Recently, Dean Yeo caught up with Matt Lahood who is the CEO of Australia’s fastest growing agency and we were fortunate enough to gain his insights into his life, his business and tips on how to grow your own agencies as well.
It was great to be able to speak with Matt and we highly recommend all of our viewers take the time out to watch the whole interview. If you cant however, below is the transcript of the interview along with time-stamps for each section of the interview.
0:00 – Introduction & Early Career
3:15 – Life at McGrath
5:00 – The winner’s circle & people driven sales meetings
6:35 – Leaving McGrath, Becoming CEO of The Agency
10:30 – Brands don’t sell homes, people do ; Trends in real estate & its agents
13:00 – Special “super teams” for agents
15:30 – Black clouds, roadblocks & how to help as managers
17:30 – Acting in other’s interests and making mental bank account deposits
21:00 – Life outside of real estate
23:30 – Having hard conversations
Dean Yeo: Hi, it’s Dean Yeo from Real Estate Dynamics and I’m here today, as you can see, at The Agency and I’m with Matt Lahood. Now, for those of you that don’t know Matt Lahood, who is Matt Lahood? What have you been doing?
Matt Lahood: Thanks, Dean.
Dean Yeo: Yeah, you’re welcome.
Matt Lahood: Nothing overly special, let me tell you. 30 years in the real estate industry, left school, went straight into real estate as a junior leasing consultant in a suburb called Randwick in Sydney, near the racecourse. Built up a little bit of a following of landlords there, that was a natural progression from property management into sales.
Dean Yeo: Yeah.
Matt Lahood: Went into-
Dean Yeo: Was that two years, I think? 17 to 19?
Matt Lahood: Yeah, went into sales when I was 19.
Dean Yeo: Yeah. 19 year old in Randwick in sales.
Matt Lahood: Had to arm wrestle my boss to let me go into sales. But I thought I had the gist of selling the new business side of property management. I was getting really good numbers in and it was a really good entrée, if anyone’s looking to get into real estate, to be a new business consultant, where the numbers were smaller, there was less risk. So, I’d then go into sales, and that way you could get a … It was like getting a wage as well. Where today, obviously, it’s a commission only based business, sales. So, that was a good way to sort of low-risk, for me to enter in.
Dean Yeo: Is that, sorry, and on that point, that was also that you got to know the area, people got to know you.
Matt Lahood: Absolutely, got to know the streets.
Dean Yeo: And you were doing that on somebody else’s coin, while you were learning it.
Matt Lahood: Absolutely. Really good thing, Dean, it was win-win because the boss paid me but I grew his rent roll dramatically. Then, I went into sales and a lot of my immediate clients were my past landlords.
Dean Yeo: Landlords, yep, yep.
Matt Lahood: Which my boss liked, because I’d nurtured the relationship there and then off the back of that leveraged. Quickly became apparent to me that the business is all about people. So, if I could create a following under my personal brand within the team, I’d be the natural choice for someone in the area for somebody to call. So, that’s sort of where I went down that path.
Dean Yeo: That’s like, 28 years ago, we’re talking.
Matt Lahood: Yeah, 28 years ago.
Dean Yeo: We’re still talking that now, it’s so important.
Matt Lahood: Didn’t know what I didn’t know then, but it’s the same thing, nothing’s changed in the industry. It’s all about people.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: Basically, and what the internet’s allowed the agents to do now these days, is their brand as in their personal brand is out there in addition to the team that they work with.
Dean Yeo: Agency, yeah.
Matt Lahood: Yeah. So, and that’s sort of one of the theories behind our business, that the brand is the brand is the brand up on the wall there, but the brand doesn’t look after the client. The client is … The agent looks after the client. The brand and the back end of the business supports the agent, to give them clear runway, the best skills, the best technology, the best learning, the best coaching, to be able to go out there and give the best service to the client.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: Because it’s the agent that’s in the lounge room until 10 o’clock at night. So, they’re the ones, they’re our clients. We look at it like the agents are our clients. So, I want to do everything I can for every agent that works with us and our management team to make sure they’re at the absolute best and they’re the most successful in their life, not just in real estate, they can be. That way, when they go out on the field, they’re giving the best service to the client.
Dean Yeo: He’s jumped the gun and he started talking about The Agency, I wanted to focus more on you. So, you turned … You’ve gone from property management across to sales, from sales-
Matt Lahood: My story’s pretty simple, right? That’s why I’m sort of veering away.
Dean Yeo: Yeah, no no no, but we want to lay a platform.
Matt Lahood: Okay.
Dean Yeo: At the end of the day, we want to say-
Matt Lahood: I’ll do that for you.
[3:15 – Life at McGrath]
Dean Yeo: Okay, well you then went across … You’ve spent 20 years in McGrath.
Matt Lahood: 20 years at McGrath, great 20 years, worked closely with John and made a lot of friends in the company.
Dean Yeo: Made a lot of people a lot of money. You were a sales manager as well. You had more than … I think more than anyone in Australia, had more people were earning over a million dollars as salespeople.
Matt Lahood: Look, one thing I did have was a bit of a following about growing people, because that’s what I’m about, Dean, you know? I grow people around me, they then want to help me get to where I want to get to, that was never about … I mean, I actually took a pay cut to go and be a sales manager when I didn’t really want to do it, but the team around me was saying, “Well, we want you to manage it, we want you to manage it.”
Dean Yeo: It was a natural progression.
Matt Lahood: In hindsight, in a sense, it didn’t really matter because at the end of the day, I still had my old clients coming in and I was just taking a little referral off them and when that … So, I did find the years in sales at McGrath.
Dean Yeo: First, yep.
Matt Lahood: First, then I was asked to go in and look after the company sales team and grow that.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: 15 years of working in the company sales team, we built a really good business, exceptional bunch of people, got to work with John closely, which was awesome, and we built a really good sales team in there who become really good friends, too, and a lot of them are still friends today. Some of them are working with us, some of them are working with us, some of them are working in other companies, some of them still at McGrath, so it’s … There’s a high respect for each other, because no one … We all had each other’s back and things like that.
And it’s important, because it’s a bit of a lonely business, real estate sales, right? You’re out there with your vendor, and it’s war and it’s sort of in the market with the buyers and you’re at war with the competition and that sort of stuff, but you really need to be supported by the team you’re in.
[5:00 – The winner’s circle & people driven sales meetings]
Dean Yeo: Yep. Which is another point we’ll go down the track of, as far as that it is … You want them all to be able to work together back there, that it’s really like a … Not a saviour, but it’s like a sanctuary that you can go back and it’s … You can feel supported when you, you know?
Matt Lahood: Absolutely. Yeah, one of the things I created, 15 years ago, is I used to have this circle I called the “Winner’s Circle” and we’d just get together, it was no formal … I just created it because there were six people who were asking me questions and stuff a lot of the time. I said, “Let’s just get together every Friday at 8 o’clock, we’ll get 10 coffees, we’ll put them in a row and everybody can have their coffee and we’ll sit down, we’ll just ask everyone each other questions. The question’s probably … The answer’s probably in the circle.”
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: So, we did that for a long time and that become the unofficial sales meeting we ended up doing.
Dean Yeo: Oh really? Yeah.
Matt Lahood: So, we said, “Do you want to just make a formal sales meeting? I’ll put an agenda, we’ll have this, and we’ll just ask all the same questions.” So, when I run a sales meeting, I actually get the sales team to tell me the agenda they want, rather than me setting the agenda.
Dean Yeo: Why would they share that, though? What makes it different with what you do?
Matt Lahood: Because then they’ll come if they want to see what they’ve … If they’re getting what they want out of the sales meeting, they’ll then turn up to it.
Dean Yeo: Yep, okay.
Matt Lahood: That was the theory behind it. All of my sales meetings I ran for years were always standing room only, but I used to say to everybody, they’re not compulsory.
Dean Yeo: Was it standing room only because standing room only is a faster meeting?
Matt Lahood: Possibly.
Dean Yeo: No no, but you didn’t have room, sorry.
Matt Lahood: Probably true too, you know. No, but the reality was was everyone would say, “How do you get your …” People in other offices would ring me and say, “How do you get everyone to come to your sales meeting? We can’t get people to turn up. I mean, the contractors, they work …” I said, “Because what I did is I got them to set the agenda.”
Dean Yeo: Which is perfect.
Matt Lahood: I then put the content they wanted in and I kept it short and I said it wasn’t compulsory and I said, “I’ll give you one guarantee, that when you leave my sales meeting, you’ll come out, you’ll leave it with something more than you came with.”
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: So, when I got that commitment, everybody used to come to the sales meeting.
Dean Yeo: Yep. Now, all of a sudden you left.
Matt Lahood: Yep.
[6:35 – Leaving McGrath & becoming CEO of The Agency]
Dean Yeo: So, you left McGrath.
Matt Lahood: Left McGrath, yeah.
Dean Yeo: Finished McGrath, 20 years there, and you’ve come and worked at The Agency and you’re now the CEO or that was your role. Why?
Matt Lahood: Why did I leave or why did I …
Dean Yeo: Both.
Matt Lahood: So, why did I leave?
Dean Yeo: We won’t talk about … McGrath is having some challenges now, they’re on the front page of the paper.
Matt Lahood: Oh, yeah, no, look, McGrath’s a fantastic brand. John’s outstanding at what he does.
Dean Yeo: That wasn’t what I asked, but I think it was just you, personally.
Matt Lahood: The direction … No, that’s just fine, I need to say that because that’s how I see it. The reality of it, the way the direction was going, was different to how I felt it should be going, that was a year and a half ago. And right or wrong or indifferent, that’s up to people to decide.
Dean Yeo: Yep, sure.
Matt Lahood: So, I’m all about the people, I’m all about the individual, I’m all about growth of the individual. I’m not about the brand, I’m not about my interest, the company, where it’s going in that sense. Yes, there has to be a bit of … If I can-
Dean Yeo: Align, yeah.
Matt Lahood: Assure the agent has got everything they need and they’re getting to where they’re going to get to, this business will survive for a long time, at the end of the day. Because that’s how we actually built the sales team in the beginning, where I was. So, I knew what I needed to do and when I just couldn’t flex and look … I think today, like, this brand is very flexible. Because I think we look at it like this: It’s agent first, the customer and the brand last. I’m not about having the brand in everyone’s face. The brand’s the vehicle. It’s behind the agent to help them get to where they get to. Our customer’s the agent, right? If I can get them exhilarated, skipping to work, really happy, their customer is the client.
Dean Yeo: Client, yep.
Matt Lahood: I need the agent to be on their A game to go out and look after the client.
Dean Yeo: Yeah.
Matt Lahood: See, other people look at it differently, they go, “Brand first, customer second, agent last.” Unfortunately, the brand isn’t sitting in the lounge room.
Dean Yeo: Very interesting distinction, yeah, yeah yeah.
Matt Lahood: The brand isn’t sitting in the lounge room, it’s not the one that’s got the currency. The customer is very important, but if they’re not getting looked after, the brand’s irrelevant.
Dean Yeo: Very true.
Matt Lahood: It’s damage to the brand.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: So, I’ve just tipped it up. I’ve gone, “Alright, okay, so, the agent is our client.” I get them happy, skipping to work, the best version of them they can be, they’ll go out to their client, having the best technology, the best training, the best tools, high energy, transparent, best tools, best negotiation skills on the market. Skipping to work, good energy. They’ll then go out to their clients, clients will feel amazingly treated, that will … The brand will then get the recognition.
Dean Yeo: So, hence they approached you … Wherever it came, you basically then left McGrath.
[10:30 – Brands don’t sell homes. People do: Trends in real estate & its agents]
Matt Lahood: Yep, that approach means that we’ve got a brand we want to move to the east coast, they started in Perth, and they said, “We think you’re the person that can do it.” There were some people who knew me and the brand for a long time and watched my career and they really chased me. I had a number of other offers on the table at the time from international companies, some local companies. I was very flattered, actually, that people had watched what I’d achieved. And I didn’t go into this ever wanting to do this role or be a sales manager or anything, I was just going to be a real estate agent, it’s all I wanted to be since I was this high. And I wanted to sell houses and I loved advertising them and I loved meeting people for homes and I loved getting a result for an owner. That was where the passion is. Still there today. I love seeing people happy with what you do for them and how you look after them. So, that to me is just translating to the agents now, because it’s no different at the end of the day.
But Dean, I guess what actually happened then, this, I looked at the model and they had the same philosophy of where I saw the market was going. As I left out of my role, because I felt that the agents had … We needed to change … With the internet, as I said before, it’s been a vehicle that’s allowed the agents to actually have their own brand in the market, right? So, our motto is “Brands don’t sell homes, people do.”
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: That’s actually what we believe in.
Dean Yeo: Brands don’t sell …
Matt Lahood: Homes. People do.
Dean Yeo: People do. Good point.
Matt Lahood: So, when people … Because people would ring me often and they’d say, “Oh, are you Matt Lahood? I’ve been referred to you by …” now, if I was in XYZ real estate-
Dean Yeo: That was secondary.
Matt Lahood: They’re not interested. They actually weren’t even interested, because they’d been referred to me by someone that’s had a personal experience. So, I thought that was interesting. So, look, it’s important, I think, a brand has some identity for the rest of your team and what they work under, there’s a philosophy, there’s generally a rule, there’s a culture in there, but the culture is created by the people that you bring in and how they’re trained. So, the brand doesn’t actually design the culture, the people are the keeper of the culture.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: So, if we train the people to be the keeper of the culture, the brand gets its own identity because of that, right?
Dean Yeo: Based around, yeah.
Matt Lahood: So, rather than saying, “Here’s a brand, what does it stand for?’
Dean Yeo: Yeah.
Matt Lahood: The people are the brand at the end of the day, right? So, instead of how … In real estate, because it’s a very personal business, we’re not selling a product. Like, if it’s Apple, they’ve got an iPhone, I walk in there, I don’t care who sells it to me.
Dean Yeo: But we do sell a product. What is our product?
Matt Lahood: The product’s property and service. So, the product … But here’s the problem in real estate, Dean, that product, the person purchasing it doesn’t have a loyalty to the person selling it.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: So, the loyalty from the buyers is to who’s got the house. So, if it’s XYZ Real Estate, KZW, Harry Smith Real Estate, whoever’s got the house has the loyalty from the buyer, right?
Dean Yeo: But what about the loyalty as far as between the seller and the agent?
Matt Lahood: Agent. That comes from their experience and their style of service and how they’ve performed historically and also, too, from the client base. So, effectively, everybody that’s been in real estate now that’s been in it for quite a bit has a bit of a following, right? Some have got a bigger following than others, some have got a smaller following, but they have a following and that is now worth money in terms of … Because that’s a consistent … It’s like, they know if they turn up in 12 months, they keep in touch with their past clients, they’re active in the market, they’re going to get so much repeat, referral business, just for turning up.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: If they get smart about it and they build a database, build a network, get in the community.
Dean Yeo: Touch base.
Matt Lahood: Do all the other things, then they’ll become a serious brand. Now, that sort of person is who I believe in the next two to three to four years is going to control the market. I believe there’ll be agents with super teams and they’ll be the brands in the market, the super teams.
[13:00 – Specialst “super teams” for agents]
Dean Yeo: So, the team will-
Matt Lahood: And whether they conglomerate under one brand or however it is, but the super teams will control the market, that’s the way the real estate business is going.
Dean Yeo: So, super teams, IE, one individual but then a number of sales agents, buyers’ agents, that sort of thing.
Matt Lahood: Correct, yeah, exactly right.
Dean Yeo: Okay.
Matt Lahood: Because, Dean, if you look at today, the service of real estate is you can’t be one single agent and really do the best for the client, that’s impossible. Let’s look at the process. Take the photos, get on the internet, answer all the internet inquiries, take all the phone calls, do all the callbacks, pest and building inspections, it’s like the … What we’re saying now, it’s become that …
Dean Yeo: Specialised.
Matt Lahood: Specialised. It’s … I’m looking at it like it’s like a surgeon, right? So, a surgeon comes in, they do an operation, but you don’t see them there three hours before sweeping the floors-
Dean Yeo: Setting up, yep.
Matt Lahood: Checking the lights, adjusting the scalpel. And then they do the operation and they leave, you don’t see them after there, cleaning up the body and stitching or whatever. They do their bit and then they finish, right? So, the reality-
Dean Yeo: That was a bit graphic, sorry.
Matt Lahood: Yeah. Could’ve said a toe or something, didn’t I? But where I was going-
Dean Yeo: We’re missing something!
Matt Lahood: Was if you’re trying to go in, sweep the floor before, get all the scalpels … They’ll think, “Oh, hang on, the operation’s here,” they just do it, then go, “Okay, okay, I’ve just … The next one coming, but I’ve just got to do this.” That is, in my view-
Dean Yeo: So, the specialist space of, “This is the person that does the photography, this is the one that does the marketing.”
Matt Lahood: Copy writing, you cannot do all of that yourself anymore because of the mediums where people are getting … Social media’s … You’ve got to run your social media, go into the database, put a newsletter out. If you look, there’s a direct correlation between the highest performIng agents all across Australia, and I mean every market, right? So I’m in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, soon to be in Queensland now, soon to be in … Looking Adelaide expansion soon, too, but I’m everywhere, so I can tell you in every state, the highest performing agents have a team.
Dean Yeo: Okay. So, you’ve been around a long time, you moved across to The Agency, that appealed to you where it wasn’t going in the direction you wanted as far as McGrath.
Matt Lahood: Yep.
[15:30 – Black clouds, roadblocks & how to help as leaders]
Dean Yeo: The Agency is, The Agency puts the agent first and you’ve said before, you work for the agent in that sense.
Matt Lahood: Correct. Yep. We do. Our whole management team’s job is to create the best environment for the agents.
Dean Yeo: And remove black clouds, I remember.
Matt Lahood: That’s it, remove black clouds and roadblocks.
Dean Yeo: And for those who don’t know what black clouds or roadblocks are, what are black clouds?
Matt Lahood: Well, black clouds, if somebody’s having-
Dean Yeo: We all have them.
Matt Lahood: Yeah, if somebody’s having a bad day, I think it’s our duty as leaders to be able to get them out of that, blow the black cloud away.
Dean Yeo: Blowing the black clouds away.
Matt Lahood: We don’t want people walking around with black clouds over their head, because that infects the rest of the team, first of all. The other thing is, when they go to a listing presentation or they’re showing a buyer through, the people are buying their energy. So, if you’ve got a block cloud over your head, the vendor’s going to see that. The buyer’s going to see that. Your colleagues are going to see it, your pipeline, sellers are going to see it. If you’re going to a listing, they’re going to see it when you open the door, the person’s got a black cloud over their head.
Roadblocks are things like stupid things that are put in agents’ ways because, for some reason, they were designed and nobody can tell you why.
Dean Yeo: A process, or …
Matt Lahood: We just drive a train through that when we started this business up. Everything that would stop an agent doubling and tripling their business or stop a client doing business with, even stop an agent joining me, I’ve removed every single layer of those things in this business to make it really easy to do business with us.
Dean Yeo: Which is really interesting, because it’s probably over 10 years ago now, but if you look back on when Virgin Australia came in, they were in the new kids on the block and they started basically from scratch and they had … One, they had a huge advantage because they didn’t have all these legacy systems where they had to say, “Oh, maintenance was down in Sydney because it’s close to here,” well, they said, “No, it’s cheaper for us to do it in Brisbane and we can, because we’re new.”
Matt Lahood: That’s it.
Dean Yeo: And so, they took some of the good stuff with some of the people and put it in and started it fresh.
Matt Lahood: That’s it.
Dean Yeo: So, I guess that’s a really good point. We take … I’ve had 30 plus years, 20 of those in McGrath, a number of those helping … And let’s not get away, helping build some really amazing teams and people.
Matt Lahood: Yeah, I’ve learned a lot.
Dean Yeo: And then I’ve moved back, potentially across, to do the same thing here.
[17:30 – Acting in other’s interests and making mental bank account deposits]
Matt Lahood: Yeah, look, Dean, end of the day, thing I’ve been very lucky with is I’ve made a lot of mental deposits, I guess, in peoples’ … In their bank accounts mentally. So, a lot of deposits in people’s mental bank accounts, I meant to say, and I mean that by when they needed someone and I felt like I could assist, I was there not for benefit of me. I’ve never been there for benefit of me. Anybody that’ll tell you that’s worked with me, it was never about what’s in it for me. I’ve given more commission away to agents than I’ve actually made in the whole …
Dean Yeo: That’s a long game, that’s …
Matt Lahood: I’ve never had arguments with people, every co-agent could be, at least, they could sell my houses, I couldn’t care less, I’d give them half the commission, and I, so, always was able to return favours when I needed them. If I had a buyer on an external agent’s property, they were like, “Matt, just, whatever you do, just take … I had the same.” And when I started managing people, it was the same thing. I could get agents, I guess, to do things that they wouldn’t do for anyone else, because I had made-
Dean Yeo: Because you’d made that deposit in them.
Matt Lahood: The currency. Had the currency.
Dean Yeo: I see, yeah.
Matt Lahood: So somebody would ring up and say, “Oh, such and such,” I’d say, “Leave it to me, I make the phone call, bang, it was done,” and only for the fact that currency was there. They say if Matt’s ringing me and saying, “You should be doing it.” They knew it was in their best interests.
Dean Yeo: Yeah, okay.
Matt Lahood: That’s the difference, Dean, right? And it’s in the real estate space, so many things are done for the brand. That’s not even the best use of the brand. We need to protect the brand, this, that and the other. And it was not always the best thing for the client and always was not normally the best thing for the agent. Let’s chip them on this, chip them on that, fees on this, fees on that, make it harder to do business. IT’s already hard enough to do business as it is. It’s a competitive business. I need to make it really easy to do business.
Dean Yeo: Yeah. So, in summary of that, we’ve got a very experienced person at the helm of the agency, you’re expanding, you’ve got financial backing behind that as well.
Matt Lahood: Yep.
Dean Yeo: So, hence, you’re coming to Queensland as well.
Matt Lahood: Yep. We’re standing in the Broadbeach office.
Dean Yeo: We’re standing in the Broadbeach office.
Matt Lahood: Good spot here, eh?
Dean Yeo: Brisbane, obviously, is next.
Matt Lahood: Brisbane soon, very soon, yep.
Dean Yeo: So, yeah, if anyone’s interested, please get in touch with Matt from that side.
Matt Lahood: Absolutely.
Dean Yeo: Also, really, today was really to try to help you get an understand of “Who is Matt, who is The Agency, and why should we care?” Well, I think there’s certainly some reason to care from that sense. I think the change is really … is the … It’s exponential of how much things are changing and I think that … A fresh approach from that sense, but a fresh approach on not old legs, but on seasoned …
Matt Lahood: I’m surrounded by very smart people, too, and the last thing I’m ever going to be is the smartest person in the room. One thing I learned years ago, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
Dean Yeo: You’re in the wrong room.
Matt Lahood: Yeah. And I have a meeting every Monday morning at 10 o’clock and I can tell you, I don’t speak much in it. Which, for those that know me, will find that unusual. I want everyone else to tell me what they need and I look at as, I’ll go and deliver it. Just tell me what you need. I’m not here to tell you, because you guys are in the field, right? I’ll go and deliver what you guys need. You just tell me. Is it that operating system? Is it this? Is it this different meeting, is it that location? What, have we got a problem with this? Give me everything.
I’m working for my managers, too, even though they’re reporting through to me, I’m working for them, I want them to not come in with black clouds, either.
Dean Yeo: No black clouds.
[21:00 – Life outside of real estate]
Matt Lahood: Exactly. If they know I’ve got my support … But I just wanted to end, Dean, too, because a lot of the interviews and things you see over the years and they’re talking about, “Okay, let’s get the GCI in, let’s squeeze it, let’s 4 X, let’s 10 X,” there’s all this sort of fluff stuff around out there in the market, but what I wanted to talk about is, one thing I’ve been quite successful at which I wanted to share is outside of real estate.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: So, I’ve been married for 22 years.
Dean Yeo: Congratulations.
Matt Lahood: I’ve got two kids, 19 and 17, I’ve got all my friends from kindergarten, I’ve got all my friends in real estate since I started, I catch up regularly with my family, I think for everyone watching, don’t get caught up in the … It’s all about GCI, it’s all about how am I going to 2 X and 4 X and … You have another life outside of real estate. And I couldn’t do what I did if I just had to think and dream and do if I just had to think and dream and do real estate all my life.
Dean Yeo: Didn’t have the support.
Matt Lahood: I just couldn’t do it. Because there’s nothing else when I go home, what am I doing it for? Sort of thing. And so, I’ve got some really close friends I catch up with regularly, and I’ve made a point of catching up with them, like, virtually put appointments in my diary now to make sure I catch up with them, because they were there when I was in kindergarten to … We went through school together. Got a lot of cousins that always want to catch up with me as well. So, I kept in touch with everybody and the big thing for me, what that’s done for me is, I’m still mixing with the people that were at the level where I was. So, my friends have all grown in different areas in their lives and whatever, some financially, some not, but it keeps you on the ground because you’re still with the same people. I’ve noticed a lot of people get success in this business and they think they don’t want to mix with people that …
Dean Yeo: They’re above that. Yeah, yeah.
Matt Lahood: And I think that’s the demise of people. The other thing is, too, Facebook, LinkedIn, videos, podcasts, texting is all fantastic. For me, I always ring people. If somebody texts me, I ring them. If somebody Facebook messages me or LinkedIns or whatever, I ring them. I get more currency, because you know why I ring them?
Dean Yeo: That’s a really good point, yeah.
Matt Lahood: I actually hear how they’re feeling.
Dean Yeo: Do they have a black cloud through the phone?
Matt Lahood: Everybody’s so connected today, but everybody’s actually so disconnected, right?
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: I’ve got more currency picking up a phone and calling people, because people think you’re busy and that and they go, “Oh, I don’t want to bother you unless-.” And I’ll say, “No no no no no,” “I texted you, right, because I didn’t want to bother you.” No no, I say, “Bother me, I want to be bothered by you. Right? Because if people stop bothering me, I mean, if that’s how you think it is, I might as well pack up and go home, right?
Dean Yeo: Yeah.
Matt Lahood: So, ring me, talk to me, I want to talk to you. I don’t care when it is, what time it is or whatever, because that’s what I’m here to do.
Dean Yeo: One-
Matt Lahood: I think, as leaders, we’ve got to be accessible.
[23:30 – Having hard conversations]
Dean Yeo: I agree with that and I think there’s one final point that was made last time that we caught up with, the ability of which you have the difficult conversations is your ability of how successful you’re going to be.
Matt Lahood: 100%, yeah.
Dean Yeo: So, just give me 30 seconds on that.
Matt Lahood: Okay. So, we call them hard conversations, crucial conversations, a lot of people avoid conflict, right? I’m not about creating conflict, but as a leader, you have to have the hard conversations, right? Otherwise I’ve just found I’ve had … The most people I reckon I’ve had that have the most respect for me today in the company I’m in now, outside, are the ones I’ve probably had some of the hardest conversations with.
Dean Yeo: Yeah. Because you’ve called it as it was.
Matt Lahood: The other thing was, too, Dean, some people can’t see sometimes they’re off track and nobody will … Everyone skirts around it, because it could be the biggest writer or something and I’ll actually have the conversation and I’m fearless when it comes to having those conversations, because I’ve found … That was my training with the vendors. A lot of agents, if they go and they miss the pricing of the property, they won’t go and have the … I’ve actually gone and put my hand up a number of times and said, “Look, Mr. or Miss Smith, I think I’ve missed the price on this.” And often the vendor’s going, “Well, Matt, you know what, we were hoping you were going to get that, but we didn’t think it was worth that.”
Dean Yeo: But you’ve had that piece.
Matt Lahood: And I’ve actually got … It’s a respect thing, so, you adjust it, sell it and move on, rather than this business about trying to manipulate the price or “Sorry I haven’t got anything coming through.” I don’t want to play games. I don’t know how agents do it. I just don’t want to play games with vendors, they’re paying you to get the best result. If you miss the result, often I’ve sold them at a lower price than what I may have thought I could’ve got. It doesn’t happen much, but over the time it’s happened, and it’s ended up being a big price in a couple months later.
And they’ve said to me, I’ve had vendors say “Mate, I really appreciate you … It looks like what happened to the market has cooled right off, we wouldn’t have even got that price now-”
Dean Yeo: If you hadn’t had that conversation.
Matt Lahood: Which was the adjusted price, if we never had the conversation. This is what agents, sort of a lot of agents, miss, Dean. So, hard conversations, whether it’s with your colleagues, even family, mate. If people-
Dean Yeo: Let’s not go over that one, we all can have some of those.
Matt Lahood: Look, people are prepared to go and get divorced-
Dean Yeo: Instead of having-
Matt Lahood: Or going to get away from their partner and go and shack up with someone else, right, before they’d have a hard conversation with their own partner first. So, think about what I’m saying, because that’s one thing … I’m working, been working long hours for a long time, but the balance outside work is what keeps you real, I think.
Dean Yeo: Yep.
Matt Lahood: Yep.
Dean Yeo: Well, on that point, thank you very much.
Matt Lahood: Thanks for having me.
Dean Yeo: Thank you very much, Matt. And if you’ve got any other questions, give me a buzz and I’ll get you a hold of so you can text him or call him.
Matt Lahood: Absolutely.
Dean Yeo: Thanks for your time today.
Matt Lahood: Thank you.
Dean Yeo: Cheers.