'Million Dollar Listing New York' Star Ryan Serhant Shares 2 Secrets to Career Success

Ryan Serhant.
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“I just lost three deals—three big deals. Probably $21 million in deals I lost before noon today,” real estate broker, author, and TV star Ryan Serhant tells Grow. “And life is great.”

Serhant, who has made a fortune selling real estate in New York City, is a hard man to rattle. Despite losing potentially millions of dollars in sales before arriving at our offices, he’s upbeat, full of energy, and already planning his next move. It’s a strategy he refers to as having “balls in the air,” or juggling many potential sales or projects at the same time.

Serhant has many balls in the air. In addition to selling real estate, he’s also the star of two TV shows on Bravo: “Million Dollar Listing New York” and “Sell It Like Serhant,” which doubles as the title of his book.

Over the past 10 years, Serhant has climbed to the top of the New York real estate market. In a recent conversation with Grow, he shared two of the secrets to his success, which may help you progress in your own career:

1. Learn to empathize

Empathy, or the ability to understand what another person is feeling or experiencing, is an often overlooked skill. But Serhant says it can be a particularly valuable trait when building or advancing your career.

“Why I think I am where I am today? My ability to empathize with people,” he says. Empathy helps him close sales and manage his team, as he’s able to see problems from a different point of view. That can help him find solutions.

Empathy doesn’t come naturally to some people, however, and for them, Serhant offers up this secret: Take a theater or improv class. That’s what he did.

“I think I learned [empathy] through acting classes,” he says.

2. Master the ‘follow-up’

Serhant recommends learning to follow up with people about anything and everything—whether you’re trying to make a new friend, network for a new job, or sell someone real estate. Keep in touch and maintain a relationship. Serhant even dedicated an entire chapter in his book to the topic.

“I’ve always had an incredible ability to follow up with people,” he says. “My biggest deal that I’m doing right now is with somebody I met in Starbucks in 2009. Today, he’s buying a place for $40 million. Just because I followed up.”

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