At Starr Partners Merrylands, the brand is the star, not the individual. Agents don’t get exclusive access to their listings; nor do they get to appear in marketing material. The idea is to create a team-first approach that inspires greater cooperation and produces better results.
This system helped the Sydney office deliver impressive numbers for the 2014-15 financial year, with volumes of $286.9 million and 24.14 sales per staff member.
Director Phillip Starr says it makes more sense to have teams working on listings rather than individuals, because many hands make light work. The team-first system allows the listing agent to devote more time to the vendor because he isn’t the only one trying to find a buyer.
“It gives the more skilled agents more time to be able to deal with the vendor on a more personal basis, because dealing with buyers does take a lot of time,” Mr Starr says.
“They still do the open houses and still have the opportunity to sell any property and they do deal with buyers who they’ve had on their hot list, but we’ve found that that has always worked better for us.”
Another part of the system is the support structure that Starr Partners Merrylands places around its agents, which leaves them free to focus on listing, selling and prospecting.
The office also makes a point of easing in new arrivals, both for the sake of the agent and the business. New agents serve a six-month apprenticeship, during which they focus on selling and leave the listing to more experienced colleagues.
“They team up with one of our more qualified salespeople and that works well,” Mr Starr says.
“It’s one thing to sell a house – that’s all about relationships and matching people – but to list a property is like going for a job interview every time, so your level of skill needs to be much higher and your knowledge of the industry needs to be much better.”
The office is thinking about extending this apprenticeship period from six to 12 months, so that new agents can spend time watching and learning at listing presentations.
Mr Starr says the key to creating a successful sales office is to establish standardised systems that can be easily duplicated, much like McDonalds.
“All business owners need to look at our real estate career and realise that if it’s going to be replicated over and over, you need good systems in the background so anybody can do them. If you don’t do that, you’re flying blind,” he says.
By the numbers
Volumes: $286.9 million
Total staff: 18
Sales staff: 14
Support staff: 4
Sales per staffer: 24.14