1 Million to 6 Million in Fees in 12 Months: The Art of Leading Teams

With Lee Woodward and Kon Stathopoulos

Allowing talent to do their best

Kon Stathopoulos likes to keep a low profile — but it’s easier said than done. The way in which Kon builds stars and teams in real estate has to be shared.

Last year, Kon became the Principal and Owner of McGrath Parramatta, and since then, Kon and his team are kicking goals left, right and centre.

Twelve months on, Kon says, “We’ve grown six hundred per cent. We’ve gone from one million GCI to shy over six million today in GCI. We’ve got five EBUs and we have been the number one sales and listings office in the Parramatta region for the last seven months in a row. Every single one of the original five agents that I inherited, has not only achieved their business plan – they’ve either doubled, tripled, or in one instance quintupled.” 

Incredible results — don’t you think? After leading over 300 agents in 32 offices for McGrath, Kon knows how to nurture talented people. He makes sure every piece of support for his staff to be successful, and grow is at the ready. He shares with us now his top five tips for creating a powerhouse team. 

  1. Leadership thinking requires leadership training

Top agents are not only masters at prospecting, listing, negotiating, and selling. They also know people and how to actively grow and lead a team. They have leadership capabilities and traits which help them, and others extend and grow. 

In Kon’s business, he sees himself as a champion for the growth of everyone around him. He says, “We don’t have the typical pyramid type of business structure where the principal sits at the top and everyone follows behind. It’s actually inverted. I sit at the bottom, and my job is to lead my people from that point. I report to my team. They don’t report to me. Being a sales manager, it’s not about me, it’s about them. If I want to get the best from people, not the best out of them, then they need to know that I am fully invested in their development. In my business, I’m the president of their fan club every day, cheering them on.”

  1. Pick and develop the right people and incubate talent

Kon says, “I must attract the best talent. I coach, train, and mentor that talent and make them believe that they are capable of more. I’m in their corner every day, making sure that they stay on track, not off track. I’m the person that assists them when they need to go to a listing appointment, need to speak to a vendor, need to do a price adjustment, or need to have a reserve meeting. And I’m the guy that’s up at the auction on a Saturday getting bids and working with buyers to make sure we get a result. So essentially, I’m their portable coach, they take me wherever they need me to go.” Kon’s objective is to create a funnel of future talent and leaders.

He sees the lead generation team as a pool for future agents. He says, “I’m very passionate about developing young people. At 19, I was given my first opportunity and that changed my life. And so, I feel like that’s my duty to help change their life. We’ve got a lead generation team that speaks to our database, buyers, past owners, past sellers, and orphan data. Their job is to provide opportunities to our lead agents around listings, MAs, and more importantly, work with buyers too. It is an incubator for talent to come through the ranks to join an EBU to become an associate agent role in the future.”

With his top agents, he works more on helping them lead, build and manage their teams to build the foundations of a really good effective business unit. He says, “We’ve got two agents that write over two million in GCI. One is on their way to writing three. They’re only as good as the teams that work with them. We’ve got one agent, Ahmed, who joined our business last year. He wrote one million a year before. He’s on track to write three this year.” 

Kon keeps them grounded and focused on the basics of speaking to past clients, their current pipeline and vendors. He says, “What got them to that first million will actually help them get to that fifth million if they want to. We look at the detail around the listing, but it’s really more about how we make sure the team stays on track and everyone plays their role and people don’t go into each other’s swim lanes.” To keep them on track he asks them, “What’s your prospecting strategy look like? How are you reconnecting with your past clients? Every time you list a property, what’s the leverage process? And who does what in your team to ensure that it happens every time you take it to auction, every time you have an open, an auction, and a result.”

  1. Share the vision

Kon understands the value of transparency and authenticity as a leader in a business. He says, “I share everything. I am radically transparent with everything that we possibly do in the business. I make it really clear what I am there for. I articulate that plan. I ensure that the culture standards of our business are being met daily. I consider how we perform within our local community and what kinds of experiences we create for buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants. My job is to be the guiding force that helps the team stay on path.”

He has a grand vision for the role the agency can play in one of the most vibrant parts of Sydney. He says, “We want to create better people – whether they stay with us or leave and go somewhere else or do something different, we want to make sure that they are better than what they were when they started.” 

He sees the agency as part of a bigger play as well. He says, “For those 19 to 21-year-olds, housing affordability is becoming very, very difficult. We’d like to hope that we can give them the education tools and platforms to be able to basically change their lives. And if I fast forward in the next 24 to 36 months, we’re looking at a McGrath West investment fund where we can actually do and have access to development stock at wholesale levels to be able to give access to our people so they can grow real wealth. So our goal is to change the future for the people that work with us and the people that we have the ability to touch.”

4. Take the stackable approach

Kon believes that the foundation of a great business is the right talent and then all the other elements to success can be stacked on top. He says, “Take the talent we have, let’s get them crystallised to a very clear business plan and journey, and let’s execute. Next, stack on our scale and our results. Let’s add some really good new talent, stack that on top. Let’s have a record sale result, a key listing. And we just kept stacking and stacking. The reason why it works is everyone is in tune at the same time, with the same mission at a top line for the company and at a bottom line for them in terms of what they want to achieve. And we are all tied into it together. I can’t win unless they win, they can’t win unless I win.”

  1. The boss’s job is to generate the big leads

In addition to nurturing staff, Kon sees his job as also bringing in the opportunities and teaching how to leverage. He says, “My job is to see how or what percentage of market share we can grab. Lead generation is a massive part of what I do. We track every bit of business that we get in through the doors. Since January, we’ve had 329 leads – call-ins, walk-ins, or off the portals. But we’ve also invested in outbound lead generation strategies. We created a website, mcgrathwest.com.au, and a campaign called What’s Your Property Worth? which generated 13,000 visits to that website. Four thousand people put in their details and 1,100 actually asked for a callback or for a more accurate appraisal of their home. So we built that conceptionally. We financed that, and then we put the social media spend to provide more opportunities. We’ve taught them that one will equal three and three will equal seven and seven will equal 11. So we’ve showed them how to leverage.”

5. Facilitate consistency, process, and focus

Kon has studied the best. He says, “I was very fortunate to work with over 350 agents with McGrath and probably dealt with 500 or 600 over my time. It always came down to there were a lot of people that had a lot of potential but never realised their potential by actually doing the work. Nothing comes to you if you don’t do the work. If you’re not consistent, then it’s not going to work. And if you don’t have a process, that’s not going to work. And if you’re not focused, none of it’s going to work.”

Kon looks at how consistent people are. He asks, “How do they arrive at work? Are they prepared? Are they sticking to their ideal week, ideal day? Do they know what winning or success looks like at the end of that day? What are the coaching moments that they need? What’s their training and learning development plan that we provide but they also need to do on their own? It’s as simple and as basic and as brutal as that. When I was 21, 22 years old. I thought I had the business. They were an existing client. I assumed wrong. When I came back, my first sales manager said to me, “You missed the business because you weren’t good enough.” That always rings in my ear.”

He believes that the psychology of performance is greater than the actual act of performance. He says, “If you’ve got the mental capacity to understand how good or great you can be and you are surrounded by people that are keeping you on track and accountable and grounded, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. I’ve seen agents go from $500 to five million in my career.”

As you can see, Kon has the vision, passion and the systems to make magic happen. He says, “I’m a big believer in providing an agent services business platform. Agents essentially run their own company – their own EBU. My job is to coach, train, develop, and guide and bring leads into the business, From no EBUs, we’ve now got across our two offices in Parramatta and Blacktown to seven, with an eighth to come on board. Our goal is to get to 10 EBUs and each one of those EBUs averaging $1 million in GCI, and $10 million in GCI.”

He adds, “Our engine will take care of most of the admin. Our marketing will take care of most of the vendor-paid advertising and also agent marketing. And our property concierge will run around and give the agents more time by attending to building and pest inspections and getting the property painted or styled or prepared for launch. So I can give the agents back to the number one commodity that they want, which is time, they can use that for life purposes or business purposes, anyway they want. I think as a real estate leader, we have the responsibility to run profitable businesses that are safe and creative environments to allow talent to do their best.”

Everyone is going to be talking about McGrath Parramatta and Kon Stathopoulos.