The entrepreneur Donald Trump has told an Australian estate agent audience that owners struggling to sell their prestige homes shouldn’t fire their listing agent, just “fire them up” with the prospect of higher sales commission.
The billionaire property developer and host of The Apprentice advised his devoted audience via satellite that he regularly pays his agents 2% or 3% higher than the regular sales commission rate.
"Over the years, I have done every conceivable thing to agents, including a time when I decided to cut the agents out on a beautiful building I was marketing to try and save on the commissions,'' Trump told the audience of estate agents at the Australasian Real Estate Agents (AREC) conference on the weekend at the Gold Coast.
"But did I learn the hard way that was a bad idea. The sales I had started to dry up. I found out the agents were telling people the building was no good. They weren't stupid.
"Now I pay 7 or 8% commission and go [to] the other extreme because it means people bring buyers to me because I pay a better commission. It works.''
Trump, who praised estate agents as strong, smart and resilient, cautioned the 2,500 agent audience not to let the economic environment make them too aggressive.
"If you are too aggressive to the point where you become obnoxious, you are not a good agent,'' he said.
"When I'm looking for an agent, I look at their past success and their reputation. I want to see their record: are they honourable people, are they well liked and what is their success rate like? And if I like what I hear, I make a deal.''
Negotiation skills were also important, he added, saying his tip to prospective vendors in choosing the right real estate agent was to “look at their past success,” News Ltd papers reported.
This article first appeared on PropertyObserver. Join up and receive free daily email for the all the latest news, trends and advice for Australian property investors.