Century 21 owner reveals his biggest mistake

Charles Tarbey, owner and chairman of Century 21 Australia, has shared one of the biggest mistakes he made as a young agent and why today’s real estate professionals are falling into the same trap.

“One of the biggest mistakes I made was trying to do too many inspects on a Saturday,” Mr Tarbey told REB.

“If you think that the vendors are not sitting across the road at the neighbour’s place having a cup of coffee and watching you work, you’re poorly mistaken,” he said. “If you’re arriving late and then rushing off to your next appointment and all you’re doing is opening up a property for inspection.”

Mr Tarbey said he recently saw an example of this while viewing a property with his son.

“I saw a person standing out the front taking my son’s name, and I told him he probably wouldn’t get a call back, which is a really sad indictment on our industry,” he said.

As more than 20 people flowed through that open home, Mr Tarbey observed that the agent did not engage with any of them.

“This is my greatest concern about open for inspections, and my greatest concern about real estate agents, is having people walk through a home and [the agents do] not talk to them at all. In fact, doing everything they can to avoid talking with someone,” he said.

“If I could give one bit of advice to agents it would be do take a walk through the home, do focus on the people who are giving you the right signs and spend some time with them. If the worst thing you can do is have a face-to-face conversation with one couple, you’ve probably done more than many real estate agents will do.”

Asked why agents are often hesitant to engage with potential clients, Mr Tarbey said it is a natural, human process.

“I’ve watched it for the last 40 years and have suffered from it myself,” he said. “You want people to know you’re in real estate, you want people to talk to you, but most of the marketing [that] agents do, whether it’s sending out email bulletins or social media, the majority of that is avoidance marketing."

Mr Tarbey said educating agents is key and that face-to-face conversations will always trump 'avoidance' marketing strategies.

[Related: Agents 'spend too much time on unproductive things']

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