Successful Client Relationships | John McGrath Conference Speech

john mcgrath conference speech

STAFFLINK CONFERENCE 2022: John McGrath Conference Speech

John McGrath’s Conference speech about the secret to successful client relationships was basically the same as listening to Tiger Woods telling us the secret to his short game.

For real estate nerds, or golf fans in this strained analogy, there is truly no one better suited to give the lesson. But if you were looking for a silver bullet, you’d be disappointed.

Spoiler alert: the secret is to have a passion for service and…you guessed it…putting in the work. In the first part of  his speech, John was eager to show that success had not come effortlessly to him.

Early Setbacks Don’t Define You

John McGrath will be the first to admit that in high school, he did not put in the work, academically at least. He was not a grade A student. In fact, he was so focused on his primary ambition of becoming a professional rugby league player that he basically didn’t study for his final exams.

So you can imagine his surprise when he nervously opened the envelope with his results to find out that he had managed to score an incredible 95 on his final grade. The only problem was that he hadn’t gotten 95 out of 100, but 95 out of 500!

His message here was that you shouldn’t let early setbacks define you. John McGrath’s speech at the STAFFLINK 2022 Conference was full of these personal anecdotes and funny stories, always delivered perfectly, and the audience were hanging off his every word. It is no wonder he is such a sought after live speaker.

john mcgrath speaking at the stafflink conference


When you hear John speak are reminded of the power of the underdog. You are reminded that education, background, pedigree all count for nothing in the face of sheer bloody-mindedness and determination, coupled with a commitment to self-improvement and learning, and a genuine love of people.

“If you don’t leave this room a changed person, then I have failed” was how John opened his speech. Quite a claim, but then again you could hardly argue with him, he certainly has the runs on the board.

When he puts his mind to a goal you get the sense that he will stop at nothing to achieve that goal.

From his inauspicious beginnings as a struggling student, to his big break in real estate, selling one of Australia’s most prestigious residences, to starting the publicly-listed McGrath Estate Agents company, to his stints as a judge on The Block and Shark Tank, his story of success is littered with lessons and advice that are not only applicable to real estate industry professionals, but anyone who wants to rise to the top of their chosen field.

Secret to success: building (and maintaining) relationships

John McGrath puts his success down to the relationships he builds with people. Where others might shy away from communication with ‘difficult’ clients, John embraced them. He would diligently call each of his clients on a daily/weekly basis, not just to deliver good news but especially when the news wasn’t so good.

Some of the biggest breaks of his career eventuated from this approach, from the ‘difficult’ client who ended up being Kerry Packer’s investment advisor, to the elderly woman who kept a clipping of John’s newspaper advertisement for 30 years before she eventually called him needing his help. It is testament to John’s genuine passion for service that out of all the success he has achieved, these humble acts of service are the ones he finds most rewarding.

john mcgrath newspaper ad


The lesson here is invaluable to anyone seeking to succeed in business, opportunity can strike at anytime. Never write anyone off. You never know when that ‘difficult’ client might end up giving you your next big break. As a struggling student, a lot of people wrote off John McGrath, he is a living testament to the folly of making such premature judgements.

Throwing a pebble into the pond

When he was asked to speak at the 2022 STAFFLINK Conference, John McGrath said he agreed immediately, because he saw it as an opportunity to throw a pebble into the pond, to create relationships with people who might not be a client now, but in 30 years might need his help, or could help him.

This begs the question, how are you approaching your business relationships? Do you embrace the good news and the bad? Does your communication levels depend on what you need out of the relationship?

McGrath has demonstrated that transactional relationships are not true relationships, that value has to go both ways. He genuinely loves the process of helping people find homes to live in, and helping people manage their properties. His commitment to those outcomes has not wavered throughout his career and provides a template for others to follow.

Whether you are in residential sales and property management, or any business. The keys to successful client relationships are putting in the work, and having a genuine passion for service, and never writing anyone off, including yourself!

Availability Limited!

Act Fast - Let's Chat!

Book a Demo