Mr McGrath, chief executive of McGrath Estate Agents, said salespeople can boost their volumes even with 50-hour weeks as long as they spend more time with potential buyers and sellers to ask for their business.
“That’s really the only stuff that counts – the rest of it is hanging out waiting for dollar-productive activity,” he said.
Mr McGrath was speaking at the Better Business Summit, a mortgage broking event run by Real Estate Business’ sister title, The Adviser.
Mr McGrath said he learned the value of dollar-productive activity 15 years ago when he met legendary US agent Bob Bohlen, who was then writing US$4.3 million in commissions despite working in a small, semi-rural market.
“I said to him, ‘Mr Boland, what is your secret of success?’. He said, ‘John, on every single day of my working life I’m face-to-face with five qualified customers and I ask for the opportunity to do business with them'.”
Mr McGrath said people often made excuses for why they don’t spend more face-to-face time with potential clients and referral partners.
The first usually raised is lack of time. However, this was “total crap” because many agents do 60-hour weeks, he said. Subsequent excuses include being uncertain about who to prospect or what to say, but the real reason usually turned out to be fear and lack of self-belief.
“Ruthlessly eliminate all your excuses – because people have far too many excuses,” Mr McGrath said.
“If you’re not seriously organised, I’m sorry, I won’t delude you: you need to get organised. If you have a fear of prospecting, you have to get over that.
“When agents say to me, ‘I’m a bit fearful of prospecting and I don’t like rejection’, I say, ‘welcome to the club’. But you need to move through that to get to the other side.”
Mr McGrath said the only way for agents to increase volumes was to embrace new practices, otherwise the same business methods will keep producing the same results.
It’s also vital to set ambitious goals and to ignore naysayers who try to shoot them down, he said.
Mr McGrath said business conditions had never been better for anyone involved in real estate: “There is no excuse for you to not get to the next level.”