Ranked 9th in the brand-new REB Dealmakers 2017 ranking, Biggin & Scott CEO, Adam Flynn, tells us how his 20 years of experience and ambition has driven him to be one of the most consistent agents for this year.
Adam reveals why “you need to do whatever you need to do to get in the right space” as you approach a listings presentation, as well how being kicked out of school at 16 led him to create a business that has grown 700 per cent over the last five years.
The Victorian agent also discusses how to be more consistent, how to be a great mentor and how to become a million-dollar agent.
You will also find out:
- What it really means to be an top-flight agent
- Why trial and error are imperative in building a profitable business
- How — and why — he pushes his staff to become the best
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: Hi there 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 nine in the REB deal makers for 2017, from Biggin and Scott in Knox, in Victoria, it's Adam Flynn. Hello Adam and welcome to the show!
Adam Flynn: Thanks Tim, thanks for having me on the show.
Tim Neary: You're very welcome. Now nineteen years in the game and 122 properties sold in financial year 2017, with a very impressive consistency score of 95.57. How important, Adam, is consistency in real estate?
Adam Flynn: I think consistency ... Essentially consistency is everything, in regards to what your day looks like, consistency in respect to what your listing presentation looks like. So my personal business team, and also my business as a whole, everything within the business is based on consistency, from our prospecting sessions to ... Even with the listing presentation itself, I know you hear some people saying you should adapt to the person that you're dealing with and so forth, I don't entirely agree with that. I think of course you've gotta adapt to the personalities. But the structure, for example, of my listing presentation, it never deviates.
From the first phone call, to how long that goes for, to where I park my car when I arrive at the house, to how far I step back from the front door, to my seating positions, to what I talk to the clients about in regards to tapping into the traumas, and then discussion of the four marketing methods, it always stays the same. The only hesitation or reservation in regards to that rule of consistency is if I'm dealing with somebody whereby there's a massive language barrier, and they don't really understand what I'm saying. Or secondly, they're old and if I go into too much detail I might bamboozle them. But that aside, the other 99.9% of the population, I always have a consistent presentation.
Tim Neary: It sounds like what you're describing is a pro golfer's golf swing, just absolutely well grooved and well trained and making the same swing over and over and over again.
Adam Flynn: Hundred percent and I know that I don't mean to use the old cliché, you get a cheeseburger from McDonald's this restaurant and you get one from a different area, the same cheeseburger, but it really is the same principle. And even with the training platform inside our business, everybody goes through the same training and I teach them essentially the listing presentation I've developed over this period of time, and it's got a very, very strong track record from taking people with relatively no experience to ... I guess essentially turning them into a good performer in a very, very short period of time.
Tim Neary: Is that the million-dollar agent system?
Adam Flynn: Yes, correct!
Tim Neary: Okay
Adam Flynn: Correct, correct. Yeah, spot on.
Tim Neary: I made a note of that, and I wanna talk a little bit about that later on. But first before we get to that, you've got a very interesting story, Adam, in that you left school ... in your profile you say you were kicked out of school at the age of sixteen, and you've gone on to run your own business ... but not just run your own business, to grow it 700% in the last five years. What's the story behind that, Adam?
Adam Flynn: So, I guess essentially I always knew I wanted to get into real estate, and at school I was a little shit. Long story cut short, it got to about halfway through year eleven and they said, "mate you gotta go." Actually, incidentally, my school ... they gave me a job ...
Tim Neary: Oh, really?
Adam Flynn: Sorta get me out of the school. So I just sort of did a bit of work there for about a year and a half, till I was eighteen and I got straight into real estate. And I guess essentially I identified very, very quickly ... I guess one of the reasons why I was a little shit at school was because it didn't interest me.
Tim Neary: Yeah.
Adam Flynn: The only thing I actually felt that I learned at school was how to do times tables, how to read and write, and how to interact with other human beings. Apart from that, nothing else that I really learned from school has benefited me out in the real world. So, I identified fairly young that I wanted to get into real estate. So for me it was just a matter of treading water until it got to a point where I was 18 years of age and I could actually make that transition into the world of real estate.
I identified fairly early that the best people in the business were the strongest listers. I say with all due respect to all the agents who are listening, but there's no real skill in selling a house. A monkey can sell a house. The real skill is in regards to listing properties to sell because if they're interviewing with 4 or 5 agents, the best performers and where the real skill set comes into play, is then choosing you as opposed to the competitors. Then if you're a good lister, the by-product of that is that you're gonna be a good sales person anyway. 'Cause you're gonna get all the inquiry, you're standing on the open for inspection tours. So really, being a good salesperson is a by-product of being a good lister.
Tim Neary: nI mean, that's a good point that you make. And that is really the cornerstone of the business, isn't it? Is getting those listings.
When you go into a listing presentation Adam, how do you prepare yourself? What's your background and what's your mindset as you go into that listings presentation?
Adam Flynn: Okay. So actually, I speak to my team ... and when I'm doing a training I talk about this ... I talk about the fact that everybody has shit going on in their life. And that's life. Their husband or their wife is giving them grief, the kids giving them grief, the mortgage is giving them grief ... whatever it is, is giving them grief. So before you actually get out of the car and go to do your listing presentation, you need to be in the right space 'cause it's game time. So whatever shit you have got going on in your life, you need to have the ability to leave that in the car. Address it when you come back but don't take it into the house with you. And whatever you need to do to get into your zone ... whether it's saying affirmation, listing to a song, do something weird ... I really don't give a shit. You need to do whatever you need to do to get in the right space so that when you get out of the car, you are one hundred percent ready to rock'n'roll.
It's not like in The Olympics. In The Olympics if you come second or third in a particular event, that's pretty good. Because you're second or third in that particular event in the world.
Tim Neary: You still get a medal.
Adam Flynn: Yeah, a hundred percent.
There's no high fives in the office when you come back and you go, "yeah buddy, I think I got a bronze medal or a silver medal in that one". Because, in this business, you either get the business or you don't get the business.
So you're going to be investing a period of your life inside that lounge room. It's going to be an hour out of your life you're never, ever gonna get back. So why not be the absolute best version of yourself you can possibly be. And give yourself the best opportunity to acquire the 20K comm as opposed to wasting your time and walking out with nothing.
Tim Neary: I like the way you put that. It's not like The Olympics. In that respect, it's a bit like pro boxing isn't it? Because in pro boxing you're either winning or you're losing. So you wanna make sure when you're going into that listing ...that you're the boxer that's winning it.
Adam Flynn: One hundred percent.
Tim Neary: Now mate, you also talk about having a driving ambition, and you've also got, obviously, 20 years of experience. It's very clear that that ambition is an important part of the make-up of a real estate agent. And sometimes, there could be some criticism from real estate agents that there's too much ambition. What have you learned in those 20 years to temper that ambition, that driving ambition, with a bit of ... sort of ... people skills?
Adam Flynn: Okay. For me, real estate, it's all encompassing. It is my passion. It is my career. It is my hobby. It's my ... well ... it's my passion. And from that aspect, I think that the best performers from what I've seen, they're also very, very competitive. And I'm probably not the best person to answer that question because when you sort of say, "how do you tame that ambition?" ... I can't tame that ambition. So, for me, I want our agency to be the number one in the area. I want our agency to be the number one in the network. I want our agency to be number one in Victoria. So, for me, I don't really know how to harness or settle that ambition down because it's a burning desire to want to win essentially. And that's why with the listing presentation, I'm always fine tuning it. That's why with training platform I'm spending the time in regards to training the guys. 'Cause I wanna give us the best opportunity, essentially, to do the best real estate we can do. And be the best version of people in real estate that we can possibly be.
So, for me, I don't know the answer to that because I haven't really ...
Tim Neary: Haven’t found it!
Adam Flynn: Yeah. I can't settle down.
Tim Neary: And that shows. And I guess that ties back to that seven hundred percent growth in the last five years?
Adam Flynn: Yeah. The office went from essentially a standing start to ... we wrote ... it was a Pre Biggin & Scott, it was another office and I took it over and then I rebranded it to Biggin & Scott. Now we're writing about five hundred thousand dollars in fees. The office was, it was ... the office was ... yeah, it hadn't really evolved over a period of time. So after at twelve months, we're at two million fees and three million fees and the goal for the office would be writing ten million dollars in fees. Our property management portfolio has doubled since then. We're now sitting at a thousand property management. So it's growing five hundred properties net over the last five years and ... Yeah, it's all certainly heading the right direction. We went from one office. We've now got four offices in the city of Knox. We're about to open our fifth office which we're just starting the lease for. And we open up in Feb ... So, yeah, it's all systems go.
Tim Neary: That's fantastic. And part of the makeup of being an industry leader and a leader of a business is having a vision.
In the last five years, seven hundred percent growth. How's the next five years? There's a lot of ... sort of ... winds blowing in the industry. A lot of disruptive forces coming through. How do you see things evolving over the next three to five years?
Adam Flynn: I think essentially over the next three to five years, the bigger will get bigger and the smaller will get smaller. And what I was gonna say with all due respect, but there's a lot of principles out there that can't train their people because they don't really know what they're doing themselves. They've just been in an office for a long period of time and they get business because they sort of stumble across it but when it comes to actually having a structured listing presentation, they don't really have one. Or they want, sort of, say ... And they've been trying to do these. And I say it with all due respect as well but its so true. A lot of 'em try to say "Well back in my day, I did it this way and it worked really well". Well things have changed. So everything that I've trained my guys on and I'm active with it is industry based practice. Like this year I wrote two million dollars in sales where the average selling price is about seven hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars.
So, with that being said, the stuff that I'm training my guys on, it's not stuff that I did ten years ago. It's stuff that I'm actually getting to the point with now. It's stuff that I did earlier on today. Stuff I did yesterday. Stuff I'll be doing tomorrow. So a lot of principles can't train their people to be million dollar agents because they don't know how to do it. Because they haven't been one themselves.
Tim Neary: Yeah.
Adam Flynn: So, in my opinion, the thing that we really do focus on and where it's gonna take us to the growth that we want to get to over the three to five years, is that, with regards to the training model, it's a process and its a model that is replicable. So if people leave ... and that's incidentally what sometimes happens in real estate businesses ... that's fine because we've got a training programme where we can take somebody with relatively no experience, and get them to be a relatively heavy hitter in a short period of time.
Tim Neary: Yeah.
Adam Flynn: That's something that's, I think, very, very powerful 'cause the process is replicable.
Tim Neary: Yeah. And I guess we're talking about training as a nice segue to come back to that million dollar agent system that you've got.
Adam Flynn: Yeah.
Tim Neary: What is it and why is it unique? Is it that it's replicable?
Adam Flynn: In regards to ... the holy grail ... I mean let's face it, the holy grail in real estate is to be a million dollar writer. All sales people who are actually passionate about real estate and actually engage in podcasts like this and go to training sessions and who actually engulf themselves in a career in real estate, wanna be a million dollar writer. And if they don't, they're shit and they should leave the industry anyway. I personally believe that. Why work the hours that ... why commit yourself to this lifestyle unless you want to be in the top two or three percent within the industry. And once again, that might be rotten but that's the way my brain's programmed.
Tim Neary: You heard it here first folks. You heard it here first. Yeah, that's it.
Adam Flynn: So, the reality is, for people who want to run a million dollars in fees, it just doesn't happen. It's a process that happens that you have to go through to insure that that takes place. So, firstly, in regards to the million dollar agent system, firstly its listing presentations. So once again, I've touched on this briefly before but from the first point of contact to how long that first phone call goes for. What happens in the first phone call to when you arrive at the property. The mindset. As I mentioned before, how far you step back from the front door. The sitting position to making sure you're not sitting at the head of the table 'cause insecure men will think you're trying to steal their manhood away. In regards to discussions of certain topics, discussions of the marketing methods. But it's a very, very structured process. Which, really, it's a road map from the first point of contact to the closing question.
So alright. First problem solved. The listing presentation. Yep, so getting good listings at a good phase structure with good marketing. But then, from that, once you've got then got the stock and you start to get traction, it's like I speak to people just starting in the industry. It's like the bloody AirBus380. That plane is one of the only planes where by, if you stop accelerating it actually falls out of the sky. So you need to keep accelerating, accelerating. And once you've got this massive plane off the runway then you can drive it as hard or as soft as you want because you're at altitude. But you need to get to altitude to begin with.
So becoming a million dollar agent, there's more to it than listing and selling houses. It's when you bring on your first assistant. So, in my opinion, you need to be writing consistently thirty thousand dollars in JCI before you bring on your first assistant. And that needs to be happening for a four to six-month period. Each person in a business should represent thirty thousand dollars in JCI. So really, a million-dollar agent ... if you've got three members writing ninety thousand dollars in JCI, before you bring on your first assistant, that is a really, really good business unit. But then, what do those assistants do? What does the lead agent say look like? What are the roles inside the business unit?
So there's much more involved in getting to become a million dollar agent than just saying, "Oh, I want to be a million dollar agent". Well, how you gonna do it? How you gonna get there? And essentially it becomes a business inside a business. Where each ... Like a genuine franchise. Because once again, the whole process is replicable in regards to what the assistants do and what their roles and responsibilities are inside that business unit.
So the million dollar agent system is something that I've created essentially, over the time that I've been in real estate. It's been a lot of trial and error. And I've tried different things and once I try it, if it works, I'll bring it back to the table. If I try it and it doesn't work, well then I've been the guinea pig who'd learned a lesson from that. But, I guess, at this point in time, it's being developed in such a way where it's become like a well-oiled process of getting somebody from a standing start to being a million dollar performer.
Tim Neary: You talk about trial and error and being a guinea pig. I think you've just answered that question of mine earlier about how do temper driving ambition with twenty years experience. Well you don't temper it. You take that driving ambition and you fuel it with twenty years of experience. Because it's that twenty years of experience that you've put into the system.
Adam Flynn: Yeah, spot on Tim. Look, I wish I had somebody like me when I first started. Because I had to essentially learn all of these things. Where they're trying to go do, I give the twenty years and I'll give it to you ... I’m an open book. A lot of principles are scared to train people. It's like, "Oh shit, I'm scared to train them because they might get good and leave and I haven't got them". I don't have that fear. So everything that I learn, I train you on.
Case in point ... One of the parts of the process in regard to the listing presentation is that you walk through the house and you talk about the details of the house. Now, this is a really good example. For a period of time, about a four week period ... you know those things you can get from like hardware stores Bunnings where they measure the room?
Tim Neary: Yeah, yeah.
Adam Flynn: Infrared ... Yeah, yeah. So I started using that in the presentation. But I've found that when I brought that out I thought I could be quite a difference because competitors won't be doing it and I'll do it and they'll think I'm more prepared and more organised and more thorough than the competitors. But I found that when I brought that bloody device out, and started digitally measuring the room, there was a disconnect with the client. And it wasn't until I missed maybe two or three listings, I'm thinking, "Shit, what have I actually done…
Tim Neary: What have I changed?
Adam Flynn: "What have I changed?"
Tim Neary: Yeah
Adam Flynn: Yeah. It was that one little thing in the presentation of the hundred elements of the presentation that I changed that created a disconnect with the client. So I believe that the best presenters in any field, present in a conversational based manner. So I call it pre-meditative spontaneity. They think it's all very, very spontaneous but it's all very structured and planned and pre-meditated. And I've found that, that as an example, that was a big disconnect with the client. And it took me, as I said, three or four ... sixty thousand dollars in commission gone before I realised, "Hang on. What Have I done? Okay, I'll change that. I'm missing business". I then took that out of the presentation and low and behold, I started listing property again.
So, it's really become almost like a formula one car where if something's a little bit out you can identify what the issue is. And if my staff were to say to me, "I missed this listing or I missed that listing". I'll say, "Did you do the presentation like I expected it done?". And they're like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah". I'm like, "Oh shit, okay, present it to me". And unless they're so consistent ... back to the original question of this whole podcast ... unless their so consistent ... and repetition's the heart of all learning ... once they start taking shortcuts ... that's when it all becomes unstuck and they themselves forget that that was supposed to have done that or done that. And it's all those one percenters that ultimately add up to them either getting the business or not getting the business.
Tim Neary: It's been such a pleasure speaking to you today. Thanks very much for making yourself available and giving us the time.
Adam Flynn: Thanks for the opportunity to share with everybody.
Tim Neary: Fantastic.
Adam Flynn: I appreciate it Tim.
Tim Neary: Nice phone in. Congratulations on a fantastic 2017 and hopefully 2018 is gonna be just as good for you and we'll see you back in the rankings again.
Adam Flynn: Cheers, Tim. I appreciate it.
Tim Neary: Adam, thanks so much.
Remember to follow us on all the social media stuff: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. You can follow me too on Twitter at TimothyJNeary if you'd like to do that. If you've enjoyed today's show, please leave us a review on iTunes. It's the best way for new listeners to find us and to get ahold of the great content 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, Adam Flynn.
Thanks again for tuning in and we'll see you next week. Goodbye.