The sins of our past

As an industry, are the sins of our past starting to catch up with us?

As I’ve seen the emergence of companies such as Rate My Agent and Open Agent, I realised these portals have been created to fill a need. As an industry we need to ask ourselves, what is that need?

Was it the need of consumers to feel comfort around their selection of their real estate agent?

Or is it the fact that there was an identification that most property owners in Australia don’t really have a meaningful relationship with a real estate agent?

Perhaps this growing trend has been fuelled by an opportunity created by an industry that isn’t as customer-centric as it should be.

Treat your business like a butcher

I found myself in a butcher on Saturday morning, which is not unusual. But on this visit I stood back and watched how the butcher handled his customers; his intimate knowledge of his product, and most importantly, how he addressed every customer by their first name and asked how their family was.

What does a butcher have to do with real estate?

Firstly, independent butchers are up against two massive conglomerates: Woolworths and Coles, and yet through outstanding customer service and unbelievable product knowledge they are able to withstand price cutting at its greatest.

There’s so much talk about commissions being challenged around the country. It may well pay to go and hangout at your local butcher, because the good ones have not only survived, they’ve thrived against the fierce competition of Woolies and Coles.

At this time when you’re looking to kick start your year, remember, we could all do worse than model our business on the thriving butcher.

And I’ll see you at Richie’s this Australia Day.

Who controls the energy?

So often agents pick up a piece of stock that’s been on the market for a long time and sell it quickly.

All that’s happened in these scenarios is a change of energy.

When a property is listed, do we allow our vendors to control our energy? Think about how you act when you feel your vendor is motivated as opposed to when you feel they’re not.

Then ask yourself who really controls the energy?

The same result

In the past 18 months somewhere in the vicinity of 12-15 homes have sold in the street in which I live.

Even in a conservative frame of mind, $300,000-$400,000 has been earned in commission. Yet, every home – except on one occasion – has been sold by different agents.

Not one agent phoned me, nor door knocked me, nor advised me of these sales.

What this reinforces is the old saying, if everyone does the same thing, you end up with the same result. You see, none of the agents did anything and they all ended up with the same result.

It takes two to tango

Every Sunday I see social media posts about how the auctioneers sold 5 out of 5, sold 10 from 10. The one question I would ask all auctioneers of the world is: how many properties would you have sold under the hammer if the agent hadn’t provided you with bidders?

I think we all need to understand there’s a lot of hard work done by agents that provides the platform for auctioneers. When it comes to auctions, it takes two to tango.

It’s the easy one that hurts

You’ve heard it all before, a general enquiry from an unknown person or someone who turns up to your OFI. Two days later you’ve listed it and three days later you’ve sold it.

Yes it does happen, but not enough to build a career. In fact, a number of people even start to think this is the norm. As my mate Peter Camphin once told me: even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut. I think this saying aptly applies to this case.

Good is good until really good turns up

Many years ago I was at an Ambrose Golf Day where everybody had a chance at driving on a tee. Being a big guy I always believed I could hit the ball a long way – in fact I had a golf club like a Volkswagen on a stick.

On this day, I smoked my drive and it was the longest by far. Subsequently on that hole, a golf pro turned up and played with us. His ball flew over mine 100 feet in the air and it could have taken an aerial shot of my ball.

You see, I thought I was good until good showed up.

Why would I expect to hit the ball better than a pro? He’s spent years upon years, hours upon hours, hitting ball upon ball, to perfect this task. Yet stupidly, I thought I would hit a better ball. When I have a bit of good luck, and he’s having a bad day, that might occur once in a thousand.

In our industry new people see a top performer and foolishly think they can write better figures without putting in the hours. I’m not talking about average performers, but our very top performers – who in many cases spend years perfecting their craft.

Every now and then a new agent gets lucky and writes impressive figures. They then start to think that this luck is the norm. Success in real estate is a journey and you have to be prepared to go on that journey.

Some will read this and think about a person who has performed well in a short space of time, but rest assured, this performance is not the norm.

Be prepared for the journey, be prepared for the bad days but keep focussing on the things that matter; developing relationships, building trust and impacting on communities and you too will be like the golf pro, when your bad days are still better than most people’s good days.

I want it to be different

I’m constantly concerned by the churn that exists in our industry. I believe that real estate isn’t that hard, yet the careers of many who join us are actually predetermined and often, in my view, are predetermined to fail.

We push so hard as an industry to get our rookies to make their first sale. But a sale with no platform won’t lead to success.

Have you ever wondered why our churn is so great? Or why such a large percentage of our industry have incomes that fluctuate wildly throughout the year and often plateau at around the two or three year mark? There are many moving parts to what we do and it requires detailed attention to all of these components. Maybe that’s where the difficulty lies?

Just as buildings require a solid foundation, a successful career in real estate requires the same mentality. I am often amazed at how long an inner-city building takes to get out of the ground, but seemingly, the floors fly up once the foundation is established.

A rookie – or even established agent – who is stagnating needs to visit – or revisit – and spend time building their foundation. So often, through the lack of foundation, the agent is forced to lurch from one month to the other, hoping a letterbox drop or this weekend’s open will reveal next month’s listing.

Maybe the fluctuation of incomes and the churn that exists is actually linked to what occurred – or didn’t occur – in the formative period of a real estate career. I want it to be different and I believe that it can be.