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Pumping Premium into the Porsche

With Luke McPhee, McGrath Estate Agents

Luke McPhee started in real estate 15 years ago at Strong First National in Gymea and has spent almost 13 years as a sales and account manager at the REA Group. Today he is a sales manager overseeing more than 65 agents across five locations. In this article, Luke discusses his professional journey to date and how the presentation of a five-year vision and business plan was the draw card for a major career change and a move to the Central Coast.

Looking back, Luke says, “I’ll never forget my first day at Strong. There were four ‘old school agents’ who had been there around 20 years. There were no personal computers back then. We had just the one computer in the office that we would share for RP Data searches. I had a phone book, a telephone, and moments after arriving at the office, the boss turned to me and said, pointing to a corner of the office, ‘There's your desk. Good luck, son. Oh and by the way, I've just sold the business’. That was my induction into real estate!”

After working in sales for just over two years, Luke transitioned to the REA Group – the parent company of It was still relatively early days for the company. He says, “My first 12 months were basically spent working the Inner West of Sydney, promoting to agents - trying to either get them on board or upgrade their products on the site.” Some agents embraced the technology while others were sceptical or disinterested. He says, “While some agents were open minded and ran with it others would tell me, ‘That's never going to stick. It's never going to survive. I think I’ll just stick with the print publications thanks. How about you come back next year son, and we’ll see where you’re at then’."

After watching Jaimie Woodcock, the Managing Director of McGrath Central Coast, deliver his five-year vision and business plan at the annual McGrath Leadership Conference, Luke was inspired and thought to himself, "That’s is a great business. I could really see myself working there.” The pair connected not long afterwards and Luke was employed to take on the position of Sales Manager overseeing 65-plus agents across McGrath Central Coast’s five locations in July 2017. The career move required Luke to relocate his family from their beloved Sutherland Shire to the regional area 90 minutes north of Sydney.

The number one thing Luke learned from his many years at the REA Group is that data is king. McGrath Central Coast draws data from three places - their own transactions, McGrath and third parties. Luke says, “No matter how we use that data, whether it's through a buyer conversation or a listing conversation, that data will prove where that market is or how good that agent is or what the market is doing competitively for that agent's BDA. I want to use that data to show how agents can use it to win business. The most important thing for us is listings because we can’t grow the business without first growing our listings.”

Luke continues, “The buyers will be there if we market the property properly, and if we have good communication through face-to-face interactions. It’s a matter of how we use data to win business, and grow our revenue, and grow our buyer and seller databases.”

Luke says’s Property Reporting function gives agents a clear indication of how well a property is being marketed in terms of timing, the type of marketing and return on investment. He adds, “We can also see where we're tracking within the market and what our market share is. We can see how many eyes are looking at our properties against our competitors’ properties and just how many consumers or end-users are coming into our business compared to our competitors’ businesses. I've started sharing that data on a weekly basis, because there is no point having tools that we pay for through our subscription to if they’re not fully utilised. It's like driving a Porsche, but only putting unleaded fuel in the tank rather than premium. If we put the premium fuel in the Porsche, it'll go faster and better.”

Luke is working hard alongside Jaimie, Mat Steinwede and Darren Batten to continue to expand the McGrath Central Coast group and ensure it continues to be regarded as the best place to work. He says, “We're a growing machine. Our growth will be never-ending. We'll continue to source the best agents in our markets, grow our business and help them grow theirs. As long as we continue to pump premium into the Porsche there is no limit to what we can do."




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