Some 300 Queensland agents gathered last month at ‘The One’ conference: a collaborative real estate event that brought together agents, industry experts and sponsors from across the nation, with a view to collectively raising the bar of the real estate industry.
The sold-out event was held on the 17th of January at the luxurious ‘W’ Hotel in Brisbane’s CBD, and was the brainchild of three of the real estate industry’s most prominent and high-volume business leaders; Avi Khan, Hayley Van de Ven and Peter Catanzariti.
Avi Khan is the well-known Director of Ray White AKG, which is comprised of four successful Ray White branches in Daisy Hill, Eight Mile Plains, Marsden, Greater Springfield, and Brookwater. Also well-known and hailing from The Bayside, Hayley Van de Ven is the Principal of 4 award-winning RE/MAX real estate offices including Mackay, Morningside, Alexandra Hills and Cleveland. Stepping out of the shadows to form the trio is Peter Catanzariti of the Ray White Catanzariti Family Group – with an insightful eye for the boom-potential of the northern Gold Coast, Peter successfully opened the doors to four leading Ray White offices in four years.
In putting together their list of speakers for the event, the trio called upon the nation’s best. They hoped that the speaking event would cause a shift in the real estate industry by advocating that collaboration is, indeed, the new superpower of real estate. They hoped to encourage agents to look at the industry through a lens of inspiration and growth, rather than competition, and to recognise the greatness in the professionals that surround them every day.
‘It was about holstering your ego and surrounding yourself with outstanding minds at an event filled with a mentality of abundance and growth’, said Peter Catanzariti of the Ray White Catanzariti Family Group.
The day began when the sun rose over the stunning Brisbane River and guests flurried into The Great Room at the W Hotel. The buzz from the get-go was simply electric as top performing agents from around the country finally put faces to names and settled in for a day of inspiration and learning.
Bright and bubbly real estate coach Sherrie Storer MC’d the event and began by asking the guests to get up out of their chairs and put their arms in the air. The successful mentor had the whole room reaching for the stars, (literally!) as they were put through an out-of-their-seats warm-up to Lifting Me Higher and Higher, by Jackie Wilson. The crowd was pumped and waiting with bated breath as the speakers then began to take the stage.
First up was Perth’s Vivien Yap. Vivien is the Principal of Ray White Dalkeith and is recognised as Australia’s top-performing luxury property agent. Vivien spoke at length about climbing real estate mountains and shared revelations on how she not only climbed, but broke through ceilings.
‘From early on, I was like a sponge when it came to learning’, she said, ‘I just wanted to learn as much as I could from as many people as possible. I am still learning, I’m even learning from you today’, she said.
Next up was Sydney’s most promising agent, young gun, Luke Harrison from Ray White Quakers Hill. Recognised by his peers as ‘the next big thing’ there was no denying the palpable energy that lifted the room as soon as the high-energy rookie hit the stage. He spoke of the importance of positive mentality and vitality, as he shared his journey to success by literally bouncing on people’s doorsteps in his prospecting ventures.
‘Show up, every single day, even if you have nothing to do, and get rid of all dead weight, anything that will weigh down your energy and stop you from growing’, he shared.
After a decadent morning tea of all-things-sweet, it was straight back into the conference where guests heard from one of Brisbane’s best, Will Torres. Sweeping across the stage with rock-star confidence, the Torres Property Director, spoke of valuing your worth as an agent, as well as the worth of your competitors. He advocated for working together to lift the industry.
‘Agents need to value their worth. At the end of the day, it’s us that control our businesses, and when we drop our commissions to compete, we actually undervalue our service and our industry’, he said.
A feeling of togetherness permeated the room as Will’s words rang true. Around the tables, hands were patted on the backs of others as the importance of unity in the industry took true centre stage.
The next speaker was another of Brisbane’s finest, riverfront specialist, Sarah Hackett. Managing Director at Place Estate Agents, Sarah advocated for playing a large role in the community that she serves; a piece of advice that was a welcomed reminder for many of the guests.
‘I am a huge investor in my community’, she said, ‘not with a cheque, but with my presence’.
As an industry-wide event, over in the Breakout Room the property management segment of the conference was well underway. No cousin to sales, Avi, Hayley and Peter wanted their property management guests to receive the inspiration and motivation that the property management industry truly deserves.
First to dazzle the crowd of eager-to-please property managers was industry mentor, Natalie South. Natalie pulled out one of her secret weapons, the concept of enjoyable conversations. She advised property managers to speak with landlords about topics that were enjoyable, such as family, or helping them to save money on their home loans.
Laughter filled the room when she said, ‘it is the connections from these enjoyable conversations that soften the blow when we call to tell them the hot water system is busted and needs replacing’. A quip only a property manager could truly understand.
Next to grace the stage was successful business owner and Growth Expert, Jean Brown. While she may be demure, the softly spoken real estate superstar took on the industry and won, several times over. Stepping away from the day-to-day, she shifted the mood with her inspirational words about courage.
‘Growth is founded in you; it’s in your courage. The courage to branch out, the courage to put yourself out there.’
The guests spilled into the shiny lobby for a decadent lunch, rich not only in calories, but in conversation. It was a chance for the generous conference sponsors to give their businesses a plug, and it was there that the true spirit of collaboration shone.
Back in the Great Room, with full bellies, the crowd were in stitches with a virtual appearance from one of Sydney’s best, and apparent comedian, Josh Tesolin. Principal of Ray White Quakers Hill, he led the crowd through a whimsical yet brilliant breakdown of the listing process. He joked about magical pages in his listing report and likened prospecting to a spot of fishing.
‘The more rods you put out of the boat the more fish you catch’, he quipped.
Tears of laughter wept from eyes across the entire room as the humorous agent signed off; it would certainly have been a hard act to follow for anyone, but then humble, philanthropic agent Zali Reynolds took to the stage, and tears of laughter turned to emotional awe, as she spoke of the charitable practices she prides herself on. The Principal of Shelter Real Estate in Victoria stole hearts across the room as she shared that for every 4 houses she sells, she purchases a home for those less fortunate in Cambodia. There was no denying Zali’s noble presence in the room; her powerful words had the agents grounded in their seats.
‘One day I thought, what is my legacy here? Is it just that I’m the number one agent? I needed to do something more meaningful’, she said.
The afternoon saw the crowd be surprised with an appearance from ‘wild card’ CEO expert Andrew McAuliff. McAuliff hit the nail on the head when he spoke of selflessly coming together to share ideas, despite brands. Heads were nodding around the room as he spoke of being better and lifting the whole industry— words that really aligned with Peter, Avi, and Hayley’s vision for ‘The One’ conference.
The elusive concept of real estate marketing was tackled by one of the Gold Coast’s best, Sam Guo, the seasoned luxury agent from Kolloshe Residential. Sam stepped up to the plate to remind the crowd that while marketing can make them superheroes, it’s truly about connection; that relationships and loyalty are what really make superheroes. Sam got a little sentimental with the crowd as he came to a close, speaking of his fondness of the industry and the people he shares it with.
‘When I look around this room and see all of these faces together, I really feel like I am home’.
Goosebumps rose on arms as many agents got choked-up, and it was just in time for the last speaker, the piece de resistance —Alex Jordan. Queensland’s number one agent from McGrath in Brisbane’s CBD, shared his two-decade battle that began with almost nothing. Jaws hit the floor around the room as he shared his journey to success, his knowledge and brilliance only outshone by his truly modest nature.
‘This industry is just too fast. Slow down, switch to that client-first mentality. Remember, it’s about them, not you. Be humble’, he said.
As Alex made his way off the stage it was a standing ovation for the man who is number one, not just in his numbers, but in the way he represents the industry.
With no more words left to say, the exit music faded in, and guests rose out of their chairs and danced out of the room; a conga line of smiles, hope and soaring spirits. Just as the conference began with the crowd reaching their hands high, they emerged from the W Hotel energised, inspired, and more motivated than ever to reach as high as their minds will take them. Wherever it does take them, they will certainly be taking with them the knowledge that collaboration in the real estate industry, truly does mean power.
‘The One’ Conference; Knowledge. Collaboration. Power.