Driven to Success: Michael Willems

'True Gentleman' from Ray White reaches $1B in settled sales with a productivity tip from the future.

Superstar agent Michael Willems can boast being the first agent in the Ray White Group to reach over $1 billion in settled sales.

But he never would. It’s not his style.

It’s simply not in the DNA of the 47-year-old agent from the powerful Ray White Surfers Paradise Group to show off.

The hallmarks of Willems’ success are the fact that’s he’s so humble, so kind and very respectful of other people’s feelings and opinions.

A true gentleman, Willems is more of ‘a what you see is what you get type of person’.

For a young boy who moved to the Gold Coast with his family from Belgium, he’s achieved so much considering English was his second language and he struggled to stay focused at school.

“There’s no magic dust, just work your butt off is the truth,” said the successful residential turned commercial agent who hit the magic $1 billion in sales back in April.

And after 23 years in the real estate industry working with principals Andrew and Greg Bell at the Surfers Paradise Group, he’s not resting on his laurels.

Hopefully the next $1 billion in sales will be easier to reach.

“In the beginning when I started with Ray White Surfers Paradise I was selling property on Chevron Island and if you sold a property for over for over $100,000 you were excited. So given my average sale is now over $2 million it hopefully shouldn’t take as long to get to the second billion.”

That is, he laughed, “unless I am being horrendously lazy”.

But Willems is a highly efficient sales person who is determined to manage his work-life-balance with his family.

His wife Dayna, plus steps sons Jackson, 16 and Emerson, 12, plus their two-year-old daughter Lulu are the answer to his ‘why?”

Willems made a clear decision to restructure his life and move into commercial real estate in 2015 to free up his weekends to spend family time with Dayna and their children.

The biggest innovation was when he hired a full-time driver. Willems says he’s happy to work 50 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

“I figure if I cannot have a good income producing business on 50 hours a week after this many years I am doing something wrong. But then I realised I spent 15 hours of those 50 hours in my car, driving from home to the office,” he said.

“Then there’s the appointments during the day when I cannot write things down or text anyone as I’d be driving.

“Honestly, getting a driver changed my life. People rob themselves of so many hours a week they would be unaware of.

“There’s at least a few hours a week for lunch and coffee breaks. I reckon there’s at least 25 hours a week that are unproductive.

“I don’t think you can have a productive business and work part-time. I needed those 20-25 hours back. So I got the driver and the efficiencies in my week have been huge.

“I get in the car and I put my head down and I work.”

Then as soon as he gets home at 6pm he plays with his daughter and spends time with the rest of the family.

“All my work is finished by 5pm or 6pm. All my phone calls are finished.  The minute I get home, I put the phone on to charge and turn it on silent and no-one has ever complained that I don’t call them back until the next morning,” Mr Willems said.

The other innovative element about this super-successful agent is that he doesn’t have a team. He has a PA and was thinking of hiring someone to help with marketing but he doesn’t have any associates.

“I think you have to choose if you want to be a salesperson or a business owner as it’s difficult to do both.  I am a salesperson,” he says.

“My clients know that they get 100 per cent of me. I don’t send anyone out in my place. I am quite content to run my own ship.”

He’s never ever been tempted to leave the Ray White Surfers Paradise Group. He’d be lying if he said there hadn’t been offers over the years but he liked working with the Bells, and the White Family.

“I’ve never entertained the meetings with people from other agency groups. I have always been with Ray White Surfers Paradise. The Bells have treated me well, I couldn’t say one bad thing about Andrew or Greg Bell,” Willems said.

“The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s the same colour. And if you are content with where you are, why would you entertain the idea? I’m a big believer that I’d meet the same buyers and sellers no matter where I am.

“People don’t change. The only thing that can change to make it better is me.”

Willems believes the things that will make you happier, stronger, or more intelligent or whatever, were things that you have to change from within yourself.

“When you realise that, you’ll win a few fights in your life that you are battling with. You can choose to work on your own show, or you can choose to take your broken show somewhere else but it will be still broken.”

One of Willems other rare traits, is that he never works out the potential commission on any deal before it’s unconditional.

“No way, it’s not about the money. I focus on getting the deal done.”

After 23 years in real estate, Willems still loves working in real estate.

“The thing that I find the most exciting about the whole business is the unlimited freedom,” he said.

In the real estate industry, you can be in the office at any time you want to start and you can leave when you want.

“You can completely control your own lifestyle. If you want to take an extra week’s holiday, you can do it. You have an unlimited opportunity to earn a fantastic income coupled with 100 per cent freedom.”


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