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Selling it with kindness

When Debi Pratt returned to Christchurch to set up a real estate business, she never expected such a warm welcome. It seems we Cantabs like the Tall Poppy treatment.

In what state is the Christchurch real estate market in today?

As always, Christchurch has a very stable market overall. There has been a slight increase in the average time it takes to sell and it’s fair to say it’s not a hot market, although many of our properties have had strong competition.

What should vendors be aware of when it comes to commission structures?

Commission has become out of kilter with the job done. Some of the corporate fees, at the end of the day, are as much as a deposit on a house. That’s why I went researching global trends to see what was going on.

How have you reacted to the growth of demand since opening Tall Poppy’s Canterbury branch?

The demand almost knocked me over! I knew Christchurch needed another alternative but thought I would quietly just provide my own services to my old clients. I now have eight staff, mostly from other brands who saw what I was doing and contacted me about getting on board. The amount of enquiry from the public asking for an assessment of value on their homes just from hearing about the Tall Poppy model has blown me away.

What is your process for finding the right people to join your team?

I have actually turned people away as I’m determined to have an amazing team. This may sound corny, but my top attribute for anybody I take on board has to be kindness. I think if somebody is kind, they will naturally always do the right thing. We are in an industry that has a challenging reputation and I want to be known for our own Tall Poppy brand of genuine Kiwi helpfulness and fairness. Of course, I need to have a level of confidence in capability and industry knowledge as well. My team has an incredible wealth of understanding both of insurance issues, property itself and marketing and facilitating skills.

What does a modern working model look like in the real estate industry?

Globally, the shift has moved dramatically away from large office buildings and the overheads associated. There is also a move away from top heavy management structures. Good salespeople around the world are starting to align with models like Tall Poppy, take responsibility for their own working environment and are just getting on with doing the business. That’s what I’m doing and the results are speaking for themselves. Some of our unsolicited client testimonials have really touched me. My favourite one was, “You said you would look after me and you kept your promise.” That’s what we’re about.

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