Amber Werchon decided not to pursue university but instead entered the workforce at the tender age of 17. Starting out as a receptionist at Ray White, she began selling property a year later and has never looked back. Today, as sole director of her own agency on the Sunshine Coast, Amber Werchon Property, she has over 40 people on her payroll. She recently spoke to Elite Agent Magazine about how she single-handedly built a company which was recognised in the 2016 ‘Fast 100’ list by the Australian Financial Review.
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
My first job was working in a surf shop in retail when I was 14. I guess that was where I made the decision to go into real estate sales. It was clear then that I could sell just as well (or better) than the mature, experienced salespeople there. That helped me make the decision, and I learned that if you look after people and treat them right they will come back to you.
When I graduated from school I got an excellent OP (overall position) within the top five per cent of the state. I had the school principal ringing me asking, “Where are your university preferences?” I said, “Oh, I’m not going to go to uni; I’m going to sell real estate.”
Why did you pursue a career in real estate?
My late uncle was a successful real estate agent in Nambour, which is on the Coast here, so I’ve seen him do it. My parents have always been interested in investing in property to set themselves up for retirement, so I would say [it was] the combination of those things and the natural ability that I had. That was evident not just in my retail job, but before that; I was selling things all the time. Christmas trees on the side of the road, fruit up and down the street, food out of my lunch box at school – I was clearly someone who had a passion for selling!
How did you convince the folks at Ray White to give you the job as a real estate agent while working as a receptionist?
Good question; it is really hard for inexperienced people to get a go in real estate. There was no job even being advertised! However, my late uncle was friends with an agent in that office and he got me the interview. When I met with the principal, I said, “This is what I want to do; I’ve got good grades, but I don’t want to go to uni. Whatever I set my mind to, I do well.” He said, “I don’t have anything yet, but I’ll give you a call.”
Within a couple of weeks, he had called me and offered me the receptionist position, which I happily accepted. I just wanted to get my foot in the door, but I made it clear that my goal was to go into sales. Even when I turned 18 and there was a sales desk available, I think there was hesitation that I was too young or whether I should be doing it at all, but I remained confident and was so determined!
How long did it take you to sell your first property?
I hit the ground running and made one sale within my first month. By the third month I had sold over $2 million-worth, and this was pre-boom prices!
Are there any secrets to your success that you would like to share?
I just worked what felt like 100 per cent of the time, literally seven days a week.
I was super-enthusiastic and energetic, more than the experienced agents, and I sold properties that others didn’t sell because they weren’t as positive about them.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but I had a great reason for acting so positively because a major boom happened soon after I started. I just remained focused and positive about the Coast, gave it my all and the results started to happen.
Do you have a mentor or someone that inspires you?
Not a mentor per se, but I seek inspiration from many on a regular basis for different things, including my uncle; he was proof that by working hard and having good values you will be rewarded. These people have changed over time in my career and life journey. Obviously, I did a lot of training at the time, both within the national franchise I was in and external training as well.
What’s the best advice you have been given?
Think about your why, as when time gets tough (and it will) you need to be clear on why you need to do the things you do.
What prospecting method works best for you?
I have literally tried everything. Door-knocking wasn’t my favourite thing. I did make a lot of phone calls, which I still do today. People who have seen my phone bill say they’ve never seen one as long; or someone who uses the phone so much! A busy day for me now might be 50 to 65 phone conversations and that is on top of appointments!