Elite AgentFeature Interviews

What we can learn from real estate businesses overseas: Dan White

RAY WHITE is a household name in Australia and New Zealand, with a growing network in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, China, the Middle East and Atlanta, USA. Group Director Dan White spoke to Elite Agent about the similarities and differences in the industry across countries and some of the things can we learn from our international counterparts.

RAY WHITE remains a family-owned business, celebrating 116 years in 2018, whose activities span residential, commercial and rural property plus livestock, hotels, marine, property management and property funds investment. In the last fiscal year (2016-17), Ray White sold over $44.7 billion worth of property.

Ray White Group Director Dan White said the industry drivers in most Asian countries are very different to Australia and New Zealand, being more of a brokerage market.

“Most markets operate in an open-listed environment, with vendors preferring to list their properties with multiple agents. Vendor marketing is not a feature of the market, nor [are] auctions or other marketing-driven sales methods. Agents focus on developing relationships with buyers and matching them to available stock,” Mr White said.

“One of the big attractions for agents to belong to Ray White in Asia is that we bring a very long history and commitment to an industry that is developing there. In doing so [we are] creating a shared commitment and identity.

“While the method of selling is quite different, office structure and business leadership is consistent, and we find that our business leaders in the Asian markets share the same issues and opportunities as our leaders in Australia and New Zealand.

“Inside our Asian businesses, much of the systems are the same. Our CRM and branding is consistent, and they are starting to use [our brokers at] Loan Market. Our sales and management training is also applicable.”

HONG KONG 

“One thing is we have learned from our Hong Kong team is the ability to sell property to remote buyers who may never go and see their new property.

“It’s pretty amazing in Hong Kong to think that our selling principal, James Li, has created a showroom to feature Australian properties and many of his local buyers don’t go and see their apartment in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. They have faith in our brand and [in] James that we’ll look after them and their assets through property management after the initial sale transaction.

“James Li in Hong Kong is seen as the Australian expert, and our customers know we will stand behind our team and the properties we market.”

NEW ZEALAND

Mr White said the New Zealand market was very progressive and “as developed, if not more developed, than the Australian industry”.

“So many of our Australian business owners regularly travel to New Zealand to learn about how they do business. There is so much for them to learn there,” he said.

“The New Zealanders generally have larger teams, which allows more capacity to provide a deeper level of service to their customers.”

There are also different industry drivers in New Zealand relating to industrial relations policy, which has led to bigger businesses with the resources to reinvest in their teams and their customers.

INDONESIA

Ray White Indonesia CEO Johann Boyke Nurtanio said local agents prospect and develop relationships with their database, the same as in Australia.

“They understand the importance of referral. Some creative agents marketing international projects may encourage their clients to refer their friends for a fee,” he said.

“For example, a client will get a referral fee of up to 10 per cent in foreign currency for the successful referral of another client.”

Mr Boyke Nurtanio said Ray White’s top agent in Bambang, who specialises in marketing international property, derives as much as 30 per cent of his sales from referrals based on this program. “The Indonesian secret to success is rooted in human talent, the right human talent.”

Mr Boyke Nurtanio’s advice to Australian real estate agents was to be disciplined in their work.

“Discipline is a value that we all believe in. One of our principals, Aldila Wibowo of Ray White CBD Jakarta, gets up at 5am every morning and is already at the office by 6am. She will then swim and be ready for her day by 8am. She leaves for home at 8pm at the earliest. She is a living example for her office to emulate.”

Mr Boyke Nurtanio said customised and personalised after-sales touches were important features that Nataliya Lia of Ray White Kemang Premier lives by.

“Not only communicating through the phone, she also schedules lunch and dinner meetings with big investors once a month in order to update them regarding the property market’s condition,” he said. “She will also bring to their attention which properties are worthy for investments.

“In addition, she never forgets to send birthday cakes or hampers to her clients’ homes for the appropriate festive seasons such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Eid Mubarak (Muslim Celebration Day). Furthermore, after she sells a property, she will treat her clients and their families [to] lunches or dinners at five-star hotels.

“As for caring for those working in the company, Wilson Ho of Ray White Prestige embodies that trait. He is well known for his caring demeanour. Reward, recognition, appreciation and humility are the daily mantras in his office.”

Mr Boyke Nurtanio said Ray White’s Indonesian network of 133 offices celebrates excellence in customer service in many different ways.

“We award agents in different cities, countries and invite them as panellists and guest speakers during many events. For example, our top principal from Ray White Prestige Kelapa Gading, Wilson Ho, decided to reward excellence in customer service by presenting his salespeople with their awards in Hong Kong.

“During a tour of three countries, he surprised the winners by awarding them the plaques with the City of Hong Kong as the backdrop.”

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