Jordan Cohen may be the most exuberant person you will ever talk to. His sunny attitude shines through as soon as he picks up the phone to talk about his new book. It’s perhaps the biggest reason he became the no. 1 RE/MAX broker in the world and a regular real estate agent who sells approximately $300 million in residential real estate annually to top athletes, music stars and actors. “His enthusiastic energy could easily set the entire state on fire,” says his client Sylvester Stallone, who wrote the book’s foreword.
But that doesn’t mean Cohen — who focuses on celebrity-heavy areas near Los Angeles, like Hidden Hills and Westlake Village — doesn’t have the occasional bout of nerves. The worst? When he was going to meet Stallone, his movie idol, in person about selling him a house. As he says in his new book: The Agent’s Edge: Secret Strategies to Win Listings and Make a Fortune Selling Real Estate (HarperCollins Leadership, $28), his stomach started growling so much on the way to the appointment that he had to pull over to the side of the road and throw up. He never came to the meeting. “I called (his wife) Jennifer (Flavin Stallone) to say I had a stomach flu, I couldn’t handle it,” he recalls. The Stallones graciously rescheduled the appointment and he won the mention.
The Agent’s Edge by Jordan Cohen
The heart of the book, however, is not the Hollywood anecdotes, and Cohen repeatedly asks in an interview whether the focus should not be on his main clients, adding that he does not see himself as a celebrity agent. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” he says of writing his first book. “I’m not on television. I’m not the selfish type. I don’t think I’m anything I’m not. I don’t think I’m anything bigger than I am.”
Instead, he says he wanted to write the book to share his tips about the trade with other real estate agents and help them do a better job bringing in listings and selling homes. “My book is a pure playbook for the 2 million-plus real estate agents out there (in the U.S.) and the millions who want to become real estate agents,” he says. The profession has become increasingly attractive lately, Cohen says, partly due to its greater visibility in pop culture (“The reality TV shows like Million dollar quote made selling real estate a very glamorous job,” he notes) and that the bar to begin with is not as high as some other jobs. “You don’t need a diploma to get your driver’s license and you can have unlimited income potential. It is really a hot profession,” says Cohen, who previously made THR’s annual list of the best real estate agents in Hollywood.
Yet recent figures show that there is a shake-up in the housing sector as high interest rates have led to a market slump. As of May, more than 60,000 real estate agents had left the profession in the previous six months, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, as analyzed by Reventure Consulting.
In six chapters of the book, Cohen — who recently sold Poison singer Bret Michaels’ home in Calabasas, California, for $6.25 million — shares the talking points he uses when going in for a job interview. “I built my business through listings,” he writes. “But to win mentions, you have to win that interview.” He emphasizes in interviews the importance of “connecting with the seller with trust and sincerity” while being humble. He says he never tells potential clients that he wants to work of them; instead, he emphatically tells them that he considers it an honor to work for them. He emphasizes to his clients that he doesn’t get paid when he lists their houses; he only gets paid if he sells it.
And in that ad interview, he touts the ways he’ll market the property, including “epic photography shot at dusk,” social media, print ads, just-listed mailers. However, he doesn’t put his own photo in property listings because, he says, he wants the house to be the star. “I do everything I can to draw attention to the house,” he says. “All my print ads, all my mailings, everything is about the house.”
He’s also not in favor of 3D video tours. “In my experience, 3D tours and posting home floor plans online discourage people from coming to see a home in person,” he says. He is also not a fan of open days. “They may even harm our chances of a successful sale,” he writes. “There is a very good chance that we will miss a sale because a potential buyer did not get the tour of your home that he or she deserves. All the benefits of showing your home in person are then lost. Not only do I lose the opportunity to point out the best features of your home, I also miss the chance to answer their questions and address any concerns.”
Cohen, who started selling homes in the San Fernando Valley, says the idea for the book came after he sold a house a few years ago to an agent, Elan Ruspoli of WME, who was then working at CAA. “I sold Elan a beautiful house in Westlake and sold his house in Hollywood Hills for him,” Cohen recalls. “He said, ‘Jordan, you’re so good at this. Have you ever thought about writing a book?’ The funny thing is that I’ve been doing that for twenty years. (But) I didn’t want to be a self-published guy. That’s something I never wanted to do.” Ruspoli in turn put him in touch with a literary agent, Anthony Matero of CAA. Cohen prescribed a treatment for it The edge of the agent and soon, “I had multiple offers on it, which was mind-boggling.”
Despite Cohen’s modest protests, the book contains a few more celebrity anecdotes aside from Ralph on his way to Stallone, including how he sold a house in Westlake Village to The Miz after the professional wrestler saw a mention on Cohen’s Instagram. “I’ve sold houses through TMZ. I have sold houses on Instagram,” says Cohen. “My job as a real estate agent is to really maximize the visibility of the house. It is intended to make people aware of the qualities that they might not otherwise be aware of. A good real estate agent will try to let you know about their listings through social media, print, all the hustle and bustle. That’s what happened with The Miz. He didn’t even look at Westlake. He searched West Calabasas. But because of my mentions on Instagram, he was like, “Whoa, where’s Westlake? It is 10 minutes from Calabasas. Let’s take a look at that.’ If it weren’t for Instagram, he wouldn’t have found that because it wouldn’t have shown up on his Zillow search. The house was prominently featured in the USA Network reality series Miz and Mrs.
Cohen has kept some of his secrets from his book. “I still have a few tricks up my sleeve,” says the broker, who adds that his greatest satisfaction in writing the book has been the number of fellow brokers who say the advice has helped them.
“I’ve received thousands of direct messages: things like, ‘You changed my career,’ or ‘Jordan, I lost half my mentions.’ Now I win five out of six. I’ve gained 90 percent since reading your book.’ It makes me feel good that I am helping people who read it to earn more money and become better.”