Make sure you go the extra mile for clients
Jerry Tam, an account manager from Centaline Property Agency , decided to enter the property industry shortly after finishing his A-level examinations. His determination prompted him to take the Estate Agents Qualifying Examination and he finally qualified as a licensed individual estate agent in August 2009.
Why did you become an estate agent?
I am quite an active person and running around suits me. I have always been interested in the property market because it is one of the main pillars of Hong Kong's economy.
How long have you been working as an agent?
I have been working at the Mid-Levels West division of Centaline Property Agency since August 2009. I mainly focus on residential properties.
Can you describe a day's work?
It is imperative to stay updated on the news of the local real estate market and economic developments. I read these sections in at least three local newspapers every morning. Apart from keeping abreast of the latest market developments, I need to stay informed of market sentiments as reported by the local media.
I also spend time reviewing my work files to stay on top of the latest transactions over the past few days and check if landlords have made any changes in their asking prices, as well as the information on the landlords.
The afternoon is occupied by making phone calls to clients and accompanying them on visits to properties. Prior to the visits, I need to be well-prepared with detailed information of the specific properties. Our office holds a monthly meeting that involves everyone. Each team also holds weekly meeting in which the members will update one another on new market developments and formulate strategies to stimulate sales. We also discuss new regulations introduced by the government and exchange ideas on ways to adapt to the new business environment.
What is job satisfaction to you?
First and foremost, I can meet my quotas for the month. I also feel encouraged when clients are satisfied with my services and recommend me to their friends or relatives. It shows that they have confidence and trust in me.
What have been the highs and lows in your career so far?
The market was booming several years ago. I made nearly HK$3.5 million in commissions for the company in the year 2010-2011. It plummeted to HK$1.5 million in 2012.
How do you weather the market downturn?
Fluctuations in the local property market are a reality. No matter what market conditions are, I will persevere because I consider being a real estate agent my lifelong career. It is vital to constantly upgrade our service quality and go the extra mile in providing clients with more up-to-date market information. I will keep a potential client interested by recommending newly available properties to him, even though I know very well he will not make a purchase in the near future. I believe these extra efforts will pay off when the market bottoms out.
Increasing your professional knowledge in diverse areas is of paramount importance. Although I focus on residential properties, I have also expanded my knowledge base to cover new developments in the commercial property sale and leasing segment so that I can show clients newly available retail space or offices when they make any relevant inquiries. I aim to build a holistic approach in my services.
What are the advantages and challenges in your particular market?
Mid-Levels West is a big area with a broad variety of properties available for sale catering to diverse clients. The challenge is that competition among estate agents is intense. Centaline alone has a 200-strong sales force in the district. Differentiation is the key. Again, diligence and customer service are important. I would even source information on other districts on my clients' behalf.
What is your advice to newcomers?
Newcomers should make an effort to memorise detailed information on specific buildings, such as the year of completed construction, floor area of units for sale, street numbers, the direction a building faces, and relevant regulations and tax rates. It is crucial to memorise this information and provide the details in response to clients' questions right away. It gives them confidence and enhances your image of professionalism.
What is your goal five years from now?
I want to become the leader of a team of 10 in the Mid-Levels West district. And the team's overall sales will be in the top three out of all sales teams in the district.