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John McGrath on Goal Setting and Thinking Bigger

Here are the highlights from our Super Six session with real estate legend John McGrath and program mentor Claudio Encina.

Thank you our Week 1 sponsor:

Core Logic Australia. CoreLogic have also provided the supersix access to RP Professional for the 12 week Transform challenge, allowing them to get ahead of the game with the numbers in their local area. More on that in Week 2, but like the supersix you can be an expert in your local area by finding out more here, or get a 14 day free trial here. Couple of exciting things happening at CoreLogic over the past few weeks, one of them being the release of the home values forecasting tool which was built in partnership with Moody’s Analytics. To find out how the predictions look for 2016 and 2017 click here.


John McGrath and Claudio Encina

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The Super Six were also introduced to Helen Mitchell Busivid, who provided them with a great package to complete their video diaries, simply and spectacularly.

Video Notes/Transcript

00:00 Introduction and Session Overview: Samantha McLean

1:14 Yes it is possible to transform/polish your performance in 12 weeks. 

John: I remember watching, years ago, these Australia’s Got Talent type shows, X-Factor, there’s been a whole range of them, and I was always amazed by how quickly people transformed from natural talent and ability into polished, world-class performers over a period of a few weeks. Okay, there’s a little bit of camera fudging in there, but in reality, having been involved in a couple of reality-type shows, it’s pretty close to the truth. People came in, they stood around “The Block” in long queues, eventually got there, did a rough-cut performance, they got in, and six, eight, twelve weeks later, they were, in some instances, polished recording artists.

I see this as the ability to have an extreme makeover experience. All of you have that rough-cut, natural talent, otherwise you wouldn’t be in the room. Take that for granted. You’re not, at this point, polished recording artists. I’m going to say that, that’s not to be confused with inauthentic. Polished means professional, world-best.

2:30 Why feedback is important

Please don’t take personal feedback, even what you might hear as criticism, constructive criticism, personally. I pay people, have so for years, to tell me how I can improve. It’s really about taking it on board. It doesn’t mean that everything that everyone says, you will agree with. If you are surrounding yourself with the right people, most of what they will say will have some element of truth in it. You’ve got to take that.

My story started much the same as yours. I was a bit younger, maybe. I was 19, 20, started in selling. Couldn’t sell much for the first six months. Started questioning myself, full of enthusiasm, full of that one-level belief and certainty, but that gets eroded away when you don’t get the results you expect. I got to a point where I thought, is real estate really for me? Fortunately, I’d got a couple of little wins, a couple of little successes, and my momentum built, so it’s been a great 33 years for me being in this industry.

03:15 Why you need to get ready for the tougher aspects of the job and you can’t avoid rejection

At the end of the day, real estate, like anything worthwhile trying to achieve, there’s going to be elements of challenge and toughness and rejection. All the things that are a little bit less pleasant, but they are part of the journey, and you can’t escape them. Anyone that says to me, “Look, I really love real estate, I want to be the best, but how do I avoid rejection?” The reality is you don’t. You cannot. This is a part of the deal, is getting strong at the areas where you’re not so strong, and really ramming home a point of difference. I see a lot of agents out there.

03:40 Amateurs vs Professionals

Here’s my, what I say about the industry. Full of a lot of people, but very few are professionals. Most are amateurs. What does an amateur do? They turn up 5 minutes late for appointments. They don’t follow through. They don’t cross their T’s. They take average photos for their properties. They don’t tell clients the truth around what a property’s really worth. They don’t know the market knowledge as well as they should. There’s a whole range of things that amateurs do, and if you guys think about your industry and the marketplace you’re in and people that you either associate with or observe, most of them are not at that elite level.

The question that I’ll propose first at the beginning is, are you serious about becoming a professional? If you are, there’s work involved, and the reward is phenomenal, having embarked on a never-ending journey of trying to become better and better in my own real estate career, and more importantly, in my own life. There is a cliché. Unfortunately, it’s a cliché, because it’s shared with a lot of people, but it’s the journey that’s the reward, not the destination. A lot of people look at real estate, they’re going to ask you about you’re why’s a bit. What’s your plan? A lot of people look at real estate, and they say, “I want to make a lot of money.” There’s nothing wrong with that as a scoreboard and as an outcome, but at some point that no longer drives you to be world-best, because you make a lot of money. This is one of the industries where you can make a lot of money if you become good or exceptional. Then what? What drives you?

05:13 Why you need to have a service mindset.

Thirty-three years later, every single day, I’m honestly, authentically, excited to go to work and do what I do. Every day I get to go into a client meetings, I get in training sessions like this, I get a whole range of different things that I get to do that are gifts, and I can’t believe what an opportunity I’ve been given. That’s after 33 years. A lot of people at this point are burned out. They’re whatever, but I’m passionate about coaching, adding value. I love serving people, it’s one of my big why’s is I just love serving people.

When someone rings up and says, “I can’t believe that my …” I had one a couple days ago. Someone was trying to get a rental property for their son who’d had trouble finding a rental property. We found a rental property. She rings up, and she’s almost in tears. As a commercial transaction in the world of our company, that’s not a major blip on the radar, but for me, that meant as much as selling a $25 million house, because it’s about serving people, helping people, and I look at real estate that this is an integral part of all … For my friend’s son, getting his first rental property, that’s a pretty important thing, right? You’ve got to live somewhere, you hate real estate agents knocking you back. You feel, whatever, you’ve got pressure on you to move somewhere and all of a sudden someone helps you. You get in, and that’s the change we can effect, and that goes right through for life.

06:35 Focus, Progress and Growth

Claudio: I think over the next 12 weeks, one thing that resonates for me, my three core values, always, as a coach when I work with people is, number one is focus. You want to get focused. Number two, for me, is progress. Wherever you are today, you want to make progress. The third is growth. I live by those values in my business, in my life, because I think if you’ve got the focus and start to make progress, you’re happy. I do a lot of videos of successful agents, people like John. I always say, “What’s your definition of success?” Everyone at the end of it says, “Happiness.” It’s not about the money, it’s not about the car I drive or where I live. It’s happiness in all areas of their life, being it family or health or the way they feel about themselves. I think for us, over the next 12 weeks is a real journey. That’s what I want to bring to the table is help you get focused for where you’re at today. Help you really make some progress, and really grow over the next 12 weeks.

07:35 Don’t rest on your laurels

John, you mentioned something funny. You talked about pros versus amateurs, and I’m a big believer in that. I’ve seen a lot of it. I was listening to a podcast the other day, Kobe Bryant, he’s winner of the NBA All-Star, Most Valuable Player. He was saying, the guy was interviewing him, and he said, “How many hours do you train?” He said, “I do 800 hoops a day.” 800 hoops. I went, “Wow.” The guy said, “How long does that take you?” And he said, “4-5 hours a day.” Even though he’s the best, he’s not resting on his laurels, or he’s not complacent. He’s still going 4-5 hours a day just shooting 800 hoops. It was really funny. He said at the end, he said, “For me, if I get that opportunity to stand up at the free throw line, I’ve got the responsibility to win or lose a game.” He said, ” I take that quite seriously. I want to make sure I shoot and hit the hoop and get it through the hoop.”

John: That’s a good point, Claudio. It’s very easy to see what looks like exceptional performance and think that it’s natural talent. Kobe Bryant’s a great example. I hadn’t heard that, but I’m not surprised. Very same with David Pocock [the rugby player] and there’s a whole range of others. The people that perform exceptionally well on the court, on the field, in the world of business, in our equivalent, they put the hard yards in when they’re not at a listing, they’re putting that in to really learn the skills.

09:05 Absolute clarity

Be really clear about me. I just hired a guy that’s doing over $2 million in GCI. At the interview or at the, it wasn’t an interview because he’s a high-class performer, we were generally chatting about stuff. I said, “What do you want achieve?” He looked me in the eyes, he said, “I want to be Australia’s number one agent.” Absolute clarity, no ego, no uncertainty, no waffle. He said, “I want to be Australia’s number one agent, and he felt, rightly or wrongly, that coming to us was going to be a part of that process. I said, “You know that means you’ll have to go from $2 million to about $6 million,” and he said, “Yeah, I know exactly what I have to do.”

Clarity, whatever it is, and please don’t be uncomfortable about, in a business environment, saying, “I want to write a million dollars, I want to be the best in the world, or whatever.” I get that we’re all good people, and everyone beneath that wants to do something far more meaningful than just write GCI. I get that. Also, don’t be uncomfortable saying that. My coaching Zac, one of the first things, if you want to get somewhere, you have to be absolutely, unequivocally crystal clear on where that is. When I hear, “Oh, I was somewhere before, and it was not a bad place, and I wouldn’t mind getting back to it,” for me, that’s a lot of fuzz. I want you to be, “Bang.”

10:22 Think Bigger

The first thing you said to me, “I want to have, maybe one day, the best day in Scarborough.” I said, “Why Scarborough and not the world?” Putting it out there. To me, thinking small doesn’t really serve you. When I started my tiny little business out of my lounge room and then a service office and a little terrace, I had an aspiration of the best real estate office in the world. I don’t know where, I had no right to think that, but I thought it, and I was passionate about it, and as a result of that, I’ve probably built a better business, than if I’d have said, “I want to have a good little business in Paddington. I want the best little business in Paddington.”

I encourage you all to think bigger than you’ve ever thought before. That’s the starting point of greatness, when you stop thinking about having the best office in Scarborough, and you start thinking about having the best office on planet earth. A different set of decisions come from that.

About the Red Chair…

If you are wondering what the red chair next to John is all about, it’s a fantastic sentiment that you will see in every meeting room at Core Logic. The red chair is to remind anyone in any meeting that there is an imaginary customer in the room, and someone has to sit in that chair and be the voice of the customer.  So in every meeting, when directions are taken or decisions are made, they are made with the customer ‘in the room’. Pretty powerful stuff when you think about it and a great thing to implement in your own office.


If you have questions for the coaches or for the Super Six tweet us @eliteagentmag #transform

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John McGrath

John McGrath is a chairman of McGrath Real Estate and a founder of AREC (Australian Real Estate Conference) held annually