The truth wins out

It is great to list a lot of properties but you need to sell them.  Conversion is king.  Australasia’s top agent tells us how he clears 8 out of every ten.

Topic – View from the top

Mentor – Malek Younan

  • Auction is the answer
  • Timeframe for the seller and agent
  • Give brutal feedback

Developing your leadership style – Jacob Aldridge – Running an income business vs an equity business


Kevin:  Recently, SQM Research Louis Christopher’s great company released its inaugural list of Australia’s top 100 residential real estate agents. The winner of that was Malek Younan, from Ray White Gladstone Park in Victoria. He is our guest all this week and we’re having a look at the judging criteria, the elements that went into nominating the winner. Things like their market share, sales numbers that we’ve looked at. Today we have a look at list to sale ratio, tomorrow it’ll be about days on market. And towards the end of the week, at the end of the week in fact, we will talk to him with a … his view on where the industry’s headed. Our guest this week is Malek Younan. Malek, moving on to another one of the stats in Louis Christopher’s graph, your conversion, or list to sale ratio, is high. It’s well over 78%. Now that’s slightly above the top 100 average, which is 73%. Tell me, are you choosy about the stock that you take on?

Malek:   Absolutely, yes. I’m in a position where I will take on obviously real estate that is priced correctly. People that are happy to sell, but they’ve got a good motive behind them, not just there to test the market. Because I believe if you don’t want to just test the market right now, to be honest they’re gonna be obviously … I guess throwing them money in terms of marketing, I don’t want them to do that. It doesn’t give us a good clearance rate, so we want as well. And again, it all starts from honesty from day one, but yeah I do pick and choose my clientele and then who … which time I want to sell and which clients I want to deal with. Because if they’re on the right positive energy as me and my team, then I’m more than happy to partner up with them.

Kevin:  Do you reject many?

Malek:   I don’t, I don’t. I don’t reject many. I’m a bit of a control freak too. I don’t reject many, but I will pick and choose in terms of laying the truth on the line, and if someone said, “Malek, well that’s what I want, I won’t sell it for anything less,” I’ll handle them to my next competitor.

Kevin:  Now the thing I’ve learned about top performers is that they don’t make decisions. We don’t make decisions about which properties are gonna sell. I think when you start to make decisions about what buyers look like, or hear genuinely someone when they [inaudible 00:02:01], how genuine someone is when they come to one of your open homes. I reckon that’s the start of failure. To keep an open mind. That’s the reason I asked you that question. I’m so pleased you said that you don’t knock back a lot. Can I ask you then, at some stage you’re gonna be taking on listings that really need a bit more work in terms of where the seller is at to make the market, or the market might be tough, or it might be declining. Tell … and this is not a really good word, but I will use it. How brutal are you with your feedback when you find that you’ve got an overpriced property, or a seller who’s not gonna listen to you? Tell me about that conversation.

Malek:   Yep, it’s five letters. It’s truth. So I just lay it down straight. If you had three people through an open and I get feedback on every single one of them. And if all three say to me, [inaudible 00:02:54], if they had to make an offer and buy it today, what would you pay? And obviously buyers always have a bit of room to move, which is fine, but if the owner is, for example, minimum 70 to 100 thousand away from that, and the bar feedback is coming on a recurrence feedback to that amount, I will tell them, “Go. This is what the feedback is. This is where the market’s at. These are the comparable sales, what’s selling around you. And if you’re not going to make that market, and you’re just going off by, well that’s what I need to sell, well it doesn’t happen.” One plus one doesn’t equal seven.

So you just need to be truthful, and this is what a lot of real estate agents make a mistake with. When they don’t know the area, they’ll value a property differently, they’ll get their owner’s obviously expectations really high, and they won’t deliver. And that’s how obviously a lot of agents have a bad name, but in our case, again, it comes with experience, 16 years or so, you need to know your core area, you need to be truthful, you need to go in there with a nice report, comparable homes, what they’re selling for, tell them the truth. If we can get them $50,000 more, we will get it. That is something that we always say. We will never say never to what you will achieve. At the same time, we’re pretty much on point with their value. Pretty much on point. Just the truth, Kevin, the truth.

Kevin:  Yeah, I love that. It’s so simple, and you can even say that to a seller, can’t you? You can say look, you’re not gonna get any hype from me, what you will get is the truth. And I think you’re right. I think a lot of agents too actually wrap their sellers in cotton wool, they don’t wanna give them the bad news for fear of making an enemy, when it’s not about that at all. I don’t know how many times I’ve actually spoken to a seller. Giving them some hard news, which have then taken on board, they’ve made the right decision and moved on and they’ve said to me, thank you. I mean, that’s their role.

Malek:   Bingo. Bingo, Kevin. You’re talking straight from my heart. I’ve had clients say to me, “Malek,” … two months after they sell, like [inaudible 00:04:53]. They’ve said, “You know what Malek, I’ve just saw a home, I saw two or three homes sell in my area in the last two months since I’ve sold mine, much less. I appreciate you telling me, based on what the feedback was, that is a great offer. Based on what you were showing me, and I’m so wrapped that you told me that, because if you didn’t, Malek, you’re the professional, I rely all my trust on you, if you didn’t, if you said no I won’t reach for more, I would potentially [inaudible 00:05:17], I would potentially got less now. And I thank you. And I said, “Go. All I’m telling you is the truth. If I’m selling your home, it’s pretty much like I’m selling my own home and I’ll tell you just the truth and what I need to tell you from all the knowledge that I know. I’m not perfect, but I’ll tell you exactly what I know. And it’s proven in this report, in this ranking. Obviously you had them make as much as all these other agents, which make up to massive, massive, massive dollars, but it’s what sellers want that I’m very happy and proud to say that I’ve reached on the way.

Kevin:  Yeah, and that’s why I’m delighted to be talking to you too, cause that is what it’s all about. It’s actually about meeting that seller expectation.

Malek:   Yep. Yep.

Kevin:  Okay. Selling almost eight out of 10 listings is one thing. But I think it’s key now that we talk about days on market, it’s very impressive, 29 days. The average over the top 100 is 35 days. Yep, you’re under that. Tell me your method of marketing. Do you do many auctions?

Malek:   Yes. I’ll often ease auction driven. Pretty much 100% of our properties are auction driven. And we pretty much have a full week campaign to execute. So majority of our scheduled listings, 90% of them will go to auction. 10% may sell before if they have a really good offer that we cannot take the risk of running to auction, but it’s auction driven. We have a process over four weeks for feedback, then all catch ups. Give them a report, give them a good favour for what’s happening, every time what’s happening. And that is what I believe is essential in order, like you said, to give a 28 to 29 days on the average day on market. To achieve owners’ expectations is brilliant. It’s procedure, auction driven, and again, just the truth. It’s just the truth, so they made market level.

Kevin:  Yeah, and I could’ve almost written the script for that answer because all of the stats indicate that you’ve gotta be on auction offers. Where you’ve got a 75% success rate, list to sale, you’ve got 29 days on market. All of this to me screams auction. Is auction a popular method of sale in your area?

Malek:   It is, it is. In my core it is. There’s a lot of agents now … it’s funny, they’re getting, I think, a bit scared from the market. Some of them are avoiding auctions. Fear of failure, fear of not selling properly. Everyone has fears, but we have a process which overcomes fear. We can back ourselves up, add knowledge, a good, energetic approach. We’re positive, and I guess agents are fearful of auctioneering or auctions is the fear of being disappointed, and being disappointed in front of a crowd, or looking bad. We have a process. We strive for that. And if we don’t sell on auction, we don’t sell on auction day, [inaudible 00:08:20], we will sell it very shortly after that.

Kevin:  It’s interesting. I mean, most sellers don’t like the concept of auction, for whatever reason. No matter whether you’re in Victoria or Queensland, or New South Wales. It’s the skill of the agent to be able to demonstrate that they know what the auction process is all about, and at a time when sellers are probably saying, “I don’t want to go to auction. I’ll just put a price on it and let’s see where we go,” weaker agents will actually move to that. They’ll slide down that slippery pole. I think you’ve gotta hold. If you really are on auction offers, you gotta hold it.

Malek:   Yeah you cannot be … To be a top performer, to be a top sales consultant, to be a top director, to be a top office, it starts from the bottom. You cannot be a order taker. You’re a professional. I don’t go to the osteopath and say, “Can you rub my back this way?” I do not tell them that. I say, “Fix my issues best as you can, and I trust you,” and what he advise me. And I truly believe, I truly believe, and this is my mindset, Kevin, I am a professional at what I do. I’m skilled, I’m not an apprentice. I am … I specialise in real estate in my area. So I’ve got a procedure, I’ve got a process. And the outcome, which is shown in these figures, extra well. Above average in Australia, not just Victoria. So that’s how simple it is. Trust your real estate agent and I think you should be fine.

Kevin:  Tomorrow, to round this series out with Malek, we’re gonna talk to him about his seller meetings, how structured they are, how he stays motivated, and what he thinks about where the industry is headed. Back once again, Malek Younan, tomorrow morning.

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