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The Art of building Relationships with Phil Harris

With Phil Harris, Managing Director / Auctioneer of Harris Real Estate

Industry legend, Phil Harris is a big fan of Digital Frameworks. He says, “Frameworks empowers salespeople to self-educate. All of the resources are at an agent’s disposal and in order, so you can actually go and self learn without being dependent on anybody else." He continues, “I think, it is going to give people so much more leverage. They can find the answers to the challenges that they've got, and not have to wait. This is going to help people grow a whole lot more quickly, but also in more of a structured manner."

One of South Australia’s most successful agents, Phil thinks the first milestone of Frameworks - capturing and working with data - is the foundation of a successful real estate career. He says, “My first listing actually came from a relative. It was my grandmother's neighbour's property. 'Cause at that stage, I was 21, and no one wanted to sell for me. So I was out there knocking on doors, but I got a referral. Once you get the first one under the belt, - which is what we work with our team on regularly – it’s all so much easier. If you put these systems in place, then obviously it gets a whole lot easier from there."

Door knocking, price drive letters and cold calling, Phil says, “...are not prospecting activities to generate a listing today. You are prospecting to generate a listing in two years, three years, four years and five years time. So all of the capture activities are not in isolation. They are a part of a long-term strategy to build a relationship."

Never forget that you are in the business of building relationships. Don’t just spot a name and a mobile number, hand over a brochure, and say 'Thanks for visiting', Phil says, “If the relationship is strong, you're getting invited into a home is so much different to you trying to bully your way in for an appraisal - and that's what the business is all about."

Capturing Data Phil Harris Style

Door Knocking

I've never known a great door knocker that just goes out there and says, 'Knock, knock, knock. Do you want to sell your home? Great. Let me come in. I'll sign you up'. What did work for me, which I still see as the best form of door knocking today, is door knocking around any listing within an area. So what I used to do, I always used to knock on doors. I'd have a pile of 100 brochures in my car, the old black and white brochures, but now you could do a Just Listed drop. I'd knock on the door and I'd say 'Hi. My name's Phil. I've just listed number 26 on Smith Street, which might be a couple of streets over. I just thought I'd give you a brochure and say look, if you know anyone that's looking at moving to the area, could you please pass my details on, 'cause I'd love to help them find a home in the area'. That always gave me a warm connection.

Retirement villages

I’ve actually never really spoken about this much with people, but retirement villages probably actually gave me my start in my career. In the area that I was working, in St. Mary's, there was a new development that just went in, which was a big retirement home. I went in and I met with the salesperson there, and every single salesperson in the area came in to say, 'Hey, if you know somebody moving in, can you please pass them my card?' I did the opposite of that. I went in there and I spoke with a lady who was a salesperson. I said, 'Look, I'm not here to sell people's homes, but could you give me some information on the retirement village, because I'm meeting lots of older people who are wanting to move here, and if I could know more about it, then hopefully I could bring them through'. And I actually just started bringing people through the village. Then ultimately that ended up in us building a relationship, and in my first three years in real estate, she probably referred me 40 or 50 homes.

World class open inspections

I think a lot of people think that they do opens pretty well but I think that the real story is that they are only average. I'm a firm believer in doing the basics well, but ultimately, you've got a responsibility at an open home to present the home well,

"I think a lot of people think that they do opens pretty well but I think that the real story is that they are only average."

capture data and actually flex your sales muscles whilst you're there, so they actually can engage with you and see how you operate. You must also have a great follow up strategy in place. And if you can run world-class open homes, it puts you ahead of 90% of your competition in that one interaction, which is why I think they are so important.

Become a part of your community

You have to realise that you are constantly a PR machine. That's just the reality of who you are. Becoming a PR machine is what it's about, and then ultimately PR leads to meeting people, capturing data, providing value and your business grows from there. Become part of the community. Know all of the shop owners, depending on which area you're working and build relationships with those people. I did a training session recently, and we spoke about shop owners and business owners as being the wizards of your community, where the person in your community who owns the butcher shop or maybe the fruit store, whatever it may be, that person might be a key sphere of influence. But with you having a great relationship with that person, they might refer you three or four listings per year. So know who those key people are in your community.


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Phil Harris