“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,” Mr Trump said, via video, to an audience of 2528 on the Gold Coast for the Australasian Real Estate Agents conference.
“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 per cent commission and go (to) the other extreme because it means people bring buyers to me because I pay a better commission. It works.”
According to figures from IBISWorld, 5000 people have lost their jobs over the past five years in the Australian real estate industry, which has been hit by annual revenue declines of 1.1 per cent since 2007.
Mr Trump counselled agents 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 said.