Walt Danley, who first started working in real estate in July of 1977 at Coldwell Banker and is now president of Walt Danley Realty, says being a good listener has been the key to much of his success. From clients to co-workers and other Realtors, Danley has made it a point to really focus and listen carefully to what other people are telling him. “I have found that people often engage their mouths more than their ears,” he says, relating that he has seen other Realtors talking with their clients but “then they don’t really listen to what their clients are telling them.”
This keen interest in his clients is manifested in other ways. Danley faithfully sends out birthday cards every year to his clients, and he enjoys staying in touch with his entire client base — not just the ones he is currently working with. In fact, Danley notes, 37 years later, he’s still in touch with the clients from his first sale.
And Danley will never take on anything he doesn’t know inside and out. If it’s beneficial for him to learn it, he’ll do it; if not, Danley prefers to pass the work along to someone else. “I will not do something unless I can look the client in the eye and say, ‘You are getting the best representation ever.’”
Having an in-depth and exhaustive knowledge of both the inventory and the product is crucial, Danley says. He familiarizes himself with all of the streets, subdivisions, builders and homes in the area where he works. “When I started in Paradise Valley, I didn’t know anybody here. I didn’t know any of the streets, and so many of them had Spanish names. I’m from Portland, Oregon, and we didn’t have streets with Spanish names up there, so this was all new to me.” He spends hours, literally, in his car, driving around and getting to know the neighborhoods. “I drove the areas and learned them really well. Now, when I’m in Paradise Valley, I can point out every street and subdivision and I know who built what home and who recently sold it and what they got for it. It’s all second nature now.”
This intimate knowledge means that when clients are speaking with Danley and explaining what they are looking for in a home, he can pinpoint and suggest specific homes and neighborhoods that would probably be to their liking. It’s a philosophy he also instills in his agents, whom he asks to go on neighborhood tours and become as familiar with their inventory as he is with his.
Danley’s knack for listening and communicating with his clients has also helped him through the occasional slow period. During the real estate market collapse of the recent economic downturn that devastated many in the industry, Danley’s business continued strong. “Whenever I’m in a lull, I will call clients and say, ‘I am slow right now; can you think of anyone who needs my services? If you do, and if you could refer them to me, it would be great.’”
Since he understands his clients often need time to think of people who might be buying or selling a home, Danley lets his clients know he’ll call them back in a few days. “I tell them that I’ll call them back next Tuesday, and at that time they’ll be expecting my call and they will have names ready for me by then.”
Taking a day to reach out to his clients and then following up a few days later by phone will typically generate enough new business to get through any slumps, Danley says. “It’s always helped me to get through the lulls.”
- In his first full year working for Coldwell Banker back in the late 1970s, Walt Danley was named the top-producing agent for all Coldwell Banker businesses in Arizona.
- Since 1977, Danley has consecutively ranked in the top 1 percent of real estate sales in the United States.
- Around 2001, Danley formed the Walt Danley Group as part of Coldwell Banker.
- In 2011, Danley founded Walt Danley Realty, which now has 24 agents. It is one of the few independent real estate agencies in Metro Phoenix.
- Danley has been named one of the “35 Most Influential People in Luxury Real Estate” by Unique Homes magazine.
- In the latest survey by REAL Trends and The Wall Street Journal naming the top 1,000 real estate sales professionals, Walt Danley ranks No. 1 in Arizona and No. 37 in the U.S. by sales volume.
- As an exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, Walt Danley Realty’s team of real estate specialists has amassed a combined sales volume of more than $2 billion.