David Swarbrick has been working for Pat O’Driscoll Real Estate in his home town of Rockhampton for just over five years. Beginning his career in sales administration at the age of 22, David moved to commercial admin and then into property management. In November 2014 he started selling full-time and in late January 2016 he begins a position with McGrath Buderim on the Sunshine Coast as a buyer specialist/sales associate.
What was your first job, and what was the most important thing it taught you?
My first job was when I was 17, working as a waiter in a restaurant called Ultimos. The most important thing that job taught me is that different people need to be serviced in different ways, whether that is as their best friend with a gentle approach to help them figure out what they want or just being there to take their order and nothing else. By far the most valuable thing it taught me about myself is that I absolutely love being of service to people.
What do you like most about your work now?
I’m not sure who said it first, but I believe I heard Tom Panos quote something like “real estate is just the vehicle we use; our business is all about the people”. I believe that sums it up perfectly. It’s great that we get to look after the biggest and best investments people have in their lives, but what I love is that we get to help people realise their dreams. Working closely with clients and customers to achieve their goals gives me the satisfaction I crave. I’d go crazy with a desk job – I need to be interacting with and helping people.
What do you still find most challenging about what you do, and how do you deal with it?
I was going to say ‘prospecting’, but I’ve realised that the most challenging thing I face is rejection. This is present in many aspects of what we do, from prospecting to getting VPA, property pricing to negotiating. John McGrath has a great way of looking at rejection through prospecting: “They aren’t saying no to you, they are saying no because what you are offering is not right for them at their stage in life.” I also believe the best way to face rejection through other aspects of our business is understanding why people are saying no and having the rapport and product knowledge to be able to talk them through it.
Define success for you personally. What will you have achieved?
One word, ‘balance’. Real estate is a career that can be very demanding, especially at the start of the journey, but I believe I am handling it better now. My aim is to have my own effective business unit that allows me to be able to spend time away with my family and to know that my business will continue to grow in my absence.
Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
Currently, it consists of trying to get myself out of bed around 6.00am to go to the gym and then into the office around 8.00am. I’m working on making 10 calls by 10.00am and try to get all of my administration duties out of the way before lunch, which allows for out-of-office appointments in the afternoons. I’ve struggled with implementing an ideal week so far, although I see the importance of one and will keep trying until I get there.
Is there one thing that’s not obvious about you that you wish more people would get?
I can’t think of anything that’s not too obvious about me; I’m fairly straightforward when it comes to who I am. If you want people to ‘get’ things about you then you’ve got to show them.
What’s your secret skill or superpower?
I think it’s my ability to connect quickly with people. I love to learn about anything and everything, so whenever I meet someone new it helps me to be genuinely interested in them as a person and what they do in their lives.
What makes you laugh?
It’s hard to say just one thing; I love a complex joke or a silly video clip of a clumsy dog. I always laugh the hardest when I’m with my closest friends!
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received, and why?
I’ve been told a few times that I’m a very caring person. For me this is a very important characteristic which I think is lacking in the world. Everyone deserves a basic level of respect and compassion no matter their race, religion or economic status, and if I’m displaying that it makes me proud.
Is there anything you’re afraid to do, or you would do if you weren’t afraid to do it?
I don’t have any big phobias that I’m aware of and if I come up against something that makes me nervous I try and push through it. I would love to try my hand at auctioneering. The idea of standing up in front of a crowd of people holding all their attention while trying to keep my head on straight is pretty daunting, but I’m sure it would be a thrill.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Stop procrastinating and just do it. I’ve been selling full-time since November 2014, but really kicked it into gear around March 2015. I thought, “This is what I want to do and it’s not going to happen by itself.” I began a process of rapid self-education with books, podcasts, online training and a very generous trip from my principal to AREC15.
Another piece of advice would simply be to develop some goals; they give your life direction.
In a couple of weeks’ time my wife and I are moving to Buderim on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. I’m starting a dream position with McGrath Buderim, working as a buyer specialist/sales associate as part of the EBU for the principals, Chris Pace and Damien Michael. I was a bit nervous about starting out in a new market, but this is going to allow me to supercharge my knowledge of the Sunshine Coast and at the same time learn from two very successful principals in a great company.
In a year or two I hope to progress to sales agent for McGrath Buderim. The biggest goal I have set for myself so far is to be a million-dollar agent and I plan on achieving this by 2020.