How to be a $1m Agent in any Business
Real estate agent, auctioneer and property investor Adam Flynn grew his business by 700 per cent in the last five years. Here’s how to achieve the same success in any industry.
Real estate was my passion long before it was my career. I dropped out of school in Year 11 but I always had a lot of ambition. I knew I wanted to get into real estate, but I had to wait until I was 18 before I could enter the industry.
Very early on I figured out that the key to success in the real estate business is in securing listings. A vendor might interview four or five potential agents to sell their house, so having a strong presentation strategy is crucial in getting them to choose you over the competition.
I’ve spent my career testing and refining my listing presentation from every possible angle to find the most effective process, which I now pass on to new agents at Biggin & Scott Knox through my training program, the $1m Agent System. An agent undertaking this training early in their career will typically go from writing around $160,000 annually in commissions to $800-900,000 within a year, through achieving a 90 per cent conversion rate.
I’m no stranger to this kind of rapid growth. My co-director at Biggin & Scott Knox, Danelle Hunter, and I have grown the business by 700 per cent in five years, starting with one office which then grew to five, with another two on the horizon.
I have a burning desire to win, and throughout my career I’ve been guided by a set of principles that have kept me on track to being one of the best in my industry. These principles aren’t specific to the property business – I believe they are transferable across industries so that any small business can achieve the same level of success that I have enjoyed.
Hire for attitude over skill
The most important thing is to recruit and train good people. When hiring new staff, look for candidates with a great attitude who are going to buy into your vision as a business. You want staff who are going to commit to the business and feel a sense of ownership in watching it grow. Don’t settle for a list of skills – go for candidates who display enthusiasm, persistence, grit, consistency and team commitment.
Then train them. Provide them with everything they need to learn the ins and outs of your business. And if at first they don’t succeed, give them even more training. I put all new agents at my office through my $1m Agent System training. After a month of implementing the system, I get them to perform a listing presentation with a simple pass or fail result. If they don’t pass, that’s okay – they get more training and try again. It might seem like a big investment in time and resources, and it is – but it will pay off dividends down the track. Staff who are more invested in the success of the business are more likely to stick around for the long haul. Skills can be taught, but the wrong attitude or bad behaviour is much harder to change.
Fire up their strengths
I have a saying that’s helped me focus on my strengths throughout my career – stay in the flame, not in the wax. The ‘flame’ is someone’s sweet spot – it’s where they’re in their element and firing on all cylinders. The wax, on the other hand, is what slows people down – their weaknesses.
If you put your staff in areas where they can make the best use of their talents, they will thrive. Don’t waste too much time struggling to eradicate weaknesses. Let your staff do what they do best, and fill skills gaps by hiring people for whom those weaknesses are strengths.
Self-awareness is key here. You need to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses as a business owner and a leader, so that you can stay away from your areas of weakness and outsource those tasks to someone who can do them in their sleep. It improves efficiency immensely and everybody’s happy because they’re doing what they love.
Build a replicable process
As previously mentioned, every new agent we recruit at Biggin & Scott Knox goes through my $1m Agent System training. This system teaches agents how to secure enough listings to build up to $1m in commissions in a year. In this training session, I walk agents through every moment of my listing presentation process, from the first phone call to where I park my car, how far I stand from the front door and what I do and say when the client invites me inside.
The structure of my listing presentation is always exactly the same, tried and tested over 20 years of selling property. Developing a process, applying it consistently and communicating it effectively to the team is critical to the success of any business. It reduces the risk of someone making an error and makes it easier to identify what is wrong when business dries up. Whenever one of my agents tells me they missed a listing, I get them to run me through a listing presentation to make sure they are following it to the letter. If they are taking shortcuts or missing even the tiniest step, it can make all the difference in making or losing the listing.
Having a replicable process in place deals with the friction that comes with scaling your business. New staffers can get up and running quickly and working to the template that you have already rigorously tested in the field. It’s also important to keep your own knowledge up to date. Everything in the training is based on my own experience – I’m still active in listing properties and wrote $2m in sales last year, all while gathering valuable data on what works and what doesn’t.
In addition to making sure everyone on the team is following a tried and tested process, you also need to set standards for behaviour in the business – and stick to them. Things like punctuality, personal presentation, adhering to business processes and order of business in meetings should be upheld as sacrosanct, and any violations of these rules must be taken seriously. As soon as you let standards slip with one person, others will follow suit. Maintain clear boundaries around what is and is not acceptable within the business.
Hold people accountable
All of the advice I’ve listed above is worth nothing unless you hold the people in your business accountable. Are they following all of the protocols you’ve set down? Do they consistently meet your non-negotiables? If not, it’s time to take action to rectify the situation.
One area where I see a lot of business owners run into trouble is when they have a high performer on their team who refuses to play by the rulebook. The temptation is to ignore the bad behaviour and accept it as part of the deal. However, one of the worst things you can do is let high performers run rings around you just because they get results. It goes back to the first point – attitude. A high performer with a bad attitude will poison the culture around them. The second you start thinking you should probably sack someone is the moment you probably should.
Whatever line of business you’re in, adopting the principles outlined will lead to huge opportunities for growth. It’s all about establishing a set of rules to operate by and ensuring that you stick to them. Time and time again, I have found that consistency is the key to unlocking long-term success.
Adam Flynn is the CEO and Director of Biggin & Scott Knox, an award winning Sales Agent, Auctioneer and Property Investor. Adam is recognised as one of Melbourne’s most successful Agents, having grown his franchise from one office to five in just five years after developing the $1M Agent System, an innovative methodology designed to take an Agent with limited experience to writing approximately $1M within 12 months by providing a system which helps them achieve a 90 per cent listing conversion rate.