Heidi Howe, Director and property representative of Harcourts St Helen’s office in Tasmania, has been named the winner of Elite Agent’s Transform challenge for 2021.
Ms Howe received the news on Friday afternoon and said she was pleasantly surprised to have taken out the title, which comes with a $5000 prize, from a field of about 350 participants who completed this year’s 30-day virtual course.
“I’m totally humbled that I’m in that crowd of people who have won in the past that I’ve completely looked up to,” Ms Howe said.
“They’ve been industry leaders to me and I sort of feel like I deserve to share that dais with them,” she added, making specific reference to fellow Tasmanian Tameka Smith, Director of property at Key2 Property, and LJ Hooker Queanbyean Director and franchise owner Kylie Maxwell.
As part of the Transform program, real estate professionals are given access to some of the sharpest minds in the business, who cover topics ranging from business management to mindset, property management, marketing and sales.
The course comprises a series of challenges that are designed to promote action and accountability, encouraging participants to step outside their comfort zone.
“What motivates people to participate is a commitment to learning – and learning from the best in the industry,” Elite Agent editor Samantha McLean said.
“Not a lot of people want to be held accountable, but we know that accountability works in changing results and so that’s why people come to Transform and the prize money is just a bit of a bonus.
“The real prize comes from implementing the lessons that you learn from some of the best in the business, and creating lifelong connections with other agents who are like-minded and want to learn.”
Ms Howe, who also took part in Transform in 2020, said her expectation this year was to attain further skills in order to improve her productivity.
“I learnt an incredible amount from [last year’s program] and in those 12 months, I became the number one agent in the region and I do completely credit Transform with that,” she said.
“Probably what I didn’t expect was how it would completely change my focus on why I do things,” she said.
“So I’ve gone from, ‘I’ve got to grow my business, I’ve got to get more listings’ … to being all about, let’s create better relationships with people.
“It’s all about people – our staff, our family, our clients – and if we’ve got these really exceptional relationships with people, then business will flow, regardless.”
Over the past year, the majority of sales conducted by Harcourts St Helen’s have been to out-of-town residents, and Ms Howe’s pitch that won over Transform’s judges involved a Welcome to Town package for new arrivals to the area.
The judging panel comprised David Webb from Homely.com.au and Brock Fisher from fellow marquee sponsors Kolmeo, along with representatives from supporting sponsors including Clare Hasler from DirectConnect, Will Ainsworth from Openn Negotiation and former 2017 Transform Masters Champion Kylie Maxwell.
“We are in an area where 80 per cent of our buyers are from either different areas of the state, or from interstate, so they’re coming here and they have no idea if we’ve got hospitals, supermarkets or schools, they just know we live in a pretty awesome place,” Ms Howe said.
“So, my pitch was to create destination videos for the three major towns in our area, and personalise them and have our staff actually doing a guided tour of the town and then have a link on our website, on our email addresses and on our social media that says ‘new to town? Click here for information’.
“They’ll get a link to the local newspaper and 12 months’ free online subscription, get local vouchers for around the town that can just be downloaded digitally, so it’s just a really nice way to introduce people straight into the heart of town.”
She said the prize money would help fund the video package as part of the Welcome to Town package.
Another Harcourts representative, Kylie King from the Greater Port Macquarie office, took out Transform’s second prize of $2500, with Kelley Seaton from The Leasing Network on the NSW Central Coast taking out the $1000 Community Award.
“I have to say, the top three – myself, Kylie and Kelley – have become firm friends through Transform, so to go across the line with those two was just awesome,” Ms Howe said.