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Alexander Phillips' approach is unique and his methods progressive

Tenacious, methodical and open to new ideas, Alexander Phillips has carved out an incredibly successful slice of the Sydney real estate market. In 2015, Alexander sold 164 homes totalling a value of $391,953,900 in residential property. There are very clear and concrete reasons Alexander has achieved these results and we were lucky enough to get a no-holds-barred rundown on exactly what these are.

Sales agent and partner at Phillips Pantzer Donnelley, Alexander Phillips has 14 years of experience in real estate, a career he fell into after school. Fortunately he loved it and was driven by the opportunity of an unlimited earning capacity.

“Every deal is a different transaction so it’s not a mundane job, we’ve got 18 vendors on our books at the moment but every single one has a different scenario you have to be able to adapt to and deal with,” Alexander says. “So it’s demanding but as long as you love what you do it’s all good.”

Ranked Australia’s number one agent in the REB Top 100 Agents 2016, understanding Alexander Phillips’ success means understanding his processes and techniques.

We find out how he prospects, pitches, markets property and runs his team.

1. A tight team structure

Alexander employs four staff in his team; Kenji Fukushima, Pru Kelly, Gavin Lewis and David Tyrrell

“Pru is in an EA type role, she pretty much runs the team. She does all the marketing approval with vendors, sets up all our appointments, works out our open houses and keeps us all accountable,” Alexander says. “There’s David and Gavin who are in junior agent roles, they’re out there doing open homes, follow up and buyer appointments. Then Kenji helps Pru, half administration and half the role David and Gavin do. This all allows me to be listing and selling.”

2. High staff retention

In an industry where turnover is high and maintaining a consistent and reliable service dictates success – keeping good staff is paramount.

“In 14 years I’ve only ever had two assistants leave, not because they didn’t like it but because they went onto other things,” Alexander explains. “I think if you renumerate your staff properly, because it is stressful and there is a lot of hours, they appreciate it and they work harder. That’s what we do, we are generous in that way so we don’t have an issue.”

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The Phillips Pantzer Donnelley office in Woollahra, Sydney.

3. 100% prospecting

Alexander has structured his team so that all non-dollar production is taken away from his schedule. He doesn’t email, do paperwork or follow up – it allows him to prospect the whole time.

“Because we are listing and selling so much, either when we sell a home or when we have just listed, we call everyone in that street and the surrounding streets. ‘Just calling to say we’ve listed 10 Smith Street, we want to invite you along and are there any updates or changes from your end?’” Alexander illustrates.

“Other prospecting we do is through our email newsletter, ‘just listed’ letters, LinkedIn – we’re pretty big on that now – and we do half yearly market updates when we call the entire database.”

4. A lean, clean database

This may surprise you but Alexander’s database is only about 2,500 people.

“People drop off and we put new people on but it’s more about keeping the data clean. You are better off having 2,000 people that know you, are in regular contact with and you have all the right details, than 10,000 people who if you call them they don’t know who you are,” Alexander says. “Probably 80 per cent of the people I call know who I am, so they almost become a sales team for you.”

An example of this is a property Alexander recently sold in Bondi. The sale came about through a Bronte resident Alexander has been in contact with for ten years, giving him market updates despite the fact he has never bought or sold with him. He recommended Alexander to a work colleague which resulted in the $3 million sale.

5. Vendor pitch cut-through

A typical pitch outlines Alexander’s processes and provides background on fees and marketing. The details include what Alexander does on a daily basis to get the vendor the best price, what his staff do each step of the way and how negotiation works – whether it’s pre-auction or at auction. They also explain where and how buyers will be attracted and communicate the team’s constant availability to the vendor.

“They know we are going to leave no stone left unturned, once we explain how we do everything, so it’s more what we do on the backend day-to-day that helps us secure the business.”

Alexander uses printed presentation materials when pitching to vendors.

“Using brochures and graphs, it’s just easier to explain, we show vendors pre-existing material they can touch and feel,” Alexander says. “We give them case studies and talk through relevant, recent sales that relate to their property.”

Alexander Phillips 900 1.

A classic Bronte Beach home sold by Alexander Phillips.

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The views aren’t half bad…

6. Established VPA range

Phillips Pantzer Donnelley has a vendor paid advertising range of $5,000 to $10,000 but the agency also offers a standard package of around $6,500. According to Alexander, the standard package should cover what is needed and they don’t have an issue obtaining vendor paid advertising.

7. Strategic property marketing mix

Each real estate market, agency and agent operation is unique. Phillips Pantzer Donnelley focuses on digital and social platforms in their property marketing, using minimal print. Alexander’s standard marketing package contains:

“Pru publishes the listings on my LinkedIn, we are starting to mould it more into an office operation rather than individual agents and we are starting to do boosted LinkedIn posts,” Alexander says. “We are not currently boosting Facebook posts but we are looking into that.”

8. Defined niche in the market

Alexander’s patch covers the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and he specialises in mid-range properties within this region. In 2015 his average sale price was approximately $2.4 million, this has recently jumped closer to $3 million.

“It’s good, there’s so many people at that level they turnover quickly, we love that price point. We never want to be selling $10 million homes because it takes you six months to sell one,” Alexander says. “I’m selling a home today, it was on the market for seven days at $2.4 million – we are in a sweet spot in the marketplace.”

A modern Randwick unit recently sold by Alexander.

A modern Randwick unit currently for sale, managed by Alexander and his team.

9. Constant vendor contact

When it comes to vendor relationships Alexander describes his approach as “direct not fluffy”, and says he always communicates by phone or face-to-face.

“We communicate with vendors every day when we are trying to secure their business so we build the relationship up quickly, we are constant, act fast and there are a lot of touchpoints,” Alexander says. “They may have been in our database for ten years and so the relationship is there and all they need to know is our process and how we operate.”

Alexander’s tight communication schedule ensures no potential vendors can slip through the cracks, this includes quick responsiveness and a sense of urgency on all communications.

“A couple who called me yesterday [Sunday] to sell their house in Bondi, I know them as they have been through a lot of open homes with us, from the time he called me yesterday to the time we will have seen the property, we would have had contact six times.”

10. Engaging e-newsletters

Once a week Phillips Pantzer Donnelley send an e-newsletter to their clients, they brief their copywriter to create engaging stories about the local area.

“There is some good content, we normally do something around the current market, events we are involved in like community work, we might do a piece on a local cafe in the area or local school,” Alexander explains. “It’s not just about us and talking about the market, it’s about other relevant information in the community. But then at the bottom it’s got all our listings and sales.”

The agency does not publish a blog but they share the content on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

11. Career refresh

Alexander manages his seven-day-a-week schedule by booking in regular holidays – another perk to being a real estate agent – he goes away 10 weeks a year. He believes it is important to keep fresh, maintain a clear head and a healthy mental attitude to work.

“I don’t get too stressed about it, there are things that do go wrong from our end, the vendor’s end but you’ve got to be unemotional,” Alexander explains. “The clients we deal with, generally it’s their biggest asset. So as long as you are doing everything right, even if it doesn’t sell and they may have bought another property and need to sell, at least you know in your heart that you’ve done everything possible.”

Did you know that 17 out of the top 20 agents in the REB Top 100 Agents 2016 are Campaigntrack clients? Give us a call today to find out how we can help you.

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Jacqui Thompson

Jacqui has over 13 years of experience as an editor, content producer and writer for digital and print media. Specialising in real estate, marketing and lifestyle content, Jacqui is Campaigntrack's Content Marketing Editor.