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Ryan Serhant was a rising star in the New York City real-estate industry when he got an offer to be a founding member of Bravo’s reality series “Million Dollar Listing New York” in 2010.
When we spoke with Serhant last month at the LinkedIn Next Wave party, where he was being honored as an industry leader under the age of 35, we asked him to name the worst advice he ever received as a professional.
He answered without hesitation: It was to not join “Million Dollar Listing.”
“Which was what everybody told me – except for my boss,” he said. His boss, Nest Seekers International CEO Eddie Shapiro, told him, “I will hunt you down if you dont do this and take advantage of the opportunity.”
Serhant’s friends, family, and colleagues told him that not only was a show about New York real-estate agent destined to fail and be a waste of his time, but it would also ruin his reputation.
Shapiro told Serhant that was nonsense. It would be a beautiful marketing opportunity, Shapiro said.
“In sales, the more exposure the better,” Serhant explained. “You’re always looking for different ways to brand yourself and market yourself and tell people, ‘Hello, hey! I’m the real-estate broker you should use when you think about real estate!'”
And when “Million Dollar Listing” launched in 2012, it gave him an audience of 1 million more people who recognized his name, face, and business.
Since then, Serhant’s career has taken off. As an associate broker of Nest Seekers International, he’s essentially the CEO of his own independent team, and today The Serhant Team is the No. 1 real-estate team by sales volume in New York and No. 6 in the country, according to REAL Trends.
He said he’s still grateful to Shapiro for convincing him to ignore everyone else’s advice.
“The show is a big marketing device, and I’m just incredibly lucky and very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity and to still be doing it,” Serhant said. “It’s insane to me every day.”