From making $2 an hour working at KFC to selling properties for First National Real Estate Homeway, Adrienne Robinson has come a long way in her career. Here, she shares what she learned working for Colonel Sanders, why her most memorable sale was an abandoned house, and why you should never judge a book by its cover.
What was your first job?
I was both a florist assistant and a KFC counter girl.
My job was to change the water in the flower buckets every morning. Stale flower water is one of the worst smells in the world.
I was paid $2.11 an hour on a Friday and Saturday night to work for Colonel Sanders.
I never learned his 11 secret herbs and spices, but I learned a lot about customer service from those two jobs.
Did you choose real estate or did real estate choose you?
Real estate chose me. I got my license when my husband got into real estate.
He had a heart attack soon after, and since I had the degree, I was able to take care of his clients until he was back at work.
What type of business are you focusing on?
Residential sales. I have worked in the Hills District of Sydney for over two decades.
I have sold everything from units and townhouses to prestige homes and subdivisions.
I am also the privileged agent of a retirement village in Dural.
What is your most memorable sale and why?
A recent sale of what a reporter described as an “abandoned house”.
It would have been the height of fashion 40 years ago.
It was a two-story Georgian-inspired building with falling shutters and a dead, limbed tree outside the front door.
There was 80s wallpaper peeling off, tiles falling off the bathroom walls, and a garden that had turned into a jungle.
You couldn’t even get to the back yard with a murky green pool.
A few of the interested buyers gave up before the day of the auction, but the house sold the same day for a fabulous price to someone who saw the house only half an hour before the auction. .
What is the most important part of your day?
My evenings. I’m not a morning person, so I try to plan as much as possible the night before and catch up on anything that gets put on the back burner during the day.
I also have a bit of a nightly ritual, including meditation and herbal tea that helps me relax.
Where would you like to be at this time next year?
By this time next year, I hope traveling outside Australia in a post-Covid world will become a little easier and that I will have had a successful enough year to take some time off to travel.
If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be?
Agents cutting their commissions to earn listings rather than demonstrating their skills and how they add value to the real estate transaction.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?
The old norm – never judge a book by its cover.
I’ve received a lot of valuable advice from many people over the years, but one particular piece of advice that has served me well is to never make assumptions about people based on how they present themselves or what you think you can say about them.
A wealthy relative who owned property in multiple countries told me they always wear jeans and runners and don’t wear jewelry when looking at real estate.
They always chose their sales agents by observing which agents treated everyone with respect.