Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jack of all trades… master of none!

That's a saying my parents used to refer to a lot when I was a kid. Now it means something - it has become very real to me this week. Jack of all trades is a business structure of the past.

Let me explain. This week I have been at the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA), finalising my full agent’s license and in particular studying Agency Trust Accounting. This subject was the final unit to achieve my Diploma of Property Services – the qualification required to own a real estate agency.

Trust accounting is arguably the most important responsibility of all as a business owner. Clients’ money held in trust, and in our case millions of dollars, that the agent has the fiduciary duty to look after for third party stakeholders, buyers, sellers and landlords. Horror stories were quoted in our studies but there are also some very current industry stories circulating around this exact topic, with one office immediately closed and another having a sudden change of ownership.

Notwithstanding the importance of this subject, and the recent industry issues surrounding it, I found it staggering that only 4 out of the original 20 people enrolled turned up! Why would 16 out of 20 enrolled be no shows?

A sign of the times? Sales people too busy to become agents? Perhaps the appeal and responsibility of being an agent has gone?

Given the complexity and responsibility of running a real estate company today, it is becoming too demanding to be both the owner and the sales person.

As a person who has lived and breathed real estate from birth, I passionately believe that you can't wear two hats in this modern era. Best practice means 'run the business' or 'be a sales person'. Based on what has been going on in real estate in the real world right now... it is very clear there is too much responsibility to be in sales as well as running a real estate business.

We firmly believe that being a jack of all trades needs to become a thing of the past; to deliver the best service we believe you need to be an expert in any endeavour in today’s competitive and regulated environment.

There are only so many hours in a day, only so many areas of expertise you can master. So when push comes to shove… where will your sales person/agent’s priorities lie?

Will it be to run around to sign up a new listing chasing a quick buck, to get a sale across the line, or will it be to watch the finances, meet a landlord or assist staff with an urgent issue? At the end of the day if you spread yourself too thin, clients and stakeholders suffer.

Suzannah and I understand the dynamics and responsibility of all areas of the business and we invest in being the best qualified in the industry. We will make sure that Toop&Toop delivers world class service in all areas of our business. We will ensure that our team get the best support, best resources and access to the most innovative marketing of any agency.

In my view, and reinforced with this week’s REISA training, there are two clear choices. So what will it be… sell property, or run a real estate agency?

Genevieve Toop

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