Advice and Opinion

Public perception and positive hard data shape a real estate brand, says Sotheby's International Realty Chairman

Winning team: Constantia Upper’s Rouvaun McKirby, (left), Jo Thomas (centre) and Phyl McCance-Price (second from right) won both the CEO Agent of the Year for Highest Number of Units Sold (Development Agents) and the Chairman’s Award Agent with Highest Turnover (Development Award) at the Annual Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty Gala held at Fancourt near George. On hand to congratulate them were Director Sandy Geffen (second from left), Chairman Lew Geffen and CEO Jason Rohde (right).

Public perception of a real estate brand is everything, but a good perception can only be maintained though high professional standards and positive hard data, such as achieving a 3.6% increase in average selling prices for clients in the past year, or that average per capita sale prices achieved by one company are 37% higher than any other realtor in South Africa.

That was the word from Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, during his recent address to the company’s Annual Gala Awards Ball at Fancourt near George, in which the top-performing agents and franchises were honoured for their performance in the past financial year.

“We started with a hope and a prayer,” said Geffen, “having faith that the brand would resonate with our target markets. It’s been a battle to get the message across, but Sotheby’s has succeed to the extent that we are now first call in the public mind”.

“One should never underestimate the intelligence of the buying and selling public. They not only enjoy the cachet of the extremely desirable international brand affiliation, but they know where the best service and value lie”.

“The proof is in the pudding; our brand has the highest bond value per capita in South Africa, beating our nearest rival by more than 30%. Furthermore, it’s common knowledge that our average per capita sale price is 37% higher than our closest rival”.

“This says everything about how the public perceives our brand, which is one of the most efficient infrastructures in real estate today.”

Sotheby’s International Realty South Africa is also the largest global Sotheby’s organisation outside of the United States – beating the UK, mainland Europe and Australia.

Geffen paid tribute to the agents and franchises that excelled during the past year.

The top awards were:

· CEO Agent of the Year for Highest Number of Units Sold (Development Agents): Jo Thomas, Phyl McCance-Price,
Rouvaun McKirby of Upper Contantia in Cape Town.

· CEO Agent of the Year for Highest Number of Units Sold (Residential): Ryan Greeff from Cape Town’s Atlantic

· Chairman’s Award Agent with Highest Turnover (Development Award): Jo Thomas, Phyl McCance-Price, Rouvaun McKirby
of Upper Constantia in Cape Town.

· Chairman’s Award Agent with Highest Turnover (Residential): Kass Bunkell from Craighall in Johannesburg.

· Marketer of the Year (Awarded to the Franchise that has the Best External Image and Complies with Branding
Standards): Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard Franchise.

· Market Share Award (Awarded to the Franchise with the Highest Market Share in its Area): Knysna

Geffen also paid tribute to company CEO Jason Rohde, who “proved your worth as a very able and committed CEO to the group”.

“Jason and I have witnessed enormous growth in our organisation. I am happy to say we grew the group by an additional 10 franchises this past year and hope to improve our footprint far beyond this because we have all the necessary tools, but most importantly, the respect of the market.”

Geffen said conditions this year had been tougher than previously: “There seems to be a sentiment change in terms of demand and prices are quite high at the moment after three years of recovery since the recession, but we still managed to exceed expectations year-on-year”.

“Once again as a group I am very proud of the effort that all the franchisees have made in terms of promoting the profile of the company. It shows the brand is well understood both within our organisation, and in the marketplace,” Geffen concluded.