By Susan Doran
Here’s a savvy idea for highly successful sales reps: hire a full-time driver.
Now hold that thought and read on.
I have interviewed many top sales reps for REM and I always ask them to offer up a few of the secrets to their success. Generally I get the kind of answers you’d expect, advice such as:
– Build relationships and make sure the client always comes first.
– Brand yourself and market like mad.
– Learn from the top producers and keep upgrading your training.
– Work tremendously hard but also take time for yourself so as not to burn out.
A decade ago when REM first asked me to interview mega agent Sam McDadi (then with Re/Max, heading up a team that was consistently among the top for the organization nationally and worldwide), he said all those things.
He said them all again recently when I interviewed him for this article as well, now that he has launched Sam McDadi Real Estate, his own independent brokerage in Mississauga, Ont., which opened in 2012.
McDadi is confident, knows his business inside out and talks a mile a minute. As I interview him, his words seem so honed and practised that I begin to wonder if he has been media trained. It would make sense – he’s been interviewed about real estate for various newspapers and on television and radio, has written a couple of self-published books about real estate and he lectures regularly at real estate offices, conferences and investment forums.
Now here’s the thing…sometimes when people have done a lot of interviews and public speaking, they tend to boil their story down to a kind of edited, press-release version, making eliciting information with more of a human interest angle a bit of a challenge. So while McDadi is gunning through his hugely impressive numbers – including the fact that in 2013 he and Team McDadi sold more than 600 homes and over $400 million in real estate, eclipsing the previous record they had set for the Toronto Real Estate Board in 2012 by a whopping 33 per cent – I am mulling over how to get him to open up about, say, his scariest moment in real estate or what it was like coming here from Lebanon as a toddler.
When McDadi informs me that he has a full-time driver, I perk up. Here’s something new, something no other sales rep has ever mentioned to me during an interview. And what’s more, it seems to be a most efficient means of enhancing time management for those who can afford it.
“It allows me to be effective in the car – my productivity has shot through the roof,” McDadi says. “It’s really convenient and also I can take clients wherever; I don’t have to worry about parking…I highly recommend it from both a safety and productivity aspect to any sales rep who gets to a certain level.”
This doesn’t provide a great deal of insight into McDadi’s personality, except to point out that he is driven (in more ways than one) and a workaholic – traits that he freely acknowledges. What it does show is that he knows how to think outside the box and work smart, illustrating how he has managed to climb to the very top of the real estate business.
“I always try to be an innovator,” he says.
McDadi’s well-publicized auctioning off of a multi-million dollar Mississauga mansion in January 2013 is another example of his innovativeness. The house had been on the market for a few years with another salesperson. When McDadi took over, he engaged an auction house and sold the mansion that way.
“This is done a lot in places like Australia, but not here,” he says. “It garnered a lot of international attention. We got fantastic feedback.”
When McDadi does describe his early days in real estate, it turns out that reassuringly, they were pretty much like everyone else’s.
“I had tough times when money was scarce,” he says. He remembers showing one client more than 100 houses, and then she decided to move to the United States and purchase a property there. Many of his early deals fell through, but he persevered.
“Don’t give up too early is an important message,” he says.
So is “take care of your clients,” he advises, noting that he has handled at least 30 transactions with one long-time client and that the number of referrals through that one client alone has been incredible.
McDadi estimates he has sold more than $2.5 billion in real estate and helped over 7,000 families and friends in his 25-year career. Despite his high profile and the fact that he is among a select group of agents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) certified as an international luxury home marketing specialist, and is also one of the bigger print advertisers in the GTA, he stresses that Team McDadi’s motto remains, “No house too big or too small.”
In touch with the expanding global market, McDadi has built a diverse multi-cultural team of over 20 experienced sales reps, together speaking more than 25 languages. Others on staff include photographers, graphic designers, a social media expert, an inspector and a full-time home stager with access to McDadi’s 6,000 square feet of furniture inventory.
“Our business model is such that we want to keep everything in house,” McDadi says.
He cites hiring “the right people” as initially having been a significant challenge.
“You are only as good as your people,” and it took a while to find the right ones, McDadi says. “It was a process.” Now his team is “like a family,” he says.
“My team has grown, developed and diversified. But one thing has remained constant – remarkable customer service and satisfaction.”