'Million Dollar Listing' star explains why high end real estate is like selling 'body wax memberships'

  • In his new book, "Sell It Like Serhant," Ryan Serhant shares lessons and learned and tips on what works for him to sell anything.
  • Regardless if it's a waxing, a wine, or a residence, the "Million Dollar Listing" star said the essential elements of selling remain constant.

Ryan Serhant knows how to sell.

On television, he co-stars on Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing: New York," but there's more to him than his TV presence: Last year, he actually sold nearly a billion dollars in New York City real estate.

In his new book, "Sell It Like Serhant," and his own show of the same name, he shares lessons learned and tips on what works for him to sell anything.

"I think the worst sales people are too slick. Those are the people who are trying to push, push, push for the sale," Serhant told CNBC's "On the Money" in a recent interview.

"The biggest mistake most people make when they try to sell something, whether it's real estate, hot tubs or tires is that they actually try to sell something," he added. "A watched pot, never boils."

Million Dollar Listing's Ryan Serhant.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Million Dollar Listing's Ryan Serhant.

On his self-titled Bravo show, he's brought in to coach struggling sales people, who don't work in real estate, on how to improve their deal-making skills and succeed too.

"Everything I know about selling high-end real estate is the same when working with somebody who is selling body waxing memberships to people who are extra hairy. It's all about creating that first interaction, it's about creating the first relationship."

Regardless if it's a waxing, a wine, or a residence, Serhant said the essential elements of selling remain constant.

"The numbers are different," he told CNBC. "Someone who's spending $10 million on an apartment on Park Avenue thinks about math a little differently than someone who is spending $100 a month, but the way you convince that person to do what's best for them is the same," he added.

According to Serhant, the salesperson must have self-confidence, pay attention on the person in front of them and "adapt to their needs."

You can make or break that potential sales relationship in a surprisingly short period of time, he says. You want to "focus on that relationship, that immediate connection, and make a friend in the first 10 seconds of every interaction."

7 Hubert Street in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood being sold by an ex-banker featured in the Martin Scorsese movie “Wolf of Wall Street”. The 6,5000 square foot, 40 foot wide home with a private garage is on the market for $24.8 million. Ryan Serhant of Nestseekers is the real estate broker with the listing (also of “Million Dollar Listing”
Source: Nestseekers
7 Hubert Street in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood being sold by an ex-banker featured in the Martin Scorsese movie “Wolf of Wall Street”. The 6,5000 square foot, 40 foot wide home with a private garage is on the market for $24.8 million. Ryan Serhant of Nestseekers is the real estate broker with the listing (also of “Million Dollar Listing”

Another Serhant tactic is to not be "overly opinionated or overly personal."

"I'm not going to push anything on you. I'm just going to help assure you that what you want and what I'm selling you is the best option for you," he insisted.

Serhant said that's the opposite of really selling them and telling someone "this is what should buy or this is what you shouldn't buy."

Ultimately, at the core of successful selling is a very simple concept, according to Serhant.

"It's a matter of assurance. That's what selling really is. It's not convincing, it's not pushing. It's assuring."

On the Money airs on CNBC Saturday at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.