Agents told to emulate Donald Trump by local Apprentice Mark Bouris

Agents told to emulate Donald Trump by local Apprentice Mark Bouris
Agents told to emulate Donald Trump by local Apprentice Mark Bouris

It is no surprise the last direct link of the presidential candidate Donald Trump to Australia was a real estate conference.

It was four years ago when the entrepreneur Donald Trump told his Australian estate agent audience that owners struggling to sell their prestige homes shouldn’t fire their listing agent, just “fire them up” with the prospect of higher sales commission.

The billionaire property developer and host of The Apprentice advised his devoted audience via satellite that he regularly pays his agents 2 percent or 3 percent higher than the regular sales commission rate.

"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,'' Trump told the audience of estate agents at the Australasian Real Estate Agents (AREC) conference on the weekend at the Gold Coast.

"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% commission and go [to] the other extreme because it means people bring buyers to me because I pay a better commission. It works.''

Trump, who praised estate agents as strong, smart and resilient, cautioned the 2,500 agent audience 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 added, saying his tip to prospective vendors in choosing the right real estate agent was to “look at their past success,” News Ltd papers reported.

Last month the local Apprentice television host, Mark Bouris suggested Australian estate agents would be more successful if they emulated the “big man”.

He suggested it was important to build a strong image based on consistency and trust. 

Bouris was speaking at The Great Start, an exclusive breakfast event in Sydney with an agenda to help agents build their personal brand hosted by


“The most important variable in how [to build a personal brand] is consistency. You’ve got to be consistently the same. People don’t like to be surprised. They want to be familiar with you. The way you build familiarity is someone sees something at the same place, at the same time, in the same way, in the same image. Familiarity also then builds trust.”

Mr Trump is the best example of this, being the “most consistent brand person” Mr Bouris has “ever seen and/or met”, the REB wesbite reported.

“Now, Donald, you might not like him, he is divisive. I get it. But he’s never off brand. Never,” Mr Bouris said.

“He is totally consistent. And you watch him today when he walks onto the stage, he’s exactly the same person he is the day before, the day before, the day before.

“He’s not changing. He’s not a shape changer. He’s not an image changer. He is consistent and persistent.

“And it seems like that’s what you’ve got to do if you want cut through to build awareness campaigns – because he’s trying to win people’s votes, which is what all of you are trying to do, or I try to do. I try to win consumers’ votes to come to me. You’re trying to win investors’ and vendors’ votes to come and see you. It’s a campaign. An election campaign. It’s about your image. It’s about being consistent.”

Mr Bouris said agents also have to be consistent in what they say, adding that they must believe the messages they’re putting out to the market.

“Whatever you decide to establish, be consistent on everything you do with it. Everything,” he said.

“This is all pervasive… It is everything you do. Everything you do.”

Mr Bouris said this consistency includes physical appearance, where, perhaps, Mr Trump offers yet another lesson.

“You have to have an image that you are consistent with physically, your appearance,” he said.

Even Mr Trump’s hair could have a lesson for agents.

“Now, we all laugh at that, but his hair is part of his physical image.

“If you look at him now, his hair has never changed colour – it’s getting a bit more yellow – but it’s never changed colour, ever since I can remember. And it is part of his physical image. He comes out always with a satin tie. It’s a pink or it’s a red or it’s a blue. He comes out with a pinstripe suit.

“He’s a big man. He’s a big guy. So his whole physical image has never changed. I’ve never seen him thinner or fatter. He’s got a sort of colour about his skin… He’s always the same. And this is a guy trying to become president of the United States. He is the alternative candidate.

“So obviously something works.”



Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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