A SHARED VI­SION

Elite Property Manager - - CONTENTS - HAN­NAH BLACKISTON

Kylie Walsh

DI JONES GEN­ERAL MAN­AGER KYLIE WALSH al­ways wanted to go into real es­tate and opened her own of­fice at the age of 21. Hav­ing held roles in all as­pects of the busi­ness, it’s a pas­sion for train­ing and re­tain­ing great staff that drives her and the work she does with prop­erty man­agers.

I al­ways knew it was go­ing to be real es­tate. I did work ex­pe­ri­ence in years nine and ten at a lo­cal real es­tate of­fice,” says Ms Walsh.

From re­cep­tion to leas­ing to new busi­ness, Ms Walsh’s ini­tial foray into real es­tate took her through all roles, then into sales at 20 years old. She pur­chased her own of­fice at just 21.

“Like any prin­ci­pal hav­ing to keep their head above wa­ter, I did a bit of every­thing. We grew the port­fo­lio from 31 prop­er­ties to 485 or­gan­i­cally. It was very bou­tique, good qual­ity prop­erty man­age­ment.”

Af­ter sell­ing her of­fice in 2007,

Ms Walsh moved to a cor­po­rate role at Elders Lim­ited, over­see­ing the Queens­land real es­tate di­vi­sion for the group, then back to Syd­ney to over­see New South Wales and the ACT, be­fore tak­ing on the Na­tional Op­er­a­tions role. Fi­nally, af­ter a four year stint at LJ Hooker C or­po­rate, came the move into the GM role at Di Jones in April 2014.

“One of the hard­est things in our in­dus­try, when com­pa­nies get big, is to have a brand that doesn’t con­note some­thing neg­a­tive. I loved the brand be­cause it was so clean; it had a re­ally for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion and I thought, ‘We can re­ally do some­thing here’.”

This ca­reer path through real es­tate, with the ex­pe­ri­ence she has gained in all as­pects of the in­dus­try, has led to Ms Walsh want­ing to change the way PMs are man­aged in the busi­ness. She re­cently spoke at the 2018 PPM Con­fer­ence to ad­dress some of the is­sues in main­tain­ing staff in real es­tate of­fices. It’s why she’s so pas­sion­ate about train­ing in prop­erty man­age­ment, and the crossover from sales.

“I think in­dus­try lead­ers and man­agers are par­tic­u­larly bad at fos­ter­ing re­la­tion­ship-build­ing with prop­erty man­agers. Tra­di­tion­ally, prop­erty man­agers are very good at dot­ting their i’s and cross­ing their t’s. We need to be more mind­ful when we’re on­board­ing that in prop­erty man­age­ment they don’t have the nat­u­ral abil­ity to sell like sales­peo­ple do.”

Ms Walsh uses the ex­am­ple of an up­com­ing client night as a method to train prop­erty man­agers in sales. Af­ter lis­ten­ing to their calls with clients, and re­al­is­ing that the num­bers were dis­mally poor, she de­cided it was time to take a dif­fer­ent tac­tic.

“The way the team were pro­mot­ing it on the phone, I wouldn’t come. So I did a scripts and di­a­logues night. We do it with sales­peo­ple, but how com­mon is that with our PM team? Creat­ing a com­pe­ti­tion for our guys to fill seats for the client night and en­cour­ag­ing them like our sales team, chang­ing the be­hav­iour and the out­come, we’ve now got 50 peo­ple com­ing to a night where we had no­body,” she says.

“I don’t think we spend enough time with our prop­erty man­age­ment peo­ple. In our busi­ness a lot of profit comes from our PM team, but so many re­sources go to the sales team. I think sit­ting down with the prop­erty man­age­ment guys ev­ery week and go­ing over ar­rears, rou­tines, lease re­newals is so an­ti­quated, so 1985; our guys know how to do that, or we wouldn’t em­ploy them or keep them.”

It’s hav­ing a shared vi­sion

for the busi­ness that keeps prop­erty man­agers and prin­ci­pals on the same page, says Ms Walsh. Busi­nesses would ben­e­fit from sit­ting down with all their em­ploy­ees, not just the sales team, and for­mu­lat­ing plans for ca­reer de­vel­op­ment.

“We’ve got one re­ally great girl at the mo­ment who was a fi­nal­ist for Sup­port Per­son of the Year at the PPM Awards, and that’s ex­actly what we’ve done for her – she’s come in, she’s been a cadet, she’s just about to tran­si­tion into leas­ing. We know

“WE NEED TO BE MIND­FUL THAT IN PROP­ERTY MAN­AGE­MENT THEY DON’T HAVE THE NAT­U­RAL ABIL­ITY TO SELL THAT SALES­PEO­PLE DO.”

“IN OUR BUSI­NESS A LOT OF PROFIT COMES FROM OUR PM TEAM, BUT SO MANY RE­SOURCES GO TO SALES.”

“IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE RE­LA­TION­SHIPS AND YOU’RE NOT PRO­VID­ING VALUE THEN BE VERY FRIGHT­ENED. SIM­PLE AS THAT.”

on the 30th of June next year that she’ll go into a BDM role; two years in there and she’ll go into a sales as­so­ciate role. “It keeps us ac­count­able – it’s not just for her. The meet­ings have been made, she knows she’s got a four-year plan with us, she knows what the com­mis­sion will look like, she knows what the renu­mer­a­tion looks like; so when other peo­ple try to ap­proach her she can say 'No, I've got a plan'. I know about her fam­ily; I know what drives her.” At her PPM Con­fer­ence key­note, Ms Walsh touched on the im­por­tance of build­ing th­ese re­la­tion­ships in a team. She said she hoped that ask­ing both PMs and prin­ci­pals to look at their vi­sions and goals for their team would en­cour­age some “tough con­ver­sa­tions”, but ul­ti­mately make the in­dus­try bet­ter for the prop­erty man­agers work­ing in it. If th­ese re­la­tion­ships don’t de­velop, the in­dus­try is at risk of churn­ing over PMs and fail­ing to hold on to good team play­ers, she says. Es­pe­cially in tough mar­kets, putting an em­pha­sis on PMs to be good re­la­tion­ship-builders, and help­ing them un­cover their in­ner sales­per­son with tai­lored train­ing ses­sions, was the only way for prof­itable rent rolls to sur­vive. “At the end of the day, this in­dus­try is about re­la­tion­ships, and if you don’t have the re­la­tion­ships and you’re not pro­vid­ing value then be very fright­ened. Sim­ple as that.” ■

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