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OBrien agents record personal best year

Mention the Fab Four in the UK, and most people’s minds will take them to The Beatles, but at Melbourne’s OBrien Real Estate, the Fab Four takes on a different meaning. 

Four fabulous females – Michelle Stephens, Tanja Neven-Jones, Kimberley Ferguson and Nicola Nakon – took 2021 by storm, becoming OBrien Real Estate’s stand out sales performers.

Across Australia, 2021 was a year marred by lockdowns, restrictions and confusing health guidelines, but nowhere more so than Melbourne, Victoria.

But for the four Melbourne-based sales agents, the ongoing challenges of 2021 were no barrier to success. In fact, these women had one of their best years yet, winning multiple awards and setting stunning personal bests.

Michelle Stephens is based at OBrien’s Carrum Downs office and has had a year she won’t soon forget.

“Receiving REIA Sales Agent of the Year Award for the whole of Australia was a definite highlight,” Michelle says.

Then, there was the REIV Residential Agent of the Year for Victoria award, the REA Sales Agent of the Year (Metropolitan) for Victoria and the Rate My Agent 2021 Award for the Carrum Downs, Skye and Sandhurst region – as well as coming second nationally.

“I’ve also been awarded OBrien Real Estate’s top agent of the year for the last five years in a row,” she says.

“Our OBrien Carrum Downs office was also awarded Office of the Year.”

For Tanja, who works out of the Chelsea office, along with Kimberley and Nicola, being asked to speak at AREC was a major honour.

She also increased her business by 50 per cent while working from home during the harsh Victoria lockdowns and was included in top women in real estate lists.

“I was runner-up with OBrien for number of properties sold and GCI and won the Ambassador Award.”

Kimberley was also an award winner in 2021.

“I received the Rate My Agent award for Edithvale, won third place in the OBrien company awards and was a finalist in the OBrien Changed Agent Award,” Kimberley says.

Nicola won the 2021 OBrien Agent Growth award, with a whopping 123 per cent growth in business, despite the pandemic.

She largely attributes her success and growth to Gabriel Aoun, the office’s business improvement specialist, whose core role is to coach and mentor the sales agents.

“Gab’s unique and specialised training was, without a doubt, central to more than doubling my business,” Nicola says.

The secret to their success? A mixed bag, with each taking their own unique approach.

For Michelle, it was hard work, dedication, and crazy hours. 

“For me, working from home with my PA was a contributor,” she says.

“We were much less stressed and far more efficient.”

Kimberley leaned on mentors and coaching, participating in Josh Phegan training during lockdown.

“I also had weekly assistance with our great director Stavros Ambatzidis, which was really helpful.”

Proactive marketing was the approach Tanja took; the benefits speaking for themselves.

“Most of my business is repeat or referral,” she says.

“I do 1000 letterbox drops a week, have an email program and local signage and have a 12-month client care program with six automatic touch points, including a Christmas card and Easter egg.”

One thing these four fabulous females all have in common though, is a love of the industry.

“No two days are the same and I love helping people achieve their financial goals,” says Michelle, a sentiment Tanja agrees with.

 “And I love the challenge of getting the most money in the shortest possible time for my clients,” Tanja says.

“I also love talking to people!”

As does Kimberley.

“I’ve always been in customer service roles and had an interest in property and people,” Kimberley says.

For Nicola, there’s an extra bonus too, in being able to play an active role in her community.

“This industry challenges me and gives me the opportunity to give back to the community through sponsorships,” Nicola says. 

After such a successful year, despite the odds, perhaps the most important question for the fab four is what tips they have for other agents looking to emulate their achievements.

“Work hard and let go to grow – in other words, delegate,” Michelle says.

“People are transacting more often these days, so the biggest mistake sales agents can make is not to keep in regular contact with past clients,” Tanja says.

Says Kimberley: “Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.”

“Listen to others about what has worked for them.”

And, of course, be kind, says Nicola. 

“People will relate to you if you are kind and it will come back to you.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.