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How to suceed in business without having contacts

How do you get to the top of your profession in a few short years when you start virtually at the bottom?

Jacky Teplitzky knows. Now an executive vice president at Douglas Elliman, Jacky raced up the real estate ladder without the normal accoutrements associated with the field: she didn't have social or networking contacts, she lived most of her life overseas and her professional background was in travel, a far cry from real estate.

So how did she do it?

Born in Chile, Teplitzky moved to Israel with her family as a young girl Her father, a soccer player, fell in love with the country during a tournament there.

"We traveled four weeks by boat," Teplitzky recalls. "My family eventually settled in a rural town where we had to adjust to a totally different way of life."Teplitzky served as a sergeant in the Israeli army and learned the discipline and organizational processes that she would later use in her business career. She also became fluent in English, Spanish, and Hebrew. After leaving the army, Teplitzky worked in an international wholesale tourism company. She soon became one of the firm's youngest managing directors and its only female senior executive--all before the age of 30. But she didn't rest on her laurels. After assignments in Spain and Great Britain, she was sent to the United States, where she reorganized the firm's entire US operation, leading an effort that eventually enabled the company to turn a profit for the first time in its 20+ year history.

The real estate bug bit Teplitzky after she and her new husband purchased their first apartment.

"I was looking for new challenges in an industry that was vibrant and exciting," she remembers. After investigating real estate, she quit her job and became a broker. But no one would hire her.

"The companies that turned me down always said that I did not have the background or contacts to succeed in the field," Teplitzky notes. She became pregnant and her husband then lost his job. "I was overjoyed with my baby son, but nervous about my future," she remembers.

Teplitzky eventually started her career at MLBKaye International Realty where, in her first year, she won the company's Rookie of the Year honors. She moved onto The Corcoran Group and quickly earned a vice president's title. And last year, after being recruited by Dottie Herman, Douglas Elliman's chief executive officer and president, she became one of the firm's top-performing brokers.

So back to the original question: how did Teplitzky do it? In order to establish herself in an industry where she had few, if any, contacts, she launched an aggressive marketing program which focused on direct mail campaigns.

In addition, Teplitzky emphasized relationship marketing. Her ties with her clients continue long after the deal has concluded. "I send them birthday notes and holiday gifts," says Teplitzky. "I keep them informed of industry news and make sure that if they have a real estate question that I am there to answer it for them."

Teplitzky also relies on outside resources. She has hired a full-time public relations firm, as well as a business consultant who provides her with strategic advice on how to build her business. "This industry has become so competitive that you have to use every tool at your disposal to remain a step ahead," she says.

Teplitzky understands that having a group of well-trained professionals enables her to offer clients broader and more diverse services than a single individual could. She was one of the first brokers to develop the team concept. To make The Jacky Teplitzky Team work, she employs a flat structure with no hierarchy. Teplitzky makes certain that each team member grows in his or her career by encouraging them to attend continuing education classes, providing personal mentoring and offering them opportunities to nurture their own areas of expertise. The result is that she has had zero turn-over since she developed her team in the late 1990s. And she has regularly added new members. Teplitzky is always willing to share her business knowledge. She often speaks at high-profile venues and is teaching a class titled "Effective Marketing Techniques in Real Estate Brokerage" at The Real Estate Institute at New York University.

But it's not all work for Teplitzky. She is the mother of two young sons and admits it can be difficult managing the professional with the personal. She looks for ways to include her sons in her activities. Teplitzky is involved in the United Jewish Federation of New York and is a supporter of the Pajama Program, a children's charity.

"I have my children involved in these organizations. It's something we can do together and it also gently shows them how very fortunate are in their lives," she notes. Her philosophy is simple. "The key to success is setting goals and establishing the systems that will enable you to achieve them," she explains. "As any smart professional will tell you, once you have mechanisms in place, once you know where you are going and how you are going to get there, you can find time to enjoy what matters most--your family and friends."



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