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Katrina Tarrant: Keep, stop, start 2024

The current year has been jam packed full of change, learning and growth for Harcourts NSW and ACT Chief Executive Officer Katrina Tarrant.

And, as it draws to a close, Katrina reveals why the best sales and marketing strategy is creating human connection, why Harcourts has focused on emulating five-star hotel service levels and what she learnt from Sex and the City spin-off, And Just Like That, that you could use in your business too.

What’s one new sales or marketing initiative you want to start focusing on next year?

It’s not something new, just a reminder of what is important. Success has a heartbeat and for me, that heartbeat is human connection. 

I firmly believe that amidst the ever-evolving landscape of technology, one essential truth remains unchanged: human connection will always triumph.

In today’s busy digital era, getting caught up in the allure of automation and artificial intelligence is easy. 

Hey, I am the biggest advocate for a strong digital strategy, but it can’t be your only strategy. 

I urge all of us to remember the invaluable role human connection plays in our professional lives. 

Through face-to-face conversations, shared experiences, and genuine empathy, we build trust, foster collaboration, and cultivate success.

Technology can undoubtedly streamline processes, expand our reach, and provide us with valuable insights. 

But the human touch infuses authenticity, warmth, and soul into every interaction. 

The connections we forge create a ripple effect, shaping our industry and transforming lives.

I urge all agents to seek human connection as the heartbeat of their success in 2024 and beyond. 

What aspects of your agency’s customer service have consistently received positive feedback, and how do you plan to maintain these high standards?

This year, we’ve had the privilege of collaborating closely with the Ritz-Carlton team, immersing ourselves in one of their core values: ‘The answer is yes, now what is the question.’ 

This guiding principle has become the bedrock of our client experience journey. 

What truly resonates with us is their extraordinary customer service and remarkable ability to anticipate unexpressed needs and concerns, crafting a personalised and empathetic experience that exceeds expectations.

One standout feature of the Ritz-Carlton’s approach is its commitment to empowering employees. 

Team members are encouraged to proactively address guests’ unspoken needs, exercising their judgement to enhance the overall experience. 

This could mean offering a complimentary room upgrade or delivering a thoughtfully personalised welcome note.

This philosophy seamlessly aligns with our own ethos, encapsulated in the phrase, “One Team. The Finest Experience.” 

By foreseeing and tending to our clients’ unexpressed needs, we create exceptional experiences that distinguish us. 

Achieving this level of service requires a synchronised effort from every member of our team, uniting towards the common objective of providing the finest experience. 

Through our unwavering commitment to being One Team, we can guarantee that each customer interaction is characterised by empathy, meticulous attention to detail, and a genuine desire to surpass expectations.

What’s one weakness or blindspot you have that you want to stop letting hold you back next year? 

Letting go of what no longer serves a purpose. Earlier this year, as the latest iteration of And Just Like That hit our screens, social media was abuzz with whether the writers had hit the mark with Stanford’s farewell storyline. But for me, Stanford’s journey got me thinking: 

What if we all mastered the delicate dance of letting go in our lives? How might it reshape our happiness and perspective? As real estate agents, this concept resonates deeply.

It could be something as simple as decluttering our minds; the outdated strategies, doubts and habits that are hindering growth.

Or it could be bidding adieu to outdated methods and tech stacks that no longer put us at the front of the pack. 

In 2024 it’s safe to say I’ll be showing a few things the door.

As a leader, what’s one new strategy or process you’re looking to implement in 2024 and why?

In 2024 I am committed to evolving my contemporary leadership journey. 

We are transitioning from an era where individual leadership prevailed to an age where leadership teams collaboratively navigate the helm.

The conventional top-down leadership model is increasingly perceived as a hindrance in addressing the intricate demands of the modern property sector.

Recognising that high-performing teams outshine individual efforts is pivotal. 

This evolving model is purpose-driven, focusing on benefiting all stakeholders through collaboration and continuous growth, creating lasting value. 

To achieve this, I’m implementing a key takeaway from Elite Retreat – the PAIRS model – leveraging play, adaptability quotient, impact, storytelling, and relationships.

My commitment is to reflect daily, with the goal of becoming a better leader each and every tomorrow.

What’s your real estate prediction for 2024?

Despite the challenges posed by higher interest rates, I believe the real estate landscape is poised for sustained property value appreciation across most markets in FY24, with an even more pronounced uptick expected in the subsequent financial year. 

The primary driver behind this positive outlook is the constrained housing supply, stemming from factors such as limited available land, diminishing approval rates, and a deceleration in construction activities.

I anticipate that this supply-demand dynamic, coupled with factors like heightened migration, anticipated interest rate adjustments in FY24/25, the potential for more accommodating lending conditions, and escalating rental costs nudging tenants toward homeownership, collectively contribute to a favourable environment for property value appreciation. 

Additionally, industry challenges for developers, a resurgence of interest from foreign investors, and the sustained preference for larger living spaces post-pandemic add further layers to the overall positive forecast.

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