The interviewer finally gets interviewed

I’m usually the one asking the questions. But this week, I had the honour and pleasure of being interviewed by Michael Valdes from the Global Luxury Real Estate Mastermind podcast.

Here are some of the takeaways from the interview.

Everything you do in life will make a difference to right now

For those of you who don’t know, my first job was as a plumber. I loved being a plumber. I didn’t realise it back then but it’s been so important for my whole career.

Plumbing gave me a brilliant knowledge of buildings and construction. I work with a lot of engineers now, and the first thing I say is, ‘Everything has got to go somewhere.’ And it’s true. Even after all these years later – I work in flow. Every bit of data has got to go somewhere.

With plumbing, I also learned all the basics of lead generation and conversion. We had an incredible lead generating system. Every hot water system had a sticker on it. If the hot water service needed replacing, a client would call our number and that would be a lead. I would then convert the lead by having the important conversation and closing with, ‘Would you like me to put your quote in writing for you?’ I used those very words in real estate.

Telling stories wins clients

Half way though my plumbing apprenticeship, they took me off the tools because they learned that I could get a lot of ladies to say yes, when I went out and did quotes for new bathrooms and kitchens. So I went into the lead conversion department. I realised I was really good with words. I saw a job in real estate with no experience necessary and that was it. I went into real estate.

Learn from the best people

Starting in real estate at 22 years of age, I worked for an incredible leader. I only worked for one leader in the ten years I worked as a real estate agent. I met the right leader at the right time. He was passionate about training and I think he is where I got my passion and love of training.

I learn when I teach

My boss was an incredible recruiter. If we had ten desks full, he’d be constantly showing ten people through a week. He’d find odd bods like me – plumbers who became a superstar, the guy from the bottle shop. He’d always start people in threes, thinking one would work out.

One day, he asked who would take the new group through the listing presentation.

One of the guys asked, ‘How much will I get paid?’

My boss said, ‘I wouldn’t pick you anyway. You shouldn’t have asked that question.’

And I said, ‘Oh, I’ll do it.’

He said, ‘Means you’ve got to be in at seven o’clock. Do all the scripts and dialogues. Answer all their objections. Get them started. Get them through the listing system.’

I said, ‘All good. I can do that.’

And that is where the magic happened. You learn when you teach.

These new guys would come in thinking I was teaching them, but it was the opposite. I learned everything. They would throw all these objections at me. In the afternoon, I’d go out and do appraisals and I was like a ninja.

You wouldn’t want to be up against me on that day. I was listing properties and people would say, ‘We’ll go with you,’ and I’d say, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to think it over?’

Teaching others how to sell, made my career!

Don’t say no

I hit the ground running in real estate. I hit the top two per cent of agents in my group, in my first year. I listed 15 properties in one month. I was the number one sales person in the First National Network. There was a lot of interest. People would ask, how are you doing it? How are you repeating that performance?

One Sunday, I got a call, from the head of the network and he said, ‘We’ve got a big conference up in Queensland, we’ve got a big speaker who has pulled out. You’re on.’

I said, ‘What am I talking about?’

He said, ‘The achievement of real estate which means you can speak about anything. Just get up there. Get on a plane and go.’

I didn’t say no. I’d never spoken at a conference. I got on a plane and went. It was a massive hit. I wasn’t the keynote speaker. But because I was from the street, from the grit and I explained what I do and say – everyone said, ‘Who’s that guy?’ And that got me recognised by John McGrath and John said, ‘Would you come and do some work for us?’

My career as a trainer just went from there. I was taken up by five of the biggest businesses in Australia. When someone asks you to do something, you haven’t done before – say yes.

Know who you are and send the right signals

As an agent, it is really important that you know who you are and you send the signals you want to send.

When you leave a room, what impression do you want to leave people with?

Get your agent proposition right – and your marketing will flow. Work out if you are about ego or info. If one agent posts, ‘Last year, I did five billion in sales’ and another posts, ‘Last year I helped 150 people reach their property goals,’ which one would you do business with?

You don’t want customers, you want clients. You are helping people move. It can be one of the biggest changes in people’s lives. You have to earn the seat. You want to be seen as a trusted advisor.

Being approachable and helpful is something that people pick up on. If you are going to look after the purchasing community, and potential sellers, your role is to give advice and to be approachable.

Focus and superglue yourself to the purchasing community

The buyer/seller is the best lead in any database. Where, why and when are the three most powerful questions, I have ever learned.

Become an absolutely brilliant multimedia agent

Look down the barrel of a camera and shoot off a video message. Be good at social media marketing. Master Zoom. Be comfortable with being in front of the camera.

Most of my referrals did not come from people who bought from me

Never forget you are in the business of helping people. Not just the buyer and seller in front of you. There were a lot of people I helped along the way, I didn’t sell their house or they didn’t buy from me. But they observed me and they liked the way I handled sales and they referred me to other buyers and sellers.

Remember everyone is taking your measure.

Business is about building advocates. Be humble. Help people.

When I started I was only 22 years of age. I didn’t realise how the payment structure worked. I got a cheque for $40,000.

I said, ‘What’s this?’

And the boss said, ‘You’ve sold ten houses.’

I went home, my Mum thought I had been dealing drugs. I didn’t ever focus on the money or the transaction. I always focussed on, helping people move.