There’s no doubt that starting out as a young real estate agent can be pretty tough. Getting a listing, and making that first sale, can certainly feel like an uphill battle. No-one knows this better than Tim Heavyside from Fletchers Real Estate, who, despite now being one of Victoria’s most successful estate agents, entered the industry nine years ago with no experience, no clients, and no in-depth understanding of real estate.
He describes starting out as like pushing a giant boulder.
When you first start in the industry, you’re constantly trying to get this boulder to move. Then you get your first listing and you make a sale and get a little momentum. But then, unfortunately, the boulder stops. You’re stuck back at square one and you have to work really hard to get it going again, he says.
However, according to Tim, it’s vital to remember that with some persistence and hard work, the boulder can, and will, eventually gather momentum.
After a period of time, the boulder just rolls naturally, says Tim. You build a client base that you can continue to tap into, and then the boulder starts rolling so much that it starts to become a magnet to people – and that’s a great place to be. When you don’t have to push yourself all the time, then your career becomes a lot easier.
And Tim would know.
Since entering the world of real estate, Tim has worked tirelessly to secure listings, make sales, and create lasting client relationships. A licensed estate agent and auctioneer, he is now the youngest appointed Director of Melbourne’s most iconic family agency, Fletchers.
In 2006, Tim received the prestigious REIV Residential Salesperson of the Year Award – and went on to be the inaugural representative of his state in the 2007 National Real Estate Industry awards. He received the same award in 2010 and will again be representing Victoria in the national awards on 31 March on the Gold Coast.
In 2010, Tim also achieved the highest number of sales and commission in one year in Fletchers’ entire 92-year history.
So what is the secret to his success?
According to Tim, there’s no silver bullet. “There’s no single factor that will make you eminently successful. There are, however, a few key things that I believe can make a difference”, he says.
You need a level of experience (understanding what this industry is all about), some street smarts (largely knowing when to be quiet, and when to talk) and application (good old fashioned hard work), he adds.
Perhaps most importantly, Tim is resolutely committed to his clients, and to fostering long-term relationships. He says that when it comes to application, persistence is very important.
He recalls one particular sale that took over five years to come to fruition – from the time he first met the owner in 2005, (who at the time was partnered with another agent) to the time he sold his property for $125,000 over the reserve.
You can’t shy away from the hard work. You need to put in, to get out, he says. You don’t have to be in this business for twenty years to be successful. But you do need to do the hard yards.
Another crucial factor for Tim is going the extra mile – and always looking for opportunities. On a holiday in Queensland, for instance, Tim got chatting to a woman in the resort swimming pool – also from Victoria – who happened to mention that her grandmother was looking to sell her house. The elderly lady’s English was poor – so when they returned to Victoria, Tim arranged a creative visual presentation for her, and ended up securing the listing, selling her home and getting a fantastic result.
Tim also believes wholeheartedly in the power of technology, and in embracing change.
You need to continually update the way you work and welcome change – whether it’s being interactive with technology, streamlining your processes, or taking a lifelong approach to your client relationships, he says.
Within the industry, Tim is well known for his approach to technology – utilising almost every tool at his disposal to promote his properties, his own name, and Fletchers’. He is a pioneer of using video tours to sell his properties, and says that this has been instrumental in his success.
He now does video tours for 95% of his properties.
Tim also believes strongly in the power of personal branding. He uses several forms of online marketing to ensure that he is well indexed with search engines, and has a dedicated assistant who looks after his Facebook profile and professionally markets his brand to the public and to the clients.
Tim has also taken advantage of every opportunity to grow his brand – appearing twice on the national TV show, Under the Hammer, and continually placing advertisements in both the Herald Sun and The Age.
Within Fletchers, Tim has also implemented a Fletchers’ DVD for pre-lists that provides a brief overview of the company and is used very successfully to engage prospective vendors. As a Director, he has also initiated a weekly prospecting sales meeting and an annual awards night – which encourages all of Fletchers’ disparate offices to come together, compare their approaches and get to know each other better.
He also often invites colleagues to shadow him at open for inspections or when listing presentations – and says that in so doing, he’s always sharpening his own pencil and perfecting his own approach.
I also often find that sharing your listing with a colleague is a great way of helping them with their career growth – as well as helping the client by providing even greater customer service, he says.
Perhaps Tim’s biggest advice for young real estate agents, however, is to think outside the box.
“You’re not actually selling real estate”, he says. “You’re selling advertising, and you’re building and maintaining relationships. At the end of the day, we are simply professional advertisers. Remember this, and your career will flourish, he adds.