PLAY­ING THE LONG GAME Tom Panos

AUC­TION­EER. COACH. ME­DIA EX­PERT. Speaker. Au­thor. So­cial me­dia celebrity... Th­ese terms have all been used to de­scribe a man who in our in­dus­try re­ally needs no in­tro­duc­tion. Elite Agent Edi­tor Sa­man­tha McLean went one-on-one with Tom Panos to talk techno

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS -

HUM­BLE BE­GIN­NINGS

Most peo­ple know Tom Panos as a coach, trainer and NewsCorp ex­ec­u­tive. But the truth is that’s not where it all be­gan. “My first job,” says Panos, “was work­ing as a real es­tate sales­per­son in Lakemba... while I was at univer­sity in 1988-89. This was fol­lowed by Pad­stow, and shortly af­ter that I opened up my own of­fice. I never worked in prop­erty man­age­ment, so 21 years of age work­ing as a sales­per­son and a busi­ness owner at 22. Real es­tate is the only job that I have ever re­ally had.”

Panos says stay­ing in real es­tate, rather than go­ing on to do some­thing “of a higher stand­ing” with his de­gree, was mostly an ac­ci­dent. But even back then he says he cared less about what other peo­ple thought he should do, and rather than let­ting go of a job he loved he de­cided to stay in the in­dus­try.

“From the first day I was in the job, Sam, it felt ef­fort­less – I was good at it and I liked it. So I’ve al­ways had a the­ory that if you are good at some­thing, if you are pas­sion­ate about it… well, it’s like what I call a GPS unit, where GPS stands for good, pas­sion­ate and makes you smile. Those three things I had in real es­tate.”

The first year in real es­tate is usu­ally a chal­lenge for any­one. Panos agrees. “The most im­por­tant les­son from my first year was to em­brace re­jec­tion; al­ways re­mem­ber that when some­one re­jects you, it’s not about you; it’s about them, be­cause they don’t even know you.”

While Panos quickly fell in love with real es­tate, he still com­pleted his stud­ies and now has univer­sity de­grees in or­gan­i­sa­tional be­hav­iour and peak per­for­mance, a Mas­ter’s in man­age­ment, and a post grad in psy­chol­ogy, all of which have been use­ful to him in the in­dus­try. “What I stud­ied at uni has been great, be­cause it al­lows me to work out whether some­thing is fact or fic­tion. It also helps me to un­der­stand whether some­thing is a fad or ev­i­dence-based.”

WALK­ING THE WALK

Panos’ CV now in­cludes coach­ing, train­ing, speak­ing and run­ning var­i­ous mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar rev­enue di­vi­sions of News. He is Aus­tralia’s most searched real es­tate coach and holds the num­ber one and/or the num­ber two spot in Google for most of the things that he is known for.

On top of all of that, he still calls be­tween seven and 12 auc­tions in Syd­ney’s In­ner

“From the first day I was in the job, Sam, it felt ef­fort­less - I was good at it and I liked it.”

West ev­ery Satur­day. I sense both hu­mil­ity and grat­i­tude in his tone when he ad­mits, “I don’t have an ‘auc­tion com­pany’ where I out­source other auc­tions; I’m lim­ited to time. I’m booked out ev­ery Satur­day and have been for years.”

His coach­ing ca­reer be­gan dur­ing his ten­ure at Raine & Horne be­tween 1998 and 2003, where the re­la­tion­ships he had with the fran­chisees and their sales teams mor­phed into coach­ing-type re­la­tion­ships. “They would bring up a prob­lem. I would then work with them to

sort out the prob­lem and be­fore you know it I’d be get­ting voice­mails on my mo­bile all the time ask­ing ques­tions. Then it got more for­malised.”

The big­gest bar­rier to suc­cess, he says, are the sto­ries we tell our­selves.

“Ev­ery­one has a story. Think of the metaphor of the beach ball, with dif­fer­ent coloured pan­els. When one per­son is look­ing at it from one side they see red. But the whole ball is not red. Peo­ple see the world as they see it, not as it re­ally is.”

It’s get­ting peo­ple over that that is the prob­lem. “It’s get­ting peo­ple to de­con­struct and change what some­one may have felt was true for so long, but re­ally wasn’t. It’s a prob­lem when your view of the world is self-lim­it­ing; it re­ally af­fects you in both your per­sonal and busi­ness life.”

SUN­DAY NIGHT ‘TV’

This idea of self-lim­it­ing be­liefs was a top­ics in one of Panos’ re­cent and rel­a­tively fa­mous ‘Sun­day night rants’ us­ing Face­book Live, which I too am a fan of watch­ing. I note to Tom that more peo­ple in the in­dus­try are prob­a­bly watch­ing him than 60 Min­utes at 7.30pm on a Sun­day night.

“Yeah.” [Smiles] “Well, you know, Sam, I am ac­tu­ally re­ally pumped about that. And I’m not say­ing it’s be­cause of me. It could be lis­ten­ing to some­one else, but I think that it is more use­ful to lis­ten to some­one who is go­ing to help you, rather than what 60 Min­utes is talk­ing about or even some­one like Alan Jones, or any­one else for that mat­ter, might be talk­ing about. You have to think with all th­ese shows… How use­ful is what they are say­ing to you in your per­sonal and busi­ness life, you know?”

Another topic that Panos reg­u­larly talks about is self es­teem, and some­thing, sur­pris­ingly he ad­mits is still dif­fi­cult, even for him. “It is still a work in progress for me. But I’m a lot higher now than I was.

“The is­sue is, Sam, when you get ac­co­lades don’t be­come at­tached to them. The ben­e­fit of that is that when you get peo­ple that slag you off, un­sub­scribe, say neg­a­tive stuff, you are also not at­tached to that.

“You slowly need to de­tach from hav­ing your self-es­teem de­pen­dent on the ap­proval of oth­ers. This means that you are not go­ing to feel high when ev­ery­one says ‘you are the best’, but at the same time you are not go­ing to ac­tu­ally get into a slump per­son­al­is­ing when some­one says some­thing neg­a­tive.”

And then there is one last thing. “You have to ac­cept that peo­ple are go­ing to say neg­a­tive things and the rea­son they do that is they mean it and they be­lieve in it. But my ex­pe­ri­ence with neg­a­tiv­ity is that they are neg­a­tive be­cause in you they see some­thing they wished they were do­ing them­selves.”

NEW AGE LEAD GEN­ER­A­TION

There are no Blind Dates in Real Es­tate is Panos’ lat­est book. It’s about the cur­rent wave of con­sumerism; how cus­tomers have more power than the cor­po­ra­tion and how to grab the at­ten­tion of the skim­mers. Agent 3.0, he says, is hav­ing the abil­ity to get them to pay at­ten­tion. “Agent 3.0 faces a con­sumer that is text savvy, so­cial me­dia savvy, knows the price of ev­ery­thing but the value of noth­ing. It’s also some­one who is time poor. Agent 3.0 can solve prob­lems. Agent 3.0 is the ‘Google’ of their mar­ket­place. You don’t have to be the per­son who cre­ates the in­for­ma­tion, but you need to be able to cu­rate the in­for­ma­tion about your lo­cal area.

“I have tried to do this with my own busi­ness: to be the ‘Google’ of real es­tate train­ing, where peo­ple look for in­for­ma­tion on where to go for train­ing on scripts, so­cial me­dia, how to get en­gage­ment, that sort of thing, any­thing to do with coach­ing.

“So my top lead gen­er­a­tion tech­nique for on­line is to cre­ate large vol­umes of con­tent that solve the prob­lems of your con­sumer; what keeps them up at night. Then let Google drive that and light that for you so peo­ple come to you for that in­for­ma­tion.

“Think like a con­sumer, but sell like a su­per­star.” We both agree there is no rea­son why other agents could not suc­cess­fully repli­cate this model.

LONGEVITY IN REAL ES­TATE

While Panos is fa­mous for giv­ing ad­vice to oth­ers, I am curious to know what is the best piece of ad­vice some­one has ever given to him.

Panos pauses and thinks on this one be­fore he an­swers sim­ply, “Play the long game”.

And clearly this is an im­por­tant les­son for ev­ery­one. “OK Sam, so what that means is lose the list­ing, lose the sale, but never lose your rep­u­ta­tion. Be­cause play­ing the long game means that you might win a deal and up­set some­one now which will give you a $20k com­mis­sion. But that is so short-sighted, be­cause you are putting prob­a­bly half a mil­lion bucks on the line in fore­casted in­come in the com­ing year.

“It’s hav­ing this abil­ity to do the thing that’s right, not the thing that’s short and easy. Un­der­stand that it’s go­ing to be hard be­fore it’s easy.”

We also talk about the need for con­sis­tency, and at this point it’s hard not to laugh at Panos’ show­er­ing metaphor. “Yep. Con­sis­tency to me says this: you have a shower and ex­pect to be clean and then you say OK, I’m done. But you’re only clean for 24 hours; you need to have a shower again the next day!” That is the same for all of your mar­ket­ing and prospect­ing.

SET­TING YOUR­SELF APART

One thing Panos says the truly in­cred­i­ble peo­ple in the in­dus­try do is to pro­vide such great ser­vice that their clients ‘do the prospect­ing for them’, in­stead of the com­monly taught ap­proach of cold-call­ing and door-knock­ing.

“Sam, the nor­mal sales class­room ap­proach to prospect­ing is that if you in­ter­rupt enough peo­ple who don’t want to talk to you, you will even­tu­ally strike some­one who will!

“What I am say­ing is why wouldn’t you do such an in­cred­i­ble job that you have peo­ple who ba­si­cally be­come your ‘sales creators’? ... be­cause when the busi­ness comes to you, rather than you go­ing to them, the whole dy­namic of the re­la­tion­ship changes.”

From his time as a coach, speak­ing at AREC, train­ing and so on, peo­ple th­ese days prob­a­bly feel like they al­most know Panos even if they have never met him. So I ask him, is there some­thing that is not so ob­vi­ous about you that you wish more peo­ple would get? Panos an­swers this one with a smile, and if you fol­low Tom on so­cial me­dia it’s likely you will un­der­stand his once again well-thought-out an­swer.

“I think a lot of peo­ple prob­a­bly think that be­cause I use straight­for­ward, ‘blunt’ lan­guage [smiles] to ex­plain things, that I ei­ther don’t know how to use other words, or that maybe [I am be­ing] ag­gres­sive.

“I’m ac­tu­ally a nice per­son. I just don’t sug­ar­coat things, and I find that when you don’t do that and you tell peo­ple what they need to hear, well… I would say that a lot of peo­ple would find it sur­pris­ing to know that I’m a very spir­i­tual per­son. I ac­tu­ally be­lieve that we came here with noth­ing. We are leav­ing here with noth­ing. The re­al­ity is that our role is more than to build the largest net-worth we can.”

Given your ex­pe­ri­ence now, what would you now tell an 18-year-old Tom Panos just start­ing out in real es­tate?

“The ad­vice I would give my­self would be to take more risks, be­cause we are all go­ing to die any­way. The sec­ond one is to learn the concept of em­brac­ing tem­po­rary in­com­pe­tence. Too many peo­ple put off [do­ing] some­thing amaz­ing be­cause it is dif­fi­cult. What I am say­ing is ev­ery­thing is dif­fi­cult at the start, so get com­fort­able be­ing un­com­fort­able.

“I would say, Sam, that one of the sto­ries I had in my head early in my ca­reer is that if it didn’t feel nat­u­ral and it didn’t feel easy, don’t do it.

“I’ve learned sub­se­quent to that that some of the most stim­u­lat­ing, most re­ward­ing things in my life were, in fact, the things that took me out of my big­gest com­fort zones.

“The other thing would be to un­der­stand that ev­ery­one has two jobs. Job num­ber one is to do the job that you get paid to do, and job num­ber two is to find clients to do the job for. I wish I had learned ear­lier on that if you mas­ter client ac­qui­si­tion I would have had a faster, more suc­cess­ful com­mer­cial life.”

“My ex­pe­ri­ence with neg­a­tiv­ity is that peo­ple are neg­a­tive be­cause in you they see some­thing they wished they were do­ing them­selves.” “Agent 3.0 faces a con­sumer that is text savvy, so­cial me­dia savvy, knows the price of ev­ery­thing but the value of noth­ing.”

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