Chris Heller achieved his real estate license in 1983 when he was 20 years old, and started selling properties in 1989. That’s more than 3,100 houses in the last 27 years. Chris arrives in Australian in less than two weeks a keynote presenter for two sessions at the Ideas Exchange in both Sydney and Melbourne. Still known as ‘Heller the Home Seller’, Chris is now president of KW Worldwide. Samantha McLean spoke exclusively to Chris about his extensive career as well as the messages that he will be delivering to Australian Agents on May 2 and 6.
Chris, firstly who came up with the title, “Heller, the Home Seller?”
In the early 1990s, I paid someone to come up with a new logo and a slogan and that’s what he came back with. It has really stuck. In San Diego, that’s still what people refer to me as. Even our team has taken on that identity. It’s not Chris Heller anymore. It’s this living, producing machine called “Heller, the Home Seller.”
We have seen a lot of competition for listings in the Real Estate Industry in Australia. How does that compare to the US right now? How do you get an edge over your competition?
It’s very similar – highly competitive and we face many of the same challenges. Agents here are facing low inventory, more buyers than there are sellers. I think the good agents are really aware they need to turn up the intensity and the heat on our lead generation and our prospecting so that they have more opportunities to close listings.
What do you think is the real key to success in Real Estate?
I think it probably is my mindset. I’ve created the habit of discipline, and I am very disciplined in what I consider to be the most important activities. You need to be able to focus strongly on revenue-generating activities and have the discipline to block out everything else.
Early in my career, I realised that we all had the same amount of time to work every day. Being purposeful about altering my mindset was the only advantage that I could really create for myself. This was a two-phased approach for me. One was limiting the negative stuff, be it the people that I associated with, or what I watched or listened to; and the other thing was putting things in to create a strong mindset. It is easier to move forward faster if we are conscious of our environment and what’s around us, aren’t tolerant of incompetence, make sure that we have standards for what we do, always listen to or read the right type of things, and avoid negative people and negative things.
As an agent, I think 90 percent of our success and our business is impacted by our mindset. The mindset is what separates the top agents from the rest. The ones who get bogged down in a lot of the minutia versus the ones who seem to go along with greater ease – it really has a lot to do with their mindset.
We’ve seen you prospecting and we know you’re amazing at it! Can you give us some of your best prospecting tips?
I’m going to be speaking about that a lot at Ideas Exchange, but one I will give you now is to make sure that you’re focusing on lead generation consistently. Generating leads first thing in the morning when your energy levels are at its peak, is the best; there are fewer chances of other things getting in your way at that time. It is a practice I follow myself, because I truly believe that if I’m not generating leads, there’s nothing else that really needs to happen.
What type of lead generating activities work best in today’s market?
Everything from picking up the phone to door-knocking. Of the 27 years in properties, there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t lead-generate. Usually, it was a combination of phone-prospecting and door-knocking!
In your opinion, does door-knocking still work?
It definitely does. There’s nothing more effective than that face-to-face contact and face-to-face communication. It’s still a people business!
Another thing we are seeing in the market here is activity from international buyers. Are you seeing the same thing over in the U.S?
Yes we are. I’m currently working with KW on our international expansion where the bulk of the activity is from international buyers. For us as agents, the key is getting to those buyers and being able to help them with their investments.
What do you think is the best way to connect with those international buyers?
There are the two really effective ways, I think. Firstly, there’s getting to the buyers directly and secondly there’s getting to the agents in those countries who have buyers. It’s about being able to create relationships and network with other countries. There are a few tools that allow us to promote our properties to agents in different countries in their own native language. Other ways are building networks by associating yourself with entities like the National Association of Realtors in the US, where there are a lot of agents. Overseas portals are another. I just returned from a conference in France that had agents from all over Europe.
You’re going to be running two sessions at the Ideas Exchange. What are some of the main messages that you are going to be delivering to the attendees?
The great thing about our business is that it’s the same business. We may do things differently from one country to another, but ultimately, it’s the same thing. The level of customer service, the accountability that can take us to the next level, the systems and the mindset.
The other thing that I’m going to talk about is being as efficient as possible and as effective as possible. Efficiency is things like systems and schedules. Effectiveness is skills, how to require more skills, how to get better, handling objections, getting price reductions, and winning the listing. I’m excited to be coming to Australia and for the opportunity to meet some of the best agents in Australia!
Lastly, what piece of advice would you give your younger self starting out in Real Estate?
The advice I’d give myself would be, “Don’t waste time or energy looking for shortcuts or magic pills or secret weapons.” There aren’t any. The most effective thing that I’ve learned to do was to create a schedule, focus on it, and follow it every day.