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Gavin Rubinstein: How to help your team shine within your brand

The Rubinstein Group (TRG) is now a little over two years old, and 2021 has been a big year for the Group and its leader Gavin Rubinstein. Ahead of some exciting things for TRG in 2022, including opening a new flagship office in Rose Bay, Gavin sat down with Ray White performance leader Tim Snell to talk branding, building a team and what he would do if he had to do it all again. Here are our top takeaways.

Building a brand: Map your actions to your ambitions

  • Gavin says there was no one that he tried to emulate but there were people at the early stages of his career that inspired him.
  • He says he looked at the guys at the top and thought about what they did to become successful.
  • As a 20-year-old fresh into the business, he says his mindset was to analyse what the top agents did and develop his own plan and strategy around that.
  • “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be simple…” Gavin says that if you have a plan it’s not that difficult to stand out, particularly if you are consistent about it. But the consistency is the hard bit.

You don’t have to appeal to everyone

  • Gavin says he is constantly discovering who he is as an individual.
  • But he also says it is easy for him to identify the value he can add to his vendors.
  • “Above all else, I’m unapologetically me. So you love it or you hate it. In this space I can add a shit tonne of value to you and if you want to engage me, or TRG for that matter, for our services, let’s work. Being a friend, building relationships is great, I love to do that too, but I accept I’m not going to be friends and be liked by everybody.”

You can’t copy an original

  • Gavin says you can’t copy someone because it’s not authentic to who you are.
  • “What positively drives my energy is not going to positively drive the next person’s energy.”
  • You can’t just put a pretty picture on Instagram and expect to produce millions of dollars in GCI overnight.
  • Gavin says to start with things you are passionate about to inspire your brand and go from there.
  • Gavin jokes about his love for basketball (despite his height) and says that he has taken a lot of inspiration from the mindsets of the top performers.

Results first

  • Gavin says you’ve got to be an architect of your world.
  • “You’ve got to be able to design what your world, what your future looks like, where your career can take you.”
  • In terms of priorities:
    • Focus on the calls
    • Focus on the work
    • Focus on getting results
    • Focus on who you are supporting or who you are working for
    • Taking the job seriously

Once you start to get runs on the board, it will start to create a blueprint as the results come in,” Gavin says.

In the beginning, it was very much about Gavin Rubinstein, now it’s more about The Rubinstein Group as a whole.

Maintaining focus

  • Tim asks about the shows (Luxe Listings Sydney) and the podcasts and how to not make it ‘a distraction’.
  • Gavin says it comes down to what your priorities are, but in order to play at the top levels you need to build a profile.

At the beginning for Gavin, it was:

  • Building listings
  • Signboards
  • Ads on the internet
  • Ads in the papers
  • Mentions in the news
  • Social media
  • People knowing your name

In terms of the podcasts and the TV show, Gavin says they can be distracting but it’s a priority because he knows it builds his profile, which positively affects his business.

Brands within brands

  • If TRG is such a strong brand with a strong identity, Tim asks why Gavin stays with Ray White?
  • “Honest answer is I’ve got a very, very good relationship with the White family. It’s a formula that has worked over quite a decent period of time and I really appreciate that relationship. And I think it’s a formula that works.”
  • The other thing is that competition drives him: “You just have to ask yourself, do you want to compete on a big stage under the bright lights for Australia’s biggest brand? Or do you want to build your own little gig and compete with 40 to 50 people?”

Recruiting top performers

Gavin says building individual team member’s brands as a part of the TRG business has been a learning process and is for any business owner, “even if you’ve been in the business for 30 years”.

Gavin also says some previous experiences taught him what not to do.

The issue of building agent brands is that it leaves them open to the head hunters. Gavin says that a competitor offered him a cheque for a million dollars in the early days. But he stayed where he was due to loyalty to the brand.

So the key to retention Gavin says is that it’s your responsibility as a leader to help your team members win:

  • Provide your team six-star service and support.
  • Provide assistance with the non-sales aspects of the process (anywhere from finance to legal, marketing and operations).
  • Are you helping them build their name?
  • Are you helping them with their deals?
  • How much are you allowing them to leverage you as a leader and jump high into the world of their own business?

Then, if they still want to leave after that – do you really want them in the business with you?

Tim asks about recruiting high performers, and whether they join because of Gavin’s profile, or because of his commitment to growing the business?

  • Gavin says it’s both, but not everyone is a fit for the TRG business from a cultural perspective – ie: if you just want to coast or work part-time you won’t last.
  • There is a “black and white” conversation with potential recruits at the beginning because there are no shades of grey when it comes to the performance culture he wants to create.

“It saves people a lot of time, and I hate wasting time. I’d rather have the conversation upfront, be clear with parameters and all parties win,” Gavin says.

If Gavin had $10,000 in the bank to build a brand and nothing else…

Start with the results first – focus on getting some runs on the board – always step one.

Then once you’ve got the runs on the board, step two is thinking about how to spend the money to market the result.

Gavin says he would use it for:

  • Promoting what a phenomenal job he did for his clients, how much value was added to the transaction – “double down on the results, not the B.S…”
  • Gavin says there is a medium in your marketplace that your marketplace engages in so you need to have action and presence in there (don’t rule out print).
  • Get some presence online.

Develop relationships with reporters and work the press – if people are reading about it, it must be important,” Gavin says.

If Gavin had $0 in the bank to build a brand and nothing else…

Gavin says he’s been there and owned some “shitty” suits. But he made sure they were always clean.

And then it becomes about focusing on:

  • Prospecting
  • Phone calls
  • Door knocks
  • Handwritten cards
  • Giving people value over time
  • Getting in front of as many people as possible

If you unearth that someone is going to sell, take someone in your office that knows what they are doing – you want a winner, someone who is not going to miss.

“Go halves with them in order to give you insurance that you are going to get that opportunity, sell it, learn from that process and use the resources you get from that campaign to get your next one,”

A final tip from Gavin:

Hard work doesn’t cost a dollar!”

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Tim Snell

Tim Snell is the Head of Performance for the Ray White Group.