Zig while others zag – Manos Findikakis

For years the industry has been hearing the agent is now more important than the brand. In 2015, Eview founder Manos Findikakis took that philosophy to a whole new level. Now he will share his recipe for success at the Business of Real Estate 2019.

Eview Group founder and CEO Manos Findikakis readily admits when he first took a proposition to revolutionise his established brand to his agents in 2015, some had concerns.

His ground-breaking idea was to put the agent at the centre of the business, giving them the freedom to market themselves and develop their own branding, while Eview would offer extensive business support.

The concept embraced the belief that in modern real estate, the agent had now become more important than the brand.

It would also test Manos’s own theory that if agents had control over their entity, they would feel additional ownership, passion and energy for their business.

Four years later the results speak for themselves. Eview has grown from six to 40 offices and become Australia’s first multi-brand real estate network.

When everyone’s running in one direction, there’s opportunity in the other

Eview had been operating as a traditional brand for eight years when Manos looked to implement a more radical approach.

“I looked and felt that every network out there was essentially the same, and I wondered how we could be different,” he says.

“I came across this quasi-franchise where business owners had the support and backing of corporate but had the opportunity to brand in their own way and put their stamp of authority on their business.”

Manos likens the concept to Formula One where Eview provides the pit crew, servicing and expertise, but drivers choose their own racing colours.

 “We’ve all been to AREC and heard the agent is now at the forefront and the agency is in the background – what we’ve done is provide a vehicle for that.”

He presented the idea to his team, but some had concerns they would be diluting the brand they had worked so hard to create.

“It was a tough transition, especially in established areas,” Manos concedes.

“But when we implemented it with our team and launched in 2015, we experienced growth immediately. Our figures reflected that this was the way to go.”

Your brand, your business, our expertise

Manos began building a new real estate model with the mantra “your brand, your business, our expertise”.

The focus of head office became upholding three pillars of the business structure: support, profitability, and freedom.

To accommodate this, Manos looked to implement state-of-the-art technology and systems that would offer agents the best possible support behind the scenes.

It now sees a large team of dedicated staff handling administration areas like accounts, bookkeeping, reception, and technology, while agents focus on the core business of selling.

In the meantime, these agents have full control of their branding, marketing, and identity with the backing of the ‘Eview Group Proud Member’ logo.

Manos believes this offers a series of distinct advantages:

1 – Agents feel empowered, in control and energised in their business

2 – Eview can better support agents to maintain a work/life balance

3 – It eliminates conflict within his group and offers transparency when it comes to attaining listings

“Say there’s an established traditional agency with offices in adjacent suburbs. When one picks up a listing in another’s area, it’s attributed to the office that occupies that suburb,” he says.

“This causes conflict within groups and previously we were facing that too. But if everyone has their own brand, the ownership of that listing becomes clear.”

Manos notes this concept adds transparency, and yes, there have been occasions where two Eview agents have been in the same living room vying for a listing.

“We knew that would happen, but even with a traditional model it already did. This gives us the chance to offer clear rules of engagement as part of our company culture, which include being civilised, no undercutting and no negative comments about another agent.”

Sceptics to true believers

Not only does Eview’s growth indicate the success of the model, the experience of the agents illustrates it too.

Manos explains one of his most loyal long-term directors was among the agents expressing initial doubts.

“He said ‘Manos, what are we doing? We have so much invested in the Eview group’.

“As soon as he had his own brand and his own stamp of authority on his business, that changed.

“He told me he couldn’t believe the surge of energy he experienced and the pride he felt in his business now that he was truly involved.

“That’s the big thing about when you create your own brand; you put more energy behind it, which results in more leads and more sales, because this self-investment and authenticity is also seen by the client.”

A bright future ahead

With extensive growth behind them, Manos is looking to a positive future ahead.

The Eview goal is to have an office in every suburb of Australia, and Manos notes their unique model allows them to achieve this without diluting or saturating the market.

“We are not challenged by the traditional way of doing business. We attract the right people and continue to evolve while finetuning and reviewing what we do.

“Our ethos involves seeing our agents and property managers as our frontline customers, while their frontline customers are sellers and landlords.

“With our agents as our focus, we constantly look at how we can better support them, offer them freedom, and give them balance. 

“And the reality is, when we view our agents as our clients and treat them as such, everything just works.”

Manos Findikakis will be presenting on the topic of “Thinking outside the Box” at the Business of Real Estate Conference on the Gold Coast next week.

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.