There’s something in the climate at the Adelaide Hills that helps create great wine, and there’s something in the culture of Harcourts Adelaide Hills that develops successful real estate professionals.
After 18 years in business, and 11 years with Harcourts, Trent and Kim Shorland were recognised for their vintage customer service in June, being awarded as Australia’s Top Regional Sales Office for 2016.
Trent and Kim accepted the award on behalf of their team at the gala event held in Sydney’s Star Casino.
With three offices in Mount Barker, Stirling and Birdwood, Trent and Kim employ 34 enthusiastic staff, including administration, property management and sales.
Although unsure as to what set Harcourts Adelaide Hills apart in the minds of the judges from the many other great real estate offices that entered, Kim said she believed their focus on the development of a welcoming environment and leadership, and paying attention to small details could have been key factors.
“It’s all the little things that we do – and we do a lot of them,” said Kim.
“Yes, we’d grown year-on-year, and we had certainly put things in place to implement the growth, but when writing the submission, I really focused on our culture of our office, and the training and one-on-one mentoring of our staff.”
As a mother of two who has juggled the responsibilities of owning a business and raising children, Kim said she determined to make the Adelaide Hills offices as welcoming as possible for the entire family.
Offices are equipped with a lounge and TV and space for children, available for staff or customers, but one recent request from an eight-year-old still caught Kim by surprise.
“One of my staff’s children was in the office, and asked if she could work at my desk. I agreed as long as she was quiet,” recalled Kim.
“After a while she looked up and said, ‘I’d like to work here one day!’. I asked her why, and she said, ‘because it feels like home’.
“I know that was a little thing, but it meant a lot to me to know that the children can come in and are welcomed with open arms. It’s a feel good place. People come here to work, sometimes seven days a week, so to create that sort of environment is really important to me.”
Kim arranges for fresh fruit to be delivered to each office every week, so busy staff who may have skipped meals can enjoy a nutritious, on-the-run snack. The introduction of a new style of office meetings a few years ago, has also made a significant impact on office performance and leadership development.
“It’s a very structured meeting with every single team member involved – administration, property management and sales – and everyone has a part to play,” she said.
“So it’s not Trent and I sitting at the end of the table talking at our staff, but every single person has responsibilities and is accountable for their part – and that’s how leadership has grown within our team.”
A structured mentoring program is also in place at Harcourts Adelaide Hills, which teams experienced sales staff with inexperienced sales staff, with the end result being mutual support and new recruits receiving valuable one-on-one training and the ability to hit the ground running after several months.
A recent graduate from the program listed 14 properties in a month.
With all offices highly connected into their communities through sporting sponsorships and charity fundraising, Harcourts Adelaide Hills is a strong positive presence, and it’s no surprise that solid business results follow.
The office consistently records strong winter sales, bucking the usual trend of a slow-down during the cooler months in the area, and currently listings are 75% over budget.
“A good business contains great people, but a great business is created by extraordinary people. It's our people coupled with Harcourts' systems that really do make all the difference,” says Kimberley.
ABOVE: Trent and Kim Shorland (left) of Harcourts Adelaide Hills with Harcourts South Australian CEO Andrew Friebe (right), celebrate the 2016 REB Award.