent already knows I won’t disappoint their client because I have a track record. And that saves time and, perhaps, a client who might otherwise be dissatisfied and look elsewhere.

“Spending time with the other Top 100 agents had a different feel as it relates to other networking events I attend,” said agent Eric Lantorno, who services the Solana Beach area in California. “This is the best of the best. Period. Spending time with agents that do a lot of business was invigorating and rewarding.”

Mr. Lantorno offers the experience reminded him of why he does what he does.

“The majority of my time was spent meeting and networking with new agents,” he explained. “I met over 40 agents that I hadn’t connected with prior and now have their contact information for the respective markets. Offering my clients the best agents in a given market is a powerful referral, and I feel good when I send my clients to a Top 100 agent,” he adds. “In return, I hope the agents feel the same way about me when it comes time to send their valued clients to San Diego.”

Agent Gregg Lynn, who represents clients part of the Bay Area, offered a similar sentiment.

“Since 2017, I have attended all four top agent events in New York City. I depend upon events such as this to gather our most productive agents to learn about important trends and new practices of leading agents. As our clients have homes in multiple markets, the ability to connect with top agents such as Frank to understand the current dynamics of the Scottsdale market enables me to effectively advise clients globally.”

Editor’s note: Mr. Aazami is principal of The Private Client group, offers Global Real Estate Representation.

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