SUBURB SPOTLIGHT: MOUNT GAMBIER

This month Real Estate Business spoke to three agencies from Mount Gambier to find out what techniques they use to grow their market share

MARKET LEADER

PRINCIPALS: Ron and Paul Chuck
RENT ROLL SIZE:  N/A
FARMING AREA: 40km radius
SHOPFRONT? Yes, we are situated in a prime location opposite the local plaza and shopping precinct with a modern high profile window display.

WHY IS GEBHARDTS REAL ESTATE NUMBER ONE?

We are locally owned and operated since 1955 and in that time we have maintained long-term client relationships, building a reputation as being dedicated and honest. Plus, we’ve always held stable and experienced professional staff and we are focused on these relationships. We don’t engage in fads or gimmicks.

WHAT TECHNIQUES DO YOU USE TO ENSURE YOUR MARKET SHARE?

We maintain a large client database. We also know the importance of working as a team and have a strong presence in print media, social media, as well as recently upgrading our website.

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOUR OFFICE DOES BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITORS?

We are proud of our loyal staff and our client relationships, which are now generational.  We are renowned for our honesty, integrity and local knowledge.

HOW IMPORTANT IS REFERRAL BUSINESS?

Referral business is very important to our business – this was built over many years by exemplary customer service and repeat business, with many families through the generations still choosing to buy and sell their property through our well-known name.

WHAT KIND OF MEASURE AND GOALS DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE TO HOLD YOUR POSITION?  

We strongly believe that real estate is about people more than it is about houses, so we always go above and beyond what is required; I think that really makes all the difference.

HOW CLOSELY DO YOU MONITOR WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING?

Of course we keep our finger on the pulse, but we have always set our own pace and agenda.

WHAT KIND OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT DO YOU HAVE?

Over the years we have sponsored many sporting clubs and support various charities around the town.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS/TARGETS FOR THIS YEAR?  

Our goals for this year are to continue to increase our market share and to maintain a healthy work and life balance for all our staff.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO HIRE STAFF IN MOUNT GAMBIER?  

We really haven’t had any difficulties hiring quality staff in Mount Gambier. We have a minimal staff turnover rate so I think that plays a part.

THE CHALLENGER

HERBERT REAL ESTATE
INTERVIEWED: DAVID HERBERT
PRINCIPAL: David Herbert
RENT ROLL: 400
FARMING AREA: 50km-60km radius
SHOPFRONT: Yes, in the main part of town.
HOW IS BUSINESS IN MOUNT GAMBIER?

The last five years have been the toughest I’ve seen. Last year was the slowest in my 47 years of real estate; we did half the sales we would usually do. At least one agency closed in town and most businesses lost good staff. If it wasn’t for our commercial and property management sides of the business, we probably wouldn’t have survived.

WHAT TECHNIQUES DO YOU USE TO ENSURE YOUR MARKET SHARE?

We focus on employing good people and then training them well. I think we spend the most in the area on training staff.  

HOW CLOSELY DO YOU MONITOR WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING?

We are not really worried about our competition. We are more worried about how we can help ourselves and focus on our business, not on what they are doing.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO HIRE STAFF IN MOUNT GAMBIER?

Generally we find it difficult. For whatever reason, there is a lack of interest from young males in the area who are interested in becoming involved in real estate, especially in sales.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

Our main goal is to grow our property management division, both residential and commercial, and increase our market share to between 10 per cent and 15 per cent.

IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN BUSINESS DO YOU DISCOUNT FEES?

No, we don’t discount fees. If you’re in sales you can’t afford to reduce your fees. It is a recipe for going broke. In fact, we are raising our fees. I think our fees are one of the reasons we were able to stay afloat during the tough years.

THE INDEPENDENT

RAY WHITE KEATLEY
INTERVIEWED: DALE KEATLEY
PRINCIPALS: Dale and Harriet Keatley
RENT ROLL SIZE: 184
FARMING AREA: 200km radius
SHOPFRONT: Yes

WHAT TECHNIQUES DO YOU USE TO ENSURE YOUR MARKET SHARE?

We use local advertising, web-based media, a large database, sponsorship and charity events to ensure our market share.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO HIRE STAFF IN MOUNT GAMBIER?

Yes, we find it very difficult to hire staff, especially staff with past experience in the industry and qualifications.

HOW CLOSELY DO YOU MONITOR WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING?

We watch what our competitors are doing very closely, especially those bigger offices which have a larger market share than us.

WHAT KIND OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT DO YOU HAVE?

Community involvement is very important when you run a local business, so we stay involved with the community through local sponsorships and involvement in charity events.

IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN BUSINESS DO YOU DISCOUNT FEES?

No, we don’t discount fees.

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