THE HU­MAN CON­NEC­TION

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - Megan Jaffe

ON THE LEAFY FRINGE of Auck­land’s CBD, Ray White Re­muera Prin­ci­pal Megan Jaffe has es­tab­lished her­self as one of the most suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tors in the busi­ness. Her com­pany has been crowned the Ray White In­ter­na­tional Of­fice of the Year con­sis­tently since 2015, and com­prises a team of over 50 sales­peo­ple and 22 ad­min­is­tra­tion staff, sell­ing over $800 mil­lion worth of prop­erty a year. Ahead of her key­note at AREC 2018, Megan tells Elite Agent why suc­cess comes down to gen­uine hu­man con­nect­ed­ness and al­ways hav­ing the client’s in­ter­ests at heart.

“I did an MBA, be­cause I was ab­so­lutely rapt that peo­ple thought I was in­tel­li­gent enough to do one.”

MEGAN JAFFE learnt an in­valu­able les­son early in her work­ing life: Be true to yourself. It was a mes­sage that came to her time and again in the fi­nal words of the pa­tients she nursed as a young health pro­fes­sional, and it’s a phi­los­o­phy she con­tin­ues as she leads Aus­trala­sia’s most suc­cess­ful real es­tate agency, Ray White Re­muera.

The in­dus­tries may be vastly dif­fer­ent, but the care and com­pas­sion she of­fers and the trust she has en­gen­dered in both are tes­ta­ment to Megan be­ing true to what she be­lieves. Her ethos sees her ‘walk with’ rather than man­age her highly suc­cess­ful real es­tate teams, and draws agents from across the globe who seek to un­der­stand, repli­cate and learn from her skill.

The re­sult is an agency that has gone from strength to strength, and is now con­sis­tently ranked at the top of Ray White’s pres­ti­gious pile.

A COM­MIT­MENT TO CARE

Megan’s ca­reer be­gan in an in­dus­try far dif­fer­ent to the heady world of real es­tate sales and it started at a young age. “I left school at about 16 and be­came a reg­is­tered nurse,” she ex­plains. “Both my sis­ters were reg­is­tered nurses, as was my mum. So I just fol­lowed the nat­u­ral path­way.”

It was a ca­reer she felt hon­oured to be part of and that set the tone for how she in­ter­acts with peo­ple.

“It taught me the priv­i­lege of work­ing with peo­ple at a very pri­vate level… I also learnt ex­tremely good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills… but the real learn­ing was in what they wanted to share in the fi­nal mo­ments or days of their lives.

“Most peo­ple wished they had been more true to them­selves; they wished they’d lived a life which was the life they chose as op­posed to a life of pleas­ing oth­ers or ful­fill­ing oth­ers’ de­sires for them. That was a very big mes­sage that I came away with from that ex­pe­ri­ence, and it has stayed with me through­out my en­tire life.”

Her first foray into busi­ness came af­ter a brief stint as a drug rep and was in the form of a part­ner­ship with her car­di­ol­o­gist hus­band, War­wick Jaffe. With few jobs avail­able for full-time heart spe­cial­ists in the pub­lic sec­tor, the pair teamed up with other doc­tors to start their own prac­tice.

“I worked with him as his busi­ness man­ager for 15 years, build­ing that busi­ness to be the big­gest pri­vate sec­tor car­di­ol­ogy prac­tice in New Zealand. It was a busi­ness of cus­tomer service wrapped around health­care, so it was re­ally lovely.”

But Megan soon felt the call to pur­sue her own dreams, and real es­tate was a nat­u­ral fit. “I felt it was time to be known as Megan Jaffe, as op­posed to Dr Jaffe’s wife. I had been sell­ing prop­er­ties through­out our time in busi­ness… our res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties. I was al­ways in­ter­ested in, fas­ci­nated ac­tu­ally, by prop­erty and the whole process around it.”

Megan went back to school, study­ing for a Diploma of Man­age­ment amidst a per­sonal con­cern she didn’t have the acu­men it would take. Her fear gave her a fierce com­mit­ment to learn­ing that re­sulted in straight A’s, and saw her in­vited to pur­sue a Master of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“So I went on and did an MBA; not

be­cause I wanted to, but be­cause I was ab­so­lutely rapt that peo­ple thought I was in­tel­li­gent enough to do one,” she laughs. “And I’m ter­ri­bly grate­ful that I did.”

Megan has used much of that learn­ing in Ray White Re­muera, in­clud­ing a big-pic­ture ap­proach to busi­ness and a com­mit­ment to cus­tomer service. But she also in­cor­po­rates her own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence on the cus­tomer side of real es­tate.

“I had an ex­pe­ri­ence as a ven­dor which wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily good. I came into real es­tate be­cause I could see there was an op­por­tu­nity to help peo­ple, to give them a bet­ter level of service.

“[As an agent] you have the most won­der­ful abil­ity to be a part of peo­ple’s lives as they’re tran­si­tion­ing from one chap­ter to the next.”

BRING­ING EV­ERY­BODY HOME

Megan’s ex­pe­ri­ence and philoso­phies on col­lab­o­ra­tion have nat­u­rally flowed through to their stately of­fice in Re­muera’s main street, where there’s al­ways a lively am­bi­ence and en­er­getic buzz.

Here Megan’s 11 sales teams share ideas, while col­lab­o­rat­ing and of­fer­ing each other sup­port.

They work to­gether to recog­nise trends in what is New Zealand’s most com­pet­i­tive mar­ket and high­est rev­enue-earn­ing sub­urb, where there are 9,000 homes and sales av­er­age around $1.2 bil­lion a year. Each mem­ber of the team is equally val­ued for the ex­per­tise they bring. Ques­tions are en­cour­aged, help is read­ily sought and col­lab­o­ra­tion is at the heart of what they do.

That shar­ing has en­abled Ray White Re­muera to ex­pand over the last few years into the cur­rent 600m2, pur­pose-de­signed of­fice space sit­ting be­hind a her­itage fa­cade in the heart of the bustling sub­urb. It’s a far cry from the five older of­fices the busi­ness had grown to en­com­pass.

“So ba­si­cally we out­grew ev­ery­thing we had,” says Megan, “But the nice thing is that in those of­fices, which were not par­tic­u­larly ap­peal­ing, the peo­ple worked so beau­ti­fully that it just grew and grew.

“Once we’d gath­ered all the peo­ple who fit­ted who we are to­day, I felt so good about it that I de­cided to make the in­vest­ment to build the phys­i­cal build­ing that would house us and bring ev­ery­body home.”

The re­sult is a beau­ti­fully ap­pointed, state- of-the-art build­ing that serves the needs of clients and caters to her teams. When ar­eas of the build­ing are not in use, they’re shared with com­mu­nity groups in need of a meet­ing space.

“That means the build­ing is alive all the time, and it’s for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity as well,” Megan says.

THE CLIENT’S IN­TER­ESTS AT HEART

Be­yond the phys­i­cal beauty and func­tion­al­ity of the workspace, Megan is acutely aware of her role in sup­port­ing and main­tain­ing team morale. Each morn­ing, long be­fore the work­day starts, she takes time to meditate, re­flect on the day be­fore and ex­er­cise, in the knowl­edge that her state of mind will im­pact the en­tire team.

“My headspace is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal, be­cause every­one in­side the com­pany gets their lead from me. I also teach ev­ery per­son in­side the com­pany to get them­selves in a good headspace, be­cause every­one’s tak­ing the vibe from them as well.”

This re­flec­tion and shared re­spon­si­bil­ity al­lows her to in­stil a care­fully con­sid­ered vi­sion and cul­ture into the busi­ness she leads.

“I have an ex­tremely clear vi­sion for the com­pany: To be the agency of choice, work­ing with like-minded sales­peo­ple to de­liver service ex­cel­lence to our cus­tomers to the best of our abil­ity. Our com­pany val­ues are so sim­ple: to have the client’s in­ter­ests at heart, first and fore­most, and to de­liver

“The cul­ture is cre­ated by the peo­ple in­side this busi­ness. It isn’t me, it’s us; if I’m not here, it’s still the same.”

service ex­cel­lence to ev­ery per­son who comes into our realm.”

The re­sult is a warm and in­clu­sive at­mos­phere that draws other real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als from across the globe to visit and ob­serve what oc­curs.

“I’m re­ally grate­ful when peo­ple ap­proach us and say ‘We’ve heard about your of­fice. We’ve heard about some things. We’d love to come and take a look’. Be­cause the peo­ple that come here are like-minded, they’re swap­ping ideas, and we’ve made th­ese neat friends which is be­com­ing a global com­mu­nity where we’re shar­ing ideas.”

This ethos sees Ray White Re­muera uni­ver­sally recog­nised and ac­claimed within the in­dus­try, as Ray White Group Chair­man Brian White notes.

“Ray White Re­muera is an ab­so­lutely unique busi­ness – a one-of-a-kind. Over the past decade, the busi­ness has grown from a hand­ful of agents to a high-func­tion­ing team of 75. A then-small busi­ness ac­count­ing for three sales in ev­ery hun­dred in the lo­cal ar­eas has trans­formed into a mar­ket-lead­ing agency that now sells one in three homes.”

BUILD­ING A BUSI­NESS THAT EN­DURES

It’s not just the busi­ness model but Megan’s lead­er­ship that at­tracts ready praise. Brian White goes on to say how Megan Jaffe is cel­e­brated as one of the very best lead­ers in the Ray White Group.

While Megan wel­comes the ac­co­lade, she’s quick to share the ac­claim. “The rea­son why this com­pany’s so won­der­ful is it’s got a great cul­ture and the cul­ture is cre­ated by the peo­ple who are in­side this busi­ness. It isn’t me, it’s us, and the neat thing is if I’m not here, it’s still the same.

“I’m very fo­cused on service ex­cel­lence but it’s also about en­durance. It’s about build­ing a com­pany that en­dures way past the busi­ness owner.”

And when it comes to lead­er­ship, Megan is renowned for her strong views, not­ing many hold a po­si­tion of author­ity or own­er­ship rather than true lead­er­ship be­liefs. “Within our in­dus­try I see a lot of peo­ple fo­cused on profit, I see a lot of peo­ple fo­cused on self-in­ter­est, I see a lot of peo­ple fo­cused on mat­ters re­lated to ego, but not nec­es­sar­ily fo­cused on do­ing what’s right for their peo­ple over a long pe­riod of time.

“I com­pletely un­der­stand that we need to make a profit. I to­tally un­der­stand our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as busi­ness own­ers. But when a per­son joins my com­pany, I’m there for their growth – their growth within the com­pany’s growth, and the by-prod­uct that comes is the profit piece.”

It is this pas­sion and in­sight into her agents’ growth and suc­cess that Megan will share when she takes to the stage at the Aus­tralasian Real Es­tate Con­fer­ence in May.

“I’m very lucky that I sit in this spot where I’m see­ing lots of peo­ple tran­si­tion­ing from be­ing half-a-mil­lion dol­lar writ­ers. I’m go­ing to talk about the com­mon­al­i­ties I see… what they do in­side their busi­ness and also as peo­ple, not only to achieve suc­cess, but how to build con­sis­tency so that’s en­dur­ing for them over time. And in ad­di­tion to that, how they keep bal­ance in their lives.” Megan Jaffe will dis­cuss ‘Cre­at­ing mil­lion­dol­lar agents that en­dure’ at AREC 2018 on Sun­day, May 27. To book, visit arec­confer­ence. com. For an ex­tended in­ter­view with Megan Jaffe on the Elite Agent pod­cast El­e­vate, visit eliteagent.com/el­e­vate.

WORDS: CAS­SAN­DRA CHARLESWORTH IN­TER­VIEW: SA­MAN­THA MCLEAN

“I com­pletely un­der­stand that we need to make a profit. But when a per­son joins my com­pany, I’m there for their growth.”

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