Simon Sinek at Inman 2018 #icny Video and Full Transcript. Peter Brewer

As an Ambassador for Inman News for over 6 years now, I get to sit in on some wonderful strategy sessions, contribute to some exciting planning, and am granted front row access to some pretty cool interviews. On January 24 2018 I got to share a morning with Simon Sinek.

Welcome to the Simon Sinek Interview with Andrew Flachner from RealScout. I hope you enjoy learning from the rare public interview Simon shared with the Inman audience.

Announcer:                            Please welcome to the stage, Andrew Flachner, CEO of RealScout.

Andrew Flachner:               Good morning.

I am thrilled to introduce our next speaker, Simon Sinek. Simon is a visionary thinker. He is a New York Times best selling author. Many of you have read his books or seen his recent interview on Larry King. He has one of the top viewed Ted Talks of all time. Simon meets with and consults with countless leaders in various industries and today not only will he share his thoughts on leadership and starting with why and being fulfilled, but he will also weigh in on our industry. We’ll have an opportunity to bring a couple of brokers on stage so that they can share where we all know life gives us problems.

So please help me welcome the leadership and communications expert, Simon Sinek.

Alright Simon, great to have you here. I wanna dive right in. Here we are at the real estate tech conference and I know that you have some personal experience buying a home. So I’d love to hear about how that experience shaped your perception of our industry.

Simon Sinek:                         It’s amazing how one experience can shape your perception of the entire industry. Yeah I had … It was an okay experience until I looked … It was the first time I ever bought a property. The agent seemed charming and nice and helpful, but as the process went on I realised I would ask difficult questions about the property and I would get legally-accurate answers, like “to the best of my knowledge.” But they weren’t actually accurate, so when I actually bought the property I realised there were many things wrong that I had asked about that I should’ve … I was never told. In other words I should’ve got relieve on the price for those things.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And for me the worst part was this agent who was nice and charming, this was the seller’s agent, when we showed up to the closing, literally sat there with a blank look on his face, and I realised he wasn’t there to help me buy a home, he was there to collect a check.

Andrew Flachner:               Well so you talked about why … Do you think that this agent was operating with a strong sense of purpose?

Simon Sinek:                         No, I think he was operating with a strong sense of get money. And I think it’s … When you look at how people buy homes, few people buy many many homes over years. They’ll buy few numbers, whole number, and you probably won’t see another broker for years if ever again.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         It’s kinda like service in Las Vegas. Vegas service in restaurants tends not to be as good as wherever we’re from. It’s because they only see you once and they don’t care.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         But what they don’t understand, what I think is so important about any industry where there’s an interpersonal relationship, is that things live on. I mean, word of mouth matters. Recommending to friends matters. And then here I am, I guess he didn’t know who I was or what I did but here I am sitting on stage in front of the industry talking about my bad experience that he did. You don’t know what happens.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure.

Simon Sinek:                         Or I could sit here and say it was the most amazing thing ever.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And here’s how that is. Which is I have no desire to do any business with his brokerage ever again.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure. 

Simon Sinek:                         I don’t even wanna talk to the broker …

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         Ever.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         Which is [inaudible 00:03:29] agent as well.

Andrew Flachner:               I wanna taka a step back, and I think it’s important that everyone in the audience knows your core message, start with why. So what lead you to articulate this framework? Was there a particular inspiration or pain point you had?

Simon Sinek:                         Pain.

Andrew Flachner:               Buying a home?

Simon Sinek:                         No no no, this goes back about a decade. I fell out of love with my own business. I fell out of love with my own job. I lost my passion is what happened. I was a marketing consultant at the time, and I … There’s no better way to put it, I fell out of love.

And it was confusing and hard for me ’cause I was doing the same thing. And I was working with even better clients at a higher level than I’ve ever worked, and yet I didn’t want to wake up and do it again. And I used to have so much passion, and the passion completely ran out. And it caused concern and I sort of kept it to myself, and I spent all of my days pretending I was happier and more successful and more in control than I actually felt, which is not a good way to live. And it wasn’t until a dear friend of mine came to me and was concerned about me, that it gave me the courage to admit that I was struggling and not enjoying myself and that freed up the mental space for me to find a solution, and the solution I found was this thing that I call the why.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, so what is your why?

Simon Sinek:                      

   To inspire people to do the things that inspire them. So together each of us can change our world for the better.

Andrew Flachner:               So what are some companies out there that you think do a good job at defining their why, or maybe some companies that don’t?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s an easy rule of thumb. It’s generally the companies that people love that have this visceral connection to that are really good at communicating and internalising their why. So it’s the usual gang, it’s your Apples, it’s your Southwest Airlines, but there’s plenty of others out there as well. I think Air BNB is on a great track, they sound different, the way they talk about things. And there are some companies, unfortunately most companies are pretty bad at it. You can tell when companies are driven by quarterly results and care much more about themselves than they do about the outside world.

Andrew Flachner:               So how do you apply this framework, starting with why, to the real estate industry to help improve it?

Simon Sinek:                         Well I think it’s essential that every single person at every single company should have a sense of why they woke up in the morning. And it should have nothing to do with your industry. A why is not to help people find the home of their dreams. No, that’s just the job you do. That’s what you do, that should be table space, you know?

Your why is the thing that makes you who you are. It’s the reason your friends love you. It’s the reason your clients love you. It’s the reason your colleagues love you. And your ability to articulate that in clear and compelling terms is a thing that actually creates a real relationship, more efficiently, with a seller or a buyer, because you’ll say, “here’s why I got into this industry. Here’s what I love about this industry.” And you’re talking basically about who you are. And if somebody connects with that, they’re much more likely to trust you, and they’re much more likely to pass up somebody who may offer them a percent off commission. Because you want to do business with this person, not with this … It’s much bigger than a transaction.

Andrew Flachner:               Well I think in this industry too, it does have a particularly intimate or close relationship with our clients. Does that create any new opportunities, or different opportunities than what you’d find in other industries?

Simon Sinek:                         I mean yeah, we want to do business with people we like and here you are spending intimate time with people, I mean a home is a personal thing if it is a home, if that’s what they’re buying. Hopefully you’re getting to know each other and you’re getting to like each other. My recommendation to buyers is if you don’t like your broker, if you don’t like your agent, work with somebody else.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         You have to like them. But the same goes for the agents. If you don’t like the buyer, it’s gonna become work.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure.

Simon Sinek:                         If you like the buyer, you’ll enjoy it, working with them, or the seller, you know? You’ll feel more passionate about helping them. You’ll go out of your way. That’s where innovation happens.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         You’re actually looking to solve problems and help advance like that as opposed to just closing the transaction.

Andrew Flachner:               So that’s the human component. I wanna talk a little bit about the technology component, because we’re on stage talking about these new services and products that are going out.

Innovation is one of the key things that you work on and yet in my experience I feel like in our industry, we have a pretty spotty track record with innovation. Do you have any ideas as to why that might be?

Simon Sinek:                         The reason innovation happens in most organisations, in most industries, is there is the desire to vess a greater good, right? So Steve Jobs for example, his why, his cause, the reason he woke up every morning, was he believed in giving power to the individual to stand up to Big Brother, right? He was a rebel and everything he was doing was all about challenging the status quo, right? Giving power to the individual. And so he understood in the music industry, for example, that the music industry falsely believed that their customer was Tower Records or HMV, not the person that actually listens to and buys music. They falsely believed that their customer was the distributor, that the distributor was their customer.

And so he thought, no no no we have to put the power back in the consumer’s hands. And they invented iTunes.

It is an absolute travesty that the music industry, Sony Music or any of the others, didn’t invent iTunes.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                        

Just like it’s a travesty that the film industry didn’t invent Netflix, but it’s the same reason. It’s because they’re so preoccupied with selling their product that they’re actually ignoring the real wants, needs, demands and desires of the people who actually spend money on the product.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And I think … You see that in large industries where, as an industry there tends to be a monopoly. Maybe not a company, but the industry tends to be a monopoly and tend to have no sense of competitors out there.

Andrew Flachner:               Alright so with consumers driving so much of that activity, we’re seeing major shifts. We just heard Brad on stage talk about Amazon and their ability to deliver grocery within hours. Lyft will pick me up from this conference within minutes if not seconds. There are companies in our industry like Open Door or Offer Pad, they’re starting to drive some of the similar on-demand economy where you can see a home now without the help of a real estate agent. You can sell a home in a few days with a few clicks. In your recent book you talk about cooperation and how, when partners or people cooperate together they’re better off in the end.

So real estate is having a bit of a moment right now, where there are new entrants that are entering the industry and they kinda have an ambiguous stance towards the industry, and so in the face of innovation or in the face of destruction, how are incumbents supposed to play the game?

Simon Sinek:                         Understand that human beings are social animals, and relationships will always win, always, right? When the internet started and online shopping began … Everybody here is old enough to remember that, it’s not that long ago … They predicted the end of bricks and mortar, except Amazon was nothing but a store, right? Rent the Runway now has stores, right?

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         It didn’t happen, it never happened, right? You can now buy and sell cars online. But the cars dealers haven’t gone out of business. It’ll change an industry, and there’s definitely a segment of people that want just transaction, right? And those weren’t fun customers to work with anyway. Let ’em go. Those never felt like it’s worth the money. And so I think the more that people invest in understanding relationships, you’ll be fine.

The best example I think is the travel agent industry, which is … You look at the rise of all the travel websites and booking your own flights and all of that and your travel agencies are doing just fine, because there are people who, huge segment of people, industry-worthy in other words there’s an economy there, of people who want advice or help or just who are lazy or whatever the reason is. They want somebody else to plan, they just want somebody else to say, “I’ve been there” and that is great. Human recommendation … That’s why a star system and rankings and ratings are so important, because we actually want to read what other people think.

And to have the personal relationship. The greatest asset everybody in this audience has is the personal relationship. My broker’s my dad, my agent’s my dad, he’s sitting in the audience. You don’t get a better personal relationship than that.

Andrew Flachner:               So I wanna shift gears …

Simon Sinek:                         He’s not the original agent, but the way. My dad was the buyer’s agent, not the seller’s agent.

Andrew Flachner:               I do want to shift gears and talk a little bit about fulfilment and safety. These are topics that you write and speak a lot about. I think fulfilment could mean different things to different people, and so what does fulfilment mean to you?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s about going home every single day with the feeling that your work matters. That your life matters. That the hours you spend doing whatever it is you’re doing matter. And I think very often what poor leadership or poor leadership environments do, they don’t make us feel like we matter. We feel like cogs, we feel like numbers, we feel like they care more about money than us. They care more about themselves than us. Their career is more than our careers, and there’s a massive feeling of fulfilment when we contribute to the lives of those around us and to come home and feel like it was worth it.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, and you’d say that fulfilment is a right ?

Simon Sinek:                         Yeah, I do, I believe fulfilment is a right and not a privilege. It’s upsetting to me when you ask people, “Do you like your job” or “How’s your job?” Very few say, “I love it.” We go with our friends and somebody will say, “I love my job.” And everybody goes, “You’re so lucky.” That should be the exception rather than the … Should be the rule rather than the exception. I believe that the vast majority of people should feel like they love their work. The vast majority of people should wake up every single morning inspired, should feel safe at work and return home to feel at the end of the day it is our right it is not a privilege it is not a luxury for a chosen few.

Andrew Flachner:               And who’s responsible for that?

Simon Sinek:                         Leaders.

Andrew Flachner:               Leaders are responsible …

Simon Sinek:                        

Leaders are responsible for creating an environment in which we work. Leaders are responsible for deciding what to do and how to treat us, that we will feel a certain way. It has nothing to do with the number of hours we work, it has nothing to do with the amount of yoga we do.

All of this discussion about work life balance,

there’s no amount of yoga that you can do that will solve that problem.

Another vacation won’t fix it, it just delays it. Working really really hard for something we don’t believe in is called stress. Working really really hard for something we do believe in is called passion.

Andrew Flachner:               Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Simon Sinek:                         We’re still working exorbitant hours, we’re still making massive personal sacrifices, but in only one case does it feel worth it.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, and what are the things that leaders do to create that environment?

Simon Sinek:                         So you talked about one of them, that they have a sense of why. They offer people a sense of purpose or reason to come to work that’s bigger than what the company does or what the industry offers.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         A real sense of purpose. There’s many brokers out there that you may associate yourself with. Whoever founded those brokers, those companies, got into the industry for different reasons. You should know what that reason is, you should align yourself with a company that has similar values, similar philosophical perspective as you do, right? Hoping that they also only attract people, that you work with people, who believe in you to share your values, that’s really important.

And what good leaders do is create environment in which we feel safe amongst our own. Safe to say, “I need help.” Safe to say, “I made a mistake.” Safe to say, “I’m having trouble at home; it’s affecting my work.” And instead of humiliation or retribution, what you get is an outpouring of love and support and coaching.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, and when it comes to creating that safe environment … It was a pertinent question around, recent conversations for sexual misconduct, sexual harassment … What effect do you think, who thinks, time’s up? What are those movements going to do for the future of workplace safety?

Simon Sinek:                         Well I think the #metoo, #timesup movement is yet another symptom of the poor leadership environments that we have in too many organisations today. My opinion on the whole movement is that it is a sign of the abject failure of most human resources departments. That very few people who work in large companies view HR as someone or a place you can go, as something trustworthy. That if you suffered something that may have started as small and can be nipped in the bud immediately, the last people we want to go to or talk to is HR because we view HR as doing the bidding of the executives rather than representing us. HR to me should be the last line of defence between the people and the executives, but it hasn’t become that.

So I think it’s a huge shot across the bow that we need to reform human resources inside organisations. That they should be working tirelessly to protect us from the short terms of senior executives, of protecting people who, some of them are criminals. They just have to make good numbers. And until that happens, we won’t ever feel safe at work.

Andrew Flachner:               Right. Well on the topic of leadership, it’s something that you write a lot about. Your last book, or your second book, was Leaders Eat Last. That’s all about leadership. What is your definition of a good leader and what do you mean by leaders eat last?

Simon Sinek:                         So the title of the book came from a discussion I had with a general in the Marine Corps. I was studying the marines at the time when I was doing research for the book, and I asked him a very simple question, “What makes the Marines so good at what they do?” And he replies to me, “Officers eat last.” And if you visit any marine base anywhere in the world at chow time, you will see that they always line up in rank order. The most junior marines eat first, the most senior marine eats last. There are no orders given, it’s not written down anywhere. It’s the way they view leadership. They view leadership as a responsibility, not a rank.

It’s like being a parent. Sure, as a parent you’re in charge, but you understand that you have a responsibility for those in your care. Leadership is exactly the same. It’s not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in your charge. Even though senior people have the right to go first, meaning because of their rank they’re afforded privilege. If the General went to the front of the line and took some food, no one would question it. Everyone would be absolutely fine with it, but they don’t. They sacrifice their privilege instead, and put their people before themselves.

Andrew Flachner:               So let’s bring it down to some tangible actionable items for the audience. For any aspiring leader out there, what is something they can do tomorrow to become a better leader?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s about empathy and it’s about concerning yourselves with the lives and careers of those around you, right? So if you ask somebody … That same three-star General, he said his test for a great leader is when you ask somebody “how are you doing” you actually care about the answer. So if you don’t care about the answer, don’t ask the question.

Being a leader means that when somebody’s struggling … I’ll give you a simple example, so here’s a normal scenario in a company. Your boss walks into your office and says, “Your number are down for a third quarter in a row. If you don’t pick up your numbers, I don’t know what’s gonna happen.” Leadership is about walking into someone’s office and saying, “Your numbers are down for a third quarter in a row. Are you okay?” So what we can all do tomorrow, is if somebody around us is struggling, instead of judging, instead of criticising, our first inclination should be,

“What’s wrong? Are they okay? Is there anything I can do to help?” And by the way, we help not because we want something back, we help because it’s a good thing to do, but the amazing thing about human beings, is the vast majority of people that we help will be there for us at a later date.


Andrew Flachner:               And does that style of communication change depending on our generation … We do a lot of talking at these conferences about millennials millennials millennials … I am one, but we have them in our companies, we have them as our clients, I think the question for you is, do we treat them any differently? Are we focusing too much on the nuances of each generation?

Simon Sinek:                         Human beings are human beings. I don’t care how old you are and where you grew up, or how much you like your social media, you’re still a human being.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure.

Simon Sinek:                         And all human beings, everywhere in the world since the dawn of time, since the dawn of mankind … Those volcanoes don’t count … Every single human being since homo sapiens first walked on the planet cares about feeling like they belong. We’re tribal animals, we want to have a sense that we’re a part of something. We put on jerseys when there’s sporting events just so we can feel like we’re a part of it.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         We wear the badges of the broker that we work for with pride hopefully, because we feel like we’re a part of a community. We move to neighbourhoods and people like us, because we want to feel like we’re a part of something. All human beings are the same.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And so when we’re treated with respect, dignity, we see crimes being committed because somebody disrespected somebody. There’s something … I work with the police, and cops have told me that if they just treat somebody with respect and dignity, there’s never a problem. They know they broke the law, they come along perfectly happy. It’s when they’re disrespected, when we don’t treat people with dignity, that violence ensues.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         So simply treating people with dignity all the time no matter who you are no matter what your position of rank or authority, profoundly changes the interactions we have with people.

Andrew Flachner:               So are there any nuances we should pay attention to when it comes to generational segments?

Simon Sinek:                         Of course. Of course there are. How we grow up affects who we are. Our grandparents for example grew up during the depression and World War II, are frugal and miserly, but there’s nothing wrong with them, it’s because of how they grew up.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And every generation is affected by whatever major events happen in their coming of age. And so for your generation that so many people complain about, I think it’s a lack of empathy quite frankly. I think you just have to understand how a generation like yours grow, which is you’re a first generation to grow up with cell phones and social media being ubiquitous in your lives.

Andrew Flachner:               Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Simon Sinek:                         There’s no recollection of fax machines or telexes. Do you know what a telex is?

Andrew Flachner:               No.

Simon Sinek:                         Pay by the character. So people wrote in these weird contraptive forms.

Anyway, the point is, of course it’s gonna have an impact on how you grew up. And there’s some unintended consequences of all these technologies which I’ve written and spoke about a lot. They release a chemical in our bodies called dopamine, it’s a highly addictive chemical, and if left unbalanced, and this goes for all generations, we can become addicted to our technology. Which, for social animals, hurts our ability to interact, hurts our ability to make friends and feel like we belong, and if you’re a young person who’s in a formative stage, it can have life-long impact.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                        

That’s all you need to know. Just understand that there’s … Have a little empathy and understand how someone grew up and perhaps you’ll be a little more patient when interacting with somebody as opposed to frustrated.

Andrew Flachner:               So last question on generations, I know that Gen Z is right around the corner, and they’re graduating into the workplace they will soon be buying homes. Is that a contention on millennials? Do you view it as a different topic?

Simon Sinek:                         So for clarity of definition, a generation lasts about twenty years, about …

Andrew Flachner:               I’m 19 years old.

Simon Sinek:                         So yeah, Gen Z would be born in about 2004-ish. So they’re teenagers.

I had a question once in my audience, “What do I do about my Gen Z workforce?” I’m like, “Why are you employing 12 year olds?” Not quite there yet. I think that the impact of social media in the lives of Gen Z is worse than millennials, Gen Y, because millennials learn about the technology a little later whereas Gen Z is being given the technology as a four year old, a three year old, a two year old, and I’ll give you a horrible statistic. The biggest rate increase of a demographic for suicide in the United States is girls 10-14 years old. Suicide rates for girls 10-14 years old has tripled in the past fifteen years.

Andrew Flachner:               And why is that?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s not a cause relationship because, correlation that girls spend 40% more time on social media than boys. And so the humiliation that can happen on social media, the lack of coping skills that are not being developed by a young generation because when they’re depressed or down they turn to a device not a friend, the fact that they’re afraid to have interpersonal conversations. You ghost somebody if you wanna break up with somebody, you don’t actually just have a big screaming match and it’s over. Closure matters.

It has a powerful and pejorative impact on a young, formative mind. And until parents intervene, meaning don’t give the kid technology … I can’t help myself when I go for brunch or something, I see the six year old, seven year old … I went to a brunch actually, where the parents were all sitting around one table, and there were six kids sitting around another table, and all six kids were all on six separate devices for the entire brunch. And the parents did it because then they don’t have to deal with the kids. They’re not screaming, they’re not yelling, they’re not telling them to eat their eggs, and they’re not disturbing the parents. But I don’t think those parents recognise literally the massive, horrible impact … It’s like locking a kid in a room by themselves, and leaving them there for years and expecting that they’ll grow up to be just fine.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         Sure it’s helpful now, but it really is bad parenting, and I think until we intervene … They’re children, they’re noisy and they’re annoying, but until we intervene, it’s … We have to intervene for it to get better.

Andrew Flachner:               In the interest of time I want to lighten the mood a bit. I’m gonna lighten the mood. I do wanna switch it up … Inman seeks a lot of feedback about speakers and I don’t know if you know this Simon, but there are a lot of people in the audience who advocated for you to have this event. And one of those people is Laurie Davis so I wanna bring Laurie Davis up to the stage.

Come on up, so …

Laurie Davis:                          Good to see you.

Andrew Flachner:               So Laurie is a broker in North Carolina. Why don’t you do a quick introduction … Laurie has a real-life business challenge that she’d love for you to weigh in on.

Simon Sinek:                         Sure.

Laurie Davis:                          Yeah, so I’ve followed your work a bit and I am a broker owner. So for me, my daily struggles tend to be around motivating and managing agents. And I know you speak a lot about creating that safe family environment in your company, but we don’t fire our children. But when is it okay to put them up for adoption?

Simon Sinek:                        

I once had a question from an audience that said, “What happens if you really do have an idiot on your team?” And the answer was, “You hired them.”

So there’s a couple words, if I may, tweak. How do I motivate and manage? No one wakes up in the morning with a desire to be managed. We wake up in the morning with a desire to be lead. So you can manage a process, but you can’t manage people, right? And you don’t want to motivate people either, people are either motivated or they’re not motivated. The only thing we can do is inspire them. If we don’t inspire them, the motivated ones will go look for another job, right? So you want to inspire them and you want to lead them, as opposed to motivate or manage. That’s not what we do.

And if somebody is an under-performer, again, you hired them, right? So they either lied to you or you saw something that maybe was there that hasn’t been fostered. Or maybe you didn’t see something, or you missed something. So the immediate response is to coach. The main reason I think it’s okay to fire somebody quickly is if they’re un-coachable. If they’re not interested in feedback, they’re not interested in growing, they’re not interested in your help, then absolutely put them up for adoption, right?

But if somebody’s open to being coached, is open to growing, understands that you have difficult conversations with them, you know? “I see that you’re struggling. Can we help?” The hard thing for the leader is sometimes that process isn’t as quick as you want it to be. People who are under-performing we want them to fix their problems or get out, right? Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, which is … If we create an environment in which everybody feels like they matter, then we have to take the time to coach them, and after repeated attempts if they’re un-coachable, then yes.

And if you really did make a mistake, if you made a bad hire, and you realise it, you have to take responsibility. Sit down and say, “I know that you’re struggling here because we’re struggling with you and I know you’re not having fun.” I’ve seen other companies do this, which is, “I want you to be happy. I want you to work somewhere else where you’ll enjoy your work.” We can fire people with dignity. Usually what we do is we demean them on the way out. “You can’t do anything right. You’re an under-performer. You don’t listen.” And they literally leave with their confidence in tatters.

We can say,

“Look, I think we both made a bad choice. I know you’re not having fun here. I want you to grow. You’re smart. When I met you I thought you were fun and smart, and I just think that you’ll find more joy in another culture. How can I help you grow? Let me help you.”

And I’ve seen leaders do that. What they did is they gave their, they say, “Look, instead of working, use my computer system, why don’t you look for a job, I’ll keep you on salary.” So instead of giving them two weeks to get out the door, “Use the resources, I’ll give you a recommendation.” And they leave on a high. You built their confidence.

We had this happen, where somebody just was … her skill set just didn’t match the job that we needed, it just didn’t work, I didn’t have another job for her. I sat down with her, I told her I adore her but it’s just not working out. She knew it. It’s rarely news, you know?

Laurie Davis:                          Right.

Simon Sinek:                        

She knew it, and we did it this way. We helped her find another job. And to this day she’s one of our biggest champions. She got fired! She’s one of our biggest champions, because we let her go with dignity.

Andrew Flachner:               Alright thank you Simon. Laurie, stick around, I want to make sure we have enough time for one more question from the audience so, we have Sam DeBord, come on up.

So Sam DeBord is the key of strategic growth at Coldwell Banker in the Seattle area, so Sam come on up. Alright so Sam, shoot off your question.

Sam DeBord:                         Sure, so Simon, I know a lot of folks in the audience who we love the philosophy, the big why and focusing on that, but as brokers we have independent contractors. We have folks we like to influence how they work, but they’re eventually the boss with their own business at the end of the day. So when we go home, how do we structurally put something in place where we can say whether it’s annual business planning, quarterly, how to get them focused back on that in a very concrete way to make sure that throughout the year, even though we don’t actually tell them what to do in their business, we can bring them back to that focus throughout the year.

Simon Sinek:                        

The formality of it is irrelevant, right? You can still set out to help the people who choose to join your brokerage. You want to make them feel like they matter, and being with you they’re growing as human beings and growing as salesman. So offering all clients opportunities for growth. And I don’t mean sending them a PDF of how to do something. I mean offering them coursework, investing in communications courses, or conflict resolution, of how to have an effective confrontation.

Anything that … The things that you read about, Google and places like that, that they’re doing things for people … The companies that you admire. Every reason that you can do those things. Are those investments? Of course. Are you going to be investing in your people even though they’re not your people? Of course. But the point is you want these people to be passionate about your company rather than dispassionate about it, which means it’ll hurt your brand, or all the best people go somewhere else.

I’ll give you one simple example. In New York City, if you’re in New York, I think you’re using Uber or Lyft. And for New Yorkers we know there’s another company which is only in New York City called Juno, right? So it’s the same thing, they don’t actually work for the company. Go talk to a Juno driver and ask them, “Do you like Juno? What is it like versus Uber?” They hate Uber. They shit all over Uber, and they’ll say, they’ll tell you. So for example, if they’re having a problem, Uber gives them an email and if they’re lucky they’ll get a reply 48 hours later that usually blames them. Juno gives them a phone number that if they call, someone answers immediately 24 hours a day, and Juno very often sides with the driver. They pay them better, they take 10% versus 30%. They all can’t say enough good about Juno, and I tend, as a customer, to have a better experience with Juno and they can tell me that the Juno customers are better.

So there’s this whole company that’s growing, simply because they’re investing in things like call centres, 24 hour phone banks, and actually giving the benefit of the doubt to the driver, and they have a higher quality driver, which makes me want to use Juno. We should only use Juno. So you will have a higher-quality agent when they feel like they matter to you, and you invest them as if they were full-time employees.

Andrew Flachner:               Thanks. I do wanna … Stick around Sam, I do wanna wrap up the interview by talking about … You started with why being more than a best-selling book, more than a Ted Talk. I really see it as a movement, so my question is, what is your vision for the future of work when you realise your mission, and when companies and leaders are operating with a strong why, and a strong sense of purpose?

Simon Sinek:                        

It’s a simple vision and I’ve said it before. Imagine a world, a world that does not exist right now, a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired, go to work and feel safe while they’re there, and return home fulfilled at the end of the day.

I’ve completely devoted my work, my life to advancing that world, figuring out the tools that we need to get there and sharing those tools. Preaching the vision … It’s the first thing you do when you do a jigsaw puzzle is you lean the box against the wall so you can see the picture. I’m the guy that points at the box, and I’m looking for people with pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. The companies and the leaders who say, “I can build a company like that.” So we put those pieces in place and profoundly change the course of business in America if not the world.

Andrew Flachner:               Great, well thank you for sharing your insights. Please join me in giving Simon a big round of applause.

I hope to see you in San Francisco for #ICSF.  Let me know if you’d like my personal Ambassador code to save you over $500.00 USD, or call me on +61417630962 if you’d like to join in on our US Real Estate Study Tour.

Tara Christianson Jay Luebke Peter Brewer, and Brad Inman

Jeff Turner challenges the belief that Agent Search on Portals is a thing..

Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a #mancrush on Jeff Turner – CEO of Immoviewer. It’s a #bromance that goes back many years.

So when I know that Jeff is going to be on stage sharing his wisdom on anything at all, and i’m on the northern side of the equator, you can bet i’ll be in the front row listening to what the bald skinny guy has to say.

At the Inman Connect conference in New York City today, Jeff, (not speaking on the topic of his latest venture), challenged the long held belief that ‘Agent Search’ on portals is critical to an Agent being found and chosen.

I’ve transcribed Jeff’s presentation verbatim. Enjoy!

So I remember very clearly sitting in the audience at T3 in 2015 when Stefan Swanepoel was interviewing Spencer Rascoff. Great interview, really smart guy, two really smart guys sitting on the stage. And out of the blue, Spencer said something that made me put out what is unusual for me, which was a very caustic tweet.

He said this:

“the best place to find a realtor is on Zillow”.

                                    Well, I find that a little bit difficult to believe. And I hope that all of you sitting in the audience find that a little bit difficult to believe too. And I’ve been hearing this for years now. For the last five or six years at some conference somewhere some social media guru is standing up on stage and is saying something very similar to this: the first thing consumers do when trying to find an agent is go and look at online reviews.

                                    Well my friends, this is what we like to call in today’s environment “fake news”. It’s simply not true. And every single one of you who’s been a realtor for any length of time at all knows that that is not true. It is not how consumers behave. And yet here we are, standing at another real estate conference, talking about agent reviews as if they were some second coming.

                                    Well I’m not sure what Brad thought he was getting when he asked me to speak on this topic, but I want to give you what I think are facts. Things that intuitively I believe you’re going to relate to and understand, and be able to take back your business in a meaningful way.

                                    First thing I want you to understand is some data. Now I went to my friends at Realsatisfied and said, “take a look back at the last 50 thousand survey responses that have come in on the buyer side, and the last 50 thousand survey responses that have come in on the seller side. I want you to tell me, how are people finding their agents? How are they saying they’re finding their agents?”


                                    Now, this is the seller’s side, shouldn’t surprise you, 69% of people said they found their agents via referral from a friend or family member, or having had previously done business with that brokerage. Here’s what might surprise you, more people found their selling agents via yard signs than from the internet. So my question to you is, why isn’t more [inaudible 00:02:36] money going into signs?

                                    I’ve got my friend Peter Brewers sitting down here in the front yard. Signs are different in Australia, aren’t they? Big, huge massive signs sitting out. You go for a walk on Manly beach in Australia and you’ll have a billboard in front of a house that lets you take a look inside that house and see what’s going on. We do signs very poorly here, and yet, signs still outperform, not just sellers, but buyers too. These numbers are very similar, and they haven’t changed in five years. And my bet is, they’re not going not change. Unless you make some mistakes.

                                    What are we talking about here? I pulled Brian aside out in the hallway about two hours ago and I said “listen, I’ve got a slide that I’m using, I’m quoting you from 2015 and based upon the tweets that I saw from your session yesterday, I think you still believe this. Do you still believe this?” I showed him the slide. “Yes, I still believe this.” Why?


                                    Because the other side of this that’s true is this: every lead is a client some agent lost. Every single one. And so we’ve got realtors running around nonstop spending money on things that if they were to divert that money into something slightly different, you might get a better result. You want to kill the portals? Maybe you don’t, maybe you love them. You’d better post-close marketing, because this is something that I believe to my core. Agent search simply doesn’t exist.

                                    Yes, can you go onto Zillow and can you go and search for an agent? Sure. How many people do that? Seriously. Answer the question for yourself honest, how many people go onto Zillow, or, or any other portal and go “man I really need to find an agent I think the best way for me to do that is just randomly go and look for an agent.” It’s not the way it works.

                                    I did a little test, I did this a couple days ago. I lived in zip code 91390. If you go search – feel free to do it for yourself and validate what I’m saying – if you go search 91390 and just go and say “show me all the agents in 91390” in Zillow, there are 25 pages, 10 agents per page, 250 agents just in my zip code. How many pages of agents do you think I have to go through before I find an agent with something less than a five-star rating? 19. 19 pages. And guess what I get to when I get to the nineteenth page for the agent that doesn’t have a five-star rating? They have no rating. If I’m searching for an agent, does this help me? Do you know why agent search doesn’t exist? Because if it did, the consumer would be absolutely incapable of discerning one realtor from another.

                                    And so what’s the other truth here? I have the luxury of following a data scientist from once at a conference where I was speaking and he gave out a number that was innocuous to the crowd but meant something to me, and that’s that 70% of agent search is organic. What does that mean? It means that they’re going into Google an they’re typing your name and typically with your brand they’re typing in your name, specifically, and your brand. Which means that agent search isn’t search at all. It’s an act of identification. All they’re doing is trying to identify, is this the person that somebody told me about? This is about validation.

                                    What happens? What really happens? I go to my friend and I say “I’m thinking about selling my house, do you know a good real estate agent?” And what do they do? They go “yeah, I used this person” or “you might want to try this”. So what’s the next thing that I do? I go to make certain my friend’s not an idiot. And here’s the thing, Pew Research came out last year and said 70% of consumers who seek out a recommendation from a friend will use that recommendation even if what they find online counters what their friend said.

                                    Think about this for a second. They’re not searching for pizza. But even pizza, I’m going to take my recommendation, or a recommendation of a friend, for someone else. If I’m just hungry, I can walk out to 46th street right now and I can head a half-block in either direction and I can get a slice of pizza, right? If I’m like “I just need to eat something quick, I don’t even care”, or I can go to Yelp and I can say “what’s the best, closest pizza?” But I’m just hungry. But if I want to say “hey, I’ve got 15 minutes. Peter-” I’m going to pick on Peter all day because he’s sitting right there in front of me, “-where’s a good slice of pizza five minutes from here” and if he gives me something off the top of his head like that, what am I going to do? I am going to go get that pizza. If I’m in another city and I just want to eat, maybe I’ll use Yelp. But if I’m in another city and I want to have an experience, I’m taking clients out to dinner, I’m going to call someone in that city, I need to make certain I have a great dinner, that’s what I’m going to do.

                                    And if I’ll do that for a restaurant, I’m certainly going to do that for a real estate agent. Because it is, without question, the most complex, most important transaction most people are ever going to do in their life. Why in the world would I trust that to agent search? I’m not. I don’t. The numbers don’t support it. The truth of the matter is we still turn to our friends and family members when we’re trying to find an agent. And that’s why when they’re saying only 10% of leads come, every lead is a customer another agent lost, that’s where this comes from. Those facts. And I believe it’s true.

                                    What’s the goal here? What are we really trying to do? What’s the whole point of all of these reviews? If reviews are an act of validation, and I believe that they are, then what you really need to be asking are these questions.

                                    I heard Ken Schmidt speak at Better Homes and Gardens real estate conference a couple years ago. He’s the guy who turned Harley Davidson around, and he did it by asking these three questions.

                                    “What do people say about you?” The first thing you have to understand before you can get a grip on what you need to be doing for agent reviews is to understand what people currently say about you. You need to understand how they really feel because if you’re just doing this based upon simple 5-star reviews you’re finding somewhere online, you have nothing. You have no data, You have no information about how you actually performed inside of those transactions. Cause it’s way too easy to encourage somebody “please go give me-” … It’s like being at a car dealer and you just get done with their service and the person behind the counter goes, mister you’re going to get a survey. It impacts my salary, I really hope you give me a 5-star review. What am I going to do? Impact this person’s salary? Of course I’m going to give them a five-star review. Unless they really, really messed up.

                                    So what do we have? We have a culture that’s like this: five-star, two-star. That’s it. There’s no in-between. So you have to understand how they really feel about you before you can take the next step.

                                    Now that I understand that, what do I want them to say about me? And last is, what are you willing to do to make that happen? What changes are you willing to make to make that happen?

                                    And so, what your goal should be is fans, not customers. Another thing that came out of yesterday’s session that I saw moving through the tweet-stream was that the brokerage that bridges the loyalty gap is going to win. I believe customer loyalty is the key to success in real estate. Always has been, always will be. People who are winning at that game are winning, period. And so, what is it, what does it take, any buyer and seller survey every year, comes back with good data. Every year these same traits end up popping up. What are the things consumers are looking for most? Is it tech skills? It would be nice. What are they really looking for? Honesty and integrity. Things that lead to trust. Those are the things that matter. So in the end, your goal, your job, what you should be thinking about is how do I identify your evangelists and then own those relationships. That’s why reviews matter. But not the review itself, what matters is the process you use to get there.

                                    Steps are simple. One: start focusing on the customer first. You know what drives me nuts? We know this data. So Kobo bank just released a survey last week actually. And this relates to my current company. Eighty-four percent of consumers say they desire to see a VR tour before they step foot in a house in person. 70% of agents according to Data AR say that they know that’s true. Okay? So the consumer wants it, realtors say it’s true, and less than 3% of listings actually have them. There is so much room for improvement in putting the customer first.

                                    Second: Control the process, or at a minimum, have a process.  Most of you don’t. And that should involve surveying every single person. Even if you think you sucked in that transaction, even if it was a short sale and there was nothing you could do to convince them, you need to understand what it is and how you performed so you can own that customer relationship and fix the things that were broken.

                                    And then the last thing, for God’s sakes, stop just pushing this content out of the portals. Get creative with your- … You know, if you own this content, if you own this customer and you know that this customer loves you and you’ve got this great testimonial, why in the world would you only want that sitting on a portal? Put it on a sign for god’s sakes! If your signs are getting more leads than the internet, why aren’t you putting more testimonials on signs? That’s a serious question.


                                    I want to give you an example. I use this example a lot, because I feel like this agent is absolutely nailing it. From doing what he needs to do to provide the validation that he’s the agent the clients want to work with. When you get a chance go to and I want you to just take a look at how he’s organised his content and what he’s done to put the customer first. This is one of the best real estate websites I’ve ever seen. If you take away anything from what I’ve just said, what I want you take away is go look at what he’s done to make certain that these reviews, that these testimonials, and that the stories about the client’s he’s worked with are front and centre. It works. There is no such thing as agent search.

                                    Why are you interested in reviews? Because it helps you understand how you did, it helps you understand how to identify your fans, and it creates validation for the thing that’s really happening, and that’s people referring you.  

                                    Thank you.

Professionals Conference 2017 Digital Media Sessions

Download the slides from Peter Brewer and Tara Christianson Presentation below

Click to download: Pros Conference Oct 2017 – Thumbstopping Content

Click to download: Professionals Next Big Thing

Contact Peter on +61417630962 or email for further information or private coaching. Professionals special discounts apply.

50 nuggets you’ll wish you never digested

Seriously. Who in their right minds leaves the sunshine, beaches, relaxation and the iconic tastes of a beautiful Australian summer, to endure 22 hours of sitting with your knees up around your nose, sitting on a flying silver bullet, travelling to the ice and snow of a freezing American winter, to drink crappy beer in noisy bars, and at midnight head off to devour 50 Chicken nuggets for $9.99 whilst standing in the falling snow in Times Square.

If you’re smart this coming January, it’ll be You!

Inman Connect has become one of my absolute ‘must attend’ conferences for around 7 years now. Every August in San Francisco, and every January in New York, the real estate industries elite thought leaders gather with the worlds smartest marketers, the sharpest innovators, and 3,000 – 4,000 of the brightest and friendliest real estate brokers and agents that you could ever want to share a noisy bar, or 50 Chicken nuggets with.

Why go?

I get asked regularly why, every 6 months, I’m happy to endure the 22 hours of ‘knees up around my nose’ air travel to the USA to be at Inman Connect, and why I’m such a vocal supporter of Inman Connect. img_1409

The answer is pretty simple for me. Inman fills a void not offered by any real estate event in the southern hemisphere. It has a very clear focus on where the industry is (and sometimes isn’t) going. It showcases and heavily scrutinizes ‘the next big thing’ in real estate using the BS meter of 3,000-4,000 pretty tech savvy real estate people, and it encourages the industry to drive the agenda and content, under the ever watchful eye of the incredibly talented conference founder, Brad Inman.

Brad Inman is one very sharp guy. He’s an amazing thinker, he loves to innovate, and he pulls no punches when it comes to challenging the ‘top end of town’. I’ve said more than once that I get the cost of attending back, just from watching Brad’s opening remarks. The ensuing 2.5 days of learning is a bonus for me.

Brad Inman makes me think. img_1316

There are bucket loads of conferences here in OZ and NZ. Why go all the way to the USA?

The world of real estate is rapidly changing and I’m personally watching thousands of Agents/Agencies in Australia and NZ getting slowly (and in some cases, quickly) being left behind by new entrants to our industry.

Yep, I know its really frustrating for some in our business to try keep up to date with all this new ‘cool stuff’, whilst also trying to keep doing the ‘old’. But suburb by suburb across Australia, NZ and even inside the USA, I’m witnessing businesses losing market share to the ‘new kids on the block and innovation’.

Simply put. If you want to remain relevant to today’s consumer, they expect for you to be relevant to today’s marketing best practices.

Are you and your team absolutely up to date?

Are you really?…. I don’t believe that level of learning is available in Oz/NZ

Inman is a chance to learn. Be it, learning how to adopt video, how to cost effectively use Facebook ads, how to choose and implement the right database for your business, how to mobilize your team using tech, or most importantly, how to be the Agency of first choice for the new Agent or Salesperson entering the industry, Inman Connect is a MUST for you.

We meet in elevators sometimes

We meet in elevators sometimes

Sometimes we meet at tables

Sometimes we meet at tables








Sometimes we have special guests

Sometimes we have special guests

Is the cost of attending an issue?

What’s stopping you from attending Inman Connect in New York this January?

If it’s the cost, Id suggest you weigh the cost against the benefit, and also consider the tax benefits of spending a week or more learning from the best in the business, in the Big Apple. Plus if you use the code ‘peter’ in your registration, Brad Inman has promised me that he’ll discount the event rego by $100USD for we Aussies and Kiwis.

Worried that you won’t know anyone? 

If you’re worried that you’ll be a conference ‘newbie’ and won’t know anyone, The REIQ have got that bit covered. I’ll be there as a representative of  The REIQ with a host of like-minded real estate, tech, and marketing people, some from OZ, some from NZ, and you’re very welcome to join us for a drink at the bar on Tuesday night, or if you tack on to our Aussie/Kiwi Study Tour, for an added $300.00 AUD, you can join us for a great dinner on Wednesday night, maybe score an invite to join us for a tour of the New York Times, to a bustling NYC Real Estate Office, and to some great parties with some pretty cool American friends at some of NYC’s best venues.

Scared you’re not a nerd and won’t ‘get’ all this stuff?

If your worry is that it might be ‘too tech’ for you, I’d defer to my wonderful Mate from San Francisco, Jim Walberg. Jim is one of the USA’s real estate veterans, and on the verge of celebrating his 21st birthday for the 3rd or more times, Jim still attends Inman Connect and is one of the most prolific note takers and implementers i’ve met.

Jim Walberg. Friend. Mentor. Inspiration

Jim Walberg. Friend. Mentor. Inspiration

I reckon if you think its ‘too tech’ for you this time, its only going to be ‘too tech + 6 months’ if you let this event pass you by til next time.

Don’t get left even further behind..

Will all this ‘new stuff’ ever stop? ‘Its just too hard to keep up!’

Look, I get it. It’d be really nice if the crazy pace of the world and the seemingly endless changes would just stop for a minute, so we could all just take a breath.

Well, Inman Connect allows you to do that. It allows you to cast a critical eye on what’s working, and what’s not. It allows you to chat to fellow real estate professionals from around the globe about the same challenges they face as you, and how they implement.

Is it information overload? Will someone try and sell me something I don’t want/need?

I view Inman Connect as my filter. Its 3 days of intense learning and sharing from the industries finest in what seems like an endless array of main stage and breakout sessions that you can tailor to suit YOU. There is no holding back. There is no-one on stage selling their ‘next big thing’ for just 100 easy payments of $39.95 a month. Its 3 days of digesting some of the finest information you’ll get access to, and ultimately YOU get to decide what will float for your business and what won’t. But by attending, you’ll be making decisions from a position of knowledge, and we all know that ‘knowledge is power’.

Pack your woolies! Its ccccold!

Pack your woolies! Its ccccold!

New York in January or San Francisco in August? Which is better?

I’m often asked which of the NYC or SFO events is better. My answer is: ‘do them both’. You’ll love them both. But don’t make an excuse to defer til San Francisco in August. You’ll just be 6 months further behind the future.

Can’t eat 50 Chicken Nuggets?

So, are you joining me? The good news is that you don’t have to eat 50 Chicken Nuggets standing in the snow in Times Square at midnight. (But its great fun trying to! – Hey Al?)

50 Nuggets for 9.99.

50 Nuggets for 9.99.

Still not sure?

Not sure yet?… Don’t trust me?… No problems! Reach out and ask Jason Rose Real Estate Legend in Australia, Steve Hodgson from McGrath at Springfield, Alastair Lias from Professionals, or Peter Kakos from Marshall White in melbourne. Maybe you know Kylie Davis from CoreLogic or Lara Scott from LJHooker? I’m sure they’ll share their honest thoughts on their Inman Connect experience.

New York Times Study Tour

New York Times Study Tour

Sign me up!

You ready to enlist now? Its simple from here.

 Step 1. Go to the Inman Connect Website. Its here. Register and use the code ‘peter’ to save $100 USD.

 Step 2. Let me know that you’ve got your confirmation from Inman and that you want to join the Aussie/NZ Study Tour shenanigans. Email and I’ll send you more info about what we’ve got planned and an invoice for your $300.00 AUD

 Step 3. Book your air travel on your preferred airline and your accom here, or at any accom that suits your own budget. Just be close to Times Square and be in NYC from the 17th to 20th January, and be in the bar at the Marquis Marriot in Times Square at 5.00pm on January 17.

 Step 4. Pack lots of warm cloths and an open mind, and be ready to network and learn from some of the best brains in our business.

 I hope we get to share some learning (and a few beers) in New York.

Elders Tasmania

Thank you for joining us in Launceston for our presentation on the future of real estate session.

We hope you found the session informing and challenging.

Below is a link to the slides we shared. It’s a 14 megabyte file so it may take a minute to load to your screen. You may be wiser to right click to download the full presentation to your desktop.

Please contact me if you’d like links to the videos we shared.

Elders TassieElders Tassie

If you feel you’d benefit from some further 1-1 follow up training on any part of our presentation, please contact me on or call us on 0417630962 to discuss the options. We work with Clients across the world using the wonders of modern technology!

Would you like fries with that?

Indulge me in this scenario if you will:

You, your vegan sister and your bottomless-pit-of-a-stomach brother walk into a McDonald’s.

Your sister orders the garden salad, no dressing, with a bottle of water.

You order a Big Mac with cheese and a medium Coke, no fries.

Your now-ravenous brother orders the complete right-hand side of the menu and a Triple Quarter Pounder, extra-large fries, a bucket of Coke, a chocolate sundae and an express sausage Egg McMuffin just to take the edge of his appetite while he’s waiting for the rest.  Maccas

You’re all going dutch, so you ask your cashier to total it up per person.

Your friendly McDonald’s cashier taps a few buttons, and instead of saying, “Would you like more fries with that?” says, “That’ll be $9.99 per person.”

How do you all feel?

I’d guess your sister is feeling pretty ripped. 9.99 for a green salad?

You might be thinking, “Mine’s a little high, but it’s an OK price and I’m hungry.”

And your starving brother has a foot-wide smile that says all his Christmas Days have come at once.

Your sister asks, “How can that be? How can they all be the same?”

The McDonald’s cashier answers, same smile pasted on her face, “That’s always been the McDonald’s way, and the McDonald’s price. One size fits all…” and continues on with her mantra, “Would you like fries with that?”

Of course we know that would never happen at Maccas, so what’s my point?

For an industry where people are paid to be creative, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything more boring, unimaginative and vanilla, generally speaking, as the bulk of the real estate industry’s efforts on creativity around their pricing model.

Now, I know that simple statement will bristle some. But let me state my case before you launch a SCUD missile in my direction!

For more years than Colonel Sanders has been frying chicken, most real estate agents in Queensland, Australia were quoting a ‘one size fits all’ model for their commission – 5% of the first $18,000 and 2.5% of the balance. (In fairness, up until Dec 2014, that was the maximum fee that could be charged in a residential real estate transaction.

The limitations of that statutory maximum fee chargeable changed on December 1, 2014.   After years of discussion, lobbying and industry consultation, the QLD Government finally deregulated residential real estate agents fees, allowing them the opportunity to essentially charge whatever they could negotiate with a Seller. No more set maximum!

More of what happened as a result of that market deregulation another day, but suffice to say, the reinvention of fee models and creativity that’s occurred by other than a handful of high-performing Agents since deregulation has been about as exciting as watching paint dry with an interlude of watching grass grow.

Now, I know I’m trampling all over potentially sacred ground by even raising the topic of real estate agent commissions. It’s a topic that brings out the best and worst in people in our business. But alas, I’m putting it on the table again to raise some additional awareness and to maybe shape some more creative thinking in our industry.

It’s not just a touchy subject here in Oz, but also in the USA. Even raising the topic of why USA Agents charge 6% and the slightly remote possibility that someone new might introduce a fee model offering something different to the widely-charged 6% will see mature-age Women Realtors throwing their handbags at you in disgust and cause mature-age Men with walking sticks threatening to break into fisticuffs with the offer to, ‘Take this outside and whip your ass, Sonny Jim!’

Thank goodness they have sensible gun laws to protect each other in the USA…   <<sarcasm>>

In the USA, Agents will try and tell you there is absolutely no collusion on commissions, and they’ll even go to the lengths of protesting that the very whisper of 2 Agents discussing a commission or fee breaches their ‘Anti-Trust’ law. Really? It seems funny to me that over 90% of Agents in the USA all charge the same 6%. What an amazing coincidence that 1.1 Million of them charge exactly the same fee! *cough cough*

Look, I get it. Money is a topic that many people get passionate about.   But we’re damn boring when it comes to fee models.   Why does the bulk of our business only offer a one-siz-fits-all fee of 1%, 2%, 3% or the USA 6%?

So, here’s my thing. Where’s the same passion that brings people to the point of threatening to draw pistols at dawn about protecting their fee being transposed to actually being creative and inventive when it comes to their fees for service?

Does one size really fit all? Should one size really fit all?

I recently asked one Agent why he charged his 2% fee, and his answer was mind-numbingly inventive, “It makes it easy to calculate on the back of my card” was the reply.

Now, let me be absolutely crystal clear on this. In NO way am I advocating for lower fees! Not one bit! This business is a hard gig sometimes. Bloody hard! In fact, I actually think we deserve more for our service in some cases. So don’t quickly package me up as the guy who is trying to drive fees down. Nada.

What I am advocating for is some creativity and originality to come from an industry that’s retained by its Clients to be great marketers, skilled and creative negotiators, and out-of-the-box, deal-making thinkers!

Sadly, though, that’s not the reality I see or experience in real life as a client of many real estate agents in many places.

So, I’m passing the porcupine back to you, Thought Leaders. What does our industry need to do to reshape its fee model? Because I believe it’s outdated, inequitable, archaic and under an increasing scrutiny by today’s wiser Consumer.

Is there an opportunity to build a fee model based around a Client retained hourly rate?


$800 an hour while you’re negotiating?

$120.00 an hour while you’re running Open Homes? $55.00 an hour for Admin work? Maybe like a Barrister, Lawyer, Valuer or Accountant does?

I know plenty of Agents who would love to implement this model based on the amount of ‘free advice’ they give each day now. Could that work?

What about a ‘fee for success’ model?

In my dark old days as a relatively successful Agent, I quite often charged top-end properties a fee based on a minimum of 2% to a max of what was effectively 2.75% if the Client was absolutely delighted in my service and result. That fee gave me security around my base, gave the client surety around cost, and gave both of us a mutually beneficial incentive and reward for me over-delivering service.

Does anyone run these incentivized commission programs with any success these days? Could you? What would stop you?

Would a ‘menu of services’ that Sellers could tick and flick based on their needs be attractive to some Sellers? (Not unlike the Maccas “Build Your Own Burger” experience being rolled out very successfully in Australia…) Maccas self

Does every seller want a face-to-face meeting and written progress report twice per week? Does every Seller want your fancy-pants marketing program? Would some Sellers be deliriously happy to only hear your voice when you have a written offer as long as you SMS’d them a quick 3-line note, or 30-second video after every Open Home?

You might be thinking that I’m putting it out there to ruffle your feathers but…Maybe I am?… But is it an option?

Let me share a story of a ‘friend’ who wants to remain nameless.

In their recent research to decide on an Agent to sell their 1.5 Million dollar home, they asked 3 Agents to nominate their selling fee. To begin with, only 2 actually responded…

They were quoted 2.5% (about 30k) plus $6,500 marketing. My friend dutifully and fairly asked what they would get for 30K. Both Agents’ response was, ‘ For 30K, you’ll get my absolute best attention and focus on achieving you the best result I can using my best knowledge and skills to sell your 1.5 million dollar home.’

So, for almost $40,000 (30k +gst +$6,500 marketing) my ‘friend’ was going to get the promised, expected service rhetoric from either Agent who, by the way, had ‘no suitable buyers’ on their books and no historical database of any suitable prospects.

Inquisitively, my friend then asked the same Agents what, hypothetically, the selling fee might be if their property was a $300,000 home instead of a classy $1.5m property.

The Agents again quoted “2.5%” (about 7.5k) plus $3,500 marketing. Again, my friend dutifully and fairly asked what they would get for 7.5k. The Agents’ response, ‘For 30K, you’ll get my absolute best attention and focus on achieving you the best result I can using my best knowledge and skills to sell your $300,000 dollar home.’

So, this time for around $11,750 dollars (7.5k +gst +$3,500 marketing), my ‘friend’ was again going to get an Agent who had ‘no buyers’ on their books and no database of prospects.

In other words, exactly the same service for a whopping $28,000 less!

My ‘friend’ cheekily proposed to both Agents that given the service promise was exactly the same, but $28,000 cheaper in the second scenario, the Agents just pretend that theirs was a $300K home…

What would you do based on the same scenario as a Seller?

What would your response have been as the Agent?

Today’s consumer is getting wiser and much more inquisitive around the fees our industry charges. They’re starting to ask you to justify your fees more than ever. And, it’s not going to go away.

Today’s consumer is also becoming much more cynical about your service delivery, with a report suggesting that 41% of email enquiry to the industry is going un-responded to.

I experience cynicism-laced feedback from Consumers almost weekly about our industry from meetings and surveys our business conducts.

Here’s a challenge…

Go and ask the average man in the street how they feel about our industry’s fees, and stay tuned for a potentially sobering response. That dangerous old mantra of, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it around here’ that too many businesses rely on won’t cut it in the future.

What’s working for you?

What’s working for your Clients?

What would you like to try in a fee model?

What prevents you from going above the industry average?

I’d like fries with mine…


A Message From Heaven. Please Delete My Google Search History

I’ve often joked with close friends….

“If by some horrible chance I pass away in my sleep tonight, can one of you please delete my Google search history?”..

Now, without passing any judgement I think we’re all potentially guilty at some stage of innocently entering a Google search, that, if discovered, without the benefit of context, could see some of us very embarrassed, or even in some cases, on the FBI or ASIO Watch-List.

I for one don’t think I could never really plausibly explain to a Judge why my search history contained dubious results from entering the search terms: ‘Cheap Old Boxes’, ‘Spicy Spit Roasts Images’ or ‘Saddle Chaffing Relief’…

But I digress...

The common practice of using various privacy settings, filters and Incognito browsers to keep our Search or online browsing habits private is something that many rely on for professional, and sometimes personal reasons, that frankly are none of my business…

But in the modern day dictionary that now includes meta, beta, cache, pixels, physing attacks, cyber criminals and data-doctors, many people are incorrectly relying on an assumption that our online habits are safely hidden from all eyes, other than our own.

Couple that misconception with the myriad of devices that we use in our professional day and then privately at home after hours, along with most browsers now ‘handing off’ from Mobile to Desktop and vice-versa, our online world is much more complex, far less private, and with some lines that to many, are much more blurred than ever before. And its those changes in technology that are biting many people on the buttocks much harder than you might ever have expected several years ago..

Let me explain..

I’ve been following a recent court case from the USA with great interest.  I won’t go into deep detail on the case other than sharing some of the events which sees one Senior Business Exec who has moved from his former employer to join the employment of a fiercely rival company.

With the authority of the Courts the former Employer is now deeply, almost forensically, exploring their former Employees online behaviour, using his company provided devices, including sites visited through to exact dates and times that USB devices have been accessed, files deleted, copied and moved, even through to details of deleted text messages.

The depth of technical knowledge available to the now apparently aggrieved Employer through these forensic examinations now sees that Exec in what would be for many of us, a position where embarrassing and compromising facts are being unveiled in the witness box for the world to see, salivate on, and to share. I’m not even going to contemplate the online reputation damage that’s being done to the Execs name in SEO terms for his future reputation..

Here’s some Court reporting of the trial from the Inman Select website by Inman Reporter Andrea Brabila.

  On pornography 

Savitt: Before running the Cipher and cleanup.bat programs did you think you should talk to your attorneys?

Beardsley: Yes.

Savitt: Did you?

Beardsley: No.

Savitt: Why not?

Beardlsey: “Because i did not want to discuss the pornography issues with anybody, including my attorneys.”

Savitt: When you ran the programs did you believe you were tampering with evidence? 

Beardsley: “No, I did not believe there was anything in those computers at all related to the case.”

Beardlsey: “I had accessed via browser pornographic websites and viewed pornographic material and wanted to not have that come out. I wanted to hide that.”

Savitt: Why were you concerned? 

Beardsley: “I am ashamed of it and did not want anybody to see it.” 

Savitt: “Were you ashamed that you had used it on your Move computer?” Beardsley: “Yes.”

Savitt: What did you think people would look at you and see if they found out? 

Beardsley: [starts tearing up] “Someone who was not the person I wanted to be.” 

Savitt: Was it a lot of pornography or a little? 

Beardsley: “Probably a lot.” 

Beardsley: “Over time, it’s generally when I’m under stress, so it ebbs and flows.” 

Savitt: “Did you visit sites like or sites with graphic sex?”

Beardsley: “Sites with graphic sex.”

Savitt: “How are you feeling right now, Mr. Beardsley?”

Singer: “Objection: relevance.”

Judge O’Donnell: “Over-ruled.”

Beardlsey: “Ashamed.”

Savitt: “Is this precisely what you were trying to avoid?”

Beardsley: “Yes.”

Now. In anyone’s terms I reckon the above Courtroom exchange would rate fairly low on the things you’d like your Partner, Kids and future employers to be reading. No matter how innocent the searches and browsing may have been.

My point?..  Its simply this. Every keystroke that you make is potentially being recorded by someone somewhere these days.  With social networks and mobile search and browsing dominating most days, the clarity around the lines of what is business, and what is private have become very blurred for many.

Our friends at Google recently shared at the Inman conference in NYC that a majority of us are now checking our Mobile devices up to a whopping 160 times per day. In fact they shared that up to 90% of life decisions are now being made via our Mobile devices.

In light of these stats and this rapidly moving world, here’s a few thoughts to ponder while you’re sitting under your desk rocking back and forth today.

  • Which of your search or browsing behaviours could come back to bite you in the future?
  • Who actually owns the devices you use each day? Computers? Smartphone? USB’s? DropBox? Email accounts, Mobile Phone?
  • Are they the property of your employer, or you?
  • Could it be subpoenaed or taken from you at any stage without notice?

If you’re an employer.

-Does your written signed company policy clearly define your expectations and have absolute clarity around ownership and acceptable use of devices?

-Do you have a written signed policy to deal with such things?

If you’re an employee.

-Do you know exactly what you can and can’t do with company owned devices and on company time?

Give it some thought.

If you think you might need some help to get some clarity you might want to seek some professional help.

I’m here to help you navigate the maze. Give me a call on +61417630962 or drop me a line to


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Peter Brewer – 0417630962

You may as well have fun! We’re all gunna die eventually!

I’ve lost a few of my heroes lately. The loss of Glenn Frey from the Eagles in just the last few weeks, and this morning the announcement of the passing of Aussie Rock, TV and theatre legend, Jon English, has hit me really hard.

Both Glenn and Jon have been wonderful inspirations to me in life and I’m sure they’ll continue to give me inspiration in my own remaining days.

Glenn and Jon knew how to make people smile. They knew they could inspire happiness through their music and their message. Without doubt they’ve helped me to pursue a happy and optimistic view through my life.

The result of that is that those who know me understand i’m a big believer in having fun and sharing a smile when I can. Even when the days are dark.  And for me sharing a smile or a laugh or some self deprecating humour isn’t just confined to the after hours and weekends.

I reckon that unless you’re a heart or brain surgeon or maybe an Undertaker there’s gotta be an opportunity to share a smile during every day.

       I figure that if you’ve gotta be at work today, then you may as well make it fun!

I ran into this awesome guy at the Sunday morning Eagle Farm Markets in Brisbane recently. I reckon if he can have this much fun selling an avocado and some veges then there are absolutely no limits for you in your business day.

 Whether you’re a rock star like Glenn and Jon or a guy selling fruit at a market, get out there and make someone smile today. You mightn’t wake up tomorrow. #ripjonenglish #ripglennfrey #ltfu


I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Jon in concert with Peter Cupples on a #Besties date with my old Mate Kathlyn Owen recently. This video i captured will always make me smile.  Fast forward to 1.24 for a smile.

Rest in peace Jon.



President Peter Brewer has a nice ring to it.

I’m part-way through the long and arduous, but totally worthwhile, process of updating my Client contact records. It’s an  important thing for every business to do regularly. But, after reviewing about 20-30 Real Estate Agent business cards today, I’ve had to pause the process for a good chuckle and a sanity check.

Now I accept that most of us need to have a ‘Title’ accurately describing the role we play in our own business or in that of our employers.  For our Clients, a good Title usually makes it easy for them to understand who we are, what we actually do, and lets them know they’re communicating with the right person. Title

But it seems to me we sometimes seriously lose the plot these days with some of our self-adorned Titles.

Now, from the outset, I’ll confess that from time to time, I’ve strayed down the path of boasting a mildly exaggerated business Title myself.  In fact, as a young child, I was in awe of Thurston Howell, III.  (Though some people say it’s scary to imagine ONE Peter Brewer, let alone 3 generations of them!)

In fact, my awe of those magical Roman numerals in Thurston Howell III’s moniker, and the potential power associated with that illuminatingly impressive Title, recently seduced me to chance my luck when booking a room at the New York City Marriott.  With mild trepidation and a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek mirth, I took the opportunity to glamorise my Marriott online registration to read…wait for it… Dr. Peter Brewer, III. (It seemed a fitting title, given that I’d recently successfully diagnosed my own in-grown toenail with the help of

Sadly, the New York Marriott were less-than-impressed with my diagnostic skills and my self-appointed Title, and apparently even less so with my third-generation heritage.

So much for that futile exercise.

The end result of my mildly-exaggerated Title saw me bunkered in a standard room with no minibar, overlooking the carpark.  But damn, the feeling of self-importance as I completed the rego form and breasted the Hotel Checkin counter was off the Richter.  (Fortunately, at no stage during my stay at the Marriott, was there a call of, ‘Is there a Doctor in the house?’!)

But I digress…

What is it about Titles that seduces so many?

Is it the desire for power that comes from being a Colonel, a Major or a General?

Is it the lust for recognition that some crave by adding credentials of Prime Minister, Councillor or Lord Mayor to their lot in life?

Could it be failed academia that drives so many to want to add  ‘Professor’ or a ‘MBA’ to their birth names?

And why is this epidemic so prevalent in Real Estate? Sometimes we let our crazy egos or industry jargon consume what was originally a way to help people understand what we actually do and how we can help them.

From first-hand experience, I absolutely know how deeply some people’s primal needs are to boast superiority over their colleagues by being anointed as the ‘Senior’ Salesperson, or ‘Senior’ Property Manager, simply adding the word ‘Senior’ to their business cards. It’s an amazing ‘status’ to many.

It’s time to put yourself in the shoes of your clients.

Is a ‘Senior’ Property Manager a person of respected authority, or a really old Property Manager who hasn’t yet crumbled under the intense pressure of a really tough job?

Does your Mum or Dad client really know what a ‘Lead Agent’ is or does?  Do they trade in Lead?  Do they appreciate being called Lead?

Would your Dad or Daughter know what duties a ‘Co-Agent’ carries out?  Does the ‘Co-Agent’ own the company, or just help out on really busy weekends?

And what is it with the designations that are so big in the USA?  Do any normal people honestly know what it means when a Realtor has a string of ‘GRI, ABR, CRS, MRP, ALC, CIPS, SRS, SERS, AHWD, C-RETS, PSA’ and even ‘RSPS’ letters after their name on a business card? Do they know what they mean or even care? I wonder if, in fact, some clients want to treat those things we claim to have with an ointment!

What’s my point?

It’s pretty simple.

Does your business Title really serve to impress you and your Mates, or does it actually honestly serve to assist your Clients by explaining your role and ability to help them?

In 1990, I heard someone referred to as the “Director of First Impressions’ for the first time.  And, 26 years later, I’m still OK with that as an inward-facing title. It provides a laser focus for that employee about the core function of their role. But I reckon what’s happened across the rest of our industry in that time probably needs to be put under the spotlight for a relevance and reality check.

Now, I realise that there’s a marketing component to our titles.

I get it.

Some feel a need to impress, and I know it can be super-competitive in some markets. I understand that. But maybe we need to take a deep breath and ask our Clients what they really think, and, in fact, if they really actually care about our fancy titles.

What would happen if Real Estate Agents worked in different professions? Could you imagine their cards then?

  • Transparency Enhancement Coordinator (Window washer)
  • Sanitation Engineer  (Garbage man/woman)
  • Talent Delivery Specialist  (Recruiter…or Pimp)
  • Colour Distribution Technician (House painter)

So, lets get back to some reality with our titles so they actually say what we do and help our Clients out. 

My recipe? 99% that’s a description of what we do, and 1% dedicated to strokes for our often-brittle egos. 


Gahlord President Janitor

For example, I’m a massive fan of Gahlord Dewald’s.  I first met the ‘G-Man’ in 2009, and for as long as I can recall, he’s held the apt descriptor of President/Janitor. I can’t think of a better way to keep yourself grounded and to let your Clients know who you are.


Self-confession Time 

These Peter Brewer - Cool Stuff Doerdays I often use a title of  ‘Cool Stuff Doer’ as my stage intro.

Is it self adulating? I don’t think so. (OK, yeah it is!)

Does it start conversations? Yes, often.

Does it describe what I do? Kinda.

But I’d argue it’s a damn sight better than the ‘Social Media Guru’ mantle claimed by many of my contemporaries.

(Hey, I should use President Peter Brewer instead! I hear there’s a looming vacancy that almost any dummy can try out for at the moment…)

What is your title?  Does it tell your story? Does it communicate a real value to your Clients or does it just give you a ‘warm feeling when you’re sitting in a cold pool’?

What about other titles in business?  What other titles have you seen that hit the spot well?

Let me know in the comments below…

That Peter Brewer

Peter Brewer is one of the few specialists who can think outside his generation