Sarah Bell, Director at Brad Bell Real Estate joins us for episode one of Real Estate Pros. Sarah shares her journey in the real estate industry, how Brad Bell Real Estate have aligned sales and property management with outstanding results and what the benefits have been from building a coffee shop in the side of their office.
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With the post-GFC realism, many real estate businesses have made hard, yet extremely necessary changes not only in business strategies, but also for some, core structures in their organisation to cope and thrive. Sarah Bell brings experience-forged insights from her leadership role at Brad Bell Real Estate to ensure that no matter the industry’s uncertainties there will always be solid footing to grow their real estate business.
Sarah advises that it is best to first understand how the separate cash contributions of your property management and sales departments affect your business. While sales might bring in large numbers of cash with each settlement, assessing the asset value and returns from the rent roll will provide much needed long-term security.
“[When] you’re putting yourself in a good position of parity where your property management department can cover your costs and things like that, it’s an excellent foundation to have in your business.”
It’s widely known that property management has traditionally been regarded as merely playing second fiddle, like a poor cousin to sales, getting only hand-me-down support from the business owners. Empowering and engaging the property management team and giving them the tools to truly engage in the success of a business at the same level of your sales team is key. At Brad Bell, this has resulted in the more than doubling of their rent roll since 2010 and they are now looking forward to tripling. This has also facilitated the expansion of their business to a third location dedicated especially to customer service and experience shared by both departments.
It’s often said that some of the best ways to grow your real estate business comes from thinking outside of the box when it comes to marketing. In the case of Brad Bell, a coffee shop was opened in the side of their office. The notion had a brilliant two-fold benefit: first, that the coffee shop was a logical business decision; but secondly, having the coffee shop was a way to bring members of the community to their doorstep and just hang out.
Sarah adds that “Relying on the success of a multi-million dollar agent to bring success to your organisation is indeed inspiring, but should not be the be-all-and-end-all solution to building a sustainable real estate business”.
“I say all the time, I’d rather have ten agents earing $100,000 than one agent earning a million dollars because I’m more interested in organisational maturity and if we would look at the process that we’ve been through as an office, it has been about maturing the organisation, training, and skilling up everyone in line with that maturity which is again in line with our vision.”
Sarah adds “the effort of a ‘Heroic Agent’ is exceptional and admirable, but the bottom line is that it is not sustainable and is very difficult to replicate. The solution lies in establishing basic processes that eventually become the standards that your organization can build upon and improve…. If you map out that process and you’re faithful to that process, then you can’t not be successful.”
By being able to establish themselves as a reputable company that is helpful to the lives of their clients and prospects, Brad Bell have built lifelong partnerships with their community where they have become more than just customers or clients, but as advocates and loyal fans long term. “I mean what we do is grounded in a belief that if we help people, they’re going to pay us back with their loyalty and their business….”
Who has been an inspiration to you throughout your career?
Brad Bell (Father-in-law) and James Bell (Husband and Sales Consultant).
What are your favourite things in the world to do when you’re not at the office?
Spending time with the kids, watching rugby union, stand-up paddleboarding and reading.
What is your favourite business book?
“Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype” by New York Best Selling Author, Jay Baer.
What is your favourite technology resource you use daily to help you run a better business?
What is ‘one thing’ that prevents people in real estate from achieving success and what would your advice be to overcome it?
“Being eclectic about roles – Meaning you focus on what you’re good at and stick to that while ignoring the rest”.
Fast Fact of the Week
According to the 2014 Image of Trusted Professions survey conducted by Roy Morgan Research among tens of thousands of Australians, real estate agents ranked a disconcerting 28th out of 30 falling 3% from the previous year. In contrast, our most trusted professions in Australia are medical professionals and high court judges.
Discovery of the Week
TrackR Bravo is an exciting new gadget that helps you locate lost keys, wallets or phones. When you’ve misplaced your phone and need to track it, it rings your phone via a downloadable app. The neat device can be attached to your bag or keys and can easily fit into your pocket. You can even engrave your company logo or name to it, making it a great gift idea or to use when handing out keys to tradespeople.
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