AREC2017 EA StudioElite AgentElite Agent TVFEATURE INTERVIEWS

Feature Interview: Rik Rushton with Samantha McLean

In our latest feature interview from the AREC2017 Elite Agent Studio, Samantha McLean talks to Rik Rushton about the beginning of AREC back in 1997 and what he has learned from some of his favourite speakers over the years of organising the event.


Samantha McLean: Back at the Elite Agent stand with someone very special, someone who has been to all 20 years of AREC. That doesn’t mean he’s old, it just means he’s wise. Welcome, Rik Rushton.

Rik Rushton: Thank you, and I came here during work experience, so that–no, I actually have been here for 20 years, that’s correct.

Samantha: Yes, so go back 20 years. What was AREC #1 like?

Rik: It was interesting because I’d gotten an invite from John McGrath saying, “Riky, we want you to come and have a look at this conference that we’re organising.” It was at the A&A Hotel. It was about 230 people. The majority were people that we knew who’d been conventioneers or just were convention tragics looking for the next best idea.

And it was the first time that we’d really heard from American speakers talking concepts that we had no real understanding of yet; pre-listing packages and working to ideal weeks and customer focus and events for your clients. We just had no understanding of that. It was like the four-minute mile. We were hearing it for the first time. One of the speakers that came back this year, Bob Wolff, was the first speaker I heard day one of AREC 20 years ago.

Samantha: Was he speaker one, day one?

Rik: He was speaker one, day one and just launched the thing like it was never coming back after that. It was one of those moments where, James Tostevin and I were there and he was talking about the concepts that were going to have a chance for you to make a million dollars, which was again, that was like Everest. Even James wasn’t rolling a million back then.

So he was sharing some concepts that we thought, “Gee if it’s possible, we could probably do the same,” and so I just shook his hand at the end and said, “It’s the best talk I’ve ever heard and if I could ever get a chance to meet you and work in your marketplace, I’d love that.”

He said, “Oh sure. Anytime you’re in my town.” Literally, two days later, I had booked the flight and I was there and spent 10 days with him and best thing I ever did for my career. But that was just the concepts. We were learning things for the first time. And the question that he asked back then was, “When was the last time you did something for the first time in your career?”

And most of us had just been repeating a year in. So at that stage, I was, gosh, I was seven years in, but I had one year repeated six times and Bob, Bob Boland, Lillian Montalto,¬†all those figures were asking us, “When was the last time you did something for the very first time?” So AREC gave us that opportunity to explore those things and it was really an amazing gift.

Samantha: You’re the guy that handles all the international speakers when they come in. This means that you’ve met people like Bob Geldof, Rudy Giuliani, who is the ex-Mayor of New York. Tell us about Rudy. What was it like meeting him? What was it like behind the scenes?

Rik: He was so giving. He really wanted to make sure he gave a great speech, but he was just very keen to know everybody’s name, so the organisers [inaudible 02:51] at the time, had a pretty big staff, and he remembered all of their names and could address them by name. That was really powerful. And when I had him all alone with these two security detail people.

Rightly or wrongly, I asked him to talk about September 11, 2001 and how he kept his head around that. And he said he knew when he saw the second plane hit the tower that that was no accident, so he straight away was on the phones and just leading.

The thing I got from him that I absolutely loved was he said [that] it wasn’t about being positive thinking. It wasn’t about being negative thinking about ‘My gosh. We’re under attack.’ It was about clear thinking.

And he said, “So when things are stressed in your life whether it’s as a real estate agent, as a father, as a husband, as a person, rather than react to the event negatively and say, ‘My gosh. We’re under attack.’ Or rather think positively, thinking, ‘I’m going to go save some lives.’ Be clear about it and go, ‘What’s the best thing I can do at the moment?'” So if I went and tried to save a life, I might save one, he told me.

If I can get on the phone and speak to the important people that shut down flights through the whole of America, if I can do four or five things that no one else is clearly thinking about at the moment, I’ll have the greatest impact. I’ve loved that analogy. It’s not about positive thinking. It’s not about negative thinking. It’s about clear thinking.

Samantha: Is there someone that you think has made a real impact on the AREC audience over the years. Is there something that you just sort of thought, “Wow. That was really game changing”?

Rik: Well, for me it started with Bob Wolff and it probably finished with him literally about 24 hours ago when he came back for the 20th AREC and when John said, “Riky, what’s the chances of getting him back?” I said, “I’ll ask the question,” and for Bob to come back is a big commitment because it’s more the time exchange from Southern California to here. He can’t just fly in, fly out.

He loses a week of production, which for him is probably about $100,000 U.S.

But just the fact that he could come back 20 years on, at 44 when he first presented, 64 now, and he can just show that if you do these daily disciplines, it’s doing a little a lot, just the five thank-you notes a day, the ability to just find people one at a time. What is Samantha and Mark trying to achieve? How can I best help them achieve that? Put them in a car, show them some homes. Don’t hurt them. It should be okay.

This is an exceptional energy exchange. He lights up a room the minute he comes in. Most people light up the room the minute they leave it, but he lights it up the minute he comes in, but I think David Knox, Bob Wolff, I think yesterday it was said that Bob was the greatest in 20 years. People forget that when David first came out here, he had an absolute following that was just unheard of.

He came back like three years in a row. So I think Bob Wolff, David Knox are friends, so it would be hard for me to split them. I think it’s a very close, in case either of them ever see this video, it’s a very close thing. But I think they’re the ones that stand out for me.

Samantha: We’ve certainly enjoyed coming up here for 20 years of AREC. Rik Rushton, thank you so much.

Rik: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.


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