When asked what he believes led to hisaward as the Nedbank Property Professional of the Year for 2006/2007, RaliMampeule, CEO of Phadima Group Holdings, mentions four things: “I have alwaystried to include leadership, professionalism, service ethics and a commitmentto BEE in the work that I do.” Phadima, a black-owned and managed investmentholding company with interests in financial services, property and consultingin the real estate, infrastructure, industrial and construction sectors of themarket, is the first black-owned company to own a Chas Everitt Internationalfranchise and Mampeule has plans for it to become the pre-eminent black-ownedplayer in the real estate industry.
To achieve that goal, Mampeule has focusedhis efforts on building a strong, skilled team. “In our industry, I think thedifference between a good salesperson and a great one is training. The fact isthat you can’t sell property without training but so often you find thishappening. You have to understand your product before you can sell it becauseonly then can you advise your customers properly; this understanding can onlycome through training,” he says. His passion for training has coincided withhis desire to open up the real estate industry to previously disadvantagedindividuals. To this end, he has created a learnership to help grow the skillsbase.“Franchising within the property marketwould be a good avenue for BEE. With the high success rate of this form ofbusiness already proven in our country, and the fact that franchised businessesdefinitely create around 10 to 15 new jobs per franchise, all stakeholders needto push for the right conditions to be put in place to promote franchise modelsin the emerging market,” says Mampeule. Phadima’s success in the real estatefranchise market provides an example of how it can be done. It’s success thatrelies heavily on having the right people.
On this point, Mampeule handpicks themembers of his team, relying on a tried-and-tested recruitment and selectionprocess. “We want people who come into the organisation to be with us for along time,” he explains, “so we go through a very lengthy process before hiringsomeone. We first conduct a telephonic interview to ascertain the person’stelephone skills, something that’s very important in this business. Then, welet team members meet the candidate and we get recommendations from them,especially from our senior sales team members. Following that, the candidatesundergo a formal interview and are sent to an independent company who puttogether a personal profile on them.” This profile is then compared with onecompiled from the individual profiles of Phadima’s top-performing agents.What Mampeule is looking for in potentialteam members is a combination of entrepreneurial skills, technical know-how andindustry fit. “I choose people who think like entrepreneurs because I believethat this industry is all about entrepreneurship. I also ask myself if I wouldtrust the person to sell my own house,” he adds. In addition to skills andaptitude, Mampeule is also aware of the important role motivation andincentives play in any successful sales team. “At Phadima we try to have apersonal relationship with our sales team. Motivating them starts withunderstanding who they are and what is important to them as individuals –because people are not necessarily driven by the same things,” he explains,adding, “We have incentives and quarterly and annual awards that ensure werecognise when people are doing well.”
To lead the sales team, Mampeule looks forsales managers who embody a combination of good administrative, people andselling skills. True to the company’s focus on training, Mampeule points out,“All our staff and managers have gone through estate agency training and agentshave to have been actively selling for at least six months before they can beconsidered for sales managerial positions. Apart from someone whounderstandings turnover and targets, I am looking for people who can go outthere and do what they are asking their team of agents to do.”The formula – proper training, motivatedagents and skilled sales managers – is completed with a strong emphasis onsystems. “A company that doesn’t have a proper system won’t perform,” saysMampeule. “All the elements of a successful business relate back to followingthe processes of a good system. I believe it’s what sets a great agency apartfrom a good one.”