REA Group has set up a new business growth and industry partnerships team to bolster support for the real estate sector, with one of its first projects focusing on property manager wellbeing.
Marini Gils leads the innovative team as director of business growth and industry partnerships, while former head of Jellis Craig’s property management department, Sam Nokes, has been named head of industry partnerships.
“REA, as a company, has always been customer-centric in the way it does business, and the introduction of the Business Growth and Industry Partnerships team, we believe, further demonstrates our commitment to establishing strong relationships with all of our customers in the market,” said Ms. Gils.
“Our goal as a team is to partner with and support the industry.”
One of the first projects the team will bring to market in March is Prosper, an online wellness hub for property managers.
Prosper will provide property managers with a range of resources, conversations and advice from leading industry and mental health experts to support their well-being.
Mr Nokes said the idea for the online center came from REA customers who told the group about their concerns about burnout and exodus from the industry.
“We sat down with a group of our top customers and tried to figure out what their issues were right now,” he said.
“One of the biggest issues in the property management space nationally is this ‘The Great Resignation’ issue. All businesses are suffering from this mass exodus from the industry and in Victoria it is compounded by the change in legislation concerning the qualifications of real estate agents.
“So not only are people leaving the industry, but there aren’t as many new people joining, given the new education requirements.”
Mr Nokes said the team analyzed how best to partner with and support the property management industry to solve the problem and decided to bring together a range of resources, including trainers and clients whose stories and experiences could be shared to help others.
“So we are in the process of setting up a program where we can showcase our clients and their experiences, mentorship and stories to ensure that property management professionals across the country feel supported and like they have someone with them.
“While there are great agencies where you might have a fantastic head of department and a really committed director, a great team structure and good corporate support and training, there are also offices like the first in which I worked, where you are the only property manager in the office.
Mr Nokes said the feeling of isolation had been made worse over the past two years due to the pandemic, with many property managers working from home.
“They didn’t have that teammate behind them that they could turn around and talk to,” he said.
“So through our conversations with the industry, we thought, ‘how can we try to create that?'”
Ms Gils said industry partnerships was just one of three areas the new team would focus on, the other two being a specialist sales team and an area of customer retention and sponsorship.
She said the dedicated sales team has been designed to ensure new products are introduced to the industry as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“We are here to provide personalized training and support so that new products deliver real and meaningful value to all of our partners, whether by improving efficiency, providing insights or increasing return on investment,” said Ms. Gils.
“An immediate example of this is our Connect product for our residential customers.
“In a nutshell, it provides data and insights that streamline the process for agents to attract, nurture and convert leads, meaning they can focus their attention on what matters most to them. “
Ms. Gils said the customer loyalty and referrals section focused on reinvesting in the real estate industry and included initiatives such as the Advantage program.
The program offers events, professional development opportunities, industry sponsorships and community grants to REA Group clients.
“We’re not just looking to continue this program, but to strengthen and expand it further,” Ms. Gils said.
Mr Nokes said he was excited about his new role as Head of Industry Partnerships and that, having been in the real estate industry for 15 years, he understood the issues he faced.
“My goal is to capitalize on the experience I’ve gained and help REA Group guide this strategy from the inside, and essentially be the voice of the customer within REA,” he said. declared.
“I’m here to partner with and support our customers, and for us, partnership is really about looking at initiatives that are important to them and understanding how we can improve that.
“From a support perspective, we want to understand what each of our customers are trying to accomplish and say, ‘How can we help you through this?'”
Mr Nokes said another area he would be responsible for is partnering with other industry bodies, such as the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).
He said he was excited to expand this partnership and support initiatives such as the REIA Awards, as well as using data and insights from the REA Group to help the REIA inform policy and officers. on a national level.
The new Business Growth and Industry Partnerships team joins the Client Group, which was formed in 2021 as part of the group’s shift to a client-centric model managed by Chief Client Officer Kul Singh.
Mr Singh said it was fantastic to have Mr Nokes join the REA Group.
“We wanted an industry partnerships manager who understands the industry, who understands what the hot topics are and what we can do to evolve and also shape our approach,” he said.
“We are investing, growing and focusing more on our customers.”