Dear Greg

4 minute read

Firstly I would like to congratulate you on your appointment as CEO of the REA Group. It will come as no surprise to you that you have some big shoes to fill.

I know that many of us think that you will simply be a puppet for News Limited and that tricky dicky Freudenstein will have you on his lap performing his ventriloquist number on you from this day forth. However I want to point out a few things that can make your stewardship successful.

Firstly, we love you. I know this is a shock, but trust me, we the agents love that you send us enquiries, we also love that most Australians use your website. We love it even more when you send these enquiries within say – the first month it was originally sent.

We also love that you place our vendors properties in the centre of the page. We understand that it must be tempting to place all other 35 or so 3rd party advertising in the centre of the page and place the property listing, well you know, somewhere obscure, like in the side area. This would make it easier for people to mouse over unsuspecting ads and have them pop all over their screens.

We also love the fact that you send us periodic emails telling us how great you are and how much better you are than the opposition and of course the 38 million unique Australians that use your website each month reminds us all just what a lucky country we live in.

If you get a chance to meet with Rupert, tell him thank you from all of us, we know his is getting a little mellow in his old age, but we still love the old codger and we understand he still loves donning his station master hat with his Hornby train set – oh and of course money, he will always love money.

I am no mathematician, but I had a glance over your figures last year and they look pretty good, however I reckon there is room for improvement. I have an idea, why don’t you try and make a few of these international websites a little more competitive, I know its a stretch, but how about setting a goal to make one or two of these profitable. Then you could then set aside a few dollars and spend it on upgrading the website to something that resembles a real estate portal and not a home loan centre/home price guide website.

Ooooh, open up the draw to your left there is a truckload of cash in there set aside for the Peak Industry Body, its just sitting there, Simon forget all about it. It might be just below the mirror and make up case.

Hang on a sec, geez that local pub country curry didn’t go down well. What was I saying? Ah yes, profitability, I was chewing the fat with a few local agents yesterday and we reckon we need you so bad, that you could easily lift our fees by another 30%! Why not convene a meeting? Have a laugh about how much we need you and try on a 40% hike in fees, you could just say the same things as what banks tell us, something about how money costs more than money did a while back and that money is really tight and money doesn’t grow on trees. Seriously we need you guys so much we would pay anything. It is not as if times are tough for us, I sold a farm about 4 months ago and those Fortescue idiots paid me 300k for it, something about a mine.

One more thing before I go, better go check that draw, yep top right, the one that ticks. I am off to the outdoor loo for some recuperation, better go grab that Fairfax paper for a good hard hitting read, geez its only 2 pages thick, strike, well I never!

Note: Raised by his siblings (who happened to be related) Sir Les was born in 1954 in Anytown NSW, in 1972 he started his own real estate firm with his brother (Flatulence & Flatulence) and expanded his business to actually sell properties in 1979. He thinks he may have 3 kids of his own and lives with his parents.

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  • SSSR
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 10:25 am 0Likes

    Funny stuff Sir Les Flatulence.

  • AJ
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 11:11 am 0Likes


    Sir Les you have to post more!

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 3:57 pm 0Likes

    Welcome to the team Sir Les. A fantastic first post.

    Just out of interest.. when were you knighted, and what exactly was it for… services to what exactly??

  • Anonymous Goverment Official
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 4:59 pm 0Likes

    I believe it was for services to the Yarts, he also had a pungent presence as president of the Cheese Board and would travel half way round the world and stay at 5 star hotels at the taxpayers insistance just to attend a good sniffing session.

    A mans man, there were rumours but not true.

    He has energy to burn, while others would emerge from a Qantas flight to London completely stuffed with only enough energy to grab a copy of Playboy get to the hotel room and gallop the lizzard Sir Les would be in the room with several hosties lined up complete with a water bed and bottle of baby oil.

    A true legend.

  • Rust
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 5:59 pm 0Likes

    Can I ask how much Sir Les spends on advertising his firm in the offline media and whether this is proportionate to the amount of buyers coming through that channel these days? Seems to me that agents are happy spending thousands of dollars of their clients’ money on self promotion in the weekend press, whilst they moan about spending a few hundred bucks on a proven and traceable lead generation method.

  • Anonymous Goverment Official
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 8:53 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for the question Rust, the answer is ……bugger all.
    See the agents rip their clients off more my than we rip the agents off so as long as that delicate balance is maintained all is ok.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 30, 2008 at 7:41 am 0Likes

    Sir Les is a mystery. I know him only by his first name. Sir Les does not mince words and I could smell his breath over the phone. He will write when he feels like it and only on subjects of his choosing. He did send my a photo, but I didn’t think it was suitable as dribble and food all over his suit was not the look I was going for. I am grateful for his contribution and look forward to a couple of postings a month.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 1, 2008 at 10:17 am 0Likes

    Sir Les – I could not have said it better myself 🙂

  • The Jester
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 10:25 am 0Likes

    Sir Les, I know it’s most likely beyond you, but just in case your article contains within it a degree of envy, let me suggest a course of action.
    The real estate portal business model can be applied to any industry sector and place you Sir Les in a position of increasing your own charges.
    Consider the take away food and restaurant businesses in your town. Their business consists of returns and also a healthy passing traffic element.
    Here is how you get started. Acquire some very large billboards and Adwords like “ALL FOOD – the easiest way to find what you want – opposite the post office”. Place these signs in dominant positions where they cannot be missed, on all approaches in to town. Then in that very prominent location in town, establish your ALL FOOD kiosk.
    Yes I’m aware Sir Les that the only food you know comes on a silver platter and your only knowledge of cooking comes from your accountant. No you don’t need to cook, just provide an easy way for visitors to search through the best range of meals in town, in the form of fliers

  • Madge Alsop
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm 0Likes

    Ahhh I love it, the agents are now paying to get the customers that were theirs in the first place.

    I always knew agents were smarter than everyone else.

    Even their Real Estate Institutes who could have done this on behalf on the agents didn’t bother, they provide a great service don’t they ?

    A $500M company built on the principal of selling ice to the Eskimos.

    Sir Les of course doesn’t need to know this, his whole 5 star lifestyle is compliments of the Australian Taxpayer who insists he travel extensively and stay in 5 star hotels, complete with Limo and Gold Amex.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm 0Likes

    Sir Les was upgraded to a Platinum card quite awhile ago. Those gold cards are becoming too commonplace for someone of Sir Les’s standing in the community.

  • snoop
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm 0Likes

    I am sure Sir Les being a successful agent would have nothing less in his wallet than a Titanium Amex.

  • Anonymous Goverment Official
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 6:15 pm 0Likes

    Gold is still the preferred color in the rub and tug shops Les frequents after an arduous day representing the Australian taxpayer and the Australian Cheese Board at a top level cheese sniffing event.

    They find it somewhat comforting and lets face it even if he had a platinum card it still wouldnt be the hardest thing in Les’s pants.

  • Anonymous Goverment Official
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm 0Likes

    Nor would Titanium (which was what I meant in the first place)

    Les also is a great contributor in other ways to society, take the Patterson Vat at the sperm bank. Tour groups at the bank are forever marvelling at this generous gift from the great man.

    There are hundreds of kids running around with that famous Sir Les look, especially around the mouth.

  • Nick Buick
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 6:57 am 0Likes

    I’ve always felt the entire Real Estate industry is based on Selling Ice to Eskimos…

    REA charge agencies huge money to list their properties on a site which – if they had their act together, agencies could have built and ran themselves.

    Below REA, sit the agencies, charging Agents huge money for the privilidge of working for them. Few grand a month for a desk, photocopier, telephone connection and some space in the window… Something most Agents could do by themselves if they had their act together.

    Below the Agencies, sit the agents themselves – charging vendors huge money to promote themselves and maybe sell a house once in a while – something that most vendors could probably do for themselves quite easily if they had their act together.

    The entire industry is one big eskimo ice-market clusterfuk really… REA is hardly the pioneer of this mentality. 🙂

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