In an industry that has worked to the same formula for decades, the real estate world is ready for change.
With foundations arguably built on competitiveness – it might seem like a stretch to think about how teamwork and collaboration might be the more rewarding path in helping employees and clients navigate, and succeed in, a challenging market.
At BresicWhitney, where an agents’ listings and leads were once closely guarded secrets, a culture of collaboration and teamwork has steadily taken over. It wasn’t easy, and when tough times hit it can be hard to think about doing things differently, but Sales Agent Chris Breedon has witnessed first-hand how it’s possible.
‘When I first started at BW, the environment was quite competitive and individualised’, Chris says. ‘That ideology has faded away, and management have worked hard to equalise the agency and level the playing field. The result is that we now have a very collaborative place to work… this cooperative approach is rare in real estate’.
BresicWhitney founder and CEO Shannan Whitney says an obvious challenge in today’s market is the reinterpretation of how we help our clients.
‘In a marketplace that has shifted significantly, what is required from agents in helping customers make decisions comes from a deep understanding of the new landscape, and drawing on experience and calmness in the navigation towards positive outcomes’, Shannan says.
‘When we are required to communicate to customers, honesty must lay the foundation for decision making for buyers and sellers – and the reality is these decisions don’t always result in sales. This takes a great deal of courage for an agent, knowing the outcome won’t always be what they hoped’.
Shannan also says BresicWhitney’s senior staff are encouraged to not only lead from the front but also take the time to mentor and educate less experienced staff.
‘It’s so important to have mentorship and guidance from the senior layer of the business, and that they take time to help others navigate and learn, because while these are tough times, they don’t come along very often and this is where the real lessons are…it’s important to us culturally to have an environment where people are helping each other’, he says.
‘It’s crucial the senior agents provide mentorship and guidance for younger and less experiences agents. These are unprecedented times and rarely will we witness such conditions, therefore we must take these opportunities to educate and refine our skills. There is a great deal of richness in times of turmoil. It’s important our people are learning and developing and succeeding. It’s equally important we help each other in our quest.’
At BresicWhitney, the cultural shift still evolving today was in part the result of a very intentional program of work over several years. At the centre of the shift was a set of core values that over time influenced how we did business. The six values – togetherness, humility, honesty, courage, wise judgement and excellence – have been wholeheartedly embraced by staff.
‘At first, we were dropping them into conversation wherever we could – we’d go for a beer after work and call it togetherness’, Will Gosse, Sales Project Lead, laughs. ‘But our values have actually made a tangible impact on how we work together and the results we produce for clients. The opportunity for BresicWhitney in a tough market is very strong’.
More than just words on a page, the values are lived in the day to day at BresicWhitney, and an undercurrent of collaboration continues to produce some impressive results for clients.
Just last month, an agent from our Balmain location sold a listing of a colleague based in the Hunters Hill office. The sale was enabled by the sustained connection and collaboration between agents. Thanks to this result, the buyer entrusted the sale of his own home with the two agents to work on together.
This is the kind of teamwork that has seen BresicWhitney’s YTD clearance rate reach 67 percent, compared to a Sydney wide figure of 55 percent – a pattern that looks set to continue into 2019.
With the market slowdown looking to continue a little while longer, what is Shannan’s advice for getting through?
‘The BW value of togetherness has proven to be one of our strongest, particularly in the present market. We also continue to have great success in delivering value to our sellers through our buyer targeting, and our collective approach to buyer qualification underpins our agents’ value’. Shannan says.
‘Agents should reflect and consider the past boom cycle and the rewards and benefits that came with those good times – for many out there it’s all they know’, he adds. ‘Things aren’t so easy now, and this asks a lot more from an agent. Maintaining some humility and respect in how we operate and interact with each other, and our customers, is essential’.