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Build it and they will come with Lachlan Turner

With Lachlan Turner, Turner Real Estate

How refining & defining your sales process helps make your company worth joining

The best agents in the business want to progress their careers. They want to partner with a great team, one that will give them the freedom to let them do what they do best. They want to know: is this a company worth joining?

Lachlan Turner, from Turner Real Estate in Adelaide, wants to attract the best agents to his business and add value to their careers. While Turners has a bumper rent roll of 2,000 properties under management and has a solid reputation in the industry, Lachlan knew he had to change the business model, address leadership and lock down the sales process in order to attract the kinds of agents he wanted in his business. He explains, “Our business has been trading for almost thirty years, initially under the Elders brand, and my father, who founded the business, had a strong profile within the industry. So for starters, there was a perception that it was still his business. Secondly, it was seen as an older, more traditional agency and thirdly, as Principal, I was still listing and selling, meaning I was competing against other agents on the team."

Lachlan conducted a SWOT analysis and decided to focus on what he identified as their number one weakness – leadership. He knew once the right leadership structure was established everything else would fall into place. So, the company took the radical step of restructuring. They established an informal board, which they refer to as an advisory panel. Lachlan explains, “Our advisory panel consists of our CEO, Emma Slape, myself as Managing Director and Principal, our Sales Manager, Martin Betts and my father, Robin Turner, who is the Executive Chairman. We come together as a leadership team to share and discuss ideas.” With a non-selling Principal at the helm, the focus at Turners is now on employees and creating an environment in which everyone can excel.

No longer listing and selling, Lachlan is the team coach who leads, recruits, rerecruits and seeks out ways to add value every day. He is adamant that too many people in real estate are left on their own when what they really need is guidance.

Lachlan says, “No one would put a property on the market without giving the owners the right advice about how to present it for sale. But real estate companies expect people to join their companies when there is no sales process in place. This is a leadership issue to sort out."

With the benefit of a 10,000 entry CRM and 3,000 clean leads built over fifteen years behind him, Lachlan now focuses on lead generation for the entire team in addition to his coaching role. He says while transitioning “hasn’t been easy”, the new structure creates outstanding outcomes and is immediately valuable to great agents looking for a change. He explains, “If a principal or an owner can remove themselves from selling and competing against the team, it creates the ideal scenario. For instance, I just shot off two leads to the team and, of those two, we got one listing. So the immediate impact to the team is that, not only is the Principal not selling, but he's giving his lead to us and now we’re selling them. That’s very powerful."

Lachlan’s position is fully funded by the team. He says, “20% of the commission from each sale comes back to the company and the salespeople get 80%. It’s a win, win situation."

Once the management structure was in place, Lachlan turned his attention to the sales process. He knew that this would be a means to supporting all staff in the best possible way. In Lachlan’s opinion, too many real estate leaders expect people to join their companies when there is no clearly defined sales process in place. Believing that the sales process is a company and onboarding asset, he set to work. He says, “We knew we had to find a way to add value to our existing team before recruiting more people in the future. Having a process in place that everyone could follow would allow us to do that."

Lachlan kicked off the process of defining and refining the company sales process, from listed to settled, by asking himself a key question: ‘What kind of environment do we need to have in order to attract the best people, add more value to them and enable them to be more productive and better at what they do?’ This led him to build a sophisticated, streamlined and structured sales process, one that breaks down the tasks to be completed by sales administration staff versus those allocated to the sales team. Importantly it ‘lets salespeople off the leash’ and do what they do best – sell.

Lachlan says, “I'm proud of the sales process I’ve created. After fifteen years in real estate and all the coaching I've done, I've brought everything to the table. I built it, which means I understand it, own it and can teach it. I didn't ask someone else to build it for me and expect my people to follow it. The fact that I have built the model from the ground up allows me to speak with authority and get my people on board. Now I can approach the market and my team with confidence. Most importantly, I can add value to their careers, which is something I couldn't do before."

Lachlan is a leader who has taken a traditional business model and revolutionised it. His company now provides a solid platform, resources and assets that ensure anyone joining in the future will have a safe passage as they build their real estate career.


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