James Tostevin wins listings by tracking clients for decades

Australia’s number one agent is so hungry for business that he makes 200 prospecting calls per week and nurtures relationships over several decades.

James Tostevin, who has taken the top spot on the Top 100 Agents ranking for the past three years, said the secret to his success is that he blocks out hours of time each day for prospecting.

“So many mates have said to me, ‘why do you keep making the phone calls? People will remember you’. Well, what if they don’t remember me?” he said.

“I've got listings at the moment where I've been in touch with people for 18 years, 21 years and 27 years.”

Mr Tostevin, who works for Marshall White in Melbourne, sold 187 properties worth a total of $350.2 million in 2014.

He said the advantage of continually following up with old contacts is that they are more likely to choose him when they decide to list and less likely to then question his fees.

“I’m impatient with a lot of things, but in real estate I’m patient. Who tracks someone for 27 years? Who tracks someone for their entire career just to get a listing? Who does that? I do,” Mr Tostevin said.

“Michael Sheargold talks about frequency building trust. The more contact we have with someone – if you’re likeable, it’s got to help you get business.”

John McGrath believes agents should set aside 90 minutes of outbound prospecting calls into their daily schedule, preferably earlier in the day.

Mr McGrath said agents should call their list of vendors and their list of people who are just about to list – every single one on every single day.

Agents should also speak to five old database contacts and five new people who could provide business in the near future, according to Mr McGrath.

“All this should be done between 9:30am and 10am, depending on your own personal schedule,” he said.

“Then what I want you to do between 10am and 6pm for the rest of the day is to see five people, face to face, that can say 'yes' to listing through you or buying from you.”

[Related: James Tostevin explains how to hold firm on commissions]


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