THE NUM­BERS GAME:

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - Ash We­ston

Ash We­ston fell into real es­tate by ac­ci­dent af­ter drop­ping out of high school and cut­ting his teeth on a va­ri­ety of man­ual jobs. Now he’s one of Ray White’s top agents, win­ner of sev­eral awards and last year earned fees of over $1,500,000. But he has never for­got­ten the lessons he learned on the fac­tory floor.

“All it takes is two years of in­cred­i­ble ef­fort and then you are off and run­ning.”

How did you get into real es­tate? What did you do be­fore, and how has that helped you in your prop­erty ca­reer?

I got kicked out of school in year 10 for lack of at­ten­dance and not do­ing any home­work for six months. I went straight out into the work­force as a fac­tory hand at a bar­be­cue man­u­fac­turer and worked my way up to be­com­ing a welder.

I was only there for 18 months; how­ever, this was when I re­alised that I didn’t want to work for an hourly rate. The clock-on clock-off style re­ally didn’t ap­peal to me and the min­utes felt like hours when I was work­ing there. I would look up at the clock ex­pect­ing the time to have moved on an hour, only to re­alise it had been just 10 min­utes.

I al­ways had this de­sire to be great and whilst work­ing at the bar­be­cue man­u­fac­turer I de­cided to pur­sue my dream, which was to do an­i­ma­tion. I en­rolled in a course and took the plunge. I re­ally en­joyed it but sit­ting in a com­puter chair for 12 hours a day made me start to lose in­ter­est to­wards the end of the course. I be­gan work­ing part­time in real es­tate at this stage to earn some money while study­ing.

Real es­tate seemed like a glam­orous job: nice cars, nice homes, pro­fes­sional work. I started on re­cep­tion for a few months, then moved into ad­min and mar­ket­ing for around 12 months and then worked as a per­sonal as­sis­tant for two years. I was re­ally en­joy­ing it, but I lost in­ter­est in sell­ing af­ter two years and felt I was too young to list, so I quit to go back to do­ing trade work. I spent the next 18 months weld­ing at a vac­uum man­u­fac­turer. It was an amaz­ing place to work, but I fell straight back into the same mind­set and wanted some­thing more. Af­ter six months I had learnt ev­ery­thing there was to learn and started to get the itch to get back into real es­tate.

Work­ing in a fac­tory helped to teach me dis­ci­pline. You have to start and fin­ish at set times, whether you like it or not. If the boss gave you a job to do for three hours, then you had to do it for three hours whether you felt like do­ing that or not. The prob­lem with most agents is they aren’t dis­ci­plined; if they don’t feel like prospect­ing for three hours they will hide be­hind other work and not do it.

It also gave me per­spec­tive. When­ever I have tough mo­ments or stress­ful mo­ments, I look back and think about weld­ing or an­i­ma­tion and this helps re­mind me of why I came back to real es­tate. For me, there re­ally is no plan B. I think a lot of agents have an al­ter­na­tive in the back of their minds if it doesn’t work in real es­tate, so they never fully com­mit.

Work­ing in a fac­tory also helped me un­der­stand how im­por­tant sys­tems and pro­ce­dures are; how they can in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and help a team pro­duce an out­come. I have a team of four and I be­lieve our sys­tems and pro­ce­dures in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and bring us to­gether.

Tell us about the area you work in. What is spe­cial about it?

I work in the city of Frankston across three main mar­kets: Frankston, Frankston North and Frankston South. It is a bay­side city with an amaz­ing beach and is very di­verse in terms of type of homes and price ranges. I’ve lived here since I was 19 but con­sider my­self a na­tive as I grew up in nearby Morn­ing­ton, only about 15 min­utes’ away!

We are lo­cated just 45 min­utes from Mel­bourne CBD and also on the fringe of the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, with Sorrento and Port­sea about a 45-minute drive. We have ma­jor shop­ping ar­eas, many beau­ti­ful parks, en­ter­tain­ment, restau­rants and ex­cel­lent free­way ac­cess. It is a fast-grow­ing sub­urb and an amaz­ing place to live.

There are homes start­ing from as lit­tle as $400,000 right up to beach­front homes and clifftop prop­er­ties over the $2,000,000 mark. There is also acreage nearby and homes on two- to three-acre blocks. Dur­ing 2017, I achieved 122 trans­ac­tions with fees of ap­prox­i­mately $1,550,000 ex­clud­ing GST.

What sort of team do you work with?

There are four peo­ple in my team, in­clud­ing my­self. I have a per­sonal as­sis­tant who han­dles all new prop­er­ties listed. Her role is to as­sist me day to day and to set up all my new list­ings. This in­cludes photo shoots, build­ing all mar­ket­ing, ar­range sec­tion 32s... ba­si­cally ev­ery new list­ing task so that I can sim­ply show up to the first open for in­spec­tion. She also pre­pares all doc­u­ments and re­search for my ap­praisals and com­mu­ni­cates with sell­ers lead­ing up to set­tle­ment.

“For me, there re­ally is no plan B. I think a lot of agents have an al­ter­na­tive in the back of their minds if it doesn’t work in real es­tate, so they never fully com­mit.”

I then have two sales as­sis­tants who han­dle buyer en­quiries and open home fol­low-up, as­sist with of­fers, fol­low up spe­cial con­di­tions on sales, and then ev­ery task from sold to set­tle­ment. My sales as­sis­tants also have time ded­i­cated to prospect­ing.

You do a lot of work in the com­mu­nity; what are your favourite projects?

We’re al­ways look­ing for ways to sup­port the com­mu­nity. I’m a mem­ber of the Ro­tary Club of Frankston Sun­rise and have been in­volved in many dif­fer­ent projects. One project has been our bathing box char­ity auc­tions which we com­menced in 2013; there were three avail­able spots on the Frankston Fore­shore and we man­aged to con­vince the Coun­cil to al­low Ro­tary to build three bathing boxes and auc­tion them off, with all pro­ceeds to go back into the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

We pulled to­gether more than 15 spon­sors and built the boxes from do­na­tions. The first one sold in 2013 for $114,500, the sec­ond one sold in 2015 for $115,000, and we auc­tioned the last one in Septem­ber 2016 for $155,000 which set a record on Frankston beach. In to­tal we have raised $384,500 for projects within the lo­cal com­mu­nity. It is a real hon­our to be able to con­trib­ute and give back.

Apart from the boat­sheds are there any other mem­o­rable prop­er­ties that come to mind?

When I was work­ing as a per­sonal as­sis­tant, I sold a clifftop prop­erty on Oliv­ers Hill that had pre­vi­ously been on the mar­ket with three agents who had all been un­suc­cess­ful. I sold it for $1,840,000 – still my high­est sale to this day. How­ever, on the very same day I sold a two bed­room cabin for $60,000 – my low­est sale to this day! It sums up how di­verse my mar­ket­place is.

What three pieces of ad­vice would you give some­one start­ing in real es­tate?

Work hard early and be re­warded later. It takes se­ri­ous ef­fort to gain mo­men­tum; how­ever, once you have it real es­tate be­comes eas­ier and so much more en­joy­able. Un­for­tu­nately, most agents start in cruise con­trol and re­main there for their whole ca­reer. All it takes is two years of in­cred­i­ble ef­fort and then you are off and run­ning.

Learn to love the phone and don’t be dis­tracted by the next gim­mick. There are so many sales train­ers around th­ese days and they all come up with gim­micks to flog their next sem­i­nar. I’m not say­ing they don’t work, but noth­ing re­places pick­ing up the phone and speak­ing to peo­ple. The more re­la­tion­ships you can main­tain, the more busi­ness you will do. My team makes over 700 prospect­ing calls per week and over 100 buy­ers’ calls per week, which gen­er­ate around 50-plus ap­praisals per month. I’m yet to see any sales trainer, prod­uct or mar­ket­ing gim­mick that can pro­duce more leads than this for the same price.

Real es­tate is purely a num­bers game: Calls gen­er­ate ap­praisals, ap­praisals gen­er­ate list­ings, list­ings gen­er­ate sales. It re­ally is that sim­ple.

Be hon­est and gen­uinely look af­ter peo­ple. If you want longevity in this in­dus­try you need hon­esty and in­tegrity. If you are hon­est and gen­uinely care, peo­ple will come back to you. Also peo­ple can smell a fraud a mile away, so when you are in a list­ing pre­sen­ta­tion stand for some­thing. Tell them what you re­ally think is go­ing to help them get a bet­ter price, not what’s go­ing to help you. When a client asks for ad­vice about whether to sell or not, tell them what you hon­estly be­lieve is in their best in­ter­ests – not what’s go­ing to bring their prop­erty to the mar­ket faster so you can get a sale.

Work­ing in a fac­tory helped teach me dis­ci­pline. If the boss gave you a job to do for three hours, then you had to do it for three hours whether you felt like it or not.

“We’re al­ways look­ing for ways to sup­port the com­mu­nity.” - Ash We­ston

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