EPMEPM: First Person

No Gimmicks Required

One Real Estate Darwin charges a 15 per cent management fee and has a growing property management portfolio – without the need for gimmicks. Karl Secondis explains why a premium service will win over gimmicks every time.

Whilst technically One Real Estate Darwin focuses specifically on residential sales and management services, it could be said that we focus on ‘Property Industry Service’. At One Real Estate, our service approach underpins our success in both the speed of brand awareness and the financial aspects of business.

As a start-up business, with a view to growing our rent roll organically, we needed a tight strategy to be able to quickly develop a significant portfolio in what had been a flat market in 2010 and 2011. The reality, though, was we wanted to do things differently – after all, that’s what a fresh approach is, right?

Throughout my career in Real Estate I had seen many start-up businesses kick-start through marketing plans that attempted to attract business and new clients by relying heavily on conveying a message to their potential clients that involved:

  • discounting their fees to win any business at any cost
  • gimmicks like ‘no management fee for the first three months’
  • competitions to win a car, holiday or television.

None of these sat right with me. If we’re going to have a service-based approach, people should want to use us because of who we are and what we provide, not the ‘specials’ for that month. From a business perspective, I felt this method of growth to be short-sighted. I could see that in the medium term it would merely create challenges for the business owner on a number of levels: not only would it reduce income for the business, but this would in turn result in a reduced asset value, reduced profitability, inflated demands from clients and deflated property managers.

How could we establish our brand and build our income without detracting from either? The first rule we put in place was to be clear about our brand; if we knew who we were and what we stood for, we would be able to convey a clear and consistent message to the market place. We believe that the brand must also be reflected in our price point, and so we embarked on a journey to identify what this was.

If One Real Estate had a desire to stand out in the market, we needed to be perceived as different by the consumer, not just ourselves. We decided that our aim was to provide a level of service that would truly set us apart from the competition, a level of service that would develop a reputation for being known as the ‘Gucci’ of real estate.

We identified what service a customer of ‘Gucci’ Real Estate would anticipate, how we would set about providing it and whether there was a space in the market for it – and there was. These things included:

  • A quality environment to meet and conduct business
  • Feeling like they are part of an elite group
  • Gaining more time with our team and their property manager
  • Never feeling rushed or like a number
  • Respecting their intelligence and market knowledge
  • Precision, detail and care in every aspect of our service

We know that Gucci customers expect to pay a premium price for a premium product, so in conveying this premium service to our clients, it logically follows that they should expect to pay a premium for this service.

Now at a standard management fee of 15 per cent One Real Estate have a portfolio of 200 managements and are continuing to grow daily, a result no one would have thought possible.

Just like Gucci in the retail industry, value often exists in the mindset of the people within the business or organisation, and it all starts with the business owner. I urge you to think about where your business sits in your market; your service, your fees, your clients.

Karl Secondis is the director of One Real Estate in Darwin.

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