phone: 1300 367 412


Winning Business

Print Article

Connecting not counting with Damian Steele

With Damian Steele, McGrath Edgecliff

Working in the hip surrounds and brutally competitive Bondi, Damian Steele from McGrath Edgecliff always knew succeeding in such a tough market would be a climb. He says, “I knew that there was a high turnover of properties every day. I knew it was always going to be a very sought after marketplace. But 18 years later, I'm still in the same marketplace."

Over the years Damian has fine-tuned what works for him. He works as a solo agent with a small support team and he likes having eight to ten properties at a time. That’s his tipping point. He says, “I start to feel a bit overwhelmed if it gets beyond that. I'm not the guy that likes to run fifteen to twenty campaigns. It's just not me. I know I can service eight to ten properties at a time very comfortably and very happily and nothing will slip through the cracks.” This does mean that sometimes he can’t take on listings, so he may ask an owner to park their timeline or gives them his blessing to go elsewhere.

Typically selling properties in the $2-3m range, he can sell multi million dollar homes as well. “Right now I have a home in Paddington worth $8.5m and I've been engaged to sell a beautiful waterfront home in Vaucluse for $33m," he says.

Damian has achieved longevity because of the consistent depth and quality of relationships he has forged with his clients over many years. He explains, "My referral business I think is rather followed. I know that's a term that's thrown around quite loosely, but when I wake up in the morning, generally I know, I have faith that somebody is talking about Damian Steele and the experience they had with me. That may or may not lead into a direct listing or sale that same day, but the seeds are being planted."

He deeply values the role human connection plays in fostering authentic relationships with clients. He says, “There needs to always be a human element, not hiding behind a keyboard or a letter, always being in the face of your marketplace. I have made a very conscious effort. In those 18 years, I haven't always lived in Bondi, but I've always made an effort to always do what I can in and around Bondi. That's shopping, getting my hair cut, dentist, doctor, whatever it takes, I'm putting myself out there in front of people. I want to be seen down there. I want it to be known that I'm active and I'm entrenched into the marketplace."

"It’s an investment looking after an owner because it creates referral business."


Damian is certainly a man who put his money where his mouth is. Wanting to stake his claim in his community, two years ago he donated to a local public school. And it wasn’t just any kind of cheque. He says, “One of the parents sold a property through me and I gave the cheque back to the school. It was just sub of $50,000. I'm doing that once a year. For me it's nice to do the odd $100 here and there but that was a significant donation. People talked about that and still do, like I'm the guy that gave that donation. I'm not saying that someone has to go to those lengths and dig that deep, but I think that's just an example of really formulating yourself in the community."

How to connect not count

1. Networking

"This is an important part of my week. I'm not the hit or miss guy that throws unsolicited mail in letter boxes. It's about creating alliances. In my space it'll be a solicitor or an accountant or a mortgage broker."

2. Listing Streams

"You have to scratch each other's backs and I think you also have to be authentic about it. There will be many months if not years where there'll be no immediate return. I think if you're there for someone to always offer valuable information and consequently you can go back to that person and ask the same - then that's the start of a beautiful relationship and then it just organically goes from there."

3. Established Clients

"Some of my clients I'll call once a month and there's an underlying friendship there. Other clients once a year. They don't need more than that and I don't need to give them more than that, but I think most phone calls - if not all of them - need to offer some sort of value. We send them anniversary letters and we also send monthly property updates, what the actual market is doing, some of which they'll probably read about and some of which they won't. When a client calls me and it's our 10th year of relationship and they say, ‘I've got another property for you to sell’, there's no ifs or buts or questions about how and when we're going to do it and what it's going to cost. It's literally, ‘Send me the agreement and let's get the ball rolling and I'll do what you tell me to do’. That to me is a win and it'll always be a win."

4. Look after owners

"It’s an investment looking after an owner because it creates referral business. You want your owner to have a beautiful experience with you so they'll comfortably and effortlessly talk about you to people they meet in the street potentially. Their business and their relationship are important to me. It's not about selling the property and moving on and never speaking again. I want to nurture clients and want them for life. I have to earn that. It's not uncommon for me to call an owner two or three times a day to give live updates. I hate the thought of an owner second guessing what's going on or going out to dinner that night and someone asking, ‘What's happening with your campaign?’ and they shrug their shoulders. That petrifies me and fascinates me. I think over communication is okay and that's not exclusive to owners. That's also with buyers."

Go back