Most Promising New Talent: Ben Munro Smith

STARTING THE TRANSFORM program with the least amount of time in real estate of all the Super Six, Ben Munro Smith impressed everyone from start to finish. Having completed every challenge with his trademark smile and attention to detail he is without doubt a new talent that will continue to shine bright. Here is the story of Ben’s 12-week Transform Journey.

Congratulations Ben! Firstly, tell us what made you apply for Transform, and what were you thinking as you created your application video?
What was going through my head? Honestly, ‘Just do it!’ I thought it was better to give it a go and not get in, than not try at all and never know. I thought I could either sit at my desk, trying to figure out what the best in the business are doing, or actually meet them and learn it first-hand. The program didn’t disappoint; I’ve now got so many fantastic ideas to put into practice. Watch this space!

How did you feel after that first session with John McGrath? What things did he make clear for you about your results?
The first session with John was an eye-opener. The main takeaway for me was that you really need to prepare for success. That means planning your day, your goals and your outcomes. You can’t just go into it with high hopes and well-wishes alone. You need to write down a plan and stick to it! It was the perfect introduction to the following 11 weeks.

How important is knowing your ‘why’?
Working with your ‘why’ was a new concept for me; it’s a great grounding technique to push you into action. It’s also an honest way to reflect on new decisions, to ensure your following actions are aligned with your real motivation. So now, every new decision I first think of my ‘why’ and then decide. Trust me; it makes the whole thing much easier!

Reflecting back on your journey from where you started, how far do you feel you have come and what specifically is different now?
The journey has been a whirlwind! It doesn’t feel possible to have come so far in such a short amount of time. The main takeaway for me is the confidence I’ve developed as part of learning from the best of the best. I’m not saying I’m there yet, but I am certainly on the way to somewhere I really want to be.

What parts of being an agent were you struggling with before Transform and how has that changed?
As an agent in 2016 we all have access to so much information and so many great ideas. The challenge is to know what’s worth focusing your time and attention on. Having access to industry leaders as well as the other five winners has been an incredible opportunity to discuss and share, and to get some clarity about what works in the industry – now and for the future. If you think I feel lucky to have been part of this, you’d be right!

What does your usual day look like now?
The Transform program was about more than real estate. It was a holistic approach to being the best person we can be. I started the program thinking ‘Success will only come if you work harder than everyone else’. And yes, you need to work hard, but focusing efforts on other things can really help you to operate at peak performance.

Now I start my day with exercise, a healthy breakfast and either meditation or a motivational podcast or article. This follows me throughout the day until I complete my daily gratitude journal in the evening. I was amazed at the impact these simple activities can have on my mental alertness and general mood. Another way to keep focused is to set aside time for loved ones and holidays. Let’s face it, we can’t do it alone; time for friends, family and loved ones can help us remember why we do what we do.

My work day is also much more structured, with dedicated times for my regular activities such as prospecting and administration. Prior to Transform, my day was more spontaneous, doing activities as they arose rather than proactively setting aside time in my week to achieve them.

What was your favourite coaching session and why?
Each session gave me so many fantastic ideas; I’ve been keeping a list of things to implement and it’s now pages long!

One that really stood out for me was Josh Cobb’s session. His online content strategy seemed like a really exciting idea and I was over the moon when Melanie from Campaigntrack told me this is something they can help with. Greg from CoreLogic backed all this up with how agents can use big data and how some industry leaders in the US are already making data work for them. I love this, because I think too many agents are doing the same thing their bosses did; the world is changing and as an industry we need to catch up!

Fiona’s presentation on property management really blew my mind. She was in the present; we didn’t need any fancy tricks or even to pay a cent. Just stand up and walk over to your property management team and work together. This session had ideas that were the easiest to implement and these activities have given me the best return so far. If you’re in sales and reading this, get up now and go buy your property manager a coffee and talk about your business. It could be the best $3.50 you ever spend!

What part does video now play in your personal marketing or branding strategy?
Video really excites me, but before the program I didn’t really know how I could include it in my marketing mix. I’m now using a combination of professional video with Campaigntrack (for my monthly update and property videos) and the Busivid app to send follow-up messages to clients, as well as question and answer sessions with industry tips to share on my social media channels.

You can see for yourself how I was with my first video: a deer in the headlights could be a fairly apt description! I’m much more confident now and really look forward to getting better at presenting.

How has your listing presentation changed since Transform?
My listing presentations are now much more evidence-based. Am I the only one who didn’t know just how much great information is at our disposal? I can now find an answer for pretty much every question a vendor ever asks. Why do we need to pay for professional photos? Why do we need to disclose the price? Why do we need to pay for a premiere listing on realestate.com.au? Should I pay for print advertising? All this information is at our fingertips and it can justify everything we say.

What was one moment you took Jet Xavier’s advice, felt the fear and did it anyway?
Fear can be a wonderful thing! It gives us a choice and challenges us to make a decision. Jet challenged us all to feel our fear but act anyway. I pitched for my biggest listing yet; pre-Super Six me would probably not have done it out of fear. But after Jet’s talk I knew I had to do just that. I’m looking forward to finding out the outcome. Watch this space!

What were the three most significant things you have implemented that have changed your business, or that you think will change your business in the future?
Consistency, confidence and care. These three things will give my business the foundation to continue to grow.

Being consistent in everything I do, from my brand and personal image to my marketing and prospecting. I’m making sure I’ve got a plan in place to ensure this is aligned with how I want to be represented to the market. As Susanne King said, if I want to be a million-dollar agent, I need to act like it with every single transaction.

I need to care for myself, my business and my clients. Health and fitness should be part of my weekly mix and I need to be checking constantly with my clients to make sure I’m giving them what they want. If it isn’t, I’ve made a commitment to ask ‘How can I better help you?’ (Thanks for that, Jet!)

What are your specific goals now?
My goals are to set targets that scare me and seem impossible, then regularly review them and make sure they align with what’s important to me, to ensure they reflect the type of agent I want to be. In 12 months, two years and even five years, I want to look back and be able to say two things: I stayed true to myself, and I chose to be where I am – I didn’t just end up here.

What do you think your biggest challenge will be in the future?
I’m going to miss seeing Sam, Mark, Claudio and the Super Sixers every week and having the regular check-in and evaluation sessions. My challenge will be to integrate practices into my business to make sure I’m still constantly reviewing, assessing and learning. It can’t all stop here; this has to be the beginning.

What advice would you now give to someone starting in real estate?
Knowledge is power in real estate. We all work hard, but you need to make sure what you’re working on is going to get you where you want to go. So, find someone in the industry you admire and ask them to mentor you; you never know unless you ask. Learn from them and mould it into the practice that works for you. Subscribe to Elite Agent Magazine and read every article. Ask questions. Call someone who is doing something that excites you; who cares if they aren’t in your agency or brand? Pick up the phone and invite them for a coffee. Or better yet, get your smartphone, make a video and apply for the next round of Transform.

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.