After the long-anticipated reveal of the REB Dealmakers 2017 ranking, Tim is joined by the director of Martin Property in Zetland, David Bettini, who placed number one, scoring highest, outweighing all other agents, in consistency of sales.
David reveals his winning secrets, explaining to Tim why “real estate in general is all about consistency”.
We also hear how David knew from an early age that property was his calling, how he differentiates himself from the pack and what he believes the public wants from real estate agents.
You will also find out:
- Why tailoring each marketing campaign can increase your earnings
- How to prepare yourself for a winning listing
- Why a strong team creates a successful business
Tune in now to hear all this and much, much more in this episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents!
Announcer: The Top 100 Agents are the best of the best, listing and selling more than any other agent in Australia. These are the practises, actions and beliefs of the most successful agents in Australian real estate. Raw, honest and completely uncut.
Tim Neary: Good day everyone, it's Tim Neary here, I am Editor of Real Estate Business and host of the Secrets of the Top 100 Agents Podcast. Thanks for tuning in. Very pleased to welcome on the show today, ranked number one in the new REB Dealmakers for 2017, from Martin Property in Zetland, it's in Sydney's inner West, it's David Bettini. Hello David, and welcome to the show.
David Bettini: Thanks very much, great to be here.
Tim Neary: Fantastic and first of all congratulations on your number one ranking in the new, in our new ranking at REB the Dealmakers. It's a fantastic achievement.
David Bettini: Yeah, I was very pleased, quite surprised actually to get the number one. I thought we'd have a good shot obviously being in the top 100 in the most recent rankings. I thought we'd have a good shot at being maybe in the top 20, but number one was definitely a surprise. So it was a great result, very happy.
Tim Neary: It's fantastic, as you say you ranked 59 in the top 100 agents ranking. Now in financial year end 2017 you'd sold 99 properties but importantly and for the Dealmaker ranking had a consistency score year on year of 98, which equates to about 98% of what you did in financial year 2016. That's a good achievement, and that's what the Dealmaker rankings all about is growth, volume, but importantly consistency.
David Bettini: Yeah, I think to be honest real estate in general is all about consistency. Week on week, day on day, doing the same things, following the same processes. If you do it consistently for a long period of time, it's very hard when you start out because you don't have the listings, you don't have the profile in the area you're working in. But once you get that profile and you've got the referrals and the listings in the area that you're working, being consistent in what you do translates pretty well into a pretty successful business. So it was great to be recognised for that consistency.
Tim Neary: Now you knew from an early age that property was your calling. How did you know that?
David Bettini: Ah listen I think sales in general was kind of in my blood, my dad was a car salesmen, he used to work along Parramatta road in Sydney, which is pretty famous for used car dealerships, and worked his way up to be a car dealer and be pretty successful himself. My older brother sells boats, my younger brother sells cars and I was always going to be a sales person of some kind. I just remember from a young age always being interested in property, we used to go to open houses a lot as kids, and look at different properties. We used to go out around Sydney Harbour and look at all the properties on the water and I was always pretty mesmerised by it all.
I fell into it actually I moved over to London when I was 19 years old, and just had a bit of a gap year kind of thing, to get away from Sydney. I became a leasing agent as a starting point in real estate because they gave you a free phone and a car. I thought it was the best thing in the world, to have a free phone and a car.
Tim Neary: That's a good reason.
David Bettini: Yeah, so that's how I started out and it actually went really well for me over there, I was quite successful for a couple of years there and I came back to Sydney and I started this job in Zetland, 11 years ago now, and the rest is history.
Tim Neary: The rest is history, absolutely. Now you've got sales in your family and in your blood as you say, so you're probably more qualified than anybody else to answer my next question and that is, in sales how important is it to have a point of difference, A? Also what is your point of difference in the market that you work in?
David Bettini: I think a point of difference is definitely important, I think my point of difference is I think attitude is the main point of difference. I think your attitude has to be unwavering, it doesn't matter what type of sales you do, whether it be in real estate or any type of sales, you're always going to encounter obstacles. To maintain a positive and strong attitude and great work ethics throughout all the obstacles, whatever they may be is really the key to being consistent and being successful. I think that's probably my main point of difference, is that my attitudes been I'm wavering in our area with like the area we work in is very different to other areas I think in Sydney. But I've always believed in the area that I work in, I've immersed myself in the area. Like my knowledge of the area is second to none, and I think that's a big point of difference between myself and our competitors.
Tim Neary: It's a nice way of putting it, that attitude is so important, because it's easy to do something when it's easy but when it starts to get a bit challenging, that's when the real cream comes to the top.
David Bettini: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I'm actually having the same conversations actually with vendors at the moment, like we're carrying between sort of myself and my team are carrying sort of 15 and 20 listings at any one time at the moment. The market without question in our area has changed pretty significantly, so it's not ... We're going into listing appointments against other agents and they're telling them big prices and telling them they're going to do all these things. I'm going in and just being upfront with them from the start, and saying, "Listen you know the markets not great, it has turned but what you need is someone who's prepared to tell you exactly how it is. Because that's going to be the difference between you selling your place and not selling it, and also still getting the best price." Although it's not, it's a different market at the moment, it's not necessarily enjoyable, but being prepared to have the tough conversations with vendors is something that you have to be able to do.
Tim Neary: And carry it off. David is that what the public wants from real estate agents? That sort of that honesty and that tough love?
David Bettini: I think absolutely in the long term it's what pays the bills. It's very easy to get a listing by telling people what they want to hear, but in the long term if you tell someone what they want to hear and you can't deliver on it, in two months time they're going to be asking you questions and you can't answer them. But if you're upfront from the start in terms of what you're going to do, and also people I think respect your experience and definitely results, I think when you can go into a listing and say, "Listen this might not be what you want to hear right now, but if you look at my results across, over the last five years I've consistently delivered in terms of what I've said to vendors. I know my results show to you that I will produce what I say I'm going to." I think people trust in that a lot more.
Tim Neary: That's a big word in the real estate industry, and you say that 60% of your new business comes from referrals, you're working on 15 listings as we speak. I guess that is the reason why you get this repeat and this referral business.
David Bettini: Yeah, no question. There's properties I've sold in our area, probably I'd say 20 different properties that I've sold three and four times over, in our area. I think the turn over levels where we are, which is a lot of apartments, it's quite a high density area. So you've got a high percentage of investors, properties we've sold for someone, I know in a good market a couple of years ago we've got a record price for an apartment. People have paid big money for it, and they've come back to me when they've ... They've even said to me at the point when they've bought it, they know they've paid a big price but they've said, "When we sell we're going to come back to you, 'cause we know you did everything right for the vendor."
So I think that's a great badge, I wear that as a badge of honour. When you're selling something that treating buyers right when you're selling to them, and being honest with them and doing the right thing by them. But also making sure they also understand that you're working for the vendor, and the vendors paying your bills to a certain extent. That's what actually earns respect and trust down the track, and what gets you a lot of repeat business.
Tim Neary: Now David I wanted to just go a step back, and you've been in the business I think you said it was 13 years, so you've got a long period in it. When you started out in the business did you get a piece of advice or pieces of advice that resonated with you then, that you are still implementing and passing onto others today?
David Bettini: Yeah, most definitely, I think my business partner Jeremy who we're still partners today. When I first started out it was probably, it was similar market to what it is now, a bit of a transitioning market. The area we were in was very new, I was trying to get my foot in the door, and I was out door knocking every night. Sort of four to five days a week, a couple of hours a day. I think I came to him at one point after about three months and I said, "Mate listen I'm doing everything you're telling me to do, I'm following all the processes but I'm not getting the listings and it's not translating into money." He said to me, "Mate listen I know if you keep doing what you're doing right now, I guarantee you, you're going to make it. There's no question. You've just got to remember there's not necessarily a light at the end of the tunnel in real estate, 'cause it's just all tunnel."
Tim Neary: It's just a tunnel.
David Bettini: It doesn't matter how far you go, like you got to keep working. But you've got to trust in the process as well, and I think for a lot of people starting out it's really hard because they see guys who have got big profiles in the areas, and they see them being successful. I think it's easier to get to that point, but it's definitely a couple of years of you don't see the results but if you do the work the results ... The results take two or three years lag time before you actually start seeing it, and a lot of people aren't prepared to stick out that first couple of years of the hard work.
Tim Neary: That's an important part, is that there is that lag time, isn't there? Today, David, are you still tunnelling away? Or is there anything that you do less of these days? Or indeed anything you do more of?
David Bettini: Yeah, definitely I think the hardest I think transition as you become more successful is delegating and building a team. I think that's a really, probably a learning curve, probably between the three and seven-year mark, I'd say is actually building, trusting people to do the work that you used to do. Then being able to hand it off to them, and I've got a great team around me, with me at the moment, Jamie and Peter. Two assistants who like I know if I literally go to a listing appointment and I'll sign it up and I just hand that listing to Peter, I can leave it for a month and I'll just walk into the first open house and it's pristine ready to go. You know I think there's the things I've learnt, when you're starting out you do a lot more admin stuff, but I think it's important that you do all those things when you're starting out so that you also understand what your team has to do, to be successful as well.
Tim Neary: Now you list on your profile that your average days on market is about 18, which is about half of the industry average, that's got a lot to do with the team that you put together, that's got a lot to do with the marketing programmes that you put together. Is there one marketing programme that stands out in your memory, that was a little unusual, but that really hit the mark and made all the difference?
David Bettini: I think there's been many different programmes, I think the most important thing is understanding that every property is different, and also that there's not necessarily one method that is the right method for all property. I think that's what a lot of ... I think particularly in our area, which it's a little bit different to other markets, it's not like the houses in the Eastern suburbs, it's not like the inner West like blocks of big houses where families flock to them. It's a very different marketplace, so I think it's recognising that every property that you sell deserves its own tailored marketing campaign. Whether that be auction, or whether it be private treaty, I think you'll find the majority of what I sell in our area is actually private treaty. I recognised that from early on in the piece, that private treaty was more successful in our area. That's probably contributed to the days on market being low, and also us getting better prices.
So one of the most important thing in terms of a marketing campaign is recognising what is the best method for any particular property, and making sure the vendors know that you're not just blanketing them with 10 other properties in terms of how they're being campaigned. It's making sure you understand what the point of difference of that property is, and what suits that property when you're taking it to market to make sure you get them the best results.
Tim Neary: There's no such thing as a one size fits all approach, and I really like the way that you said that, every campaign deserves its own tailored campaign.
David Bettini: Absolutely.
Tim Neary: Yeah, now David we're getting to the end of the show, and it's the point where I like to ask the main question is obviously the corner stone of real estate is in listing and selling properties. When you go into a listings' presentation how do you prepare yourself?
David Bettini: Knowledge I think is the most important thing, I think people respect ... As a property owner and I'm sure as yourself you've owned property yourself, but it's your biggest investment in your life in general. So people obviously take a keen interest, especially in Australia where properties the biggest industry in our country. People take a really keen interest in their own property. If you go into a listing appointment and the vendor knows more about the recent sales in the area than you do, then they're not going to get excited about working with you. But when you can rattle off the sale that happened next door five years ago, or you can tell them the square meterage of the apartment next door and what was different about it to theirs, people respect the knowledge. So I think the preparation before you go in is really about understanding the area, making sure your knowledge is superior to that of your competitors. Demonstrating that well, when you're in a listing appointment.
Then my favourite go to in a listing appointment is saying to people, "Listen everyone's going to tell you why they're the best person to sell your property, but I like to just look at facts and figures. Here's the facts and here's the figures." When the facts speak for themselves, and you've sold more properties than anyone else in that area, similar to that vendor, then there's no denying that.
Tim Neary: I love the way that you say that, that the facts and the figures will speak for themselves. So what you're really saying by giving the facts and the figures is that you're the expert, without actually saying I'm the expert. They do the math and they figure it out for themselves.
David Bettini: Exactly right, there's nothing ... People obviously, everyone goes in there to blow their trumpet, and tell them why they're the best. If you go in there saying, "I'm the best, I'm the best", people they don't like that so much. So when you actually say to people, "Do your research, jump on domainrealestate.com look at my profile, and here's a list of my sales for the year. Ask the other agents what they've sold and see how they compare, and I'll let you come back to me and see who you think is best." You're not insulting their intelligence there, you're saying I'll leave it to you to make the decision. More often than not it works really well.
Tim Neary: David it's been a real pleasure having you on the show, and congratulations again on being REB's Dealmaker of the year for 2017. All the very best for 2018, and look forward to having you back on the show and seeing how you are progressing through the course of next year.
David Bettini: Thanks very much mate, much appreciate it.
Tim Neary: Nice one, cheers David. Remember to follow us on all the social media stuff, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. You can follow me too on Twitter @timothyjneary if you want to do that. If you've enjoyed today's show please leave us a five-star review on iTunes, it's the very best way for people to find us and hear the great content that we are putting out. As always realestatebusiness.com.au is where you'll find us, there's plenty of stories there on the business of real estate across the whole of Australia and on my guest today, David Bettini. Thanks again for tuning in and we'll see you next week, goodbye.