Stockdale & Leggo estate agent Benjamin Hollow was struck by lightning, a horrible accident that killed his partner and left him critically injured. After multiple surgeries and three weeks in the hospital, he was left without sensation from the pelvis down. Now back at work, this brave, astute soldier is listing and selling as many properties as he did before the accident — just now with a little help from his friends.
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Mr Hollow worked with Stockdale & Leggo for a little over three years before the accident. It’s now been six months since it happened.
He is determined to piece his life together and continue to grow and succeed in his real estate career.
“I’m a firm believer that our personal circumstances or physical capabilities don’t define who we are or what we can achieve,” Mr Hollow told REB.
“It’s been a case of really structuring my work and what I do and streamlining my work activities, because I am no longer able to get around. I rely on my colleagues and peers to help me with what I need to do.”
He said that he is not able physically to move around freely, so it is a case of finding other ways and means of doing the job.
One of them is booking all of his appointments well in advance.
“For example, from 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning, the first thing I do is get onto my emails and then my phone calls. I block two hours in the morning to make my prospecting calls, so nothing can interfere with that.
“Because if I don’t have that structure around what I do, I don’t have the flexibility to pick up the phone and then go and meet a client within a couple of hours’ time.
“In the 48 hours prior, I would have already set my appointments of appraisals and opens for inspection, so I then get stuck into those appointments. I have already arranged with my colleagues for them to be able to assist me.”
Mr Hollow said that the help he gets from his colleagues is priceless.
“I am still able to talk and communicate with clients on a business level, but from a physical perspective, they come with me for support. They’ll be the one that take notes and drive me to the appointment.
“At a show house, I would always have a member of the team with me. Setting up at an open for inspection is a big thing, especially to display all of the material that we need, putting out the flags and the ‘For Sale’ boards.”
Mr Hollow said that he gets a “mixed review” in the marketplace.
“On a business level, some people do question my ability to be able to get the end result — and that is okay.
“But generally speaking, a lot of my clients are very supportive and understanding to what has happened to me as an individual. A lot of people can see past my physical [challenges] and they are also there to support me on a personal level, not just on a business level.”
Mr Hollow is proud of his successes.
“The biggest thing that I have realised in my business, despite my physical circumstances, is that I am still achieving the results that I was achieving before my accident.
“I have actually had clients that have waited for me to return to work before they put their properties on the market, which is fantastic.
“And from a success perspective, I guess my biggest success is being able to maintain my figures despite my circumstances.”
In the six months since returning to work, Mr Hollow has sold five properties and has a further two that are still conditional.
“Surprisingly enough, my listing ratio has gone up under the circumstances. I’d like to think that is not just based around sympathy, but rather my ability to still do what I can do.”
He said that he “absolutely” sees a long and prosperous future in real estate.
“To be really honest, real estate is not a career for me, it’s a passion. It’s not a job to me; it’s a lifestyle which I really enjoy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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