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Shooting for the stars

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With Aaron Paull Mcgrath Central Coast

Conquering the world by yourself is exhausting. Aaron Paull from McGrath Central Coast has found that he is happiest selling property with his team in Killarney Heights. He says, “I figured out pretty early that you can't do a big volume by yourself. I'm no stranger to working 80-90 hours a week, but if you're working 80-90 hours a week, the quality of your presentation, your mindset, throughout any meeting that you're having with people - you're not as sharp. It's just super important to have that team there and to be present when you're with your people that you're working with.”

It took Aaron a while to find the right balance between himself, a team and owning a business. From a young age, Aaron has always owned small businesses. He says. “I had a couple of fruit shops. I've had a café. I've had a Muffin Break franchise, and a restaurant.”

Always willing to work hard, when he was running his business, he says, “I was pretty much going to burn out doing 18 to 20 hours a day. Working and living on about three hours sleep. So, if I didn't change, I was probably going to die. That life has a lot of pressure. Having $100,000 worth of stock on hand at any one time, which was perishable, was sometimes nerve wracking. It's up to the lap of the gods with electricity whether that produce is all good tomorrow or not.”

Freeing himself from the constant burden of worrying about stock and air conditioning and wanting to focus on customers, Aaron chose to enter the real estate industry. Starting off as a standalone agent, the first 18 months were like riding a roller coaster. At various times, he thought about quitting. He says, “I used to have 40 staff, and then you go down to this solo agent. You look left, look right, and you're like, ‘I'm here by myself’.”

He adds “You prospect, prospect, prospect. You get a couple listings, and you go, ‘All right, I've got to sell on these’. You work on the buyers and the open homes. Then you sell them. And, then you go, ‘Oh, shit. I've got no stock left’, so you've got to prospect, prospect, prospect. That's all good. As a solo agent, you can get to about, probably 25 odd listings and sales a year. You're up and down, up and down, up and down. I got to about $300,000 in GCI for the first part.”

Things came to a head when he had one dollar in his bank account. He came to a very important realisation about himself. He says, “Somebody told me a very, very long time ago when I was 20, when I first bought my first business, they said, ‘Employ the right people to do the right job’. For me, the admin, the marketing, the strategy around the running of the business, so to speak - my little business within their business, - that's not my strength. My strength is talking to people, listing property, talking to buyers, people in the community. And, forming relationships, so to speak, is what I'm really good at. The admin, the computers, all of that bookwork side of things is not me. So, employ the people.”

He says, “You've got to take the leap. You need it. You cannot really afford it, but you need to make sure you try to afford it. It takes a bit of courage to do that, but you need to do it and believe in yourself. If you back yourself, you'll do it.” Working with McGrath, he put on a PA on and he says, “We instantly added another $300,000 in the next three months.”

Aaron now has a team of four and they wrote $187,000 in November last year. Aaron says, “Where we're at now, is we've got four people on the team and we're projecting a huge end of this financial year, and into next financial year. So, if you don't think big enough, you'll never get there. Shoot for the stars - if you hit the moon, you've still done a reasonably good job.”

He says, “In real estate, you're in the customer service industry. I think part of the reason that my team does so well, is because I've come from serving between 5- 600 customers a day walking into the shop. That, for us, is gold. We should never forget that we're so privileged to do what we do. For vendors and sellers to trust us to handle what, for most people, is their largest asset, and to help them move on with their life.”

As a single agent, Aaron knows, “You can't be in two places at once. But my team can be in four places at once. I guess that's why our listing ratio is around 94%. When I'm up against a lot of single agents in my area, that's a massive advantage for me. Because I've built this team around me. As a single agent, they might work 8-9 hours a day. Well, the four of us, if we only worked eight hours a day, there's 32 hours of work in one day.”

When he is listing the property, Aaron says to his team, "’Guys, you're on the market with me, you're on the market every single day’. Sometimes when the sold sticker goes up, you may fall into the trap of forgetting about it, and I like to think I've got a pretty good memory, but not to rely on that - Ash actually puts it into my diary once a week to call these vendors, these buyers, for that property, that during settlement.”

He adds, “Buyers could have got a cheaper agen; they could have got cheaper marketing, and - I say this in the listing presentation - we make sure we follow-up. We do have the team around me so if they can't get me, they'll get one of the team. So, if they need to call or they need to text, or they need to whatever, they will get one of us.”

Killarney Vale is a suburb on the NSW Central Coast. Carrying up to 18 listings at a time. Aaron says, “Our average sale price in Killarney Vale is $660,000, with a starting range of $530,000.”

Often Aaron has had to battle perception that McGrath only deals with the top end of town. He says, “I've done appraisals and people have said, ‘Oh, you don't want to sell this property’. I'm like, ‘What do you mean?’ They say, ‘Like, well this is like a Holden, and you are driving a Mercedes’. I drive a Holden, but, ‘You sell these Mercedes cars, but this is like a Holden or a Kia’. I'm like, ‘You're a person, and you’re an individual. I'm here, I'm a person, I'm an individual, and I’m here to service you. It doesn't matter what the property is. We're here to help you move on with your life’, because this is about people remember, it's not about the product.”

Often Aaron has had to battle perception that McGrath only deals with the top end of town. He says, “I've done appraisals and people have said, ‘Oh, you don't want to sell this property’. I'm like, ‘What do you mean?’ They say, ‘Like, well this is like a Holden, and you are driving a Mercedes’. I drive a Holden, but, ‘You sell these Mercedes cars, but this is like a Holden or a Kia’. I'm like, ‘You're a person, and you’re an individual. I'm here, I'm a person, I'm an individual, and I’m here to service you. It doesn't matter what the property is. We're here to help you move on with your life’, because this is about people remember, it's not about the product.”

Some of Aaron’s top tips

Aaron has an outstanding team around him but he is also an exceptional leader and savvy operator.

 

1. Breakthrough lead generation strategies

Aaron understands the value of talking to people. When he was starting out, he saw opportunities to talk to vendors wanting price updates as a chance to practise how to talk to people. He says, "One thing I learned off John McGrath very quickly is you need to be a 9 out of 10 lister. So, I thought, well, role play really isn't for me, because the other person on the other side of the desk knows what you're supposed to be saying and you get a bit nervous around it and you fumble.” He decided to learn his trade with people who wanted price updates.

For one of his first chats, he did a full one and a half hour listing presentation. He learned, “All of those people mostly forget what you say, but they never forget how you make them feel and how much time you spend with them. So, pretty quickly when you start to get a few listings and start to do a few of these long listing presentation/price updates, people are blown away with the amount of information you're giving them, the time you're spending with them. They think you're really, really busy. You might only have one or two listings, so you actually have the time to spend doing that. Spending that time with people is what makes the phone ring now, I believe.”

 

2. Have an excellent follow-up and post-sale process

Aaron says, “Contact, is so important - that's actually when the journey starts, and the relationship starts. It's when it's sold and it's settled and the keys are handed over and everyone's happy that a lot of people forget about them. But eventually, those people will come around and sell again. You don't always want to think about just the dollar and getting that sale again, but a lot of our clients become our friends. Barbecues happen and this and that, and all of a sudden two and a half years into real estate, the phone is now ringing. We're almost at that tipping point. That's where everybody wants to be at but you've just got to stick it out and just keep at it.”

 

3. Go digital

Aaron says, “Letterbox dropping is huge in our core area, and it still works. It's amazing. But I believe that the digital, the text, the Web Book - they are the new letterbox drop. Facebook, social media, it's all coming around. To have 1,000 people follow my Facebook page is like there's 1,000 letterbox drops. You need to move into that next level. It's got to be work smarter, not work harder, in some points. I think we really need to be at the forefront of that. I see a lot of agents starting now to copy what we're doing and trying to emulate what we do, so you always need to be evolving, adapting, and being open to change, and not be standing at an open home with a piece of A4 paper writing somebody's name and number down with a pen. You need to check them into the property, you need to be able to send them a contract, and a frequently asked questions sheet, and a rental appraisal - and instantly. Speed to market is probably the answer.”

 

4. Focus on sold to settlement

When vendors are packing and organising everything, Aaron says, “We've got a checklist that we supply to make sure that they're ticking off: ‘Okay, we've changed the gas, we've changed the electricity account, we've done the mail redirection’. We supply all of that for them and actually help them do that if they need help.”

 

5. Love your buyers

Aaron says, “Without the buyer, there is no happy story at the end. We need to make our buyers feel like our vendors. That's how we get the results we do.”

 

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