When you’re widely considered Australian real estate royalty, you could be forgiven for doing a Harry and Meghan and resting on your laurels or taking easy street. Not if you’re Alexander Phillips.
The 20-year industry veteran has won almost every award going, is widely considered the nation’s best agent, and recently took out the Annual REA Excellence Award for the Top Residential Salesperson in NSW.
It’s a feat that the PPD Real Estate Partner is still excited about despite his ongoing success.
“It’s rewarding in that it shows your hard work pays off,” Alexander explains.
“It shows you’re a frontrunner in the industry and, particularly, in a very competitive environment.”
Ever thinking on a practical, business level, Alexander notes that winning such awards helps build his brand, that of the agency, and secure more listings.
“These days, a lot of vendors are researching online,” he says.
“I recently signed up a house in Randwick and the vendors had already made their decision on us before going there because of all of the research they’d done.
“They’d already worked out that we were the right fit for that type of house.
“So I think having a profile through such websites and awards gives a really good level of social proof for vendors that have similar type properties.
“It’s definitely something that helps us with securing more business.”
Selling multimillion-dollar properties on Sydney’s eastern suburbs, including beachside Bondi, Bronte and Clovelly, Alexander and his team of five assistants recorded a record year in 2020.
Despite the hurdles COVID-19 presented, the team sold 223 properties worth a combined $727 million.
“That was up about 20 per cent from the year before,” Alexander says.
“I think because of our skillset, when the market changed, we changed a lot quicker than others did.
“We had a big following of clients that came to us, including people we knew and clients we had never dealt with, because they wanted someone with more experience.
“Particularly in difficult markets, and I’ve sold in the Global Financial Crisis, having experience on how to navigate through uncertain times is appealing to vendors.”
One key strategy that worked for Alexander and the team last year was creating a hot buyers list, which comprised those buyers in each price bracket who were mentally and financially ready to move quickly in buying a property.
“With the one-on-one inspections, we probably had a one-in-five strike rate of securing sales because we weren’t showing buyers through that would go, ‘Yeah, we like it, but we’re too nervous, or we don’t want to buy’,” he says.
“We really qualified them, and they had to be buyers ready to go and immediately make that leap.
“Having that list in front of you all the time and continually adding to it meant we could always reflect on it and show our upcoming vendors.
“It helped secure more sales quicker than we would have otherwise.”
With open homes restricted due to COVID-19, Alexander says he created competition for properties by scheduling one-on-one inspections one after the other at five-minute intervals.
That way, as one buyer was leaving, another was arriving and sighting each other.
Preparing the vendor and educating them on the current market conditions was another vital strategy Alexander and the team used to great effect.
“We prepared the vendors that it wasn’t a marketplace to wait and see how you go,” he says.
“We had to prepare the vendors that the buyers we were showing through were going to make offers immediately and wanted decisions immediately.
“We sold a few properties where the vendor didn’t listen to that, and they sold for less later on because they missed their best buyer early one.”
Alexander says two sales that stood out last year were dual-listed properties, with it being unusual for him to take on listings that are not exclusive.
“We had two very similar properties on the market at one time, but we knew both buyers and were lucky enough to sell both houses,” he says.
“It was probably the relationship we had with both buyers and the vendors that got us across the line.”
Often agents focus on solely selling prestige property or being a volume agent, but Alexander combines the two.
He stresses that his team is integral in every process and every award he wins belongs to them as well.
Streamlined processes, efficient time management, a tireless work ethic, and the ability to have “short and sharp, not fluffy” conversations with clients is the recipe for success.
Alexander also advises young agents just starting their careers to build solid product knowledge on the area they are selling in.
“Also, make sure that you’re building a reputation through buyers and focusing on buyer work as it’s probably your best way of making sure that you’re starting to build your own brand and momentum,” he says.
Alexander says many agents focus purely on vendors and listings, forgetting that buyers will, one day, become a seller.
He says even if a buyer inspects one of your properties but buys with another agent, you should add them to your database and maintain the relationship with regular touchpoints.
When it comes to creating the momentum to continually strive for bigger, better results, Alexander says he’s got a list of personal goals that he reads every day.
“Hopefully we can hit 250 sales this year, build our brand and continually get better and evolve,” he says.