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INDUSTRY INFLUENCERS PAGE 19VISION REIMAGINED PAGE 66DIGITAL LEADERSHIP PAGE 78LEARN FROM THE BESTLEADERSHIP10 WAYS TO FUTURE PROOF YOUR BUSINESS PROPTECHSTARTUPS MAKING WAVES CUSTOMER SERVICETECH DRIVEN PROBLEM SOLVINGTHE ANNUAL TECHNOLOGY ISSUEBUSINESS WITHOUT BORDERS+BE THE ELITEConnect and share with a group of passionate and motivated industry professionals, read the latest online, see what our writers are talking about and much more.Industry magazines for Real Estate Agents and Property MIssue 31 NOVEMBER 2019eliteagent.comSAMANTHA MCLEAN Managing Editor samantha@eliteagent.comMARK EDWARDS Publisher mark@eliteagent.comKYLIE DULHUNTY Deputy Editor editor@eliteagent.comRENEE REID Marketing/Executive Assistant renee@eliteagent.com.auEDITORIAL TEAM Cassandra Charlesworth Kylie Dulhunty Kylie StevensonMARC NORRIS Designer, Art DirectorSUBSCRIBEeliteagent.com/subscribeBUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR WINNER 2016 | FINALIST 2017 BUSINESS EDITOR OF THE YEAR WINNER 2015, 2018 | FINALIST 2016, 2017FIND US ON FACEBOOKelite.ag/fbFOLLOW ON INSTAGRAMelite.ag/instaCONNECT WITH THE TRIBEcommunity.eliteagent.comPRO DIGITAL MEMBERSHIPelite.ag/proADVERTISE IN ELITE AGENTeliteagent.com/advertiseSEEN SOMETHING WE’VE MISSED?newsroom@eliteagent.comBUSINESS MAGAZINE COVER OF THE YEAR FINALIST 2018 MAGAZINE LAUNCH ISSUE OF THE YEAR FINALIST 2019BASS Publications Pty Ltd(a subsidiary of A Bit of This Publishing Pty Ltd) ACN 169 805 921 Postal Address: Suite 904, 121 Walker Street North Sydney NSW 2060 Telephone +61 2 8854 6123 Registered by Australia Post/Print Post 100020180 EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS The publisher welcomes editorial submissions from individuals and organisations within the real estate profession. The publisher reserves the right to edit, modify, reject or contribute to the content of the material provided. EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Some opinions expressed in Elite Agent are not necessarily those of its staff or contributors. Those opinions are reproduced with no guarantee of accuracy although Elite Agent endeavours to ensure those opinions and comments are factual. Our subscriber list may sometimes be made available to relevant brands who might be of interest to our readers and from time to time we may be in touch to inform you of new Elite Agent products and services. Please visit eliteagent.com/privacy for details on how we collect and use your personal information. Please email subscriptions@eliteagent.com if you would rather not receive these communications. © Elite Agent 2019. All rights reserved.ON THE COVER 036 BUSINESS WITHOUT BORDERS The eXp cloud expands to AustraliaELITE AGENT 006 EDITOR’S LETTER Samantha McLean 008 READER PROFILE Grant Matterson 012 STREET MBA SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE It’s a wrap 014 THE WATER COOLER Catch up on what you may have missed 080 URBAN OBSESSIONS The smart home3630 MINUTES WITH 010 DAVID HOLMAN CEO Direct Connect016 TECH-DRIVEN PROBLEM SOLVING Josh Phegan 018 TOGETHER WITH TECHNOLOGY Tomas Varsavsky 020 LEVERAGING YOUR ASSETS Caroline Bolderston 024 CONVEYOR BELT TO SUCCESS Alex Ouwens 026 WHOSE GOAL IS IT ANYWAY? Fiona BlayneyREGULARS 028 DATA INSIGHTS Eddie Cetin 030 BUSINESS MATTERS John Knight 032 PEOPLE PARTNER Sarah Dawson 033 REALTY BYTES Alister Maple-Brown 034 WORD ON THE STREET Hannah Gill54040 TECH STARTUPS MAKING WAVES Kylie Dulhunty 044 BYTE SIZE PROPTECH Samantha McLean 046 THE NEW FRONTIER SoldOnline 050 BEATING REAL ESTATE FATIGUE Joel DavorenNOVEMBER 2019022 ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY Mark McLeodTECHNOLOGY, SALES AND BEST PRACTICECONTENTSFIRST PERSON052 LET IT GO Pancho Mehrotra 054 CAN’T SLOW DOWN Kylie Dulhunty 058 ASK THE SALES COACH Claudio EncinaPROPERTY MANAGEMENT 060 USE IT OR LOSE IT Tara Bradbury 061 HOW TO SURVIVE IN THE CX ECONOMY Helen Morris 062 WIN THE COST WAR Jo-Anne Oliveri 064 THE DOS AND DON’TS OF LANDLORD INSURANCE Sharon Fox-Slater 066 VISION REIMAGINED Alistair and Tony Maple-Brown 068 HOW TO RESOLVE A TENANCY DISPUTE Nick Brown 070 ASK THE PM COACH Heidi Walkinshaw, Lauren Kirk and Kate BenjaminLEADERSHIP 072 10 WAYS TO FUTURE PROOF YOUR BUSINESS Gihan Perera 074 LEAH JAY: THE QUIET ACHIEVER Cassandra Charlesworth 076 BLOOD, SWEAT AND NO TEARS Simone Firns, Network Pacific 078 LEADERSHIP IN A DIGITAL AGE Steve CarrollEDITOR’S LETTERII’ll never forget the moment the managing partner of the mid-tier accounting firm I was working for looked up at me standing in his doorway for our scheduled 4pm meeting. He peered over the top of his reading glasses and beckoned me forward. I felt like Melanie Griffith’s character in Working Girl, suffering a major case of imposter syndrome while still attempting to appear grown-up, calm and professional. The year was 1993, and I was 22. On this day, as with most other days, there was this air of important stuff going on around the big boss.plus the implementation of this even newer cutting-edge technology called electronic mail. I had also worked out what I thought might be the return on investment. To me, it was a cool idea I thought would make everything more efficient. But what I held in my hands would rock the firm, a workplace steeped in decades of tradition, to its core. For decades, things had worked just fine. The partners each had secretaries who had computers and shared printers. When important matters needed to be communicated to staff, thoseBut what I held in my hands would rock the firm, a workplace steeped in decades of tradition, to its core. As I moved forward, the other male suits in the room were dismissed and I was asked to sit down. Most people ‘at my level’ didn’t even get near this door, let alone inside it. At the time, I couldn’t even say I was fresh out of uni because I was still trying to finish parttime what was supposed to be a three-year, full-time degree. I was just a young woman with ambition and an interest in technology. In my hands was a 16page business case for the technological future of the firm. It was created using a spreadsheet program called Lotus 123, the gold standard in tech at the time. If you could use it you were guaranteed popularity within the four walls of the firm. But on this day I wasn’t so sure, because with this tool I had calculated the cost of putting personal computers on the desks of all professional staff (including the partners)6 ELITE AGENT • NOV 2019secretaries would type a memo in Wordperfect 5.1 (anyone remember those blue screens?). Mailroom staff would distribute the memos into employee pigeon holes. Similar to the secretaries, my team of computer operators were of assistance to the lower-ranked professional staff, entering coded bank statementsinto the computers and returning printed trial balances and profit and loss statements. The pages I was holding that day, were they were accepted, would mean the people I had just talked about would have significant job changes before 12 months were out. The professional staff would be able to do their own stuff. The secretaries would no longer type out memos. So, back to my sit down with the managing partner. After intensely questioning me for an hour, the meeting ended with him laughing kind of nervously and saying, “I’m assuming you’re including me in this, you’re going to have to teach me too!” I was elated he had verbally accepted my proposal. Looking back now, and jokes aside, this was a man who showed incredible courage in even letting me in his door, let alone listening to my proposal. Was I an innovator… or a disrupter? Likely the answer is both. The good people thrived, and things happened differently to what they did before everyone up-skilled and got faster at producing accounts, which improved the client experience.If any of you happen to have kids or teenagers at home or young people in the office, start looking at them with the job title of ‘futurist’. And seriously, could anyone imagine a world now without email – especially when things have moved forward so far you can communicate by voice through a virtual reality platform such as eXp’s. Are holograms next? As I introduce this year’s Annual Technology Issue, I can tell you that what was happening in 1993 is not too different to what is happening now. It’s just happening a lot faster,as consumers and staff demand more and more. So I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts on some of the things you will read in this magazine. With the speed of change comes great opportunity. Don’t feel that you have to continue doing things the way you’ve always done them just because you’ve spent a lot of time and money implementing them. Don’t look back; you’re not going that way.What will work for you in the future and where are the quick wins? If you were starting your business today, what would you do differently? And why aren’t you doing that now? What is the experience you want to provide your customer? Where are the complaints and the points of friction coming from and how can you innovate to improve on them? Lastly, it is likely the tools are there for you, maybe already under your nose, in your office right now. It’s up to you to use them and use them well. A final thought: If any of you happen to have kids or teenagers at home or young people in the office, startlooking at them with the job title of ‘futurist’. You might be scared of what they may say or what ideas they may have, but in all likelihood they are probably a bit scared of you too. Have the conversation with them about how they see themselves finding a place to live when the time comes. You never know how one conversation with a young person without boundaries can turn you into the innovator... or the disrupter.SAMANTHA MCLEAN MANAGING EDITOR samantha@eliteagent.comeliteagent.com 7READER PROFILEBREAD AND BUTTER LJ Hooker Narrabeen’s Grant Matterson started out as a baker, but when the time came to change roles, fate ensured he got his start in real estate. Tell us a bit about yourself and your role. Growing up, I was always very competitive in everything I put my mind to, so this built the habit of practise, practise, practise in me. I love to train and study areas of interest, and real estate is the perfect vehicle for the need to train and practise constantly. I find the training and the courses keep me enthusiastic so I am always looking for the nextcourse to do or a new audiobook to listen to. In another life, I owned a bakery for 15 years, which taught me a lot of lessons in work ethic and people skills. Every day I had regular customers who shared their lives with me because it was a small, open-plan bakery. I depended on these clients to come back every day. When I went into real estate I’d prospect, sometimes foryears, to earn the trust of clients. And the opportunity to sell their biggest asset, their home, was a real honour.Funnily enough, as much as I like PC software, I much prefer iPhone apps and what they can do compared to Android.What motivated you to move into real estate? It was time to change careers after 25 years as a baker/pastry cook. It was time to get on the right side of the clock and life. One of my customers suggested I should look into real estate because I was easy to trust and personable. I looked into it and made the decision that if I was going to do this, I was burning the boat and not looking back. I decided to get my Diploma in Real Estate and go from there. It is funny how life sometimes works because I was also training as a Scuba Dive Master and one of the guys I was there with worked in real estate and said his boss needed someone in the New Year. At the same time, my Dad told me a mate in his motorcycle club owned an agency and was looking for someone. It was the same guy, so that was my start. I have now been in the industry going on 20 years.What are the three apps you can’t live without? I use the photo and video app the most. I have been sending personal videos for years now, and that is becoming my preferred way to leave a message or contact someone who isn’t picking up the phone. I feel SMS can be misinterpreted depending on the mood you are in when you are reading them.How would you describe your relationship with technology? When I owned the bakery, the GST came in, and it was a nightmare. Some products had GST and others did not. Milk, bread and even fruit buns without glaze did not have it, but if you glazed the fruit bun, it did have GST. I had to get a computerised till that could calculate GST. This was the start of my love affair with technology. PC or Mac? I have had both. I prefer the software of a PC, yet a Mac feels better if you are playing around or listening to music. iPhone or Android? I love my iPhone and iPad for so many reasons.8 ELITE AGENT • NOV 2019I love to train and study areas of interest, and real estate is the perfect vehicle for the need to train and practise constantly. Sometimes you wonder what you said to upset someone when it was only the way they viewed the message and the mood they were in. You can get so much more across in your message through video. I also like to do interviews and local area stories about different locations, history or clubs. What piece of future tech are you most looking forward to? Automation. It is difficult to keep up with so many clients, and you need to be able to service them on different levels, depending on their situation and where they are in the real estate cycle. There is a lot of great tech out there already, and I try most of it as it becomes available, and some works for me and others don’t. Sometimes the basics make the most difference when it comes to people. Tech can only go so far when people usually weigh up how you made them feel. nAgent Partner Excellence70%of real estate's top performers across 2018 and 2019* use OpenAgent.Australia's smartest agents understand the value of working with a partner who delivers high calibre, qualified leads and the insights to help them win more listings, more often.Marnie SeinorMcGrath CoogeeFind out more: openagent.com.au/for-agents30 MINUTES WITH…EMPATHY AND I UNDERSTANDING 30 MINUTES WITH DAVID HOLMAN CEO OF DIRECT CONNECT David Holman is at the leadingedge of the Australian energy and sustainability industry. We caught up with him to find out how the company is combining big data and the human connection to better meet the needs of consumers.n an increasingly technological world, David Holman knows people are more important than ever. The Direct Connect Chief Executive Officer says the moving services company’s employees and the vibrant culture within the organisation are what makes things tick. Of course, technology aids their workflow and makes things easier for customers, primarily renters who are moving house, to connect services such as gas, water and electricity. There are also plans to improve the technology they use, heading towards apps and “one-click” moves as well as boost data analytics. But David is steadfast in his belief that tech will not take over. “A very large part of our business is about people talking to people,” David says. “We live in a world of artificial intelligence and one where computers do the heavy lifting, but in my view, they can never replace the empathy of a human being. “And that’s at the core of who we are and what we do.” Over the past 15 years, Direct Connect, which is owned by Snowy Hydro, has helped move more than 1 million households nationwide, connecting electricity, gas, water, phone, internet and pay TV. Direct Connect works with referral partners around Australia, including 1500 real estate offices who send tenants and, increasingly, buyers and sellers to the company to get connected.“We live in a world of artificial intelligence and one where computers do the heavy lifting, but in my view, they can never replace the empathy of a human being.” “We help up to 100,000 people a year to move home and get connected,” David says. “Direct Connect was born out of a desire to create opportunities to help customers. “One of the most stressful times in a person’s life can be moving home, and our ethos is to help make that experience more convenient and easier.” Direct Connect works with more than 20 providers to get customers’ services connected and when clients call, the phone is answered within 10 seconds 90 per cent of the time.10 ELITE AGENT • NOV 2019And you get to speak to a real person. You’ll find those people in the 1909 heritagelisted Bryant and May building in Melbourne. Spread over three levels, the workplace is anything but old-fashioned. David describes the setup as like “viewing the inner workings of a finely-tuned watch”. There are no offices and the customer service consultants form the heart of the workspace – literally and figuratively. “I don’t even have an office,” David says. “The building was designed to be a flexible working space, so there are no offices. “Every part of it has been designed to collaborate, leaders are highly visible, and no one is tucked away in an office in the corner of the building. “There is a buzz from the moment you walk into the building. “Most of our people are on the phones talking to customers every day. “Desks allow people to sit or stand, every headset is wireless and our people have the freedom to express themselves. “They are the depth and breadth of our business.” David says the company fosters career pathways and many customer service consultants have moved into marketing, finance and varying leadership roles. He says the consultants have a taxing job at times as they are often dealing with customers who are moving home due to stressful situations. “I often hear one end of the calls and our consultants are, at times, like a counsellor, and they do a superb job of listening to the stories of our clients,” David says. “That’s important because, as we know, moving can be full of joy, but it can also be full of sorrow depending on why that move is being made. “It might be due to a new job or a new start, but it could also be related to a break-up or a death. “We never want to lose sight of that empathy. “When we use technology, we want to make sure we advance in the right way and that we’re not losing human connection.” One of the ways Direct Connect uses technology to foster its relationships with its customers is via data analysis. It uses various data streams to gain a better understanding of its customers and what services they may desire. But David says data is not used just for the sake of it. “You can be data-rich but insight-poor,” he says. “It’s what you do with that data that matters.“One of the most stressful times in a person’s life can be moving home, and our ethos is to help make that experience more convenient and easier.” “Innovation around data is something we live and breathe, and we use it to better understand our customers. “That’s the most important thing we can do. “When someone is moving home, if you think about a 20-year-old moving out of home for the first time to an apartment, they have very different needs to a family moving interstate for work.” David says in the past year the company has used Roy Morgan data to understand customers’ needs better. “It helps us better predict what different customers want and how they consume media. For example, whether they are home renovators, regional homeowners or inner-city renters,” he says. “It’s mosaic data, but we use that data to say ‘do they have a greater propensity to want pay TV services?’ “Then we can tailor the conversation around their needs.” Going forward, Direct Connect wants to make its technology more intuitive, with rich functionality, to create a “one-click move”. “We want a seamless, integrated process,” David says. “We have an element of that now, but we are continuously improving on that. “The information you provide for a home or a move, once we know that information we don’t want you to have to repeat it time and time again. “When you take up internet, electricity, gas and so on, you don’t want to have tosay the same things multiple times to mu
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