EFFECTIVE HABITS -- Rolling out the red carpet

Award-winning Barry Plant principals Spiro Drossos and James Hatzolos believe customers and staff should be treated like stars

Always providing outstanding customer service is the key to having a long, successful and satisfying career in real estate.

We want to ensure our clients remember us for much more than just the transaction. Our customer service philosophy is similar to that of a premium airline, in that while arriving safely at the destination is the ultimate goal, the experience the passenger has on board is what makes the journey a pleasurable one.

While the sale is the destination, it’s how we get there that’s important. Our company motto is to provide the ‘red carpet’ experience and that is literally what we do – the sale is just the by-product of the service we provide.

At Barry Plant Manningham, we say all sales are significant because everyone’s home is their palace.

We really ‘listen’ to all our vendors to find out what their specific needs are so that we can tailor a sales and marketing package to suit them. A recent example of the success of this approach was the sale of a Doncaster property [in Melbourne] which was listed for private sale with ‘Sale by Set Date®’ as the vendor was wary of auction due to his health condition and associated stress.

After a significant volume of buyer inspections – more than 80 people viewed the property – we received five genuine offers prior to the end of the set date.

In order to gain the maximum amount for the vendor while avoiding a large public auction or a ‘bid in envelope’ silent auction, the vendor was advised by our agent to hold a ‘private auction’ at which the serious contenders could openly compete to buy the property. The vendor happily agreed to this.

We invited the buyers to the property and served finger foods and champagne upon arrival. The buyers appreciated the open and transparent approach versus one opportunity to submit an offer in an envelope. The vendor’s reserve was $790,000 and the sale price achieved at this private auction was $866,000.

It’s also critical that our staff and team members are happy and motivated in their positions to ensure consistency in the provision of outstanding customer service.

We are dedicated to helping our staff reach their maximum potential. The training and development programs we have put in place have helped our team members to achieve amazing results and we have been able to achieve our goal of becoming an employer of choice, measured by an improvement in staff retention rates.

Our goal over the next two years is to continue to improve and develop these programs, to have them recognised as industry best practice and to implement them throughout the Barry Plant network

Our cadet program involves on-the-job training, on-going mentoring, and educational and professional development courses. The model has been described as a ‘real estate apprenticeship’ and has not only proved extremely successful within our office but has also been adopted in Barry Plant agencies throughout Victoria.

As a result of this successful training program, three of our sales representatives were recognised as top 10 salespeople at our recent awards night.

In what we believe is an industry first, we have also implemented a training program that is unique to our company in which we provide regular internal training for our Open for Inspection assistants, or ‘hosts’. The training ensures consistency in delivery of the Barry Plant ‘red carpet treatment’ to all potential buyers at Open for Inspections.

The hosts are trained to greet guests in the same way, to ensure the actual ‘red carpet’ is laid out correctly to welcome guests, to ensure all the ‘little things’ such as heating or air- conditioning are at the correct temperature and so on.

These are the little ‘one per cent-ers’ that we believe set us apart from other agencies.

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