We ask REINSW members which side of the debate they fall on.
Principal at Drummond Real Estate Albury
Dealing directly with investors and homeowners, and establishing great working relationships with them is what makes this job so enjoyable. Being totally involved in the day-to-day running of the business is very rewarding.
Principals have the opportunity to build a strong rapport with clients and in turn, that creates stability and growth.
While I focus mainly on property management, my principal colleague who is in his 60s continues to sell property because he has a great bank of clients and enjoys keeping in contact with them. Let’s face it, families don’t buy and sell that many houses in a lifetime. It’s not like going to the butcher shop every week to buy a steak.
He has established very good relationships with them over the years, and they feel comfortable coming to him for help selling their son’s home or helping their daughter buy – it takes years to get repeat business like that. So principals who enjoy the work certainly should continue to sell and manage those relationships for the business.
And besides, a lot of the small businesses in Albury typically have the principal and one or two other sales people, so the principal can’t afford to step away from the selling side.
I like to be at the forefront of everything, and if there is an issue that needs addressing, I like to think that clients can call on me directly to be there for them.
Although my colleague still sells, he has built up a strong team of professionals to take on more and more of the front line work so he can pursue other interests and still be at the helm. And I think that’s probably where I’d like to be in the next five years. However, I still want to ensure my clients receive the personal touch, sound advice and good old-fashioned service that we deliver today.
Sales Manager at Elders Berry
If a principal is running multiple offices with multiple staff, I think they are much better focused on running the business rather than selling because that is what you employ staff to do.
Share the load
If you’re in a big office with half a dozen sales staff, let them do their jobs. You’ll be better rewarded at the end of the day, and you will have the time to run your business. You still have to oversee property management – in regional areas that includes holiday accommodation and commercial – as you have to make sure things don’t go missing and people aren’t misbehaving.
The real benefit to letting go is that you have time to oversee your business. You can put energy into things like accounting, where you can see immediately if there are any issues. You can make yourself available to all your staff.
If a principal runs the business because they want to be in on the awards and wants all the accolades but doesn’t give their sales people a fair go, it opens up the revolving door scenario. No one is going to make money if those sales people are being overshadowed, and unable to pick up excellence awards because the principal has their name on everything. There is a fine line.
With small boutique agencies, it’s understandable to have an involved principal – it’s fantastic; it means they’re well known.
But it’s really hard for a sales person in a large business to have a principal who doesn’t share the workload and the reward. For example, it’s difficult for a sales person to establish themselves in the community if the principal is taking all the listings. It’s a two-way street. If the principal wants their business to grow, they need to step back a bit and put their sales people first.
It comes back to the size of the business you have. If you’re successful enough to grow a large business, you’ve got staff to do sales for you! It’s a win-win situation.
This article was first published in the October 2014 edition of the REINSW Real Estate Journal.