As a special bonus for all the Real Estate Grow subscribers, we’ve distilled two days (and 35 speakers) worth of the Australian Real Estate Conference (AREC 2016) into these 5 Mission Critical points for Principals.
The theme of AREC 2016 was Rainmakers, and the focus on top performing sales agents – rather than business leadership and strategy – was apparent. That’s fairly common in our industry, and part of the reason Real Estate Grow exists. These key lessons are all targeted at the Principal and Director level. The links on speakers’ names will take you the live blog of their specific presentation.
1. WHY do you own THIS real estate business?
Every business starts with this question, and every decision in business brings you back: Why are you building a business, in this industry, in your area? What’s your Vision, and what’s your Purpose?
The different speakers had different ways of asking this. Mat Steinwede talked to the Power of WHY. Gavin Rubinstein tells you to find your FIRE! Jared Cooksley frames the question nicely – What does success TRULY look like to you? And have you shared that with your team, your business coach, your partners – because if you haven’t, how can they help you achieve it?
Josh Phegan quotes Google’s Larry Page:
Dream Big, because big dreams and mediocre dreams take the same amount of energy.
There’s a related question that I feel is critical for real estate Principals, especially selling Principals. Are you a Real Estate Agent who also owns a business … or are you a Business Owner who has chosen to own a real estate business?
Vivien Yap and Monika Tu were my two favourite presenters, and for this reason – they are business owners first, and it shows. Many Principals I speak to across Australia own the business because they thought they’d make a little more money or have a little more control that way. If that’s you, that’s ok … but what if you did decide to Dream Big instead?
The Vision becomes a Strategy, the Dream becomes a Plan. And then you execute that plan consistently.
2. Consistency is more important than Disruption.
As you’d expect, with Tom Panos as MC and the Exhibition Hall as well, AREC talked a lot about ‘Systems’ – both process and technology. I once worked in an office that wrote $250 million in sales using a database from the early 1990s – success isn’t about technology, it’s about consistency.
This is the Mission Critical learning in among ALL the talk about specific systems, KPIs and so on. Improving your systems by a little or a lot is pointless if you don’t consistently apply them across your team. Consistency is the key to Amplified Results; a culture of continual improvement can then continue to build and improve.
Take Jared Cooksley from New Zealand – his marketing strategy includes ideas that were old 20 years ago (colouring-in competitions anyone?) BUT the office does them consistently, with purpose, and they create results.
Here’s a great example of a Salesperson system in action, which Will Phillips repeated with Tom Panos on stage. As I wrote about in my live-blog, Will isn’t making up those questions on the spot – he knows them because he asks them every time.
What about a business owner system? How about your Induction and Training Program – we saw several versions of those at AREC. So which is better: Ivan Bresic’s ‘Buyer First’ approach? Or Josh Phegan’s priority order? Or Mat Steinwede’s process? Maybe Zali Reynold’s farm system? In reality, it doesn’t really matter – any of those (clearly) will work, and the right solution for your office may be a combination or something completely different. What makes them work, over and above the specifics of the system, is ensuring you implement them consistently.
3. Knowledge isn’t Power until it’s applied.
Ah, Implementation. Robin Banks said it right at AREC 2016’s first presentation:
“Knowledge isn’t Power until it’s applied.”
And this is relevant to every conference, podcast, blog etc. As a business leader, especially in the real estate industry which values learning so highly, there’s always more information to be gained. But the value isn’t in the learning, it’s in determining which information is going to help and then fully executing that knowledge.
So who is helping you apply the right knowledge? This is where Coaching and Mentoring was raised by many of the top performers – unlike Training, which has a ‘one to many’ approach, Coaching is personalised to your Vision, your challenges, and helping you apply the right knowledge for you. Robin also alluded to the ‘Hot Tub’ effect of Conferences – all warm and fuzzy when you’re in it, but as soon as you hop out the warmth goes away and you’re left by yourself again.
Repetition and execution are the difference between successful Principals and those who ‘know what to do’ but aren’t actually doing it. You need to ask yourself why you’re not implementing … and if that doesn’t change things, you may need someone else to hold you accountable.
The value in practicality, not theory, applies to more than conferences. It’s valuable when things go wrong as well. As Nigel Marsh explained, things always go wrong – that’s business, not a sign of personal failure. So when they do, he asks himself 3 questions:
- “What’s good about this (bad situation)?”
- “What can I learn from this?” and
- “How can I improve the situation now?”
Bringing the experience into a lesson and then immediately into action. That’s powerful.
4. Exceptional Customer Experiences
If you’ve watched my talk about ‘Disruption’ (NOT TECHNOLOGY!!), you’ll remember that in the Blockbuster v Netflix discussion I also talk about how Movie Cinemas were worried that video stores would send them out of business. They solved that problem … as we in the real estate industry must do … by shifting focus from the ‘product’ (watching a movie) to the ‘customer experience’ (Gold Class surround sound in 3D).
Exceptional Customer Experiences were raised by many Rainmakers at AREC2016. In your office, these need to be led from the Principal down – ensuring a consistently excellent experience by every client (Seller, Buyer, Landlord, Tenant) regardless of which agent, property manager or team member they deal with.
The hot topic of Chinese buyers gave several speakers – I’m thinking particularly of Vivien Yap, Julia Kuo and Sam Guo here – the opportunity to talk about the expectations and values of this demographic, and how crucial it is that you understand and deliver on those. Monika Tu calls her team Property Concierges, knowing that’s exactly the premium level of service her multi-million dollar Chinese buyers want and expect.
But this applies to every client, every listing. If Alexander Phillips can deliver “6 Star” Customer Service managing 20-25 listings, you can certainly do it managing 2-6 at a time. “Oh, but he has 4 assistants,” you say – I must have missed the memo outlawing the recruitment of a PA in your State? (Seriously – we run recruitment projects in offices, and can help you find assistants from $220/week.)
The average real estate agent in Australia earns less than $80,000 per annum and never recruits an assistant. Those two are linked – not to each other, but to the higher mindset about growing a business not just earning personal income.
As Alex Ouwens and Nathan Casserly pointed out, customer expectations are increasing. If everyone does it, it’s not exceptional, and the highest standards today won’t cut it in the future.
The Customer Experience is all wrapped up in your Brand and Culture, so heed the advice of many speakers to ‘Be Authentic’. Keynote speaker Fredrik Eklund from Million Dollar Listing New York was a hyper example of this, but it came through from many of the speakers. Why is this part of the Customer Experience? Because your authenticity attracts clients who want to work with someone like you – your ideal clients benefit when you are you.
Delivering great customer experiences while being real ensures you create the raving fans in your network that make you an attraction agent.
5. Manage Your Energy
Are you tired? How about your team? And what impact do you reckon that’s currently having on the client experience they’re delivering?
The final AREC2016 Mission Critical takeaway was the importance of managing your energy, and your team’s energy.
The top performers listed a lot of their solutions:
- scheduled annual holidays (Alexander Phillips),
- mindfulness and meditation (Kate Strickland),
- exercise (D’Leanne Lewis),
- affirmations (Robin Banks),
- having the right workspaces (Ricky Cave includes his car and favourite cafes in that list), and
- dealing openly with Listings that you lose (Julia Kuo and Sam Guo).
Success is more about mindset than skill set.
Phil also described the real estate agent of the future as “Intensely Trained, Rapid Growth, Saturation Marketing, Massive Leverage, Brand within a Brand, Nice Guy Approach, Pro Athlete Fit”. Now THAT’S both energising and demanding of your energy as a leader.
The answer isn’t applying all of these energy solutions to yourself. Now you’re screaming at me – “but knowledge isn’t power until it’s applied” and “you have to do that consistently”! First, however as Suzanne King explained, you need to understand your own personal Success Code, rather than copying another’s approach. If weekly golf and loads of good coffee works for you, don’t drop them because the top agent in your office is into yoga and acai bowls! This approach connects with all the Authenticity discussions.
For Principals, this is about Leadership and creating a platform for great agents to know themselves and succeed. One of the best tools I’ve found for this looks at the Real Estate business in cycles – not just the property cycles, but the energy cycles that offices and (at their own pace) agents and property managers move through.
The biggest risk from Conferences like AREC 2016 (or AREC 2017 if you’re thinking of attending) is copying the content of top performing offices without realising they’re in a completely different cycle to you. You can’t copy the energy management of an established Profit Cycle business when you’re in the startup Hype Cycle, it won’t work. That’s why our Business & Vision Reviews always include education about the 5 Cycles of a Real Estate business and how to manage your energy for the roller-coaster ride.
So there’s your Top 5 Mission Critical lessons from AREC 2016
I’m going to finish with a great quote from Gavin Rubinstein, Ray White’s #1 Agent worldwide.
“Let’s talk about Mentors. Poor performers can’t afford them. Top performers can’t imagine life without them.”
For sales agents, there has never been more choice for mentoring and training. But for you, the Agency Principal or Director, that’s not the right mentoring. You don’t need a personal coach, you need a business coach who can bring all of these mission critical elements and help you apply them to your business, your dream.
I’d like to be that business coach. My passion is creating wealth for real estate Principals, and to show you I’m serious I’d be delighted to come meet with you or arrange a phone conversation to discuss your Vision, all cost and obligation free.
When was the last time you had an honest conversation about your business?
Call me, Jacob Aldridge, on 0427 151 181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to talking with you soon.