Being successful in real estate is all about building a great team. That was the key message from AREC 2018 across a range of speakers who have either succeeded by empowering and inspiring those around them, or who coach agents to scale their businesses to be more than just themselves.

The conference had a slightly different vibe this year. While past conferences have focused on personal growth and motivation, this year was all about knuckling down. With a speaker lineup that boasted top coaches who had all to a man presented at AREC on multiple occasions before, there were few surprises or insights. Rather, it was that growth is hard work. It takes commitment, structure, discipline, getting over your own ego and thinking about the collective.

Let’s unpack it. United States super coach Tom Ferry said there were five qualities of high growth businesses:

  1. Fully operationalise their mission and values
  2. They commit to out-innovate and out-market their competition
  3. Rapid and succinct decision making process – speed
  4. They operate from a long view vs just a short view of their business
  5. They charged their teams with finding sustainable ways to grow the business – to create repeatable and scalable growth.


But such businesses are more than just one person and they have a wholistic big picture. They are the ability to create scale and to quickly replicate what works the best.

“You’ve got to ask yourself three strategic questions,” Ferry said.

  • “What does my ideal business look like in 2019, 2021, 2023?
  • “How do I believe the business will change in the next five years?
  • “How much time am I allocating to discover, test and adjust my strategies?”


Phil Harris from Harris Real Estate in South Australia was one of the first to call out the team theme. He identified the structure of a strong team gives individual agents the support to be consistent.

“Great agents come out of great agencies, when the agency is very focused around putting a platform around the sales person,” he said.

“Most agents fall short on needing to execute every single day. Vision of where they want to go, but they don’t do the work and they do the right thing just a few times a week. The major difference of great agencies is that they’re consistent and do things every single day.

New Zealand principal, Megan Jaffe said she had built her business to become one of the most successful Ray White franchises across Australasia by focusing on enabling her team and building their endurance skills.

“The culture is created by the people who are inside the business,” she said. “So it isn’t me, it’s us and if I’m not there, it’s still the same.”

“I completely understand that we need to make a profit. I totally understand our responsibilities as business owners, but when a person joins my company, I’m there for their growth.”

Brendan Pomponio from Belle Property Dee Why summarised it best when he called out that “the lone wolf mentality isn’t sustainable in a real estate career”. Instead you need to have established a good work/life balance as a team.

“Teams allow you to stick to your strengths and delegate your weaknesses,” he said. “To have a good team, make sure you create a great culture, outline your values, morals and resolve issues and set a framework for your teamwork.”

This was underscored by Melbourne agent, James Tostevin from Marshall White, who pointed out the importance of having a mentor as a way of eliminating negativity.

“You need to dedicate time to those who don’t have as much experience and be consistent,” he said. “Everyone in your team should know their role. Create an environment where people don’t want to leave by recognising their talents and ensuring everyone contributes in a meaningful way.

“And hold your team to a standard, and make sure you regularly communicate with them about it.”

McGrath agent Jess Smith identified that there are three stages to building a real estate business – chasing, attracting and mastering. Chasing is about training and building relationships, attracting is building repeat business and mastering involves expanding your leadership skills and learning to let stuff go.

“In your career you need to become more than an agent,” she said. “Become a leader, learn what makes your team tick, and become ruthless about how you spend your time by never taking your focus off the core fundamental activities that create business.”