Owning and running a successful property franchise is a very different experience to being employed by one as a sales agent, but statistics show that sales is exactly where many of the best franchisees started. Walter Hart, the Rawson Property Group’s Business Expansion Manager, explains how and why being an experienced sales agent is such a great foundation for prospective franchise owners.
“Understanding how a business operates is essential if you’re going to help it achieve its full potential,” says Hart, “and there’s no better way to learn the ins and outs of a property franchise than to be a sales agent in a franchise’s employ.”
Hart explains that sales agents benefit from an insider’s view of the structure and support systems associated with a good franchise brand as well as the day-to-day operations that keep the business on a positive trajectory.
“They also understand the timelines involved in property transactions, the challenges facing sales staff, and the motivations that drive the team,” he adds. “Those insights can be exceptionally valuable when taking on a leadership role.”
It’s not just insight that makes sales partners good franchise owners, however. Many skills required to succeed as a sales agent closely mirror those required to become a successful franchisee.
“To be a good sales agent, you have to excel in a variety of areas – it’s not just selling houses,” says Hart. “There’s lead-generation, marketing, relationship management, financial management, time management, project co-ordination and problem-solving, to name just a few. Developing these skills makes you a better agent, but it also makes you a very effective franchisee.”
Of course, there’s also a personality element to being a great franchisee.
“Taking responsibility for yourself, your clients and your sales is very different from taking responsibility for the success of an entire franchise team,” says Hart. “Not everyone has the desire – or the ability – to step up and take charge of the bigger picture. There are support systems for franchises, of course, from staff and from the franchise brand, but it’s up to the franchisee to take those assets and leverage them to their full potential.”
This, Hart believes, requires a combination of excellent people skills, passion, confidence and drive – and no small amount of bravery when it comes to grabbing opportunity by the horns.
“As a franchisee, you’ll be investing not only time and effort, but also capital into your franchise,” he says. “That can be stressful when things don’t go exactly according to plan. You have to be comfortable taking the occasional calculated risk, and remain flexible enough to bounce back from any setbacks along the way. The rewards of owning a property franchise can be exceptional, but they don’t come on a silver platter.”
In fact, according to Hart, a franchisee needs to be something of a Jack-of-All-Trades to keep things running like a well-oiled machine.
“You have to inspire and motivate your people, oversee trading accounts, employment records, financial statements and cash flows, and keep a constant eye on growth and development as well,” he says. “It’s impossible to do everything yourself, but you do need to know enough to be able to delegate and prioritise effectively – another area in which a sales agent’s experience can help.”
Clearly, owning and running a franchise isn’t for the faint of heart, but with the right personality and the right experience, the sky is the limit for franchisees. If you think you’ve got what it takes, or are curious to find out more, contact the Rawson Property Group’s Business Expansion Division on 021 658 7100.