A chat with the Greats, Part 2, Greg Earney

Get to know your clients

Greg Earney is one of the leaders of Methven Professionals in Victoria. He learned a defining lesson when he was just starting out in real estate. Just twenty when he joined the family business, a pivotal conversation with his father taught him the importance of getting to know your clients in a personal way. He decided to take his father’s advice on board and has enjoyed a phenomenal real estate career ever since.

Greg tells his story about working in property management when, in his own words, he was ‘probably more focused on just getting the job done and moving on to the next thing’.

He recalls, “I had a few little issues – a few landlords and tenants didn’t like the way I was doing business with them. The situation reached a peak when, over three days, three or four landlords requested that their properties be given to other agents to manage.

“Dad took me for a drive and we parked on the side of the road a couple of kilometres from the office. We sat there and had the toughest conversation of my life. He looked at me and said, ‘Son if you were anyone else, I would give you the sack. You have two choices: either make the decision to improve, or we’ll have to find you somewhere else to work’. Dad then gave me some advice, for which I will always be grateful. He advised me to get to know these people a little better.”

The conversation with his father was a defining moment. After the longest night of his life and a lot of soul searching, Greg made the decision that he was not going to quit.

“I decided that I was going to be good at it. I bought the book, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and read it from cover to cover. I still have that book today. From that point on I made it a habit that every time I spoke to a landlord or a tenant, I would always ask how they were, what they did for a living and other general chit chat. It was amazing how much people opened up once I actually started to chat with them and get to know them on a personal level, rather than just arrange to have their problem fixed and move on.

“Around six months later, I had a German landlord named Hans, who we managed a few properties for. Chatting with him, I learned that he ran a headstone memorial business and that he loved music. At Christmas time I took him a bottle of red wine to thank him for his business. He was probably in his sixties back then and I was in my twenties. He had big blu-ray disc speakers and he put a Dire Straits record on his big-screen while we sat in his big recliners, listening. I didn’t know it at the time, but Hans had another twelve properties that were managed through other agents. Over a couple of years, I eventually earned the right to manage them all. We still manage all of his properties today, twenty years later. Doing the right thing and really trying to get to know people outside of work and their properties (this advice applies equally to sales) has been the benchmark of my career ever since.”

Greg’s golden rules

Real estate is a long-term prospect

Much of my business today comes from buyers who I first started chatting with fifteen years ago. I sold a young couple their first home and they lived there for seven years. I sold that home for them and helped them negotiate on another property, which they bought. I have since sold their brother a home and am now selling their mum’s home. I reach out to my clients all the time to ask them what’s happening. I’m just interested in getting to know them because I enjoy looking after people. Keep thinking about the long term.

People know who you are

You are never above anyone. I have a saying: we are not salespeople. We are normal people looking after other normal people. I think if you stand up for that motto you will always have a great real estate career.

Look after the buyers better than anyone else

In my opinion, offering buyers exceptional service is how your business will become strong. When people buy from you, their friends and family will ask who they bought through, especially first-time buyers. There is no better way to earn respect than if you look after someone’s kids properly. The parents will respect you 110%, even more.