Keeping up with the Hertzbergs: How the Miami Real Estate Powerhouse Team Stays Ahead of the Curve


The real estate industry is on the precipice of big change. From AI advancements to the upcoming NAR rule changes in July, the landscape is shifting rapidly. Change is often met with resistance, but change can be an opportunity too. That's the message Miami's top producers, Jill and Danny Hertzberg of The Jills Zeder Group, delivered at a special panel during Inman Connect Miami 2024

Sitting alongside moderator Katie Kossev and fellow panelists Dolly and Jenny Lenz of Dolly Lenz Real Estate, the mother-son powerhouse duo broke down their top strategies for navigating industry shifts. 

Their unique perspective stems from a powerful alliance. The Jills Zeder Group combines decades of real estate experience from seasoned members Jill Hertzberg, Jill Eber, Judy Zeder and Felise Eber, with the next generation's energy and vision in Kara Zeder Rosen, Nathan Zeder, Danny Hertzberg, and Hillary Hertzberg Benson.

Read more for how they’ve future-proofed their business and successfully navigated industry change by leveraging their team’s unique value proposition – three families, two generations – to become one of the nation’s No. 1 top-performing large teams year after year. 

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: There’s been so much industry chatter about the upcoming MLS rule changes and how it might shake things up for buyers. What's the biggest shift you've seen in the luxury real estate market during your career? And more importantly, how can agents stay ahead of the curve when things keep changing so fast?

Danny Hertzberg: The transition from print to social and digital dominance is what immediately comes to mind. The lesson that translates to the upcoming NAR rule changes is that you need to stay informed. You don’t need to be the expert on whatever industry shift is happening, but you need to be able to pivot. I think back to when social media was taking off in the industry – some agents embraced it, while others ignored it until it was too late. When I first started out, Facebook was the only social media platform used in real estate and those agents who were late to the party struggled to use it effectively and if they spoke about it, it didn’t come off as genuine. No one knows how the NAR rule changes are going to impact the industry yet. There’s been a lot of speculation. I would advise agents to stay informed and be flexible while staying grounded in your core business principles. Don't lose sight of your North Star – your unique approach to the industry.

Jill Hertzberg: Change is hard and also inevitable, regardless of the industry. The last 25 years have seen a constant evolution, from the rise of the internet to the emergence of platforms like Zillow. I remember when there was fear about Zillow taking away our jobs. It didn’t. Learning to embrace change is crucial in this business. Strong leadership from a brand like Coldwell Banker and support at all levels can make it easier to navigate these shifts. 

As far as the changes coming in July, commission structures have always been negotiable, and skilled professionals know how to navigate these conversations to achieve successful outcomes for their clients. Ultimately, buyers want the best possible property they can get, and feel secure in their purchase. They want to know when they go to sell that they have a strong asset. This is why they hire a trusted and skilled real estate professional. It’s like selecting a doctor or an attorney – a real estate professional brings invaluable expertise and knowledge to the table. Making sure clients recognize and value the worth of their agents is going to be critical. 

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: What are three essential things luxury real estate agents should focus on during periods of significant industry change? 

Jill Hertzberg: Your relationships with other brokers and agents, delivering excellent service and creating raving fans. 

Danny Hertzberg: I’ll borrow from Jeff Bezos, and I’m paraphrasing: “Don’t focus so much on what’s changing or what’s new. Focus instead on what’s staying the same or what’s going to be relevant in the future.” What’s going to be true for the real estate industry 10 years from now? Relationships and customer service. No amount of AI or industry change is going to remove this critical element of our business. Building genuine relationships with your clients is going to be the constant, no matter what happens.

Also, consider employing a SWOT analysis. This business strategy tool, popularized in MBA programs, helps you identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. By understanding your unique position and potential challenges, you can adapt and capitalize on new opportunities as the landscape shifts.

Finally, the most potent weapon in any real estate agent's arsenal is knowledge. The more informed you are, the more prepared you'll be to navigate any future changes in the industry.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: How do you strike a balance between leveraging the experience of the seasoned professionals on your team, while also incorporating the fresh perspectives of younger generations?

Jill Hertzberg: What we’ve done is that we have actually surprised and delighted each other! Originally it was just Jill Eber and myself running our business. Then my son graduated college and earned his MBA. Then my daughter, after years of working in marketing for in New York City, decided to enter the business. They brought new eyes, new ideas, and new visions for our marketing. The business model Jill and I built was steadfast and true, but change was coming strong and fast in the early aughts. Print was moving to the back burner while social media was taking off at that time. My son and daughter totally embraced it while we were more hesitant at first. What we both learned as we exchanged these ideas and listened to each other was that both print and social media had value. Some clients will look to print and some clients will be on social. You just don’t know where people are going, so this allowed us to cover all the bases. 

And it’s the best thing that ever happened to our business. We elevated our team to No. 1 in the nation, with the help of these young minds coming in. 

After aligning with the Zeders in Coral Gables, we were able to expand our business even more. They are a mirror image of my family: Judy, her son Nathan and daughter Kara. That was another significant change for us. 

Who knows what the next change will be, but it’s coming! That’s why multi-generational knowledge is so valuable. Who do you go to in the village when you need advice on something? You go to the old person for wisdom and experiential knowledge, and you go to the young person for the new frontier. 

Danny Hertzberg:  Adding to that, I would say that my mom's a huge part of our success. She brings decades of experience, but she also embraces change and new ideas. She provides the "old school" foundation, while my sister and I lean more "new school," especially in marketing. Now, we are not so young and there are younger agents entering the industry with new ideas! We are always watching how new people in the business are approaching things. We are willing to try new things. But we also don’t want to take our eyes off of our strategy or tried-and-true methods. You have to figure out what works for you and understand the new tools and the new opportunities they may present. If you resist change for too long, you'll miss the boat.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: From your perspective, what’s been the most surprising aspect of having different generations working together, as it relates to the service you provide to your clients?

Danny Hertzberg: I don’t think we approach it differently from the first and second generations. We have the same drive for service. But I think the clientele that we serve have different expectations, dependent on their ages. We are always providing exceptional service. Whether it’s a new family with their first kid vs. a couple with kids going off to college. It's very different what they’re looking for, and how they want to connect to the community. The age and interest of our clients are looking for different things at different periods of their lives. 

Jill Hertzberg: Key to the luxury business is wowing and delighting your clients with your knowledge, time, energy and persistence. The younger generations on our team have wowed and delighted us.  

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: Can you share an example of how a younger generation member's perspective brought a valuable new insight to the table?

Jill Hertzberg: Danny and Hillary came into our business right when the Internet was just starting to take off in real estate. They told us, “You have no SEO for your website.” They set up and designed our website, taking inspiration from jewelry companies like Graff and Tiffany & Co. and other luxury brands. They streamlined our business and made it much more efficient. They understood digital, and they handheld us through that. It was critical. 

Do you think it’s easier hearing those messages since they came from family? 

Jill Hertzberg: Yes, I think it was easier to receive that information because it was our children. But I have always been a ‘yes’ person when it comes to embracing new innovations at the same time. What’s the worst thing that could happen? It doesn’t work. Big deal. And a lot of times, I don’t know. It’s also important to be decisive. Do not linger. You learn from what’s wrong, and you don’t do it again. 

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: Putting that question to Danny, but in reverse: do you have an example of how the older generation's perspective brought a valuable new insight to the table?

Danny Hertzberg: When I first started in the business 2008-2009, I was completely focused on digital and social advertising. I wanted to completely stop investment in direct mail and newspapers, and invest 100% into SEO, websites, and social media advertising. My mom and Jill Eber at the time were very focused on print. I felt strong about it. But here's the twist: We were both right and wrong! 

Within the first few months of working, a couple brought in a property brochure that they had sitting on their coffee table for months. That’s when I learned that there is something effective about direct mail campaigns. In another instance, we got a call from a potential buyer who saw an ad in a print magazine. That blew my mind!  On the other side of coin, we brought in a $10 million listing from social media – in the early very early days of Twitter. My mom and Jill Eber couldn't’ believe it. So both generations have had those “aha!” moments. The lesson? Luxury real estate demands a balanced print and digital strategy.

Having a balanced approach to your communications has been really key for us as well. The old school way is picking up the phone and calling people or a face-to-face meeting, and that’s absolutely right thing to do in many instances. At the same time, I have clients who won’t respond to a phone call. But if you text them, they will reply immediately. I’ve conducted an entire transaction via text. To my mom, that’s strange! She’s learned to see that it’s a generational thing. You have to be flexible in this business. 

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: Technology is constantly changing the real estate landscape. How do you integrate cutting-edge tools, whether it’s virtual tours or AI, into your business while still maintaining the personal touch that defines luxury service? 

Jill Hertzberg: Personal touch is the main touch. All the other things excite people. The first thing people do is go online and start looking at properties. But then they need that personal touch. We are on it. We return calls promptly, answer emails quickly, and provide expert guidance throughout the process. Backed by a strong support staff, we're fully equipped to deliver a seamless experience for every client.

Danny Hertzberg: You have to look at technology as a tool to create convenience and quick delivery of service. The connection you’re going to build with someone has to be with a personal touch. There is no way to replace a high degree of service with AI. People don’t want to check into Aman Resorts or a Four Seasons hotel with a robot. They want a real person. You want to use digital tools to make your business run better, but not take the personal touch out of it. 


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