20 offices within three years for a new brand might sound ambitious, but for Stone Real Estate franchise manager Luke Cameron, this is the reality for the young brand.
The unique Stone Real Estate business model is what Mr Cameron credits for its rapid growth and success. The business, started by CEO Peter Mumford, is based on a centralised database that ensures the group’s agents don’t ‘step on each others’ toes.’
“Simply, it’s mandatory within our business to have one centralised system that ensures continuity of communication to the client,” said Mr Cameron, who worked for McGrath before working with Stone.
“The client comes first. It’s about providing a rich consumer experience, not bombarding the client with spam. It essentially links all of the offices to streamline communication to the consumer.”
The Stone business, he says, was built to address the biggest “pain points” felt by members of traditional franchises.
“I was dealing with offices across Australia and New Zealand, and the sentiment had shifted away from the mainstream real estate franchise offering. There was a strong appetite for a more boutique, intimate relationship with a support partner and that sentiment was pretty consistent. When you pay a premium to be part of the brand and you only hear from them (the Franchisor) when there is an issue or compliance matter or it’s time to renew the agreements… there were a lot of offices who were looking for a smarter solution.”
He says the Stone model includes making the recruitment process easier, so long as cultural values are understood.
“The biggest problem with growing a real estate business is recruitment. We have four in-house recruitment specialists that are working on attracting talent, not just based on commission, but to have alignment with our values.”
Rather than capture markets across various parts of Sydney, Stone decided to concentrate on their strength areas. “Strategically we are leveraging off our existing strength so related markets, northern beaches and north shore, next port of call will be Hills District.”
“The businesses grew from originally a company owned model that established the brand within Lane Cove, Manly and Mona Vale, to a now 11 offices trading.
While the plan is for growth, Cameron is adamant that there will not be agents competing with agents across the same brand, and Stone are only releasing 43 territories across Sydney. “We will have fewer offices, but those offices will be high performing.
“There are another eight offices due to open between now and the end of the year. So we are going in the space of 3 years from basically non-existent to 20 offices.