After just 14 years as a real estate agent, Whit Prouty writes enough business each year to place his production in the top 3% of all agents internationally. He is associated with the prestigious firm of Coldwell Banker in their Beverly Hills North office, the top producing office for Coldwell Banker for almost two decades.
Whit’s primary approach to building his business has been to network in the communities where he is selling, to give back through participating in charitable and civic work, and to underpromise and overdeliver. “I provide a checklist at the beginning of a new engagements stating what I will be doing for the seller or buyer. I encourage the client to keep me accountable to that list.”
While the Southern California housing footprint is immense, Whit has be able to successfully manage sales within the Los Angeles zip codes, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City, and Malibu. This would include all the communities within LA such as Brentwood, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Bel Air, and Beverlwood. His concentrations are the Santa Monica neighborhood of Sunset Park, and Burbank.
Whit has also found that membership in business networking groups has been effective in growing his business, and in finding outstanding providers of the other services needed by his clients. He is currently an active member of a Provisors Group in the Santa Monica area.
“Door knocking never goes out of style,” according to Whit. “I have been using a combination of mailers and going door-to-door to build relationships in my preferred areas.” This type of consistency and discipline is at the root of Whit Prouty’s rapid rise to success in the real estate business.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I am passionate about helping families through one of the most critical processes they will take in their adult lives. I love handing the keys over to the new owners after the close. I really get excited about telling folks that there house has sold at or above their asking price.
I tried my hand in the entertainment field first, on the production side for Universal Pictures and the creative side for Jersey Films, but found that I longed for more personal one-on-one interactions. I next took a foray into fitness and personal training, which offered much more client interaction, and confirmed that I get great personal satisfaction from the give and take of transactions. A very successful real estate professional thought I had the skill sets necessary for real estate, and offered to mentor me. I have never looked back.
How did you get your first customer?
My first sale came through my mentor. We were sitting at an open house and started chatting with a prospective buyer. That discussion led to our finding them the house of their dreams.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying sale came years later. I helped a family that was living in an apartment and as their family had grown, that apartment was way too small. We found a great home, but due to valuation issues, they were not able to get the mortgage.
It took an entire year to find a place for them. The great news is that the ultimate place they purchased was better than the one they lost.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Like almost any business, the real estate game is cyclical, and there are years of feast and of famine. The 2008-2010 period tried the patience of many in this business and found them changing careers. I learned during that period that success is dependent upon being nimble during such times. I became an expert at short sales and foreclosures.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
A real estate agent needs to have the obvious skills of being assertive in an inoffensive way, doggedly determined, and a dotter of I’s and crosser of t’s. However, I think most outside of the industry don’t realize how important negotiation skills are in the process. A real estate agent is constantly negotiating with someone, from the client to the owners, and from the mortgage lender to the city planning department.
So I would put analytic and negotiating skills at the top of the list for this business. It has been my goal to hone these two to a fine point.