Ian Salter

Build Long Term Wealth By Building Your Brand

For almost 12 years I’ve worked as a professional business broker with Benchmark Business Sales & Valuations. Over the years I’ve come to learn that the general public (Buyers & Sellers) generally see us as Salespeople, or negotiators – and that’s fine.

The question is; “How do you see yourself” ?

It would be fair to say that most business brokers and real estate agents see themselves as the general public see them… as salespeople. ‘So what’s wrong with that?’ I hear you say – Nothing really. Most agents and brokers would comfortably make around $100 – $150k + per annum (minimum) in gross sales – so what’s the problem?

The problem is if you see yourself as a salesperson, you’ll be paid by your clients like a salesperson. – With very little value, and no premium, or clients chasing you. So how do you add value? How do you get paid a “premium” to do your job?

The answer is to invest in yourself to build your “brand’.


What is a “Brand?”

Do you see yourself as a brand? Or do you see yourself simply as a salesperson?

How do you promote yourself outside of the agency you work with?

How much money do you invest in yourself, and your brand per annum?

Many agents/brokers rely heavily upon their agency to feed them with leads, and buyers. I’ve witnessed many business brokers come and go over the years, and I was told two things whilst learning the ropes…

No 1. If you can hang around in the industry for at least 12 months, you can expect to receive your first referral – that information turned out to be correct, and

No 2. If I wasn’t listing, I wasn’t selling – again another true statement.

As agents we always expect Vendors to pay marketing fees to allow us to sell their business and as a rule-of-thumb this would be less than 1% of the sale price – if that! The reason for the Vendor paying the fee is to get their business noticed in the market place, and it’s no different for you –“the agent”. You need to spend/invest money into yourself – your brand. Through education or on social media platforms, websites, and networking or with flyers, business cards, letters etc.

If you were to apply the same percentage as we expect from Vendors, then you’re only talking around 1% – is that enough? Whatever you spend on building your brand you will recoup in listings, sales, and commissions.

Decide upon your point of difference… What is your (USP) Unique Selling Proposition? Why do you stand out from the crowd? Build your brand around your unique qualities.


There are so many training facilities available to Business Brokers & Real Estate Agents and yet I hear through training bodies, the trainers and other senior Business Brokers and Principles that numbers attending training sessions are poor. As a mentor, trainer and team-leader myself I have experienced (lately) that new agents/brokers expect a “quick fix” answer from me over the phone, instead of studying and learning the industry, or investing their own money into themselves and this fabulous and rewarding career.

Why wouldn’t you want to learn and grow in an industry that offers an open ended income?

This industry is not a get rich quick scheme, if it was there would be more people doing it.

Why is there such a high “churn rate” of people coming in and out of the industry? I’ve heard things like, “Ian what am I doing wrong?” “How long did it take you to make money?” and “How do you get those good listings?” The real answer is that I worked bloody hard, sure I had my doubts that I couldn’t do this in the early years – we all experienced that negative little voice in our heads, the trick is to turn that into a positive voice and rise above it. I attended training sessions, I spent my money and invested in me (as a brand).

There is an open-ended income in this profession for anyone who is prepared to do the work, learn and grow. Only then can you cross that line where everyone else seems to be. Sales is a science, it’s structured, it’s deliberate and if you are going to make it in this profession and be a stand out professional – then invest in yourself, grow your “brand”, learn and grow within this industry and then reap the rewards along the way. You may not get rich quick, but you just might get rich.

Hear from Ian Salter from Benchmark Business Sales and Valuations at the REIQ Business Broker Forum on Wednesday 26 July. Tickets can be purchased here.