Secrets of the master


The author of Realtor Bible says anyone wanting to enter real estate shouldn’t be deterred by the number of existing Queenstown salespeople. 

‘It’s a huge opportunity,” Auckland real estate veteran Martin Dunn tells Mountain Scene while launching his self-published guidebook. 

“It’s a very rewarding lifestyle but I’m also rather scathing about a lot of the people in the business,” Dunn says. 

“There’re a lot of what I call charitably lazy or slightly stupid real estate people who earn maybe $80,000 a year and they don’t even appreciate the position they’re in.Most salespeople tend to work to an income, not to become multi-millionaires,” Dunn says. 

Without saying so directly, he implies also-rans are weeded out fairly quickly, writing of “a carpark chat, which is where a salesperson and I go to the car park and I’m the only one who comes back”. 

Harsh words, maybe, but Dunn is one of the country’s most successful realtors, having been top of the sales tree at big-name firms Bayleys and Barfoot & Thompson before setting up his own City Sales in 1997.

Realtor Bible is available at $24.95 direct from

Dunn says Don’t:

  • You can’t sell property – you’re a broker – you only sell yourself and, to a vendor, your agency
  • Don’t think negotiators are born, not made – you can learn negotiation
  • Don’t be sucked in by developers: “They are hugely unrewarding as clients. They tend to have a one-track mind, which is their own wellbeing and maximising the amount of money they can make”
  • Don’t join a start-up real estate firm, even if part of a big franchise – “an established agency has a certain volume of business that just walks in the door every day”
  • Avoid spending too much time with mediocre salespeople: “They’ll bring you down”
  • Don’t expect advertising to actually sell property: “Advertising is designed to seduce and make your phone ring – that’s all”
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover – Dunn tells of an extremely down-market prospect who ended up buying 40 apartments from him over 15 months.

Dunn says Do: 

  • Do everything you can to avoid being the caricature of a salesperson
  • “Constantly transpose yourself into the shoes of [clients]”
  • Stay close to your boss and your receptionist – they can feed you information and enquiries
  • Focus more on listing properties than selling them: “A listing means a sale, you just have to find the PIN number”
  • “Observe constantly and carefully the modus operandi of the top few salespeople.”




? Don’t judge a book by its cover – Dunn tells of an extremely down-market prospect who ended up buyin