Shining prospects at Raine and Horne
The 128-year old Australian company, which specialises in selling or leasing investment-grade international property, counts 350 offices in more than 20 countries. But the Hong Kong franchise, with its 10-year history, is not resting on its laurels; it is planning to expand in the city, as well as in the region.
"We see ourselves expanding. With challenged economies in many parts of the world and the vagaries of the stock market, Hong Kong investors realise the importance of portfolio diversity," says John Monaghan, who took over as managing director of Raine and Horne's Hong Kong office in August last year.
"In addition, Hong Kong has the highest rate of property ownership in the world, and leverage has always attracted great interest," he says, adding that liquidity in Asia is still high and that developers in New Zealand and Australia are keen to promote their properties here.
Currently working with about 20 staff in sales and marketing positions, Monaghan is planning to double his staff in Hong Kong. In 2013, he hopes to expand the brand to Singapore and mainland China.
"Our culture is quite unique," he says, explaining that the customer is most important of all, followed by the frontline sales and marketing staff - owing to the fact that they interface with the customer.
"The managers are there to support the frontline staff - about five or six people in each team - and the managing director is there `to create opportunities for them'," he says.
Monaghan sees the client relationship very much as a kind of coaching, with the sales staff giving clients tips and training on opportunities. Human resources tasks are taken seriously in the company, and Monaghan shows a "recruitment and selection handbook" and a thick "training manual" he himself penned.
Monaghan has opened some 14 offices during his career in different parts of the world.
"We recruit champions and train them well," he says of his team. "You can teach business techniques, but you have to start with the right kind of person."
Monaghan looks for people who are ambitious and committed, who want to be trained and to have a career. "They should work hard but also be smart, and they should be inventive and unorthodox," he says.
Adding to the list of attributes, he says of the recruits: "They should be engaging, because we not only want one sale - we want to be a lifelong partner, for generations to come," he says.
Most importantly, Monaghan looks for a good service attitude. "You can have anything you want in the world if you first help the other person to have what they want," he says.
Staff must also be respectful.
Monaghan says the culture of the company is very team-based. Managers help their group members without asking to split commission, and there are a lot of cross-over functions that require team work.
He is happy to employ people in the sales function with no previous sales experience. He adds that in the past, he employed two teachers who, after training, performed very well.