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Exceeding Expectations: Ercan Ersan

When Ercan Ersan left high school he didn’t know what he wanted to do. Following advice from his father, he eventually decided to try real estate. Now, 12 years later, he has won Residential Agent of the Year at the Annual REA Excellence Awards. Here he tells Kylie Dulhunty the ingredients in his recipe for success, including how a fast-food chain influenced the introduction of a key measure in his winning formula.

Ercan Ersan’s recipe for real estate success is threefold: bricks and mortar, people and technology.

A circular formula where one ingredient complements the next, it’s getting the quantities right that the Ray White Erskineville director says is the tricky part.

“I don’t think you should ever lose the human element in real estate,” he says.

“Selling houses really is about people, and not just bricks and mortar and properties. However, more than ever, technology is changing the way we, as real estate agents, do things.

“I don’t think we should be scared of this change; we should embrace it, but we need to use it to our advantage without letting it cloud the fact that real estate is about people.”

It seems the industry leader got the mix just right this year, taking out the Residential Real Estate Agent of the Year at the Annual REA Excellence Awards in November.

APP-LIED KNOWLEDGE

He received the honour after a stellar year where he helped create an app to give vendors greater ‘real-time’ information on their property and its market progress, introduced mystery shoppers to keep agents’ customer service levels at the top of the ladder and began live-streaming auctions so potential buyers could participate from interstate and overseas.

The judges said Ercan “worked hard and smart and appears to have an element of character that holds up.”

Ercan is the first to admit the “Ersan and Stoker Your Home App”, created in conjunction with business partner Shaun Stoker, needs a name change but says it has been instrumental in getting sales across the line.

“It really is a horrible name but the app itself is brilliant,” he says.

“We really felt that as the market proceeded to become a bit more challenging that we needed a better way to communicate with our homeowners so that they felt more included and educated throughout the sales process and knew what was happening with their property in real time, rather than having to wait for a phone call.”

The app records key statistics on every home the Ray White Erskineville agents have on the market, including the number of email and phone inquiries, buyer numbers at inspections, price feedback from interested parties, strategic reports and any offers put forward.

Vendors can access the app from their phone or tablet at any time.

“Without a doubt the app helps sell properties,” Ercan says.

“There are always going to be buyers, but it’s our job to bring the buyer and the seller together to agree on price and the app helps align owners with market feedback.

I don’t think you should ever lose the human element in real estate.

“Sometimes, if an owner doesn’t know what we are doing as agents and what’s happening with their property day-to-day they can feel a bit lost, especially if they are overseas or interstate.

“The app assists in giving the owner detailed information so they can make better educated and informed decisions on selling their home.

“I have no doubt the app has helped us get more sales across the line.”

SUCCESS NO MYSTERY

Ercan also drew inspiration from fast-food retailers and introduced mystery shoppers to test and deliver feedback to agents, including himself, on their level of knowledge of their properties as well as their customer service and ability to cross-match buyers with listings.

“As agents we can become complacent when the market is red hot and you’re getting 50 buyers through open homes,” he says.

“In the peak of 2015-16 I had 29 registered bidders at an auction.

“But those days are behind us and now you might average 10 to 20 at inspections, send out one or two contracts and it’s common to have a one- or two-buyer auction.

“The mystery shopper keeps us on our toes and makes sure that we can answer every question a potential buyer asks. It helps us ensure we are really listening to buyers’ criteria so that, even if the house they inspect isn’t right, we can direct them to our other listings that do meet all of their needs.”

Ercan knows the idea of mystery shoppers isn’t new, but says it’s not overly common in real estate despite it working extremely well.

He says he got the idea from McDonalds.

“I thought if McDonald’s are doing it, why can’t we? McDonald’s product is hamburgers, but real estate is still a commodity and our product is people and houses.”

A real estate agent with 12 years’ experience, Ercan didn’t immediately enter the field after he left school.

In fact, he didn’t really know what he wanted to do and found himself working in security, in fast-food and even managing a warehouse, which he says was really “just packing boxes to go [on] delivery trucks”.

HOME INSPIRATION

It wasn’t until he was 25 and his father’s words about property being a safe investment started ringing in his ears that Ercan made the move to real estate.

But even then he didn’t do it in the traditional fashion.

There are always going to be buyers, but it’s our job to bring the buyer and the seller together to agree on price and the app helps align owners with market feedback.

“I went to TAFE, but I only stayed three months before I got work experience at BresicWhitney for three months and they offered me a job with one of their rising stars, Charles Touma. They taught me the basics and I was there for eight years,” Ercan says.

“Dad has always said if you buy real estate it will set you up for life, and he’s right.

There are always going to be buyers, but it’s our job to bring the buyer and the seller together to agree on price and the app helps align owners with market feedback.

“When Dad came to Australia from Turkey in the ’60s he had just $5 in his pocket; he worked hard, saved up enough to go back and marry Mum before coming back, saving up again and buying a house, saving up and buying an investment property.”

Another factor in Ercan winning Agent of the Year included introducing the use of GAVL, an app that livestreams auctions in real-time and enables purchasers to bid on properties wherever they are in the world.

“At least 10 per cent of our sales are to buyers who have someone in the room bidding on their behalf. Now they can bid themselves, or simply watch but feel like they are right there at the auction,” he says.

“It definitely helps create more atmosphere and emotion.”

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Ercan was also praised for his contribution to the community, including supporting St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Stanmore by providing free auctioneering services for items donated by local businesses at fundraisers – as well as providing the main prize of selling a property commission-free and giving the proceeds of the winning bid to the school.

“In the past three years we have given more than $70,000 to the school to help with things such as technology rooms and rejuvenating outdoor play areas,” Ercan says.

Having a dog in the office promotes positive social interactions and also helps relieve stress.

The team also supports pet rescue charity Denise At Paws and allows a different staff member to bring their dog to work for one day each week.

“Having a dog in the office promotes positive social interactions and also helps relieve stress,” Ercan says.

“An added bonus is that often when members of the public see a dog through our office window they come inside for a chat with one of our agents, which starts a conversation and opportunities to pursue potential future business with them.”

Ercan says taking out the award was a win for the entire team as well as his family, whose support enables him to work 12-hour days, six days a week. He says taking regular breaks throughout the year also helps him perform well.
“Everyone needs a driver, something to get out of bed for, and for me, that’s my family,” he says.

“I want to be the best version of myself.”

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