Lessons from a Billionaire

by Ben Handler

November 10, 2020

Ben Handler:

Welcome to the Buyer’s Agent Institute Show. The purpose of the show is to bring awareness to buyer’s agents, to bring awareness around the career opportunities that the buyer’s agent sector is providing people. To bring awareness around the value that buyer’s agents providing people who need help buying property. Our goal with the show is to strip back, and dive into the remarkable stories, and journeys of buyer’s agents who are paving the way forward in one of the fastest growing career sectors in Australia right now.

Ben Handler:

Our guest today is Daniel Trelease, he is the founder, and CEO of Trelease Associates, the headquarters is based in Sydney, in Double Bay. Daniel prides himself on two key things, number one, customer service, and number two, developing an extraordinary, and exceptional company culture.

Ben Handler:

Daniel’s career is quite remarkable, it’s also very unique where it started. He was headhunted by the former entertainment media billionaire mogul, Robert Stigwood. Robert Stigwood had a country estate in England, and Daniel managed this estate, and looked after, not just property, but art, but also diversified in understanding different business ventures.

Ben Handler:

Daniel was also engaged by high net worth individuals to buy property, and art across New York, and London. Daniel has been in Australia for less than a decade, and brings a very unique energy into his new business. So, I’m very excited to introduce Daniel Trelease today. Welcome Daniel.

Daniel Trelease:

Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

Ben Handler:

I’ve always been meaning to ask about this whole Robert Stigwood. He’s obviously a billionaire, he was from Australia, he moved to England. I believe he was the first billionaire in the world.

Daniel Trelease:

I don’t know if he was the first, he was certainly one of the first, and I believe he was one of the first, certainly in Australia. But, he was actually born in Adelaide as well, where I was born. And, that’s I believe certainly, after he passed I started thinking about why me, and I think it was, “I’m going to give this young kid from Adelaide a chance.” And, I’ll be forever grateful for that, because that was the start of my journey.

Ben Handler:

But, how did it all come together?

Daniel Trelease:

I was actually working in the executive club lounge at a hotel, the Hyatt Regency at the time, I think it’s the InterContinental now in Adelaide. And, he said to me, “You don’t seem nervous at all.” And, my boss was there holding the silver tray, shaking like this. And, I said, “I don’t know who you are.” And, he just sort of smiled, and said, “That’s great, no worries.”

Daniel Trelease:

And, I went on with my day, and the next time I had to serve him, eventually the president of his companies at the time said to me, “You’d be really good working with us.” And, it just went from there, then they took me to dinner, and discussed the opportunity. I went, and visited the estate, and Robert, and his team in the Isle of Wight at the time in England, and came back made decision, finished my degree, and went to work for them.

Ben Handler:

When I introduced, and said, “Managed the country estate state,” I mean, a lot of people listening to this won’t probably quite grasp what that really means. Do you mind maybe sharing around the size, the number of staff? I mean, you were managing something very large.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah, I was effectively what they would call a majordomo, which was the head of the household. So, I would manage all of the staff from the nurses, the security, the chefs, the gardeners, then all of his executive team as well, and everyone in between. Hiring, firing, training, and being the conduit between Robert, and a staff member effectively.

Ben Handler:

How many staff members roughly?

Daniel Trelease:

Just on the estate at any given time between 30, and 40.

Ben Handler:

Wow, amazing. So, what did you learn? I mean, obviously that’s a very unique experience for someone to go through, and be part of that whole journey. What is it that you learned? What was the key thing?

Daniel Trelease:

I think that’s probably where I developed most of my people skills. I was exposed to people that I don’t ever read about, or seen on television. He’s obviously, he was the godfather to a number of the Royal Family’s children, that sort of thing he often visited.

Daniel Trelease:

He’s also the man who created Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Cream, Evita, merge companies, Brian Epstein, run the Beatles for a while, et cetera. And, I actually flew to Melbourne at one point to hire the new gentlemen to take over Saturday Night Fever in the West End, and being thrown in the deep end like that with people that I couldn’t even possibly fathom.

Daniel Trelease:

There was actually one point when I hung up the phone on John Travolta by accident. I was just transferring it to Robert’s quarters, and it just cut out, and I was like sugar. So, anyway I got in a lot of trouble for that. But, Look he called back, and he was fine. The lesson I did learn though, is that with that level of power, and wealth does not always come humility, and decency. And, I know that he had a reputation for being an extraordinarily hard person.

Daniel Trelease:

I mean, everyone knows it’s common knowledge he was hung off of his balcony by the Kray twins, which were mafia, because he was monopolizing the industry. And, I remember one point he called me, I was not in working hours, and I was asked to come up to the main house. I had a house on the estate, and I was asked to come up, and he asked me to come up, which was a 15 minute journey from my house to his, kind of thing. Out of hours, on my very few hours off, to pick a pen up next to his bed, and give it to him when there was 20 staff in the house. To show me that’s your place, don’t ever forget it, kind of thing.

Daniel Trelease:

And, I’ll never forget that moment ever, but I’ll also never forget the moments where he enjoyed glass of champagne, and telling me extraordinary stories, which have enriched my life forever. And, I tell them over, and over are.

Ben Handler:

Can you share any of them?

Daniel Trelease:

They’re probably, a lot of them are rather inappropriate, as you can imagine being a billionaire in the sixties, and seventies, that sort of thing, the sorts of things that went on, but they were very entertaining.

Ben Handler:

Let’s talk about Trelease Associates, because what I love so much about the buyer’s agent sector is they’re so many up, and coming new businesses with people like you have extraordinary skill, and talent. That you’ve then transferred now into this space. And, what you’re doing with Trelease Associates is very unique. I’ve obviously been in the space a long time, and I don’t see really anyone out there in Australia doing what you’re doing. So, what’s the purpose behind what you’re doing? And, what are you looking to do?

Daniel Trelease:

I suppose, from my experience with people mostly, I wanted to create something which wasn’t mine, which wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about feeding me, it wasn’t about growing just me. It was about who can I bring into this company to grow with me for the entire journey. And, I’m not just talking about staff retention. I created Trelease Associates, because I’m the sole owner right now, but it’s created, so then there’s people like, and he most certainly will be Jeremy Bedwani, who I believe is just as important to the success of this company as myself.

Daniel Trelease:

And, I don’t believe it could be what it is even today, 14 months on without him as an example, and other heads of divisions too. So, Trelease Associates was created, so there’ll be associates. There will be obviously myself as the founder, but in time there will be stakeholders like Jeremy, and others in the future as well. So, they own a piece of this company, a significant piece, and it’s not bought, it’s gifted to them.

Daniel Trelease:

It’s about creating a culture where we’re all building a family, a business that can become nationwide, possibly larger, but that’s not the goal. Where we’re working towards a common goal, and every single day I can honestly tell you, we joke, we laugh, we have an amazing time. And, yes there’s difficult times too, and we expect that, and we learn from that, we pivot like we have during COVID.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, and it’s apparent from the outside looking in around what you’re doing. It’s very different, and it seems, as I said earlier, very unique. Let’s talk about the confidentiality part.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

That’s something that no one’s doing. Most people in the buyer’s agent space, social media, advertising, it’s all about just bought. You’ve taken a very different approach, do you mind sharing why, and what you’re doing?

Daniel Trelease:

I believe that we’re in customer service, and customer service after spending well over a decade in London, New York, I even lived in Greece for six months. I just feel that it’s missing from the fabric of our society here in Australia. You go to a restaurant, that’s not service. It’s appalling in my eyes. I wanted to create something where the confidentiality piece, we didn’t leverage on our client, and what we bought for them to self promote. We were engaged by our client to source, and to secure a property for them, whether it be investment, whether it be primary residence.

Daniel Trelease:

Not then to plaster that over social media, or to leak it to the media, that sort of thing. It’s about discretion, it’s about a different level of service that Australians perhaps are not entirely used to. That would be expected in say London, and confidentiality is not necessary for all of our clients. Not at all. Most in fact, do not require it, but it is absolutely there for the clients who do.

Daniel Trelease:

It doesn’t just revolve around the confidentiality upon exchange. For example, where the client’s identity is held confidentially with a confidentiality deed signed by the sales agent, the sales agency principal, myself as the principal of Trelease Associates, the buyer’s agent that may have been acting for that buyer, our buyer, and the vendor. All signed, so it’s basically just an extra signature before they sign the contract.

Ben Handler:

Every transaction?

Daniel Trelease:

Not every transaction for the clients that require this. Every client can have it if they wish. Some clients don’t wish for it, they just don’t care, it’s not necessary. Absolutely fine. But, it’s more about what about their buying power? Because, their buying power is usually exposed to most sales agents, because I’ve been looking for one, two, three, six, 12 months before engaging buyer’s agent. Therefore, it’s about confidentiality around the client themselves during the process.

Daniel Trelease:

So, some of these clients, we had one recently that had full confidentiality. No one knows what we bought, no one knows how much we bought it for, and no one is allowed to disclose. That client was even searching at the time. So, that client’s buying power was also confidential. Therefore, because the agents understood where their budget may have been, they needed to know this, they were just working with client five at Trelease Associates.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, it’s extraordinary. And, let’s talk about leadership obviously, and actually before we dive into leadership, I would think that when I opened up, I talked about one of your principles is customer service. It seems like it’s clear, it runs through the DNA of your entire company. Has that been inherited from Robert Stigwood?

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely.

Ben Handler:

Yeah.

Daniel Trelease:

Unequivocally. I mean, even from my hospitality days, I mean, I remember when my parents didn’t want me to go to acting school, and that sort of thing, which was my passion as a young man. They wanted me to finish my degree, and that sort of thing as I did. But, during that I was working from 16, 15, whatever it was onwards. And, I ended up in silver service in a five star hotel in Adelaide. Therefore, I was poached from Robert, and moved to England.

Daniel Trelease:

And, naturally when you’re serving people from the Royal Family, you’re serving Robert himself, it’s all silver service. And it is the hand behind the back. You’re pretty much leaving the room, walking backwards, that kind of thing. It was very intense. It’s a level of service that almost is nonexistent today, but I revere it.

Ben Handler:

Wow, so you, from being exposed to that, you’ve been able to now transfer just that high quality, because you’re right Australia, it’s poor service.

Daniel Trelease:

Very.

Ben Handler:

And, especially when you go to the States, and come back, you just notice that distinction. So, obviously working at the estate in the UK, you were managing, you were hiring, you were firing, you were strategizing, you were organizing, coordinating, you are a leader. I think we’re all leaders in our own right. Now, you’re running your new company. You’ve got people in various divisions in different States. Has your understanding of leadership changed at all?

Daniel Trelease:

Every day, every single day. Every day I’m learning, even Jeremy, and I learned from each other every day. And, we strategize together every day. But, even after Robert when I worked for TDA Interiors, for example, under Richard Taylor, the founder of TDA Interiors were still operational in South of England, and in central London too. And, watching those different leadership styles from Robert, which is an extraordinary style, I suppose, all the way through to Richard, which was very commercial.

Daniel Trelease:

And, I look at myself as a highly emotional being, hight EQ. Jeremy, high IQ, and very commercial. So, the ying and yang work exceptionally well. We couldn’t be more different in our leadership styles, and that’s probably why we work so well together to create a company that is, I certainly hope I’m right in saying this, not only humble, and not only caring, and compassionate, but we genuinely love, and care for the people inside those walls. And, we will protect them, and nurture them and help them grow, and that’s one of Jeremy’s primary role.

Daniel Trelease:

So, the leadership isn’t just for me, it is across the team. We’ve got Kim Ackerman who’s basically writing the Trelease Associates handbook, for example. On her own accord she came to us. I believe that leadership needs to go across the spectrum of the company, and not just dripped down from the top. I don’t believe in the hierarchy, and the older models. Could be wrong, but at the moment it seems to be doing very well. And, the company as a whole, and the staff are enjoying this leadership style.

Ben Handler:

I agree, the leadership always should really move from the bottom up. And, the fact you’ve got this lady in your office who’s put her hand up to say-

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely.

Ben Handler:

…I want to take lead with this, is a clear, I guess, indication, and reflection demonstration of what’s really going on in the company. Because, it seems not just customer service is something that runs throughout your entire company, it’s something that obviously you pride so much.

Ben Handler:

Because, I remember back at the Cohen Handler days, you were always having dinner at 10:00 at night at a restaurant with the 65 year old client. And, it seems like you were just forging these very close friendships. So, outside of a transaction your client relationships now becoming friendships, right?

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah, look, there’s three, four clients that have had babies during, or after being a client of mine, and I’ve been in the hospital before they’ve even gotten home with their baby. And, I’ve got 60, 70, 80 plus year old clients who I still take to dinner, because they’re alone, and I truly enjoy their company. I’m an old soul, a lot will say I’m like an eight year old Jewish man, and that’s the joke in the office.

Daniel Trelease:

I suppose I do definitely connect to older people far more than younger. I love being around the youth, and the energy like Jack Henderson in our office, fantastic. He always prides himself, he was a minor, he didn’t finish school, and look at him now.

Ben Handler:

The Flamingo.

Daniel Trelease:

Yes, the Flamingo, right. And, then we’ve got lawyers, and we’ve got forensic accountants, and all sorts of people as well in the company. So, education as well I don’t believe is a factor. You cannot train passion, you cannot train hustle, you can only train skill. And, that’s the biggest lesson that we’ve learned over the last six to 12 months is that don’t just hire someone that’s been in real estate, and need to unravel bad habits, for example. Hire someone who has the passion, hire someone who has the hustle ingrained in them, that is innate in them. Then, and only then let’s train those people.

Ben Handler:

I love it. What do you love about real estate?

Daniel Trelease:

I have to say it’s not even the real estate. It’s the people, because every day I meet someone new, a different character, whether it be a flamingo or something else brought into our life to enrich our lives. And, we’ve got incredibly diverse team of people, and we’re hiring at the moment. So, there’s more people that are coming on board. Some of them are quite characters as well, but you know what, everyone who sits in front of us in the boardroom is different too.

Daniel Trelease:

Some are going to suit my demeanor, and my character. Some are going to suit Jack’s or Kim’s or Annabelle’s or whoever’s. And, that’s why also we need to figure out who aren’t we servicing, who aren’t we helping, and how can we help them. So, we’re looking at a commercial division that has never been done before. We have tried, it didn’t pan out the way Jeremy, and I had wanted it to, and that’s fine.

Daniel Trelease:

We live, and we learn, we pivot, and we evolve. And, now we’re looking at someone who, whether this person comes to fruition or not, this is someone who is at very high level, and was head of acquisitions for a very well known firm. And, we’re looking at bringing them on, so we can service the commercial clients, and buyers out there.

Daniel Trelease:

We’re looking at the property management division that we’re building very assertively, and right now we’re only six months away from launching Brisbane. Less than 12 months away from launching Mosman. And, it’s about not expanding too quickly, not trying to take over any kind of world domination, as they say, it’s about who can we service, and service well.

Daniel Trelease:

And, you know what? Sometimes we’ll fail, so we’ll pivot, we’ll try again, or we’ll move on, and we want to figure out what we’re great at. And, that’s been my biggest lesson, what I’m great at, and what I’m not so great at. Hence, why Jeremy is my ying to my yang, because I know I am not great at many of the skillsets that he is prolific in.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, you clearly compliment each other.

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely, yeah.

Ben Handler:

And, you’ve got different skillsets, different personalities, and that’s what makes a partnership.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

And, that’s what grows the company, and that’s what balances off everyone.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Some people who are the more touchy-feely EQ, they’re going to come to you. And, the other ones who aren’t, they’re going to gravitate towards Jeremy, and it works.

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely.

Ben Handler:

We could be here for hours. We need to do a round two, because we need to hear about some of the stories, if you’re open to sharing. I love your background, I think it’s… I get excited seeing people coming into this space with just, I guess, exposure to life.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Exposure to life, and your exposure is what very few people on this planet have exposure to. And, it’s incredible to see how you’ve brought this into your new business. And, it’s very, you can recognize it very quickly. Just drive past your office in Double Bay, or of anyone watching this now just check out Trelease Associates, right. You can feel it when you look at your brand, it’s something different. And, it’s definitely something that, from what I see, you’ve picked up from what you’ve cultivated previously just in what you’ve learned. For people watching, where can people find Trelease Associates?

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah, look I mean, treleaseassociates.com.au would be the first protocol I think for anyone to have a feel for our company, and who we are, but I’m always an advocate for picking up the phone. Don’t need to email, pick up the phone, and call me. Call me direct, call Jeremy direct, have a conversation. And, if we have a great call get inside, and meet us.

Ben Handler:

Love it. Thank you, appreciate it. We’re going to do a round two. Just finishing up now. Okay, so I hope you enjoyed the discussion, especially around what Daniel learned in his previous career, because that’s very important in terms of how you transfer that into your obviously, new career if you’re looking to do something different.

Ben Handler:

For anyone who’s actually looking to potentially join a company, and become a buyer’s agent, check out Trelease Associates. As Daniel said give him a call, give Jeremy a call, go to their website, see their brand. Actually, look at a lot of the buyers agents that exist, and see if you notice anything different about how they present, what they do, their messaging. I believe you’ll see something quite distinct.

Ben Handler:

So, pick up the phone if you want to chat. And, if you’re someone who’s even looking to buy a property, and you’re looking for that exceptional customer experience, that journey, check out Trelease Associates as well. See you next week.

Please watch the full episode here:

Ben Handler:

Welcome to the Buyer’s Agent Institute Show. The purpose of the show is to bring awareness to buyer’s agents, to bring awareness around the career opportunities that the buyer’s agent sector is providing people. To bring awareness around the value that buyer’s agents providing people who need help buying property. Our goal with the show is to strip back, and dive into the remarkable stories, and journeys of buyer’s agents who are paving the way forward in one of the fastest growing career sectors in Australia right now.

Ben Handler:

Our guest today is Daniel Trelease, he is the founder, and CEO of Trelease Associates, the headquarters is based in Sydney, in Double Bay. Daniel prides himself on two key things, number one, customer service, and number two, developing an extraordinary, and exceptional company culture.

Ben Handler:

Daniel’s career is quite remarkable, it’s also very unique where it started. He was headhunted by the former entertainment media billionaire mogul, Robert Stigwood. Robert Stigwood had a country estate in England, and Daniel managed this estate, and looked after, not just property, but art, but also diversified in understanding different business ventures.

Ben Handler:

Daniel was also engaged by high net worth individuals to buy property, and art across New York, and London. Daniel has been in Australia for less than a decade, and brings a very unique energy into his new business. So, I’m very excited to introduce Daniel Trelease today. Welcome Daniel.

Daniel Trelease:

Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

Ben Handler:

I’ve always been meaning to ask about this whole Robert Stigwood. He’s obviously a billionaire, he was from Australia, he moved to England. I believe he was the first billionaire in the world.

Daniel Trelease:

I don’t know if he was the first, he was certainly one of the first, and I believe he was one of the first, certainly in Australia. But, he was actually born in Adelaide as well, where I was born. And, that’s I believe certainly, after he passed I started thinking about why me, and I think it was, “I’m going to give this young kid from Adelaide a chance.” And, I’ll be forever grateful for that, because that was the start of my journey.

Ben Handler:

But, how did it all come together?

Daniel Trelease:

I was actually working in the executive club lounge at a hotel, the Hyatt Regency at the time, I think it’s the InterContinental now in Adelaide. And, he said to me, “You don’t seem nervous at all.” And, my boss was there holding the silver tray, shaking like this. And, I said, “I don’t know who you are.” And, he just sort of smiled, and said, “That’s great, no worries.”

Daniel Trelease:

And, I went on with my day, and the next time I had to serve him, eventually the president of his companies at the time said to me, “You’d be really good working with us.” And, it just went from there, then they took me to dinner, and discussed the opportunity. I went, and visited the estate, and Robert, and his team in the Isle of Wight at the time in England, and came back made decision, finished my degree, and went to work for them.

Ben Handler:

When I introduced, and said, “Managed the country estate state,” I mean, a lot of people listening to this won’t probably quite grasp what that really means. Do you mind maybe sharing around the size, the number of staff? I mean, you were managing something very large.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah, I was effectively what they would call a majordomo, which was the head of the household. So, I would manage all of the staff from the nurses, the security, the chefs, the gardeners, then all of his executive team as well, and everyone in between. Hiring, firing, training, and being the conduit between Robert, and a staff member effectively.

Ben Handler:

How many staff members roughly?

Daniel Trelease:

Just on the estate at any given time between 30, and 40.

Ben Handler:

Wow, amazing. So, what did you learn? I mean, obviously that’s a very unique experience for someone to go through, and be part of that whole journey. What is it that you learned? What was the key thing?

Daniel Trelease:

I think that’s probably where I developed most of my people skills. I was exposed to people that I don’t ever read about, or seen on television. He’s obviously, he was the godfather to a number of the Royal Family’s children, that sort of thing he often visited.

Daniel Trelease:

He’s also the man who created Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Cream, Evita, merge companies, Brian Epstein, run the Beatles for a while, et cetera. And, I actually flew to Melbourne at one point to hire the new gentlemen to take over Saturday Night Fever in the West End, and being thrown in the deep end like that with people that I couldn’t even possibly fathom.

Daniel Trelease:

There was actually one point when I hung up the phone on John Travolta by accident. I was just transferring it to Robert’s quarters, and it just cut out, and I was like sugar. So, anyway I got in a lot of trouble for that. But, Look he called back, and he was fine. The lesson I did learn though, is that with that level of power, and wealth does not always come humility, and decency. And, I know that he had a reputation for being an extraordinarily hard person.

Daniel Trelease:

I mean, everyone knows it’s common knowledge he was hung off of his balcony by the Kray twins, which were mafia, because he was monopolizing the industry. And, I remember one point he called me, I was not in working hours, and I was asked to come up to the main house. I had a house on the estate, and I was asked to come up, and he asked me to come up, which was a 15 minute journey from my house to his, kind of thing. Out of hours, on my very few hours off, to pick a pen up next to his bed, and give it to him when there was 20 staff in the house. To show me that’s your place, don’t ever forget it, kind of thing.

Daniel Trelease:

And, I’ll never forget that moment ever, but I’ll also never forget the moments where he enjoyed glass of champagne, and telling me extraordinary stories, which have enriched my life forever. And, I tell them over, and over are.

Ben Handler:

Can you share any of them?

Daniel Trelease:

They’re probably, a lot of them are rather inappropriate, as you can imagine being a billionaire in the sixties, and seventies, that sort of thing, the sorts of things that went on, but they were very entertaining.

Ben Handler:

Let’s talk about Trelease Associates, because what I love so much about the buyer’s agent sector is they’re so many up, and coming new businesses with people like you have extraordinary skill, and talent. That you’ve then transferred now into this space. And, what you’re doing with Trelease Associates is very unique. I’ve obviously been in the space a long time, and I don’t see really anyone out there in Australia doing what you’re doing. So, what’s the purpose behind what you’re doing? And, what are you looking to do?

Daniel Trelease:

I suppose, from my experience with people mostly, I wanted to create something which wasn’t mine, which wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about feeding me, it wasn’t about growing just me. It was about who can I bring into this company to grow with me for the entire journey. And, I’m not just talking about staff retention. I created Trelease Associates, because I’m the sole owner right now, but it’s created, so then there’s people like, and he most certainly will be Jeremy Bedwani, who I believe is just as important to the success of this company as myself.

Daniel Trelease:

And, I don’t believe it could be what it is even today, 14 months on without him as an example, and other heads of divisions too. So, Trelease Associates was created, so there’ll be associates. There will be obviously myself as the founder, but in time there will be stakeholders like Jeremy, and others in the future as well. So, they own a piece of this company, a significant piece, and it’s not bought, it’s gifted to them.

Daniel Trelease:

It’s about creating a culture where we’re all building a family, a business that can become nationwide, possibly larger, but that’s not the goal. Where we’re working towards a common goal, and every single day I can honestly tell you, we joke, we laugh, we have an amazing time. And, yes there’s difficult times too, and we expect that, and we learn from that, we pivot like we have during COVID.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, and it’s apparent from the outside looking in around what you’re doing. It’s very different, and it seems, as I said earlier, very unique. Let’s talk about the confidentiality part.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

That’s something that no one’s doing. Most people in the buyer’s agent space, social media, advertising, it’s all about just bought. You’ve taken a very different approach, do you mind sharing why, and what you’re doing?

Daniel Trelease:

I believe that we’re in customer service, and customer service after spending well over a decade in London, New York, I even lived in Greece for six months. I just feel that it’s missing from the fabric of our society here in Australia. You go to a restaurant, that’s not service. It’s appalling in my eyes. I wanted to create something where the confidentiality piece, we didn’t leverage on our client, and what we bought for them to self promote. We were engaged by our client to source, and to secure a property for them, whether it be investment, whether it be primary residence.

Daniel Trelease:

Not then to plaster that over social media, or to leak it to the media, that sort of thing. It’s about discretion, it’s about a different level of service that Australians perhaps are not entirely used to. That would be expected in say London, and confidentiality is not necessary for all of our clients. Not at all. Most in fact, do not require it, but it is absolutely there for the clients who do.

Daniel Trelease:

It doesn’t just revolve around the confidentiality upon exchange. For example, where the client’s identity is held confidentially with a confidentiality deed signed by the sales agent, the sales agency principal, myself as the principal of Trelease Associates, the buyer’s agent that may have been acting for that buyer, our buyer, and the vendor. All signed, so it’s basically just an extra signature before they sign the contract.

Ben Handler:

Every transaction?

Daniel Trelease:

Not every transaction for the clients that require this. Every client can have it if they wish. Some clients don’t wish for it, they just don’t care, it’s not necessary. Absolutely fine. But, it’s more about what about their buying power? Because, their buying power is usually exposed to most sales agents, because I’ve been looking for one, two, three, six, 12 months before engaging buyer’s agent. Therefore, it’s about confidentiality around the client themselves during the process.

Daniel Trelease:

So, some of these clients, we had one recently that had full confidentiality. No one knows what we bought, no one knows how much we bought it for, and no one is allowed to disclose. That client was even searching at the time. So, that client’s buying power was also confidential. Therefore, because the agents understood where their budget may have been, they needed to know this, they were just working with client five at Trelease Associates.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, it’s extraordinary. And, let’s talk about leadership obviously, and actually before we dive into leadership, I would think that when I opened up, I talked about one of your principles is customer service. It seems like it’s clear, it runs through the DNA of your entire company. Has that been inherited from Robert Stigwood?

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely.

Ben Handler:

Yeah.

Daniel Trelease:

Unequivocally. I mean, even from my hospitality days, I mean, I remember when my parents didn’t want me to go to acting school, and that sort of thing, which was my passion as a young man. They wanted me to finish my degree, and that sort of thing as I did. But, during that I was working from 16, 15, whatever it was onwards. And, I ended up in silver service in a five star hotel in Adelaide. Therefore, I was poached from Robert, and moved to England.

Daniel Trelease:

And, naturally when you’re serving people from the Royal Family, you’re serving Robert himself, it’s all silver service. And it is the hand behind the back. You’re pretty much leaving the room, walking backwards, that kind of thing. It was very intense. It’s a level of service that almost is nonexistent today, but I revere it.

Ben Handler:

Wow, so you, from being exposed to that, you’ve been able to now transfer just that high quality, because you’re right Australia, it’s poor service.

Daniel Trelease:

Very.

Ben Handler:

And, especially when you go to the States, and come back, you just notice that distinction. So, obviously working at the estate in the UK, you were managing, you were hiring, you were firing, you were strategizing, you were organizing, coordinating, you are a leader. I think we’re all leaders in our own right. Now, you’re running your new company. You’ve got people in various divisions in different States. Has your understanding of leadership changed at all?

Daniel Trelease:

Every day, every single day. Every day I’m learning, even Jeremy, and I learned from each other every day. And, we strategize together every day. But, even after Robert when I worked for TDA Interiors, for example, under Richard Taylor, the founder of TDA Interiors were still operational in South of England, and in central London too. And, watching those different leadership styles from Robert, which is an extraordinary style, I suppose, all the way through to Richard, which was very commercial.

Daniel Trelease:

And, I look at myself as a highly emotional being, hight EQ. Jeremy, high IQ, and very commercial. So, the ying and yang work exceptionally well. We couldn’t be more different in our leadership styles, and that’s probably why we work so well together to create a company that is, I certainly hope I’m right in saying this, not only humble, and not only caring, and compassionate, but we genuinely love, and care for the people inside those walls. And, we will protect them, and nurture them and help them grow, and that’s one of Jeremy’s primary role.

Daniel Trelease:

So, the leadership isn’t just for me, it is across the team. We’ve got Kim Ackerman who’s basically writing the Trelease Associates handbook, for example. On her own accord she came to us. I believe that leadership needs to go across the spectrum of the company, and not just dripped down from the top. I don’t believe in the hierarchy, and the older models. Could be wrong, but at the moment it seems to be doing very well. And, the company as a whole, and the staff are enjoying this leadership style.

Ben Handler:

I agree, the leadership always should really move from the bottom up. And, the fact you’ve got this lady in your office who’s put her hand up to say-

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely.

Ben Handler:

…I want to take lead with this, is a clear, I guess, indication, and reflection demonstration of what’s really going on in the company. Because, it seems not just customer service is something that runs throughout your entire company, it’s something that obviously you pride so much.

Ben Handler:

Because, I remember back at the Cohen Handler days, you were always having dinner at 10:00 at night at a restaurant with the 65 year old client. And, it seems like you were just forging these very close friendships. So, outside of a transaction your client relationships now becoming friendships, right?

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah, look, there’s three, four clients that have had babies during, or after being a client of mine, and I’ve been in the hospital before they’ve even gotten home with their baby. And, I’ve got 60, 70, 80 plus year old clients who I still take to dinner, because they’re alone, and I truly enjoy their company. I’m an old soul, a lot will say I’m like an eight year old Jewish man, and that’s the joke in the office.

Daniel Trelease:

I suppose I do definitely connect to older people far more than younger. I love being around the youth, and the energy like Jack Henderson in our office, fantastic. He always prides himself, he was a minor, he didn’t finish school, and look at him now.

Ben Handler:

The Flamingo.

Daniel Trelease:

Yes, the Flamingo, right. And, then we’ve got lawyers, and we’ve got forensic accountants, and all sorts of people as well in the company. So, education as well I don’t believe is a factor. You cannot train passion, you cannot train hustle, you can only train skill. And, that’s the biggest lesson that we’ve learned over the last six to 12 months is that don’t just hire someone that’s been in real estate, and need to unravel bad habits, for example. Hire someone who has the passion, hire someone who has the hustle ingrained in them, that is innate in them. Then, and only then let’s train those people.

Ben Handler:

I love it. What do you love about real estate?

Daniel Trelease:

I have to say it’s not even the real estate. It’s the people, because every day I meet someone new, a different character, whether it be a flamingo or something else brought into our life to enrich our lives. And, we’ve got incredibly diverse team of people, and we’re hiring at the moment. So, there’s more people that are coming on board. Some of them are quite characters as well, but you know what, everyone who sits in front of us in the boardroom is different too.

Daniel Trelease:

Some are going to suit my demeanor, and my character. Some are going to suit Jack’s or Kim’s or Annabelle’s or whoever’s. And, that’s why also we need to figure out who aren’t we servicing, who aren’t we helping, and how can we help them. So, we’re looking at a commercial division that has never been done before. We have tried, it didn’t pan out the way Jeremy, and I had wanted it to, and that’s fine.

Daniel Trelease:

We live, and we learn, we pivot, and we evolve. And, now we’re looking at someone who, whether this person comes to fruition or not, this is someone who is at very high level, and was head of acquisitions for a very well known firm. And, we’re looking at bringing them on, so we can service the commercial clients, and buyers out there.

Daniel Trelease:

We’re looking at the property management division that we’re building very assertively, and right now we’re only six months away from launching Brisbane. Less than 12 months away from launching Mosman. And, it’s about not expanding too quickly, not trying to take over any kind of world domination, as they say, it’s about who can we service, and service well.

Daniel Trelease:

And, you know what? Sometimes we’ll fail, so we’ll pivot, we’ll try again, or we’ll move on, and we want to figure out what we’re great at. And, that’s been my biggest lesson, what I’m great at, and what I’m not so great at. Hence, why Jeremy is my ying to my yang, because I know I am not great at many of the skillsets that he is prolific in.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, you clearly compliment each other.

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely, yeah.

Ben Handler:

And, you’ve got different skillsets, different personalities, and that’s what makes a partnership.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

And, that’s what grows the company, and that’s what balances off everyone.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Some people who are the more touchy-feely EQ, they’re going to come to you. And, the other ones who aren’t, they’re going to gravitate towards Jeremy, and it works.

Daniel Trelease:

Absolutely.

Ben Handler:

We could be here for hours. We need to do a round two, because we need to hear about some of the stories, if you’re open to sharing. I love your background, I think it’s… I get excited seeing people coming into this space with just, I guess, exposure to life.

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Exposure to life, and your exposure is what very few people on this planet have exposure to. And, it’s incredible to see how you’ve brought this into your new business. And, it’s very, you can recognize it very quickly. Just drive past your office in Double Bay, or of anyone watching this now just check out Trelease Associates, right. You can feel it when you look at your brand, it’s something different. And, it’s definitely something that, from what I see, you’ve picked up from what you’ve cultivated previously just in what you’ve learned. For people watching, where can people find Trelease Associates?

Daniel Trelease:

Yeah, look I mean, treleaseassociates.com.au would be the first protocol I think for anyone to have a feel for our company, and who we are, but I’m always an advocate for picking up the phone. Don’t need to email, pick up the phone, and call me. Call me direct, call Jeremy direct, have a conversation. And, if we have a great call get inside, and meet us.

Ben Handler:

Love it. Thank you, appreciate it. We’re going to do a round two. Just finishing up now. Okay, so I hope you enjoyed the discussion, especially around what Daniel learned in his previous career, because that’s very important in terms of how you transfer that into your obviously, new career if you’re looking to do something different.

Ben Handler:

For anyone who’s actually looking to potentially join a company, and become a buyer’s agent, check out Trelease Associates. As Daniel said give him a call, give Jeremy a call, go to their website, see their brand. Actually, look at a lot of the buyers agents that exist, and see if you notice anything different about how they present, what they do, their messaging. I believe you’ll see something quite distinct.

Ben Handler:

So, pick up the phone if you want to chat. And, if you’re someone who’s even looking to buy a property, and you’re looking for that exceptional customer experience, that journey, check out Trelease Associates as well. See you next week.

Please watch the full episode here:

  • Blog