Gil Davis had a stellar career in real estate for over twenty years. He was a franchisee and top salesperson of L J Hooker then Richardson & Wrench before going independent. His achievements included more than 1,700 sales at an average of 100 properties a year during his last decade in the business, and an amazing 80% market share in his local Sydney area. His largest residential sale was the amalgamation of 18 properties for $27 million.
Gil has subsequently completed a PhD and now works as a university lecturer. Jason Penna recently had the opportunity to speak with Gil about his career in real estate and what his best sales tips are.
1) Gil, you have had an amazing career in Real Estate Sales, with over 20 years experience and some top sales awards, can you tell us about your background and how you developed your skills.
“My golden rule is to learn from mistakes and not make excuses.” – Gil Davis
Like many people in real estate, I did not intend it to be my career. My late father was an architect and ran a real estate agency with his brother in Melbourne. As a boy, I grew up earning pocket money by delivering countless thousands of calendars and leaflets. In my teens I worked on weekends taking rents and answering inquiries across the counter. There were no computers in those days so everything was manual. Of course there was lots of discussion about property and some of it must have seeped in.
My passion was archaeology. I moved to Sydney to pursue my studies as no such course existed in Melbourne. But when I finished it, post Mr Whitlam, universities were contracting and I had to get a ‘real’ job. I applied for three positions and was offered them all – how times have changed! I chose a Trustee Company which was the best decision I could have made. For six years I worked in all aspects of the firm including the first computers as tall as the ceiling in a double air-locked room, stocks and shares, trust administration and finally property. I realised I loved dealing with property but this was mostly big end commercial stuff and mortgages. I was lucky to have a terrific mentor who taught me all he could before he sadly died. I became the Property & Mortgage Manager before buying my own business without ever having listed and sold a single residential property! I had to learn and learn fast. I don’t mind admitting the first year was a bit of a disaster. I read everything I could, but mostly I learn t by experience. My golden rule is to learn from mistakes and not make excuses.
2) Mastering the art of selling is not only a skill that can be used in Real Estate, it can be used in all areas of life, can you talk about some of your best sales techniques and how people can develop them.
“It’s all about developing trust. ” – Gil Davis
It’s all about developing trust. This requires being genuinely interested in people and what they can teach you. If you don’t have an empathetic, honest, and inquiring nature then I doubt you will succeed. So listen and learn is the first key. The second is gently but firmly taking control of the conversation. The third is ‘closing’ to use the American term. This is the one people often find most challenging. You must be directing the conversation to reach your desired endpoint, say an agreement to list or to make an offer, and then make it happen!
3) For someone who is starting out as an Estate Agent what books, courses or resources would you recommend they learn from to set themselves up for a great career?
“my book comprehensively covers all aspects of selling” – Gil Davis
I started off with Tom Hopkins as my guru but each to his or her own. I can remember being extremely happy when a very promising sales people said to me: “Gil, I’ve learned so much from you, but as a younger lady, there are so many things I have to do my way”. Of course I recommend my book “Sell for more” because it comprehensively covers all aspects of selling from the seller’s perspective.
4) What would be your top tips be for anyone who is looking to sell their property to enable them to achieve the best possible price for their property?
Present the property well and price it accurately. It’s all in my book.
5) Gil, what is the best medium for our readers to be able to keep up to date with your movements? do you operate a website, Linkedin, twitter?
I had great fun and success as an agent. I wrote my book on being commissioned by Harper Collins. It represented the sum of my knowledge when I was one of the leading agents in the country. Then I went back to university to follow my passion and did a PhD. Now I teach and research at a university. I can be contacted on Linked-in but basically I urge people to read the book.