Even though they are at the helm of one of Australia’s most successful real estate offices, these business owners have never hung up their agent caps.
Buxton Ballarat topped REB’s Top 50 Sales Offices in 2021, with a total of $278,982,524 sales volume and a staff efficiency rating of 47.73 in the past 12 months.
Directors Mark Nunn and Peter Burley attributed this to their biggest strength: people and culture.
It’s something they have achieved by staying on the ground, working with their team to set a good example.
In REB’s latest Secrets of the Top 100 Agents podcast, Mr Nunn said that more than great stats, accolades and awards, they are proud of the culture that they have established, which has ultimately created “an environment and a place that the team love to come to”.
“That’s something that they’re very proud of. That is, for us, extremely important. As important as the performance itself,” according to Mr Nunn.
Amid a COVID-stricken 2020, the duo of directors made it a point to maintain an “open and honest line of communication” not just with their clients, but also with each and every staff member to ensure that they felt safe in the middle of a changing environment.
At the core of this people strategy that helped them thrive in a tumultuous year is the “equal and hands-on” approach to leadership that Mr Nunn and Mr Burley have employed since the very beginnings of their business venture.
The business partners make sure to be in collaboration with all departments across the business, from sales and rentals to administration and support staff, Mr Nunn said.
For them, staying on the ground means managing their own teams, and continuing to dabble in sales day to day, listing and selling properties.
It’s something they don’t consider as standard practice for many business owners: “Where in so many offices across the country, a lot of the directors are literally just sitting at the top and trying to help the team, Mark and I are literally on the ground each and every day, working with our team, working with our staff, working with our admin support — right from front reception through to our property management department,” Mr Burley said.
Ultimately, this reflects in the “open-door policy” that they have built into their culture, where everyone, and not just the directors, is on equal footing in terms of bringing in new ideas and driving the company’s culture and growth.
After all, they have emphasised that the business does not only rely on the two of them as directors, but on all 34 members of the staff that make up the business and shape its future, according to Mr Burley.
This collaborative mindset has brought their people together, even when everything was migrated online due to the pandemic and everyone had to make do with virtual interactions in order to stay connected, he said.
“Everyone buys into the culture equally… It’s equally driven right across the board and there’s no hierarchy in culture, each person is equal to the next,” Mr Nunn added.
Moving forward, the directors have expressed a desire to explore growth opportunities amid the changing environment, but the culture of being one with their team to inspire them and grow with them will remain.
According to Mr Burley: “We’re still at the tip of the iceberg in terms of where we can get to and what we want to achieve. But among our core values are innovation, passion and growth, and it’s something that we really live by and we really strive to discuss and talk about each and every day.
“We’ve got our KPIs and targets that we stick to, but if you go underneath that, and you’d dig a bit deeper, if you get staff satisfaction, [then] the performance then takes care of itself because people want to work, they’re not forced to do it.
“We just find that’s a really key thing to our business.”
You can listen to the entire conversation with Mark Nunn and Peter Burley here.