An Oxford Letting Agency's Story
August 2013 has meant a lot of firsts for Finders Keepers’ Vice Chairman, Frank Webster. Not only did he have his first trip to Sydney, Australia, but he also experienced his first speaking engagement in front of more than 500 Australian Property Managers at the Australasian Residential Property Management Conference 2013 (ARPM). Run annually, ARPM, which is run by Total Real Estate Training (TRET) is a large property management event where delegates gain new information and ideas as well as giving them plenty of opportunity to network.
Winning the Sunday Times Best Letting Agent in 2012 is still paying off, and it’s because of this win that our (relatively) small agency in the UK was approached by the Aussie organisers back in January. They wanted Frank to tell the ‘Finders Keepers Story from Abroad’, which included:
- The creation of Finders Keepers (as a Property Acquisition agency - ‘Finders’ - and our development to being the UK’s leading specialist property letting & management agency - ‘Keepers’
- How and why we keep our standards high
- The reasons we won the Overall Best Letting Agency in 2012 (the second time in four years)
As well as this main presentation to 500+ people, the conference had shorter, smaller break-out sessions and Frank spoke to a smaller group about leadership and diversification (despite being a smaller group, Frank’s session was standing room only!)
Both presentations were well received and, even though he was nervous beforehand, Frank enjoyed the whole Australian experience:
"It was humbling to have so many people come up to me afterwards wanting not to just discuss the Finders Keepers Journey to Gold, but also to simply say "Hi" (or "G’day"). Indeed, one of my overriding and many memories of this trip will be how warm and welcoming the Aussies are. They are full of enthusiasm and energy."
Since he has returned to the UK, Frank has had some lovely feedback from delegates who attended ARPM 2013. Fellow speaker and General Manager of Impression in New Zealand, Aaron Tunstall, blogged:
"Our vacancy rate and rent arrears are very good compared to industry standard. But I'd love to see it get to 99%. Since I returned from the conference we've been trying to get more tenants onto direct debits for their rent. So far we have 600 tenants on direct debits, so I'm going to try to get that up higher so we can aim to match Frank's rates."
Clearly, the part of the presentation which focused on our company values hit home as Frank also received this email nearly two months after his presentation:
"I would just like to say that I attended the ARPM conference in Sydney back in August at which you spoke to us. I thought your presentation was absolutely fantastic. I am from the UK and moved out to Australia 3 years ago. I have been constantly telling my colleagues how the Brits do it better, from the range of services, to the online presence and the level of customer service. So I just wanted to thank you for backing my point up and showing my fellow property managers how a fantastic real estate is run, and what we can aspire to achieve. I constantly look through your website for ideas, and love the way you run your offices. You obviously have fun but work hard at the same time.
If I was in the UK now, I would aspire to be an 'FK kind of person' in my work. I wish you every success (not that you haven't already achieved great success), and thank you again for your inspiration."