Laing+Simmons: Evolution accelerating under new ownership

Laing+Simmons has experienced tremendous operational change in the past year to support its teams and franchisees, but its core values remain the same.

The Announcement:

Just six months into its new ownership journey, Laing+Simmons has implemented a new strategic plan, boosted its head office team, launched a range of targeted programs, struck new corporate partnerships and introduced new customer services which have revolutionised the company – all despite the challenges of lockdown.

Following the early 2021 takeover of Laing+Simmons by a group of network partners, the pace of the company’s evolution has accelerated beyond initial expectations, says CEO Leanne Pilkington, surpassing the inroads made in the last few years combined.

“The corporate team had previously developed a clear plan to better support our franchisees and their teams, but to make it a reality we needed the endorsement of the shareholder group. This was immediately forthcoming under the new owners and we could get to work fulfilling the ambition we always had for Laing+Simmons,” Ms Pilkington says.

“There are some consistencies. Our identity is well established, our value proposition stands up, our family values remain, our boutique brand is strong, and our people-first approach still drives us. But operationally, from an insider’s perspective, Laing+Simmons is in some respects unrecognisable from this time last year,” she says.

People power

At the corporate level, Laing+Simmons has made a key hire and introduced various peopledriven initiatives so everyone in the network can get the best out of their businesses – and themselves.

Harriet Saunders has joined Laing+Simmons as Head of Growth and Development.

Commenting on the new appointment, Ms Pilkington says: “We identified the need for more than simply a business development manager. We needed someone who could contribute more broadly to the value we provide new and existing franchisees, with a focus on training and support tailored to the needs and experience levels of our entire team. Harriet’s experience and skills were an ideal match for this critical role in our growth plans.”

Among other people-first initiatives include the development of the Alternative Board program involving the Directors in a formal strategy-setting forum, which has proven particularly effective for offices with multiple partners.

Monthly roundtables for business owners are now held to help them focus on their business by “standing on the outside and looking in”, and Laing+Simmons has also invested in an outsourced property management solution on a time-share basis, so offices have the option of providing this service to their customers without the commitment of a full-time team member.

Targeted programs

The principle underpinning the new Laing+Simmons strategic plan is franchisee support.

So far in 2021, Laing+Simmons has launched Accelerate, a long-term training, rewards and recognition program encompassing both sales agents and property managers involved in prospecting. Supported by monthly training and weekly podcasts, and with real accountability standards embedded within, the program is proving particularly valuable for younger team members in building their networks and attracting new customers.

The company has also renewed its property management focus, with the appointment of a dedicated property management committee which operates like a helpline for the entire network, supported by regular roundtables and monthly training sessions.

“Our focus is on supporting all of our franchisees and this includes helping them better support their people. We motivate, educate and celebrate,” Ms Pilkington says.

New services and partners

The franchisee focus has also manifested in other ways, with Laing+Simmons recently formalising a series of new corporate partnerships that provide new benefits to people across the network.

The partnership strategy includes new formal arrangements with Propps, Smoke Alarms Australia, CIMET, Kredi Mortgages and Realty Assist.

And it’s working…

The network’s top performers believe the Laing+Simmons evolution is on the right path.

Laing+Simmons Double Bay Principal and Luxe Listings Sydney star D’Leanne Lewis says: “The change in ownership has provided Laing+Simmons the freedom to implement strategies and services we know are important to business owners and their customers. The people in the network are empowered to control their own destiny, with the confidence that comes from knowing the franchisor is entirely invested in supporting their success.”

Laing+Simmons Group Principal for the Parramatta and Granville offices, Ray Fayad, says: “It’s clear Laing+Simmons is moving forward with purpose and ambition, under strong leadership with a committed corporate team, and with the objectives of the company and business owners aligned. This environment is positively impacting the spirit of inclusiveness throughout the network, which is a powerful motivating force.”

Growth on the ground

The franchisee focus has resonated within the group but it’s also helping attract new people to the network. Laing+Simmons is poised to open two new Sydney offices straight out of lockdown, will details to follow soon, so watch this space.

Source: Wise McBaron Communication

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