Phil Allison decided to take a chance on real estate in 2008. He got his foot in the door by taking a reception role at a Hunters Hill agency. Within a year he’d joined a sales agent’s team and discovered he had a natural flair for prospecting.
“I tripled that agent’s business in two years. I was doing a lot of cold calls and getting good results, and began coaching the young guys in the office. They’d sit around and listen to me on the phone,” Phil said.
It wasn’t long before Phil got itchy feet and wanted to go out on his own. He took the leap four years ago and went solo. Phil sold two properties on his own before deciding he needed to leave the agency he was with to be a better agent. He joined forces with his younger brother Chris, changed brands and set out on his mission.
“Chris and I started out together on commission only, in a tiny office with no windows, sharing a desk. It was so cramped, one of us couldn’t move without the other getting up too. But, we were full of energy and ready to go.”
Despite hitting the phones and door knocking for hours on end, for the first six months Phil and Chris didn’t list a single property.
“We started in April so it was coming into winter and the market was quieting down. We door-knocked every morning. I’d be on one side of the street, Chris on the other side. We’d go home to change our shirts at lunch time because they’d be soaked in sweat. In the afternoon we’d get on the phones. We did that day in and day out.
“It was so tough and there were days when it was hard to just get out of bed. We felt like we were getting nowhere. But we had this vision that we were going to make it, we just held onto that and put our heads down.
“Any time we had a bit of money – most of it came from mum and dad at the time - we’d put it into marketing. DLs, press ads, anything to get our name out there. We used every physical marketing channel we could think of to create the perception we were successful.
“I remember in that first six months we had people see our press ads and say to us ‘you guys are doing so well, good on you’. I’m standing in front of them and in my head I’m thinking ‘my god, we haven’t sold a thing’,” Phil explained.
After months of hard work, long hours and plenty of doubts, the breakthrough came and Phil listed his first property. From there he describes it as a snow ball effect.
“It was crazy we went from literally nothing to writing $550,000 in the 12 months from when we got that first listing.”
When he reflects on those early days, he believes there were a few things that worked in his favour.
“The big things that worked for us was being face to face with people. Door knocking was a huge part of how we got our first couple of listings.”
With the activity around prospecting being one thing, Phil said the marketing they had working alongside it was even more critical.
“We were using every cent to our name to take out full page ads in the local paper every three weeks. We had DLs and letters going out to the area every week. We put every dollar we had into perception – it was taking fake it till you make it to the next level.”
Today, Phil is Domain’s 2017 Rising Star. He, and his team of four, also ranked as the ninth most successful operation in the Belle Property network.
“This year has been the first year where our hard work has truly paid off. In 2016 we joined Belle and it was a bit like starting all over again – our business slowed down and we’ve been working as hard as ever. A quarter of the way into this year, I thought to myself ‘we’re back’.”
With a new mission to share his own experience with other agents who are trying to breakthrough, Phil offered some advice.
“I wish people could see what the last four years have been like. I never went out on a Friday night no matter what my friends were doing. I missed trips to New York and Vegas, and missed out on going to the soccer world cup in Brazil with my friends. Some because I didn’t have the money. Some because I just needed to focus on my work. I have really dedicated everything to real estate to get to this point.
“If you want to do it, and put the work in, the rewards are incredible.. Real estate has helped me become a stronger person and that’s what I love so much about it. I want to let all the young people in the industry know that they can push through that first period an it’ll be so worth it. Don’t think that if you just rock up for five years you’ll get here. You have got to be ready to really put it in.”