CASE STUDIESElite Agent

Longing to Belong

An interview with Glyn Morgan, Group Chief Executive Officer, Professionals and Chief Executive & Managing Director Eastern States about the Professionals business model quickly turned into a roundtable discussion as he handed over to members, James Thompson (Bathurst, NSW) and Mycheal Carter (Broadbeach, QLD) to define the Professionals difference.

 

Glyn, tell me how was Professionals started?

The group was formed in 1976 by a group of real estate agents in Brisbane who shared a vision to join together to form a real estate business unlike any of their competitors. Created by members for members, an important focus has always been placed on all members owning the brand and driving the future direction of the group. We now have well over 300 offices across Australasia and Asia-Pacific and continue to grow.

 

Professionals are all about Belonging to the Best Value Brand, can you tell me what are the main benefits Professionals can offer a member?

I believe we are a group with the right attitude towards its members and have created an environment that people enjoy being part of and participating in through a strong sense of Belonging. In a dollar to services comparison, there would be few groups who could provide better value for money than us. After all, we are one of the largest and most recognisable brands in Australasia.

 

In these challenging times how do you compare against other real estate groups?

Interestingly, in these times we are seeing many groups reducing services and in many cases increasing their fees. We believe this is not the time to bunker in, rather we must add more value for our members. We are putting more people in the field to assist, more training and more management support.

As a not-for-profit organisation there are no shareholders therefore, fees are not increased in order to maintain a profit return. Instead the money from our low monthly fees is injected straight back into the organisation by providing real value to our members through the delivery of a range of products and services. 

 

What do you define as ‘success as a group’?

Success for me is about our members believing they are getting real value for money. For every dollar they pay to be a member, they must get more than a dollar’s worth of value in return. Given a growing number of potential members contacting us, we must be doing something right. Don’t  just take my word for it though, ask some of our existing members what they think!

 

I’m talking to James Thompson, Principal, Professionals Bathurst, NSW. James how long have you been a member with Professionals? 

We transferred from LJ Hooker on 1st July 2005.

 

So, why did you make the move to Professionals?

I liked the name, it works for me and it’s the best word to be associated with in business – Professionals. I liked the look of the branding materials, signs, all of it. I looked at all the opposition and then thought, why put someone else’s name on my door if they’re not going to be working in my business? I love the freedom of the Professionals model and the emphasis on marketing rather than strictly franchise. I still wanted to be a branded agency, however, I didn’t feel that the Hooker brand were very interested in real estate. I felt they were only in the business of franchising.

 

How do you get benefit from ‘Belonging to the Best Value Brand’?

There is no real measure of what brand gives more. Professionals offer more freedom in belonging, like training, meetings, events and Principal Managers Workshops are not necessary to attend to belong to the group. Where in the large franchise groups, there are too many outside activities to take the Principals away from the business place. The main reason that Professionals is a successful brand is the name itself. 

 

What do you do with the money you have saved on fees?

When I joined I decided I would reinvest at least one third of the money we saved in franchise fees into the local media to make a big noise about changing brands from Hookers to Professionals. Our opening was a great success and we never looked back. A year later we relocated to bigger premises in the same street and used the opportunity to re-launch, sales went up again. It really works. The national average for real estate agency profit before tax is approximately 26%. Mine was slightly higher when we departed LJ Hooker. I now can run at a gross profit of between 45% and 50%. The increase is a combination of customising my marketing expenditure and savings.

 

What is the most rewarding aspect of owning your own business?

Having the freedom of being an individual owner operator and not have the constraints of a franchise who enforce some control measures over the franchisee. Also the major franchise groups have a fee structure that in most cases equates to being approximately a third profit share of the businesses, although, they rarely assist in the income earning aspect of the business.

 

Would you recommend making the move? 

Yes. The move from one group to another would be best judged on how the Principal can evolve to become famous in their area while standing beside a national brand. Most large real estate groups believe that the business is about them. It’s not. Professionals offer an opportunity to release capital and energy into customised corners of each individual area and I am regularly called by prospective new offices. Our partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation is also promoted and from my perspective utilised better than any other group around.

 

If you want to view the related video to this article click here.

 

 

I’m now talking to Professionals member, Mycheal Carter, Principal, Mike Carter Real Estate, Professionals Broadbeach, Queensland. Mycheal how long have you been a member with Professionals? 

I’ve been with Professionals just under 3 years.

 

What made you move to Professionals?

The security and presentation of the group combined with the freedom to operate my own business under the banner. I also value that Principals have a lot of input into the group operation.

 

Professionals marketing is about ‘Belonging to the Best Value Brand’. Compared to your former group how do you benefit from these areas of ‘Belonging’, ‘Best Value’ and ‘Brand’? 

Benefit is seen through fee savings and a sense of community amongst offices and employees. Professionals are a user friendly brand with bright, eye catching advertising that looks both slick and personal in the marketplace which helps to attract both internal and external customers. The brand also presents as grounded and approachable in the community with National Breast Cancer Foundation sponsorship, this allows offices to capitalise on this and seek their own local commitments – our office sponsors local schools, Surf Life Saving Clubs etc.

 

Would you recommend making the move? 

I would gladly recommend seeking a Professionals agency to other business operators. I have enjoyed immense success and support through my affiliation and feel there is much opportunity for others to enjoy the same. 

 
To view the associated video to this article click here.

 

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