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Who are your biggest career influences?

17 July 2017 Piers van Hamburg

Last month I wrote about meeting my old boss, Gareth Axtens, 20 years ago at a wedding. He offered me a job and was very much my mentor, taking me under his wing and teaching me the craft of real estate.

He was an extremely talented agent and a natural salesperson. I really looked up to him, learning everything I could under his guidance. 

One of the most critical things I learnt from him was the importance of building rapport with clients. He was, and still is, genuinely interested in people, and his insatiable curiosity led to an authentic connection; he could empathise and quickly establish trust. He realised that people love to talk about themselves, and Gareth’s interest in them via his questions got them to open up and communicate beyond small talk. Rarely did he talk about the property, the conversation always focused on them and their lives. I learnt invaluable sales skills off Gareth and I am most grateful for his influence in shaping my career.

We are still good mates today. 


In later years my business partner Dean Mackie has also been a significant influence. Dean has pushed me hard to always strive for improvement and continually challenge myself. However, Dean is not a real estate agent. He is an astute businessman whose vision and thinking has really tested me and driven me forward in my career. With Dean as my business partner, I have had to become comfortable being permanently uncomfortable.

Cruising along and playing it safe simply do not achieve growth – personally, professionally or financially. 

Other great influences over the years have been John McGrath, Dr Fred Grosse, and many of my present and former colleagues. 

Choose well

My point being that you should never underestimate just how much influence the people around you will have on your success. Keep company with average people in an average environment and you will end up average. Be very selective about who you spend your time with. Negative people will drain your energy and limit your growth. However, surround yourself with motivated people who have energy, wisdom, and vision, and you will at least be sailing closer to the stars!  

Positivity and enthusiasm are contagious if you spend time with people who possess these attributes; you will benefit in every aspect of your life.

When selecting your mentor, try and find someone who you would like to be like. We all have different definitions of success, so it is important to choose someone who shares the same ethos as yourself; someone you respect, admire and trust; someone whose success you would like to emulate.

These days I consciously try to be a positive influence on the team in my office. I don’t claim to be the greatest teacher; however, I know that if I can lead by example and practice world-class real estate ethically and professionally, then others will (hopefully) follow. I am mindful that I am in a position of influence in my office, in setting the energy, ethos and business practices. I take this role very seriously. Growing and developing our talent internally produces outstanding results – we have seen some of our most successful agents work their way from the ground up … and they keep soaring.

Next month, I will discuss dealing with the highs and lows of real estate, and the benefits of taking a long-term approach to your career. Happy selling ... Piers

Who are your biggest career influences?
piersvanhamburg iiiart 250x250 jul2017
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Piers van Hamburg

Piers van Hamburg

Positive, enthusiastic and experienced, Piers van Hamburg has been achieving great results for his clients for almost two decades.

As the director of McGrath Neutral Bay, Mosman, Northbridge and Chatswood offices Piers has built a reputation for service excellence.

Piers is consistently ranked in the REB Top 100 Agents ranking.

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