It was New Year’s Eve 2018 and Mark Pires was sitting alone in his office.
As a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, Pires was reviewing his sales efforts for the year that was coming to a close.
“I had a decent real estate year and looked back at what was different from the year prior,” he recalled. “The year prior was really strong.”
What was the difference between Pires’ 2017 and 2018 efforts?
He theorized that he made a greater use of video during 2017, doing both serious walk-throughs of the properties he represented as well as lightly comic videos where he indulged in celebrity impressions as part of his sales pitch. As a former actor who played a Romeo for a year in “Romeo and Juliet” at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater when he was 18 and a singer/songwriter whose music appeared on MTV, he had no discomfort with being on camera and in front of a microphone.
“So, I thought that maybe my disconnect was that I didn’t do as much video,” he said.
To ensure that 2019 would see greater sales activity, Pires grabbed a camera and took advantage of the empty office to shoot a quickie video.
“I said to myself, ‘I am going to go online real quick and remind people that I am a Realtor,’ ” he continued “And I said, ‘For 2019, remember that I am a Realtor.’ Because I’ve had a lot of friends who bought homes but didn’t even think about me. The next day, I got up and thought, ‘Wow, that was a pretty cool message.’ ”
Pires shot and posted another video for New Year’s Day, this time reminding potential viewers that his consultative work as a Realtor came at no cost. The day after, he shot and posted another video and kept doing this on a daily basis. When an acquaintance discovered what he was doing he tried to discourage him.
“He said, ‘You know, you can’t go every day because no one wants to see you every day,’ ” he said. “When he said that, I said to myself, ‘I’m going to go on every day.’ Because when you tell me that I can’t do something, I am going to do it.”
Pires kept his word.
His videos, which began as a loose series of vlogs running between five and 20 minutes, have since morphed into a daily show called “Mark Pires Real Talk” that now runs between 45 and 90 minutes. And the self-promotional aspect of the early videos has evolved into a unique mix of inspirational messaging, conversations with guests and musical performances by Pires on both the guitar and the BeatSeat, a wooden percussion instrument that he invented and patented.
Well, maybe not everything.
Pires keeps a positive focus on “Real Talk” and stays far away from today’s politics, which he finds toxically negative. And Pires’ audience has evolved beyond the Fairfield County market where his real estate work is based. He mentioned a Canadian viewer who came upon his daily broadcasts and asked for his input to assist her daughter who was undergoing surgery.
“I guess she pegged my energy and positivity,” he theorized. “I tried something. I went on air and asked everyone watching to think positive at that same moment for my person of choice. I said, ‘I am thinking about someone and I want you to think about my person.’ I was thinking about how in church they say stuff like, ‘We pray for the world to have peace, amen!’ — how everyone is saying the same prayer and hoping it goes to the same source. The woman’s daughter had a successful surgery.”
Pires noted that his Coldwell Banker office was mostly indifferent to his online videos, but his efforts were noted by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, which invited him to join their New Canaan office.
“Jeanne Howell, my manager at Berkshire Hathaway, is a former casting director,” he said. “She told me, ‘You’re not really talking about real estate. You’re doing what I call the soft sell — you are going out there and being you. And you’re connecting with people, so when or if they decide to buy, they’ll connect with you. Come work with me. I’ll build you a studio.’ ”
Today, Pires divides his “Real Talk” recordings between the specially constructed studio at his New Canaan office and from a studio in his Fairfield home. As he approaches his first anniversary online, he is eager to bring on more guests from the business and entertainment worlds. And as for his real estate work, he has already profited from his videos.
“I can peg four transactions this year strictly from ‘Real Talk,’ ” he stated. “People say, ‘I see you online, I like what you’re saying and I want to work with you.’ ”