Agents of change at OrangeTee & Tie

WHEN Lawrence Tan joined OrangeTee back in 2004 - before it became OrangeTee & Tie - the agency was already ahead of the curve.

"I was comparing around before I joined OrangeTee," recalls Mr Tan, who had been with two property agencies previously.

As the leader of a small team of agents at that time, one major draw for him was OrangeTee's online Work@Home portal.

This allowed him to have an overview of all his team members' transactions: "It's very easy to trace who is performing, who is productive, who is not productive."

Another offering was helpful to agents on the go: online information about properties, which could be accessed anywhere, anytime.

Other agencies were not as advanced. Mr Tan recalls visiting one agency when he was still deciding which to join: "They only showed me a cupboard of hard-copy brochures."

Mr Tan thus joined OrangeTee with a team of seven agents. Now 46, he oversees more than 300 agents as a senior associate executive director.

Related story: Property agency with tech edge

Over the years, he has continued to benefit from new initiatives, big or small. Five years ago, for instance, the agency introduced email and SMS alerts that prompt agents three months before a tenancy expires.

"This helps retention of clients," Mr Tan explains. Agents can get in touch with clients well in advance regarding tenancy renewal, avoiding the awkward situation where "the client has to be the one to call you".

OrangeTee & Tie's top-down approach means that agents are not alone in their drive to improve, says assistant director of residential services Angeline Fu.

She highlights how the company provides training for agents in areas such as digital marketing, and creates a supportive environment for agents to get on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

When agents see that their peers are benefiting from going digital, such "peer pressure" pushes them to do the same, notes Ms Fu.

Leaders also willingly take part in this journey. For example, to encourage social media marketing, team leaders and ICs (those 'in-charge') act in promotional videos.

Agents are not the only ones who benefit from technology. Ms Fu and her team also leverage data analytics to serve their clients, the developers.

During the early stages of planning, the team backs up their sense of the ground with rigorous analysis of statistics, to advise developers on the latest market trends.

These include insights on demand for varying unit sizes, types, and affordability: "the sweet-spot prices for various bedroom types", for example.

Upon a project's launch, the team draws on data to find agents who specialise in that area to handle the sales.

The company also holds surveys to find out which methods work best and identify the right mix of traditional and new approaches. Says Ms Fu: "It's always a balance of the formula, at different points in time, at different stages of the marketing."

After over a decade in the industry, she has made an important observation: "The only constant in project marketing is change."

"The prospective methods that worked 10 years ago, you cannot just stick to that and assume that that is the one and only winning formula."

It all comes down to the right mindset, she adds: "So for us, we just have to be more creative, to think out of the box, to embark on new platforms and touch-points to help in project marketing."

Ms Fu appreciates the leadership style at OrangeTee & Tie, which always prompts her to innovate. "It keeps us focused on our goals."

Brought to you by The Future Economy Council