Broker-Associates of the Record-Breaking Jills Team
Named the #1 Coldwell Banker team in the world, Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber have used their passion and innovative marketing skills to become the leading luxury real estate agents in South Florida. They reveal their advice for business success and the power of devoted relationships in both business and family life.
NAWRB: Your personalities balance each other out incredibly well to form such a strong and cohesive business team. How did you two meet and what led to the creation of The Jills?
Jill Hertzberg: Jill was working at a company and I happened to hang my license at the same firm. The company, at the time, had a big open room with tables. They assigned me to a shared table with Jill Eber. Each day, we would say hello and goodbye to each other. Then, after some time and many hellos and goodbyes later, we started working together.
Jill Eber: It’s amazing that we found each other in the universe, and that our names are Jill. Finding each other has been an incredible part of our lives, especially because of the respect that we have for each other. We have the same drive, ethics, and values. If we didn’t have the same work ethic, our relationship could have never worked. We both are so similar as far as the drive and passion for what we do.
NAWRB: More importantly, you created this incredible platform for your business and gained respect within the global industry because of your ability to work together and not be competitors within the same environment.
Jill Eber: We motivate and really help drive each other. People always ask me, “What’s your secret?” It’s a synergy that the two of us have. We’ve been in the business for quite awhile and have knowledge of all the properties out there. When one doesn’t think of something, the other will. We talk to each other many times a day. Putting our minds together has been incredible for us.
NAWRB: You sound like you finish each other’s sentences which is a great synergy. Do you have any healthy competitions to motivate each other?
Jill Hertzberg: This happened really organically. It was a chance meeting; we were independent agents at our company. This kind of business is so dear and intimate. You can’t just hand all of the luxury buyers to anyone in the office; it wouldn’t work. It’s a critical task. If I handed it all off to someone who wasn’t confident, intelligent, or hard working, it would come back to haunt me. It seems natural to want to join forces. Although we started organically, it proved to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
NAWRB: From the organic formation of your team to now, The Jills have achieved impressive success. In 2013 alone, you had over $552 million in residential sales. What advice do you have for women starting their real estate careers that wish to emulate the same growth?
Jill Hertzberg: We weren’t girls who had master’s degrees in business but we have always had a very strong work ethic and liked a challenge. It sort of happened day by day. It’s like in any business, in order to succeed you have to be fully invested and try to do better every day. Knowledge is power. Our buyers and sellers are very sophisticated and know the market well. They are where they are because they are experts in their particular fields. You need to truly be an expert in the market and understand it comprehensively or you will miss the opportunity to represent them.
Jill Eber: To succeed in anything, whether it’s real estate or another field, you can only be a real master of one. You have to be completely focused on what you’re doing, be persistent, happy and passionate. You have to be able to not only impart knowledge on people, but have thepassion and excitement. It’s important both the buyer and the seller understand you really care about them. You have to make each person understand they’re really important to you, and never make them feel slighted or neglected. Jill, her kids, my sister and I have always done just that. Everything we do and try to do is very professional. If you have employees, they need to really understand what needs to be done; you have to guide them through everything. Our support staff has been phenomenal.
NAWRB: With the support of your staff, you both sell some of the most exclusive properties in not only Miami but all of South Florida with famous clients that include Matt Damon and Shaquille O’Neal. Did you begin your real estate careers in South Florida and if so, what was it like starting your careers in one of the most sought-after areas of Florida?
Jill Hertzberg: When I first started, real estate didn’t have its own television shows and it wasn’t what we know today. In 2004, our market first started to blossom and go crazy. Luckily, Jill and I had been in the business for years and had established ourselves. Other people were not advertising or stepping out and doing full-gloss brochures on their properties. When the market took off, we were ready and had listings to sell. We did everything we could to be prepared for clients in both the good as well as the slow markets.
Jill Eber: When I started, I was very fortunate because I began selling condos in Bal Harbour. I focused on the building my parents lived in which was “The Building at the time”. I met a gentleman who was selling his condo in the building and was looking to purchase a property all the way up to Palm Beach. We wrote a contract on a very big property in Boca and signed it on his yacht, which was very exciting. Those were pretty much the days when a great deal of people were paying cash. You even had the Medellin cartel in Miami during that time, although we didn’t deal with them, thank goodness! It was a very exciting time to be able to participate in dealing with those types of properties and see Miami go through so many transitions. South Beach, I would say, really brought Miami back. The developers were given several tax incentives to start renovating the beautiful art deco buildings in South Beach and it started from there. Miami was becoming a worldwide destination. Andnow we’re coming to a point where everybody in the world wants to come here. Our market, for a long time, has been fueled because there’s no state income tax in Florida. Miami is also one of the most beautiful places to visit. Now we have the best restaurants, upper tier fine arts, water, weather, international airports…we really have it all!
NAWRB: Not only have The Jills secured luxury listings in one of the most beautiful places for years, but you have remained serious contenders among brokers in a highly competitive market. How can brokers maintain longevity in such a market and what business skills does it take to do so?
Jill Eber: You need to have the knowledge, track record and brand. We’re known for getting results and people truly enjoy working with us. The key throughout your career is to have people enjoy working with you or they’ll go somewhere else. They’re with us because they get the service, the knowledge, and the care. The key to longevity is we love what we do.
Jill Hertzberg: I think you have to morph and change over time. You can’t stay stagnant. In 2013, you can’t do the same thing you did in 2012. That’s something that we’ve really been disciplined about. Times change and there’s different ways of advertising as well as different formats. We’ve been very open to change throughout growing our team. I always want to change. I think that’s why we’ve survived because our city is competitive. There are a lot of brokers here. You need certain perseverance. I’ll go on a listing appointment and people will say “I can’t believe you’re really nice” and I look at them and they’ll say “well, so and so said…” But you have to be able to brush it off. Just say to yourself, “I’m not going to get involved and I’m not going to go there.” You have to believe in yourself and know you’re doing well. We’re with a big company for a reason: they have enormous resources that we can plug into. We don’t have to use all of them; we can pick and choose. You have to change your logos, type, look, and feel as things get more modern. We’re not stuck on anything.
NAWRB: With decades of experience, you have endured the ever-changing housing market and remained on top. What tactics can brokers employ to combat the evolving housing market?
Jill Eber: When the market tanked, we kept on doing what we’ve been doing; we didn’t stop. We didn’t let any employees go and we kept marketing our properties. Our phones weren’t ringing as much but we still had decent years for that time frame. They were, of course, way off from the other years, but we never stopped what we do.
Jill Hertzberg: We believe really strongly in marketing and exposure. That’s what we’re doing. Especially during that time in the market, you needed to expose your properties to as many people as you could; local buyers here were having a hard time. You had to bring in outsiders by exposing your properties to a greater market.
NAWRB: Whether it is through social media or print, marketing is a valuable and necessary tool to attract business. Once you gain the business, it’s critical to have an effective and knowledgeable team which you clearly have. The complete team at The Jills is comprised of yourselves and family members. Each member has won awards and accolades on their own and together, you all make a powerhouse team. What made you two come to the decision to involve your own family as opposed to hiring outside?
Jill Hertzberg: When I started, Jill pretty much had her sister working with her, but she was more part-time and she would come and go. My son went to law school and got a JD/MBA at the University of Miami. While in law school, he started doing rentals and sales for other students and was quickly bitten by the bug. He got sworn in as an attorney but made the decision that he wasn’t going to practice law. I tried to talk him out of it. I said “You’re an attorney, be an attorney.” He didn’t listen, and I couldn’t be happier that he didn’t. He came in and it was incredible because he brought a lot of knowledge and business acumen we didn’t have. We knew how to sell, but didn’t know how to systematically build the business. He helped us expand and grow by completely reworking our website and showed us the power of the internet.
My younger daughter went to Washington University in St. Louis and studied marketing and business. She worked in New York City in digital media before joining us. She brought a fresh perspective to our advertising and further developed our online presence. She has taught us that by constantly evolving and being excited by change, we will not only survive, but we will thrive.
It wasn’t just that I was hiring my kids because they were my kids. They bring great value to the team and we see it time and time again. I honestly don’t think we would have been lucky enough to find anyone else like them. I realize how beneficial they are to us and what a natural fit it is to have them on our team. They love us, we love them. What could be better?
My younger daughter went to Washington University. She was in New York with a media firm and heard a lot about what we were doing and the family business. She said, “You know what? This could be interesting for me,” and came in and did the same thing. Different people you respect can have different visions, intellect, and experiences that can add to your business. It wasn’t that I was just hiring my kids, they bring great value to the team and we see it time and time again.
Jill Eber: Family is wonderful and we’ll always be there for our family, but our business is precious to us. If each and every one of our family members weren’t incredible they wouldn’t be with us. I love working with my sister Felise. She has a lot of experience with design and is great with people; I only get praise with whomever she deals with.
NAWRB: It’s wonderful to hear how your strong family bonds have strengthened your business. Everyone is a key player with their own role. With that being said, The Jills have been ranked the number one Coldwell Banker Sales Team worldwide, multiple times. You have also set the record for the highest production of an agent team in the 107-year history of Coldwell Banker. The Jills have conquered real estate for Coldwell Banker in not only South Florida, but quite literally, the world. Are there any plans to switch your focus to another prized area?
Jill Eber: Yes, Polynesia! Fiji! But in all seriousness, it’s like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”
To view this article and many others in its original form: Click Here