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Charles Tarbey’s ‘smart way’ to find sellers

12 October 2016 Tim Neary
Charles Tarbey real estate tips

From starting as a modest sales agent in Sydney’s inner west to becoming the owner of Century 21 Australia, Charles Tarbey is synonymous with real estate success. Here, he reveals how he combined business acumen with street smarts to find sellers when he first started out. 

Century 21 owner and chairman Charles Tarbey says he found talking to one person who spoke to 100 people gave him a chance to do better business.

“I had my touch points,” he told Tom Panos, as part of Mr Panos’ Real Estate Gym series.

“Finding that one person who was connected to many potential sellers was something I focused on very heavily. Particularly if it was a financial planner or a couple of lawyers or building societies or cafe owners.”


His favourite was Joe of Joe’s Fruit Barn.

“Way back in the late seventies, early eighties I started doing a black and white little newsletter, and I’d always make sure I had Joe’s photograph in it.

“I’d drop them off in his fruit shop and put them next to the cash register because that is where people talked and had their conversations. A lot of magazines stand out the front and that is great, but if you really want a result, you put the newsletter where people interacted.

“What I found was that Joe was pushing my newsletters more than I was because his photo was in it all the time.”

Mr Tarbey would regularly visit Joe and drop off a stack of newsletters.

“And he’d tell me about people who had been into the shop who lived in a certain street in the area and they were talking about selling.

“Even if he didn’t know the number, I’d say, ‘Great Joe, I’ll go and doorknock the street’. I’d end up finding somebody there who Joe had spoken to and, strangely enough, because they had a relationship with Joe they automatically also had a relationship with me.”

Mr Tarbey said this connection was, and is, the key.

“They may not list with me themselves, but they had the potential to introduce me to the people who will.

“I found doing that was far easier than going and knocking on 100 doors or calling 100 people a day.

“I was having meaningful conversations with people and I got business from it.”

Charles Tarbey’s ‘smart way’ to find sellers
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