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Top highlights from AREC 2024

By Juliet Helmke, Orana Durney-Benson
28 May 2024 | 13 minute read
AREC 2024 top highlights reb ih72ej

AREC 2024 welcomed a record crowd to the Gold Coast Conference & Exhibition Centre with more than 5,000 industry professionals showing up to sharpen their skills and learn from leaders inside and outside of real estate.

This year, the message that unified many of the speakers who addressed the crowd either in the main arena or the property management-focused breakout space was about hard work, discipline, and the importance of getting to know yourself.

Over the past few years, it’s clear that many property professionals have been impacted by the roller-coaster ride of the market. Those who joined during the early COVID-19 boom when it seemed like any house would sell itself were either absent, have left the industry, or are now determined to build a toolbox that will equip them in more challenging conditions.

The speakers seemed keenly aware of these needs, and a range of voices shared their thoughts on the skills that have allowed them to survive and even excel in ups and downs. They painted a realistic picture of how schedules are arranged to facilitate this work, and they emphasised that harnessing personal strengths and community dynamics are key to staying sane in a fast-moving industry.

Here are some of the standout lessons from AREC 2024:

Ryan Serhant reveals the power of persistence

Million Dollar Listing star Ryan Serhant – who boasts a sales total of more than $6 billion – shared the story of closing his first big sale, which involved months of silence on the part of a mysterious buyer who nonetheless insisted he was good for his $8.3 million offer. After sending a deposit and then disappearing for stretches at a time, Serhant regularly wondered if the sale would go through. When it finally did, he queried the mystery man about what motivated him to buy the property.

“One night I was on the internet. And I was drunk looking at apartments in New York City. And then you just kept following up with me and I felt really bad for you.”

“I will follow up with you until you buy, or you die.”

How Ryan Reynolds deals with rejection

Zooming in from Budapest, this year’s star-power speaker offered some advice on working in an industry where hearing “no” is part of the job.

“It’s shocking how closely parallel my business is with everyone in [the AREC] room. To work in real estate and to work in show business, I don’t know the percentages but I would venture to guess they’re right up there with mine in terms of rejection: 90 per cent of the time you’re being told ‘no’. You have to be able to roll with the punch and have some kind of mystical miracle belief in yourself to keep going,” he said.

Reynolds believes that staying true to his values allowed him to make connections that lifted him up despite rejection or failure, whereas the contemporaries that he saw leading with ego had little cushion when things went wrong, and many subsequently fell out of the industry.

“If you have integrity and you operate with some degree of kindness, generally when you fail, others will be there to give you a hand up.”

Fiona Blayney reminds that the fundamentals are still the same

Blayney, the CEO & Founder of Real+ which is known for its consulting, training, education and trust accounting services, stressed in the opening property management session that it’s important not to lose sight of the job in the proliferation of new tech tools.

“Everything has changed and nothing has changed.”

“The technology around us has changed, the customers’ expectations have changed, their expectation on value return, the fees we’re charging or the rent they’re paying has changed. The basics of the business stay the same.”

When being offered a new platform that promises to revolutionise the business, she recommended examining its usefulness carefully.

“Not every tool is the tool you should be using.”

Mat Steinwede shares how prospecting started and sustained his career

The Central Coast high-performing agent and author advised the crowd to get comfortable doing the tasks that can cause the most discomfort.

“The things that will make us successful are the things that you’re usually not going to want to do.”

Sharing the story that saw Steinwede go from a career in organised crime to getting his life together in part due to a job in real estate, he emphasised that getting to know your community is where it all starts.

“Prospecting has been the number one appointment in my diary for my entire career. I can’t tell you how many people don’t prospect enough. Do it forever, don’t do it [just] for a year.”

Meagan Muir talks time management

As partner and lead agent of a bustling agency in Bulimba, Queensland, Muir is no stranger to urgent requests. She related how it can often feel as if “everyone wants everything yesterday”.

To solve the issue of being able to concentrate on the big things that make the most impact on client satisfaction, Muir emphasised getting granular and saving time on the small tasks that eat up time. Whether through resource sharing with a team or making use of small tech enhancements, Muir reminded that time is precious.

Sarah Hackett warns not to stay in your comfort zone

The powerhouse Brisbane agent noted that feeling comfortable in your career is a sign you aren’t hitting your full potential.

“Comfort is the enemy of achievement, and it’s the death of ambition,” Hackett said, quoting business leader Farrah Gray.

To take her business to the next level, Hackett knew she needed to restructure the whole way her business operated. Instead of bringing co-agents to client meetings and open homes, Hackett harnessed the organisational prowess of her executive assistants, leaving agents free to chase their own deals.

“I had to flip or break the old way the team worked and recreate it,” said Hackett.

Toni Versic shares why wealth isn’t everything

Describing himself as a “husband, father and businessman,” Versic reminded the audience that achieving material markers of success – like an expensive house and car – won’t make you happy if it comes at the expense of your freedom and personal relationships.

“So many of us sacrifice what we say ‘success’ is – health and relationships – in pursuit of success,” said Versic.

To take back control of your life and happiness, Versic advised the audience to make conscious efforts to control their thoughts and feelings.

“Every morning and every evening, ask yourself two questions: ‘What am I thinking today?’ and ‘What am I feeling today?’”

“The best agents are ruthlessly committed to mastering themselves,” said Versic.

Tiffani Bova keeps her eye on the end goal

Growth expert, coach, author and academic, Bova reminded the audience that “how you sell is important, but how your clients feel when they engage with you, that’s what matters most”.

A tech expert who has consulted with some of the biggest tech companies in the world, Bova stressed that the data real estate professionals have access to is valuable – if they know how to use it.

“Trust me when I tell you, if you capture data about your customers and you use that to give them a better experience, they are more likely to give that information to you, especially Millennials.”

She shared that their perspective is often: “If you’re going to give me better service because of it, I’m in. If you’re not going to give me better service, I’m out.”

Stay tuned, REB will be bringing you more in-depth coverage of AREC’s 2024 program and speakers.

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