Suncorp, LJ Hooker franchisees not close: CEO

Simon Parker

LJ Hooker CEO Janusz Hooker said he felt a “disconnect” had developed between the 650 LJ Hooker franchisees and Suncorp during the 20 years the bank owned the company.

Mr Hooker purchased LJ Hooker with a number of other investors in 2009, at the height of the GFC.

“The opportunity was great because it’s a people business, and being owned by an institution for 20 years, there started to be a disconnect between the passionate franchise owners and a no-faced institution,” Mr Hooker said in an interview with Peter Switzer on the SKY News Business channel, on November 16.

“We went through a process of meeting some of the key people on the franchise council, and they were just excited to have a person back in the business rather than dealing with an institution.”

“They were looking for change."

Mr Hooker said he had been impressed with the franchisees' level of enthusiam.

“The franchisees were just so passionate about the business," he continued. "That was the most striking thing about buying the business back.”

Innovation, and keeping a customer for life, are what separates the good real estate groups from the rest, Mr Hooker added.

“Innovation is the key,” Mr Hooker said. “Our focus is all around the customer. We’ve put in a couple of key things that we think that will enable our agents to service the customer better.

"And number one is the LJ Hooker Training Institute. This is an institute that’s government certified, so we can provide all sorts of accreditation and create a career for agents.

“It’s something that’s different, to bring a level of professionalism into the industry.”

Mr Hooker said every agent faces the problem of creating a customer for life.

“Every seven years, the consumer is in real estate mode,” he said. “[But] ‘what do I do in a non-obtrusive way, to continue a relationship with my customer?’.

“What we created was myljhooker.com, and that is a real estate membership program which enables the customers to log on, have everything they need from real estate.

“At the end of the day it’s the skill of the agent to be able to keep the relationship with the customer, and work the best deal out for them. The best people, the best team, will win.”

Simon Parker

LJ Hooker CEO Janusz Hooker said he felt a “disconnect” had developed between the 650 LJ Hooker franchisees and Suncorp during the 20 years the bank owned the company.

Mr Hooker purchased LJ Hooker with a number of other investors in 2009, at the height of the GFC.

“The opportunity was great because it’s a people business, and being owned by an institution for 20 years, there started to be a disconnect between the passionate franchise owners and a no-faced institution,” Mr Hooker said in an interview with Peter Switzer on the SKY News Business channel, on November 16.

“We went through a process of meeting some of the key people on the franchise council, and they were just excited to have a person back in the business rather than dealing with an institution.”

“They were looking for change."

Mr Hooker said he had been impressed with the franchisees' level of enthusiam.

“The franchisees were just so passionate about the business," he continued. "That was the most striking thing about buying the business back.”

Innovation, and keeping a customer for life, are what separates the good real estate groups from the rest, Mr Hooker added.

“Innovation is the key,” Mr Hooker said. “Our focus is all around the customer. We’ve put in a couple of key things that we think that will enable our agents to service the customer better.

"And number one is the LJ Hooker Training Institute. This is an institute that’s government certified, so we can provide all sorts of accreditation and create a career for agents.

“It’s something that’s different, to bring a level of professionalism into the industry.”

Mr Hooker said every agent faces the problem of creating a customer for life.

“Every seven years, the consumer is in real estate mode,” he said. “[But] ‘what do I do in a non-obtrusive way, to continue a relationship with my customer?’.

“What we created was myljhooker.com, and that is a real estate membership program which enables the customers to log on, have everything they need from real estate.

“At the end of the day it’s the skill of the agent to be able to keep the relationship with the customer, and work the best deal out for them. The best people, the best team, will win.”

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