REB speaks to CEO of Harcourts Group Australia, Marcus Williams, about the value of brand power and how Harcourts can help agents accelerate their earnings.
How does brand power help agents make more listings and sales?
A recognised, trusted brand will get you through many doors. However, what is critical are the actions and service standards provided by the individual. Essentially, we’re all custodians of our brand.
No matter what role we fulfil, everyone must take responsibly to ensure clients receive the finest service experience. The experience is what a client values most and for a brand to have success and longevity, that experience has to be valued, trusted and consistent. The experience has to be valued by clients.
They say people share equals market share and I agree with that statement with one caveat. It’s the right people working in your group that matter. These people not only know our culture, purpose and vision, they live it.
Groups can get hung up on growth for growth’s sake. We want growth, but we want the right people. But not at the expense of talent. It goes without saying that businesses who have the clients at the centre of their universe will prosper regardless of what the market does.
What advice do you have for agents who are unhappy with their current group or feel vulnerable as an independent?
At the end of the day, you have a choice. If you are unhappy or feel vulnerable, you must make a decision to change. Generally, the decision is much harder than the reality. People leave people, not businesses. Should you decide to make the move, take the time to ensure that the values of the leaders and business are aligned to yours.
Everyone needs to feel comfortable, proud, supported and valued.
What are the main challenges facing the industry now and what should agents be paying attention to and planning for in the next 12 months?
I believe the real disruptor is ourselves. If the client receives an outstanding experience that they value, they will return and may also recommend a family member or friend. If a client experiences a poor service, they are not going to do either.
Uber wasn’t the disruptor, the client was. Uber provided a service offering similar to the traditional taxi service and has taken significant market share. The reason they took significant market share is because the client enjoyed the experience and, more importantly, valued the experience. Essentially the disruptor was the client.
The taxi world is up in arms about Uber. I think they are missing the point. It’s not Uber, it’s the client that made the choice. If the client was truly at the centre of the taxi world, would Uber have gotten any traction?
Agents need to go back to the basics. It’s a reasonably simple business we’re in, it’s a contact sport and too many hide behind emails and SMSs, rather than speaking to clients directly.
We all have to deliver and do what we say we’re going to do every time.
We are in the service industry and our relationships with a client need to extend beyond the time they list, sell, buy or lease a property.
What does your brand offer? What is your point of difference?
From the top down, Harcourts is about courage, integrity, fun and our people.
We are a recognised brand internationally, with a network across 10 countries. We have an industry leading suite of technology products that enhance the service provided to our clients by our team members across the globe. Our apps are the only real estate apps recognised by Apple as a game changer in industry technology
We have a strong family vision and we are Australia’s third largest real estate group, bearing in mind that we stepped out of New Zealand to Brisbane only 20 years ago, and that’s a testament to the people we have in our group, past and present.
Our Harcourts Foundation has donated over $4.5million to charities around the world with 100 per cent of all money raised going directly to the grants.
The Harcourts Academy is a registered RTO in its own right. We have academy trainers in every state, and last year we held 663 training days with 7900 students and were awarded the REB Training Program of the Year for 2016.
Our purpose is to help others succeed and essential to that is training and development. By doing it in-house, we provide great value to our business owners and provide consistency in message.
And, most importantly, we have our client experience at the centre of our universe.