As a leading South Australian real estate agent, Scott McPharlin has earned a reputation as a smart negotiator, straight shooter and team player.

These foundations were developed during his 12 years in the army, long before he entered the property industry.

“I guess my wife usually says that the army does institutionalise you in a way, and kind of makes you think in a way which is really beneficial when it comes to getting yourself organised, or not questioning why you’re doing something,” Scott told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast.

“Someone tells you to do something, you just go and do it, and I think in a lot of instances that’s a really positive trait because you put the trust in the person that’s telling you to go, ‘Hey, this needs to be done’. You say, ‘Alright, if you say it’s got to be done, it’s got to be done. I’ll go and do it’.”

Scott’s time in the defence force also taught him a lot about people.

“I’ve always said that I’ll never judge anyone on one action,” he said.

“People can operate at 100% on a particular moment in the day, or they can be operating at 20%. If someone gives me a 20% reaction, like a reaction where they’re working at 20% of their capability and they lose their shit for some reason, or they have an adverse reaction to a certain situation, I’m not going to judge the person on that. I know that 99% of the time they’re at 85 or 90% and they’re a great person. And I think that forgiveness is kind of something where you see those episodes happen in the army where you’ve just got to pick your mate up because he’s had a bit of a tantrum and that sort of thing, and you just move on and get the job done. And I think that’s served me well over time as well.”

After being medically discharged from the Army, Scott entered real estate sales in regional Western Australia, inheriting lists from an agent who was taking on a different role.

He found immediate success through what some would say is a rare strategy in real estate sales – telling the truth.

“Everyone knows that real estate professionals have a reputation for trying to be a little bit more positive than they need to be, sometimes,” he said.

“And I found that especially people in the demographic where I was working, if you hit them in the chin and told them how it was, they’d respect that.”

As Scott’s real estate career skyrocketed, he quickly learned the art of deal making and negotiation.

“I guess my instinct is I’ve been able to work out how to put a deal together,” he said.

“You have to find out what motivates the other person you’re negotiating with. You have to be able to go ‘okay, so what is it you want? What is it you need out of this situation, and how can we make this better? How can we compromise?’

“For me, negotiation for me is not about talking, it’s more about asking and listening. And so I think if you take the time and listen to what someone wants out of the situation, you can normally find a way to make it match.”

While selling homes for clients, Scott has also been building a property investment portfolio across Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.

But he has learned just as much from failure, as the successes.

A failed development cost him $50,000, but Scott saw a return on both a personal and professional level.

“To be honest, it was probably the cheapest lesson I’ve ever had,” he said.

“And I think to lose on that scale, even though at the time it hurt, was really good to keep myself in check, and it’s probably been even better for the clients that I sell for, because it’s really good to have been in that situation being able to explain how that happened, and therefore give them the benefit of that experience without them having to make that mistake.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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