PAS­SION, DRIVE, PER­SIS­TENCE: While bal­anc­ing an ‘ap­pren­tice­ship' in prop­erty with ter­tiary stud­ies, th­ese three im­pres­sive young sales as­so­ciates in the Gold­man team are well on their way to suc­cess at the pres­ti­gious Sotheby's In­ter­na­tional busi­ness in S

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DARREN FINE HAS been in real es­tate for five months, pre­vi­ously work­ing at West­pac. “My­self, Ben and Craig are sales as­so­ciates to Mark and Barry Gold­man, and we are re­ally en­joy­ing it. I'm study­ing at UTS, a Bach­e­lor of Com­merce with a year to go once I've fin­ished this year. I'm ma­jor­ing in In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness.”

Craig Fine is lit­er­ally one minute older than his twin brother Darren and also worked along­side him at West­pac in Dou­ble Bay be­fore en­ter­ing the real es­tate in­dus­try. He too is at univer­sity, com­plet­ing a Bach­e­lor of Com­merce at Mac­quarie, ma­jor­ing in In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Hu­man Re­sources.

Ben Co­hen is study­ing with Darren at UTS, ma­jor­ing in Busi­ness and Man­age­ment Con­sult­ing. He has been in the in­dus­try for about eight months and says it has been a “se­ri­ous roller coaster”. Never think­ing when he started in real es­tate that he would end up stay­ing, now, he says, he can't see him­self do­ing any­thing dif­fer­ent for the rest of his life.

Says Darren, “I never thought of get­ting into real es­tate un­til Ben was in real es­tate and he said he was do­ing re­ally well. At the time I wasn't re­ally en­joy­ing the bank. I came into real es­tate and what at­tracted me at the time was the fact that it's prob­a­bly one of the only in­dus­tries where you can get just as much out as you put in. Your earn­ing ca­pac­ity is truly un­lim­ited.”

Craig, on the other hand, has al­ways had prop­erty at the back of his mind as a ca­reer. “Even when I was work­ing at the bank, help­ing peo­ple out with their prop­erty, it al­ways in­trigued me. I didn't know a whole lot about real es­tate, but I was at­tracted to the idea of the re­ward for re­ally work­ing hard.”

Ben ini­tially didn't ex­pect to be in real es­tate ei­ther. “I was sit­ting in Cape Town, South Africa, at the end of 2015 and I saw that my ca­reers ad­vi­sor had sent ev­ery­one in our year an email about op­por­tu­ni­ties for sales­peo­ple at Raine & Horne and Laing + Sim­mons in Dou­ble Bay. I didn't know what I wanted to do but when I saw that email I made a de­ci­sion on the spot to give it a crack.

“It turned out that by the time I got back, the agency said they weren't look­ing for part-time as­so­ciates. I re­fused to ac­cept that and I emailed ev­ery sin­gle agency I could pos­si­bly think of, just telling them I was look­ing for part-time work. Ray White Dou­ble Bay got back to me. I was there for three months and then joined the boys.”

Craig laughs, “We told Mark and Barry that they had to take him.”


Now work­ing at Sotheby's with the Gold­man Broth­ers, there are eight peo­ple plus a busi­ness man­ager that make up the team, in­clud­ing Craig, Darren and Ben. It's com­pet­i­tive but ev­ery­one gets along well. Darren says of his work­ing re­la­tion­ship with his twin, “We've al­ways been com­pet­i­tive, even from a young age, but it has worked to our ad­van­tage to push each other to do the best we can. To­gether we are all a sales as­so­ciate team. It doesn't mat­ter if I do well or Craig does well or Ben does well. It's about the team.”

The typ­i­cal day for the team looks just like a nor­mal day for most top per­form­ing agents, with gym at 5.30am five days a week plus Satur­day, fol­lowed by break­fast and into the of­fice by 8am. Says Darren, “The gym is us get­ting ready for the day. It's like putting on in­vis­i­ble ar­mour. We spend half an hour or so do­ing ad­min things and by 9am we're up­stairs in our of­fice to chat with own­ers Mark and Barry, and we es­tab­lish a plan for the rest of the day. Then, de­pend­ing on what day

it is, that in­flu­ences what we do.”

For the most part they all agree a suc­cess­ful day is about spend­ing qual­ity time on the phone and dol­lar-pro­duc­tive ac­tiv­i­ties are key. Says Ben, “At the end of the day the re­al­ity is if you don't get on the phone you won't get busi­ness. If you don't get busi­ness then why are you in the in­dus­try? It's that sim­ple. We're very strate­gic about our time and that al­lows us to get back to the of­fice early so we can hit the phones.

“The other thing I will say is that the boys [Mark and Barry Gold­man] have a lot of trust in us, even though we don't have as much ex­pe­ri­ence as a lot of other peo­ple. They give us the reins and we also have the priv­i­lege of be­ing able to con­trol what we do. Some days it's not al­ways about prospect­ing, even though prospect­ing ob­vi­ously is a main part of the busi­ness. We work on a few dif­fer­ent things, but ev­ery­thing is a con­stant hus­tle be­tween us.”


While most agents will ex­pe­ri­ence a fear of mak­ing calls or door knock­ing, Craig says for the three of them it is their bread and but­ter, and they mo­ti­vate each other.

All of them are crys­tal clear on the fact that prospect­ing is what brings re­sults, both per­son­ally and for the team. “Just this week we've prob­a­bly had our best week col­lec­tively be­tween the three of us since we've joined,” says Craig, “One of Ben's clients he's been work­ing with has just signed a list­ing to­day, an apart­ment in Dou­ble Bay, I signed a three-and-a-half mil­lion dol­lar town­house in Wool­lahra, that's start­ing this week­end, and Darren's hope­fully sign­ing one up to­mor­row in Dou­ble Bay. So, we should have seven list­ings on the mar­ket by next week and we haven't even been there [Sotheby's] a week yet.”


In the com­pet­i­tive area of Dou­ble Bay there are many suc­cess­ful agents that all three take inspiration from. “We ob­vi­ously look up to Barry and Mark, but be­sides them I would say if there's one per­son it's prob­a­bly Alexan­der Phillips, be­cause he is a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of how you can just take ev­ery­thing back to the ba­sics and you can still do very, very well. He's con­stantly prospect­ing and does what he does re­ally well.”

Ben says Michael Pal­lier, also at Sotheby's, is some­one he sees as a good role model. “I never knew any­thing about him un­til we met him the other day. He keeps a low pro­file, yet he is prob­a­bly the most suc­cess­ful agent in the coun­try. He knows what he has to do, he builds re­la­tion­ships, he's hon­est, he's a gentle­man and he gets the job done.”

“I'm ac­tu­ally go­ing to talk about some­one else who prob­a­bly no one talks about,” says Craig, “and that's Max Spar­talis from our of­fice. We sit next to Max, he is one of the most knowl­edge­able guys I know and he would drop ev­ery­thing to help us out, even be­ing so new. He sells all th­ese big es­tates and he's very much like a fa­ther fig­ure for us boys in the of­fice. He's some­one that I know a lot of other peo­ple re­spect very highly and he's got a very well-stand­ing po­si­tion in the in­dus­try.”


Get­ting started in real es­tate is never easy and the three have al­ready taken on board loads of ad­vice from oth­ers. Says Darren, “If there's one killer tip to some­one who's new in the in­dus­try it's that you have to em­brace the Alt­man Broth­ers' concept of ready, fire, aim!

“Ba­si­cally what it means to say is you have to get to a state where you are con­fi­dent enough and trust your­self enough to seize an op­por­tu­nity. For ex­am­ple, many times when we are door knock­ing, we knock on the door, no one's there, we're walk­ing away and then the ven­dor drives up; it's sort of weird, do you ap­proach them in the car or do you not?

“We'll just go ahead and ap­proach them. We're at an open home and we see the neigh­bour across the road is out­side her house, we'll go talk to her and in­vite her to come over and look at our prop­erty. Over­all, just once you see an op­por­tu­nity, ready, fire, aim! You don't waste time, you just go for it.”

Craig agrees, “Dou­ble Bay is prob­a­bly the most com­pet­i­tive real es­tate mar­ket in the en­tire coun­try. There's prob­a­bly about three hun­dred or more agents just in Dou­ble Bay. They're all call­ing the same peo­ple, most of them are knock­ing on the same doors. Peo­ple sit back and wait for things to hap­pen. You have to put your­self in sit­u­a­tions and make things hap­pen. I think my best ad­vice, which also came from Josh Alt­man, is choose to be lucky.”

Ben's top tip for new­com­ers to the in­dus­try is not to take re­jec­tion per­son­ally as it can af­fect your whole mood. “We hear ‘no' prob­a­bly twenty, thirty times a day. The most im­por­tant thing is to re­alise that it's not per­sonal, it's just the busi­ness you're in. As long as you can re­main pos­i­tive – that is go­ing to be your best tool for suc­cess.

“That's also why a lot of the young agents leave the in­dus­try very quickly. They see this life of lux­ury and they see the life­style, but they don't see the hard work that goes on be­hind the scenes. It's long term; just re­main pos­i­tive.”

Says Darren, “I agree; you've got to be play­ing the long game. When I first got into the in­dus­try I be­lieved in in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion. In­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion doesn't ex­ist.”

But the last and best tip comes from their men­tors, Mark and Barry Gold­man. “Some­thing I learned from Mark and Barry which is so im­por­tant,” says Ben, “is ‘Just be hum­ble and hon­est.'”


From left: Ben Co­hen, Darren Fine and Craig Fine

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