Ben Salem is perhaps one of the most powerful agents in the US that you may have never heard of; and Ben likes it that way. As a matter of fact, Ben has built a real estate business dependent on his ability to offer his clients ultra exclusivity and privacy.
Growing up and living in the Los Angeles area, Ben has direct access to a diverse clientele. “My typical client is a celebrity, international business person or in a few recent cases, actual royalty. They hire me because they know I will always put their needs first,” says Ben. “Business managers, agents and the clients themselves choose to work with me because they know I offer something that is unique to the LA Market, which is complete and total privacy.”
Ben refers to this exclusive program as Private Client Services. “We developed our Private Client Services Program (PCSP) because the privacy and security demands from ultra high-net-worth (UHNW) clientele are unique in many ways. Unfortunately, the typical ‘high end’ agent doesn’t recognize this exclusive clientele’s unique demands.” The United States’ population of UHNW individuals grew by 6 percent overall last year, and no states saw a decrease in this demographic, according to findings by Wealth-X. The U.S. is home to 69,560 UHNW individuals, more than any other country in the world.
Ben describes a recent experience with one of his exclusive clients. “I received a call around 10:00 pm Abu Dhabi time from a client referred to me from another wonderful past client. This was a typical experience in that the client wanted absolute and complete anonymity. The client would be arriving on their private plane in the next 48 hours and wanted to purchase a home in a very specific area.”
In a real estate market where it’s common for people with privacy concerns to transact using trusts, Ben takes things to an entirely different level with his exclusive PCSP. Celebrity gossip has become a cash crop and the homes of the rich and famous have become the harvest. “At the end of the day, my clients demand a seamless, private and safe experience. I have honed the PCSP where all facets of my clients’ real estate transactions are handled with a level of precision not normally experienced when buying or selling a home.”
Ben will often have a private security team inspect a property before the client arrives. Hidden cameras, hidden recording devices are a specific target the security team. “On several occasions we have found very cleverly hidden cameras positioned to capture the private conversations of my clients while touring a home,” he says. Ben has amassed a close following of private clients that will often ask him to sell their home privately. This practice is commonly referred to as pocket listings. Privacy and security aren’t the exclusive domain of the UHNW families, however, the clients Ben works with do have a number of unique concerns.
Global and political instability and advances in media and technology, including social media on the internet, make it harder for the wealthy to preserve anonymity. The last thing Ben wants is to have one of his exclusive clients’ home-shopping activities broadcast on YouTube or TMZ. When asked how many clients he works with at a time Ben was very direct. “I have a small team of professionals that work beside me 24/7. That makes it possible for all my focus and attention to be on my clients. I work with no more than 10 clients at a time. I literally have to decline new clients when I have reached my self-imposed limit. My reputation is built on my ability to do what I say I am going to do, exactly like I promise it will be done,” says Ben.
“I love what I do. I feel completely honored to have the opportunity to be trusted to help my clients. The driving force that motivates me to work all the long days is the belief that I am truly helping my clients. I am lucky in that I get to wake up every day and help people achieve their dreams.”