Han­nah Black­iston chats to Ja­son Boon


con­jures up im­ages of a mav­er­ick agent who can sell any­thing, but when Han­nah Black­iston vis­ited the team at Richard­son & Wrench Eliz­a­beth Bay/Potts Point she dis­cov­ered there was a lot more to the story. She sat down with Ja­son and Greg McKin­ley to find out how why they have two of­fices on the same street, and how the team bal­ances manic en­ergy with calm busi­ness acu­men.

Richard­son & Wrench’s of­fice pres­ence in Potts Point is a great re­flec­tion of their team. Although they’ve moved into a thor­oughly modern of­fice space on bustling Ma­cleay Street, just a cou­ple of blocks away they still have one of their old of­fices.

It’s here that Ja­son Boon works. The of­fice, which also acts as an auc­tion space, matches his per­son­al­ity per­fectly. The walls are adorned with surf­boards and a TV which plays surf movies on a loop. His team have the same laid-back vibe, sit­ting to­gether at con­nected desks. But there’s an en­ergy in the air, which is the same thing you feel as soon as you meet Ja­son - a manic hum which is both en­thralling and weirdly calm­ing at the same time.

The re­main­der of the Richard­son & Wrench Eliz­a­beth Bay/Potts Point team work in the new modern, open-plan, two­s­torey of­fice they moved to in 2016. With mas­sive glass pan­els and a raised desk area, it makes a big im­pact from the street and calls back to the ar­chi­tect’s of­fice it was be­fore the team moved in.

In this of­fice, you’ll find the two other lead­ers of R&W Eliz­a­beth Bay. Op­er­at­ing as direc­tors along­side Ja­son, Greg McKin­ley and An­drew Hog­gart each bring some­thing very dif­fer­ent to the team. While Ja­son is some­thing of a mav­er­ick – he was fa­mously fired by John Mc­Grath not once but twice – Greg and An­drew round out the team with busi­ness smarts and team val­ues.

“We all seem very dif­fer­ent, and we are, but we share the same val­ues and that’s what’s im­por­tant. Dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties, but the same val­ues. It’s how we work so well to­gether. Ja­son, my­self and An­drew all fo­cus on dif­fer­ent parts of the busi­ness and bring dif­fer­ent as­pects to the team, so we end up with a re­ally well-rounded re­sult,” says Greg.

Greg has been in charge at R&W Eliz­a­beth Bay since 1988, with An­drew com­ing on board in 1993. Ja­son joined the team in 1999. All three of the men are deeply pas­sion­ate about the area they work in, hav­ing seen it trans­form over the years into the fam­ily-friendly des­ti­na­tion it is to­day, and be­tween them they have over 60 years of real es­tate ex­pe­ri­ence.

Across his ca­reer, Ja­son has sold more than $1.6 bil­lion in res­i­den­tial prop­erty and it’s easy to see what makes him so suc­cess­ful. His mind is al­ways tick­ing over, and this crosses over into how he and the team work. He knows each and ev­ery

one of his list­ings in­side and out and has a data­base of buy­ers ready to go the sec­ond a new prop­erty hits his books. He’s cred­ited with sell­ing the high­est-priced ter­race in Aus­tralia, a $13.5m prop­erty in Potts Point, has been named the top sales agent na­tion­ally for the Richard­son & Wrench net­work and he’s sold over 50 prop­er­ties in a tightly held area across the last 12 months.

“The way we work here, it’s very much a team fo­cused of­fice. We know each other’s list­ings, we know who we’re deal­ing with at the time. If a pur­chase falls through for one of my clients I know if some­one else has a prop­erty that will suit. In this sort of mar­ket you need to have that knowl­edge,” says Ja­son.

That tightly held mar­ket has been the cause of a lot of change in the team lately. They’ve re­cently ac­quired a prop­erty man­age­ment busi­ness which has given them a ready-made rent roll and team, and they’re fo­cused on build­ing that to sup­port the busi­ness dur­ing a qui­eter mar­ket. One of the most re­cent ad­di­tions to the team is Joss Reid, a leas­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager. Dur­ing our in­ter­view he comes into the room to grab Ja­son, they’re head­ing out to meet a client to­gether. Greg tells me that by work­ing to­gether like this they not only de­liver a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for their cus­tomers, they give their sales team (and new BDM) a bet­ter chance at sur­vival.

“Sales isn’t an easy en­vi­ron­ment. And our of­fice is no dif­fer­ent. We ex­pect the staff to put in the work. But what’s im­por­tant for us is meet­ing them in the mid­dle. So if they’re keen to learn and they’re putting in the work, we’re go­ing to give them the best chance to suc­ceed,” says Greg. And it seems to work - they’re still mates with agents who have left to open of­fices else­where in the R&W net­work, and their sales team has a low staff turnover rate.

De­spite the of­fice move and the grow­ing num­bers, it still feels very much like a small agency. Even with the sec­ond of­fice down the street, there’s a thread run­ning through all the team mem­bers that con­nects them. The sales team work across list­ings to­gether, some­thing that’s vi­tally im­por­tant be­cause of the way they build data­bases. Of­ten work­ing with buy­ers across the long term while they find the per­fect prop­erty, it in­volves be­ing across all the prop­er­ties on the books.

“We work in a re­ally wide area. Of course we cover Potts Point and Kings Cross, but some of our buy­ers come from the Blue Moun­tains or fur­ther afield, and the peo­ple who sell up here and are look­ing to move out of the area, we help them with that. The re­la­tion­ships we’re build­ing aren’t short term, that’s not how real es­tate works at this level. We’re con­nect­ing with our clients for the long term,” says Ja­son.

When they’re not build­ing those re­la­tion­ships, sell­ing real es­tate, or sup­port­ing their grow­ing of­fice and plan­ning for the fu­ture, the Ja­son, Greg and An­drew still like to get down to the beach to­gether and have a surf. And when you sit in a room with them there’s a strong fam­ily vibe which can only come from 20 years work­ing to­gether and a match­ing set of val­ues that drive them to suc­ceed and achieve the best for both their clients and their team.

An­drew Hoggett

Greg McKin­ley

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