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The NSW network that’s now ‘unrecognisable’

By Grace Ormsby
21 October 2021 | 1 minute read

New appointments, a new strategic plan, and new programs, corporate partnerships and customer services have made this network “in some respects unrecognisable” from just one year ago.

It’s been a massive 10 months for Laing+Simmons, after a group of network partners took on ownership of the business back in January

Reflecting on the changes that have taken place, CEO Leanne Pilkington said the pace of the company’s evolution had accelerated beyond initial expectations, “surpassing the inroads made in the last few years combined”.


“The corporate team had previously developed a clear plan to better support our franchisees and their teams, but to make it a reality, we needed the endorsement of the shareholder group,” she outlined.

“This was immediately forthcoming under the new owners, and we could get to work fulfilling the ambition we always had for Laing+Simmons,”

Some consistencies have remained: “Our identity is well-established, our value proposition stands up, our family values remain, our boutique brand is strong, and our people-first approach still drives us.

“But operationally, from an insider’s perspective, Laing+Simmons is in some respects unrecognisable from this time last year,” the CEO stated.


One of those operational ambitions for better support has seen Laing+Simmons appoint Harriet Saunders to the role of head of growth and development.

According to Ms Pilkington: “We identified the need for more than simply a business development manager.

“We needed someone who could contribute more broadly to the value we provide new and existing franchisees, with a focus on training and support tailored to the needs and experience levels of our entire team. Harriet’s experience and skills were an ideal match for this critical role in our growth plans.”

Alongside Ms Saunders’ appointment, the network has implemented a number of “people-first initiatives”.

They’ve developed an Alternative Board program – which sees directors involved in formal strategy setting forums. According to Laing+Simmons, it’s proven particularly effective for offices with multiple partners.

The network has also established monthly business owner roundtables and invested in an outsourced property management solution to give offices the option of providing property management services without the commitment of full-time team members.

Franchisee support

Furthering its focus on people, Laing+Simmons has put in place a number of targeted programs to strategically support franchisees.

Ms Pilkington said the company’s focus “is on supporting all of our franchisees and this includes helping them better support their people. We motivate, educate, and celebrate”.

Earlier this year, the network launched a long-term training, rewards and recognition program for both sales agents and property managers involved in prospecting called Accelerate, which is supported by training and podcasts.

Laing+Simmons has reported that the program “is proving particularly valuable for younger team members in building their networks and attracting new customers”.

They’ve also pointed out a “renewed” focus on property management, having appointed a dedicated property management committee, which operates like a helpline for the entire network, supported by regular roundtables and monthly training sessions.

Corporate partnerships

That strong emphasis on franchisees has seen the network formalise a number of new corporate partnerships, with the likes of Propps, Smoke Alarms Australia, CIMET, Kredi Mortgage, and Realty Assist.

According to company co-owner D’Leanne Lewis, it’s the change in ownership that has provided Laing+Simmons “the freedom to implement strategies and services we know are important to business owners and their customers”.

The principal of Laing+Simmons Double Bay and star on Luxe Listings Sydney added that people in the network “are empowered to control their own destiny, with the confidence that comes from knowing the franchisor is entirely invested in supporting their success”.

It’s a sentiment with which fellow company co-owner Laing+Simmons Group principal for the Parramatta and Granville offices Ray Fayad has agreed: “This environment is positively impacting the spirit of inclusiveness throughout the network, which is a powerful motivating force.

“It’s clear Laing+Simmons is moving forward with purpose and ambition, under strong leadership with a committed corporate team, and with the objectives of the company and business owners aligned.”



The NSW network that’s now ‘unrecognisable’
Harriet Saunders Leanne Pilkington Jackie Jones reb
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Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and stakeholders.

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