Striking the Right Balance with Kevin Lim and Gary Lau
How ERA Realty Network (ERA) is gearing up for future growth with their forward-looking training programmes.
Against a rapidly changing urban landscape, the challenges that ERA has as the largest international real estate agency in Asia Pacific region can be complex. To date, ERA has more than 6,800 agents.
In an exclusive interview with PropertyGuru, newly appointed Chief Agency Directors Kevin Lim and Gary Lau, who have been with the agency for 16 and 29 years respectively, shared with us how ERA is looking to sustain their dynamic growth.
Breaking barriers in training and development
In their new roles, the duo will be looking at how they can strengthen the current slate of training and development programmes at ERA, which they believe are key to support the welfare of their agents. “We believe in taking care of our people,” Lau said.
“Traditionally, our training was focused on operations and procedures, ensuring that everything ran smoothly. But there was a shift. There was a change. The top-level management felt that the old rules didn’t apply anymore,” he added.
Now, the agency is on a mission to redefine their staff welfare. The aim is to “empower individual lives and careers” by aiding them in their personal development beyond business goals, Lau said.
Titled the ‘Ultimate Agent Training’ programme, it’s designed to engage and facilitate agents in fulfilling their potential on all levels.
“In a way, we’re breaking barriers,” added Lim. “It’s not something that agents look to achieve, but we’re paving the way forward. If their personal well-being is taken care of, then they will grow. And we will all grow together.”
The need to stay technologically relevant
After all, one reason behind enriching their agents’ development also acts as a strategy in response to the pervasive technological innovation that has swept over the real estate industry.
Apart from highly personalised developmental programmes, agents at ERA will also learn specialised skills such as digital marketing. This involves advising agents on how to upload content that can be easily streamed on digital platforms like PropertyGuru to promote their property listings and keep up with the ever-changing real estate market.
“The role of an agent will be more well-rounded in the future,” Lim predicts. Agents must adapt to changes by “taking on a more consultative role”, such as advising clients on long-term investment plans rather than transact on the traditional buy-sell basis.
Their training programmes reflect the same dynamism they believe agents will increasingly need to be able to do well.
“At the end of the day, we want our associates to outpace us in their own growth,” Lim said, adding, “We tell them, please do better than us!”
A holistic growth strategy for what lies ahead
Lim stressed that while training and development remains significant, it is not the only concern that goes into the agency’s growth strategy.
As a “hybrid” real estate agency involved in new developments and HDB resales, ERA must also continue to ensure that it has a steady portfolio of projects to lean on.
“Everything needs to work together – training and development, inventory, the basics,” Lim said.
He gave an analogy:
“Sometimes when agents don’t spend on advertising and property listings on platforms like PropertyGuru, I get worried. They see it as spending, but I see it as an investment. If you put in a dollar, you get ten dollars back. It’s all about striking the right balance.”
The same analogy also applies to the agency’s growth. Investing in a holistic balance, Lim believes, is investing in the future.
PropertyGuru would like to thank Kevin Lim and Gary Lau and for doing this feature with us!