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No more juggling acts

By Staff Reporter
19 July 2013 | 4 minute read

Placing a focus on her role as a business development manager has helped Kate Towerton achieve greater results for her business

BETWEEN 2010 and 2012, Kate Towerton was juggling her responsibilities as both a property manager and a business development manager at Harcourts Hills Living. 

Last year, she made the decision to focus purely on business development management.

“I was juggling the property management role and starting a business that was there to be signed, but it’s very hard to balance and dedicate and focus on prospecting activities when you’re managing a portfolio,” she says.

Ms Towerton joined Harcourts Hills Living in 2010 as a property management director and equity shareholder. At the time, the business was made up of two offices owned by two business partners. Last year, the offices separated into individual franchisees, resulting in a loss of 45 properties.

Despite this, Ms Towerton has managed to grow her rent roll from 20 properties, when she first started with the business, to the current 225. Her team has also grown to three staff members, whom she manages.

Ms Towerton’s role is predominantly about helping her sales team to work with clients before they purchase a property.

“[As a BDM], I need to be far more educated on the overall market, as well as perhaps the details on the legislative side of things because people want to know that when they’re listing their property,” she says. “I think clients want a business development manager who is an expert in the property management field and knows what they’re talking about when it comes to the market.”

Between January and April this year, Ms Towerton increased the average number of properties she was signing each month from 10 to 18. She attributes the growth to implementing new initiatives both in her own role as a BDM and her business.
Ms Towerton says she has seen a huge increase in the referral business by utilising targeted networking groups.

And with time management also essential to her role, Ms Towerton has learnt to plan out her ideal week.

“Having dedicated prospecting time is the main thing, but also as a BDM you think ‘I’ve got to make the calls, I’ve got to speak to the people and then I’ll have enough listings and then I’ll stop and I’ll take stock and I’ll do the projects’,” she explains.

“Now I just say, ‘Look, this is when I do calling and prospecting and this is when I’ll spend an hour working on our website’.

“Those sorts of things always get pushed to the end of the list because you just want to be calling people and trying to list properties, but those things will actually bring passive business to you.”

The property management team has begun utilising new technology to improve their efficiency. Agents now carry out inspections using LiveAgent Inspections on their iPads, which wirelessly syncs information with the office’s database and removes the need for data entry.

“If I’ve got a really efficiently running department, it means that I’ve got more services to sell and my team are able to provide a more end-to-end service because they’ve got certain things in place to outdo our competitors,” she says.

A large factor that has renewed Ms Towerton’s focus in her job has been the training and mentoring she has received from the BDM Academy.

“The BDM Academy has helped me polish up what I have been doing to get it 100 per cent spot on,” she says.

Looking to the future, Ms Towerton has high aspirations to become a leading property management expert.

She has already been named the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales’ top property manager in the Young Professionals category last year. She has also been announced as a finalist in the Australian Real Estate Awards’ BDM of the Year – Property Management category.

Her next goal is to become Harcourts’ number one BDM for Australia and to receive the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales’ Award for Excellence in Residential Property Management.

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