Peak performance

March, 2022 | Thought Provoker

You know the state, the feeling, the moment. It’s in the middle of an auction when you’ve got multiple bidders; it’s at the listing presentation on the best home of your career; it’s you on the phones, generating appointment after appointment. You have incredible focus; you cut out the distractions and do great work. Now comes the question: What do we do to get into the performance zone? How long can we stay there? And is it sustainable?

We oscillate between performance and recovery, stress and renewal. The performance zone happens when we create an environment for it to exist. It starts with health - Diet, exercise and sleep. Those three are critical to performance over time. Your diet is your fuel, your exercise is your stress release valve, and sleep is the great renewer. An incredible immune system keeps you in top-flight health. Anything less than our best is performing at a sub-optimal level. Life is short, so we need to first focus on looking after ourselves.

As the pandemic hit, the fog rapidly engulfed our Vision for the future. We shifted from looking ahead, from planning and strategising, to just surviving, one step at a time. We lost our ability to dream, our desire for what’s ahead. We delayed important events, and we got sucked into a never-ending present. Drama ruled as the future we envisioned was pushed aside to the urgency of the day.

Now, as the fog lifts, it’s time to snap back to reality. We need a bold, compelling vision for what’s next, and then we need to get to work making it happen. Many are distracted by the talk of the Metaverse and Mars, but all we need to do is concentrate on life here on ours.

It’s a tough question, but your answers to it define who you become and what you achieve. No one came here to play small. It’s time to make an impact. So here goes: What do you want?

Let’s cut to the chase; if you’re not clear on what you want, nothing will drive you. You need definition. What will we find you doing if you’re not doing real estate? Those passions, the things you love to do, the ones you get lost in, are the fuel for the fire.

Get laser-like focus on your Goals. Permission to dream has been granted. Don’t rebuild, re-imagine. When the goal is clear, there are no distractions. No one will have a greater vision for your life than you. Get some definition. If you’re not at work, what will we find you doing? When you have a list of what lights you up, it gives more energy, purpose and direction to everything you do in business.

Resources are scarce; opportunities are not. It’s knowing what to chase that sets you apart. Most people look at what isn’t working, pull it apart, and keep on attempting to get it to work. In his book, Principles, Ray Dalio suggests we find out what works, stop when it does, write down why it works, and do more of that.

Amplify what works. Review every listing or property management your business won in the last 12 months and answer one simple question: How did you meet the seller/landlord? Whatever the answer is, that’s what works. Do more of that. Call five of your most recent sellers/landlords and ask two simple questions: Why did you decide to use me? What one thing did I say that flicked the switch for you and made it an easy choice? Whatever they say becomes your pitch. “Mr and Mrs Owner, I recently did a research project about how modern consumers make decisions in selecting their agents. Those five clients said there were three specific reasons why they decided to use my firm and me. Those three specific reasons were 1, 2, 3."

The skill is to directly pitch the reasons why people chose you over the competitors, to overcome the objections, and to pacify the restlessness.

Once you know what works, then you can cut the wastage. Edit - remove the things that no longer serve you well. The knowledge of what you do to generate your leads, win at listing, and sell your listings is what makes a great agent phenomenal.

Leverage your team with specific skill growth. What five skills, if mastered, would rapidly change the value of every member of your team? There’s a sign that they shine the light on in the Army at 4am every morning; it says, ’Remember - You joined us, we didn’t join you.' It’s the same in business; each team member has a specific role to play. What problem does that role solve? And how good is the player in the role-playing? Specific skills for a new agent could include exchanging a contract, extracting an offer, conducting an open house, calling buyers back, and questioning skills. Master those and you shift the quality and quality of output. Productivity improvements are often where the greatest performance gains are made.

"If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less", says retired US army chief Eric Shinseki. If you entered the residential real estate industry in the last two years you’ve only experienced a market where prices go up. The truth is, markets fluctuate. Here’s what to do to ride out wild, choppy market conditions.

Don’t jump at shadows. The arguments that escalated building costs around steel and plate glass combined with labour shortages, the 700,000 people who didn’t migrate to Australia over the last two years, and a return to the cities for a more exciting life outside of the region, will fuel property prices for a sustained period.

You’ll see market changes first with enquires, inspections, second inspections, contract reviews, pest and building report purchases, offers, and bidders on auction day followed by auction clearance rates. A-grade stock always sells well. B and C grade listings, with structural defects, floor plan issues and on-location challenges suffer first.

The secret is to have a plan to manage owner expectations. Speak to them about their perception of the conditions before listing. Ensure you commit to quality marketing and the right sale method, and gain access to bring buyers through first.

Great buyer work doesn’t rely just on marketing. Instead, work buyers from other campaigns. Find properties your office has sold over the last 12 months that a similar buyer had inspected. Call each buyer and find out if they’ve found anything; if they haven’t, find out if they have an appetite to purchase, then book them in for a private inspection. Shift the game by listing the private inspection times you have already booked online as an open for inspection, on the off chance an additional few buyers may turn up unannounced.

Stay alert. Search every business day for new listings in the market; they now compete with the home you’re selling. Review every sale that’s happened in the sold gallery overnight; they just stole a buyer from your campaign. Keep your sellers up to date on both; it’s the greatest alignment tool you’ve got.

When it’s time to make a change, offer the clients a choice: A change in marketing, sale method, and/or price. People love choice; they hate being backed into a corner. If you make a price change, make sure you get a buyer through in the following 24 hours so they link price changes = buyer activity.

Present offers in context. If you have an owner at $1m and a buyer at $950k, most agents will present that without context and the owner won’t even begin the negotiation. If you take forward two offers, one at $900k and the other at the $950k, they’ll start to negotiate as the $900k offer clearly shows just how much in front the other buyer is

Be an agent for all markets - stay prospecting and listing. The newest listing is usually the most saleable. It’s fresh, the owner’s motivation is high, and the agent hasn’t hit fatigue in that campaign.


Some months have five auction Saturdays; others have four. In April this year there’s the F1 in Melbourne, followed by Easter, followed by the Anzac Day long weekend. May is most likely the Federal Election. You need a plan and a narrative of why to list now. "Don’t be caught swimming naked when the tide goes out"; this great Warren Buffet quote makes me think we must be prepared. Over-list now to make sure you’ve got plenty of listings to sell. 

Show and demonstrate your skills. Use off-market, delayed campaigns, shortened campaigns and specific start dates to give owners confidence that you know what you’re doing.

Set your holiday dates at the start of each year. Holiday when it’s a low listing period, and work your campaigns around those. There will always be a listing you could have won if you were on the ground. The skill is to keep that conveyer belt of listings rolling.

Shift to game-changing questions. 'Have you bought locally before? And what are your plans with the existing when you buy the next?' Two of my favourites. They change everything.

When you find out the buyer’s ownership status, you can work out what to do next.

Know when to hit the recovery zone. This is a game of sustainability and longevity. That requires you to play at your best.

Lift up the other members in your team, redefine their roles and make them real team players. You want others in your team to list, sell and negotiate so that you can holiday. You must let go to grow. It’s now or never. You either have great systems for people to work, or you don’t. You either understand how your business works, or you don’t.

Peak performance is a way of life. Try more things more often so you can refine your way. Once you know what works, do more of that. Amplify what works, remove what doesn’t. The power to charge just a little more, to do just one extra deal a month, to shift up your average sale price, changes everything. Business is all about the margins. Consumers will only pay the difference if they see a difference. The hardest thing to pitch against is relationship. Spend time building great relationships. Relevancy drives frequency, then you just add consistency and watch what happens.

Move quickly to positive task orientation. Know what makes you feel instantly better - think going for a walk, listening to music, calling a great friend. As soon as the negative thoughts start, do one of those. Take a cold shower, review your goals, reset and go for growth. We all have moments in our lives where we feel like we’ve hit a plateau. As soon as you’ve arrived, it’s the perfect time to start again. It’s up to you to set the Vision. Make sure you set one that excites the hell out of you. The only reason you are where you are in life is because of the answers you’ve given yourself to the questions you’ve asked.

Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? How do you want to make an impact on the world?

It boils down to that one essential question: What do you want? Get clear on that and watch everything else fall into place.

Welcome to the new era; it’s time to play. And as the great Tom Peters says, be the best because it’s the only marketplace that’s not crowded.


Josh Phegan is the internationally renowned go-to speaker, trainer and coach for high-performance real estate agents and agencies. He is the number one preferred trainer for Australia’s top 100 agents and top 50 women in real estate.

In 2022 he’s the drawcard speaker at over 200 events in the UAE, UK, New Zealand and Australia.

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