When you are in business you need to be one with the people you serve, Matt Reynolds gets inside the head of the prince of property to provide insights.
In the two-plus hours I spent interviewing Ross Savas, we hardly spoke about property. This might surprise you considering Ross is the Managing Director of Kay & Burton, the real estate agents who held the record for the most expensive home sold in Victoria. That is until you understand how Ross thinks about his business: the business of people.
“While we might market and sell some of the finest homes and lifestyle properties in the state of Victoria, we are really in the relationship business,” Ross says.
Australian property has been hot for quite a while, creating thousands of trade and industry related jobs. It’s certainly been great for the plumbing industry. A significant chunk of the demand that has driven record prices locally, has come from right around the globe.
Ross spends a large part of every year out of the country meeting new people, building relationships and learning how he can help his potential clients move to our lucky country. His services expand to include anything his clients need; a full concierge service that can range from introductions to business contacts, setting people up in short-term accommodation and getting their children into schools, to ensuring they settle into the local community once they arrive in Australia.
Once settled into life here, there’s a very good chance they’ll want the great Australian dream, they’ll want to own their own home.
Ross believes you need to invest in your people in both a business and personal sense, a strategy that has helped Kay and Burton climb to the top of the premium real estate game and employ more than 170 people.
From specific business and skill development courses to seeing a psychologist to do deeper work, Ross subscribes to the theory that if you are not growing, you are dying. “We can invest 10 years in some people to get them to the point where they are a standalone salesperson” he explained. “We rarely hire from outside the business because we believe in our culture, the way we think and the way we do things”.
Great leaders focus on improving themselves every day, so Ross explained that you have to take that approach if you want to be at your best for your people.
Personally, he begins his day reading for 90 minutes, studying topics including history, leadership, business and general knowledge. He also places high importance on education through travel and learning about other cultures.
While he once trained himself to live on just 2-3 hours of sleep a night, so he could spend more time working every time zone, Ross now recognises the importance of a good night’s rest. His problem, as he told me, was that he thought of every day as a holiday which lead to a schedule that was impossible to maintain without health challenges. You cannot build a high-quality global network without working incredibly hard, but you do need to hold your health as the most important priority.
“When it comes to mastering specific business skills like negotiation, experience counts more than strategies. There’s no substitute for putting in the time because it builds confidence. You are much more likely to read the play and make better choices when you are confident.”
Advice from Ross: “if you are in business you are in the people business first, so look for opportunities to invest in and support others. Find a mentor, work really hard and remember to rest well.”
The full interview can be found at xrm.com.au/podcast.
From the trenches