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Nearly 20 years ago, Fredrik Eklund, Julia Spillman, and John Gomes were young and hungry cops testing the validity of one of Frank Sinatra’s most famous lines: “If you can make it there, you will make it everywhere; it’s up to you, New York, New York.”
With guts, perseverance and a bit of luck, all three were able to rise to the top of the city’s highly competitive luxury real estate sector and create one of Douglas Elliman’s top teams, Eklund Gomes.
“I think we’re very lucky, the three of us,” Eklund said with a megawatt smile as he sat next to his teammates on the Luxury Connect podium on Tuesday. “I’m going back 20 years, when I first moved to New York – that’s how old I am – I was a newbie and I didn’t know anyone.”
“But as soon as I started making deals, I realized it’s a very lonely business. The highs are high and the lows are low,” he added. “I was alone because I left my family. So meeting John, finally meeting Julia and becoming best friends, and through this collaboration we had a lot of fun, which according to really is the key to success in real estate.
“Even this room feels very serious. It’s high pressure, a lot of money, and these customers are crazy. If you can’t laugh, you become bitter.”
Gomes and Spillman echoed Eklund, noting that having fun is a core value of their team, with each member setting aside time to create lighthearted moments inside and outside the office. “Laughing at things makes everything so much easier,” Gomes said.
While they certainly stuck to the notion that “laughter is the best medicine,” all three said their journey wasn’t all giggles.
Gomes, Spillman and Eklund have all helped each other through hard times, such as Eklund struggling with the cost of leaving his family in Sweden to find success in the states and Gomes struggling to take on the company’s thorns as a newbie. to grab.
“It’s like getting married,” Eklund said of choosing the right business partner. “It’s like winning the lottery if you get the right person, but it wasn’t easy. Those are not easy things to enter.”
Spillman was the last to join the couple and her husband became a fan of Eklund during his stint on Million dollar listing New York.
“I was so attracted to them and I would always see them,” she said. “One of my favorite stories is that John took the first picture I have of Fredrik and myself – it was for my husband [who] was a big fan of Fredrik during the first season and they were just so approachable.”
Equally enamored with Spillman, Gomes and Eklund realized she was the missing part of their team and recruited her to become the sales director for one of their biggest projects.
“The rest is history,” Gomes said of Spillman, who is now the CEO of their eponymous team.
All three said their seamless synergy has allowed them to grow Eklund Gomes beyond their wildest dreams, with Eklund launching REAL, an app that helps brokers and clients connect through curated, Instagram-like listing feeds.
“We’re in a really good place right now,” Eklund said of the app’s beta launch and his team’s sales volume reaching $4.6 billion last year.
While the Eklund Gomes team is highly regarded, Spillman said none of them take their success for granted, especially as the market enters an uncertain time filled with uncertainty. With that in mind, she said the team is focused on maintaining a diverse business book that will deliver results even in a slowing market.
“I think one of the things that is very different from a lot of agents’ cases, and we talked about this early on, is the new development,” she said. “That really keeps our pipeline very different from traditional resale.”
“The opening and closing are both quite fast [and] the pipeline activity of these developments is kind of like the gift that keeps on giving,” she added. which are now closing and will keep those numbers incredibly healthy for us.”
In addition to bolstering their pipelines with various business opportunities, Gomes, Spillman and Eklund said they are also bolstering their pipelines with opportunities for fun and reflection, including team trips to Italy and Miami.
“I feel like the milestones in our careers as a team have come during the market shift, and market shifts create opportunities to take a kind of introspective look at yourself and your company and ask, ‘Where do I want it to be?’ said Gomes.
“I believe this is just a break in the market; it just couldn’t continue on that trajectory — I think it’s been 18 consecutive record-breaking months in a row,” he added. “But this gives us a chance to say how I can really get to the next step.”
Finally, they encouraged all three agents to think about themselves outside of their careers and make sure that they are not only happy with their careers, but also with their lives and who they have become.
“I feel like I wasted so many years trying to be what my clients wanted me to be,” Gomes said. But Spending More Time With [Spillman and Eklund] let me be myself unabashedly. So just focus on being yourself and having fun.”
Email Marian McPherson