The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Awards for Excellence were held last night at the Auckland Art Gallery and Ray White featured in the Office of the Year awards, with Ray White Rolleston being awarded 2nd runner up for the Small Residential Office of the Year and Ray White Remuera being awarded 2nd runner up in the Large Residential Office of the Year category.
The awards, which are the most significant awards within the real estate industry, recognise excellence and are awarded on the number of productive salespeople in each category. The award is also an assessment of the quality of customer service, sales volume and community work within an area.
Sarah Booth who is co-owner of Ray White Rolleston with Brendan Shefford said that this is the second year they have been awarded with this highly prestigious accolade. Sarah said “To be in the top three offices in New Zealand in the category of Small Office of the Year was a direct reflection of their commitment to producing outstanding results for each and every client who engages their company.” She went on to say that their business being in Rolleston completes over 60% of the sales in the area and that referral and repeat business is one of the key drivers behind the agency’s success. Brendan Shefford said that the individuals in the office combine as one of the best teams, not only in Canterbury but throughout New Zealand. “While we are considered a small office, we are proud of achieving great results based on quality and service”.
Ray White Remuera was selected in the Large Residential Office category – one of the most contested award categories of the night. In being selected second runner up, Ray White Remuera were acknowledged as the third largest residential office in New Zealand along with being the second most productive industry office in Auckland. Megan Jaffe said she was extremely proud to accept the award on behalf of her team. She said her business had undergone significant growth with the attraction of top level salespeople who have been drawn to the business through the personalised success mentoring model the agency had put into place over the past two year period. She went on to say “while this in itself was not the single reason for growth, understanding the value that we add to salespeople is then transferred onto our clients and each stakeholder within our agency continues to succeed built on this philosophy.”
Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand, said that he was very proud of the achievements of Ray White Remuera and Ray White Rolleston. He said the group were nominated for 10 awards and given the size of the overall industry, our individual winners are considered to be not only leaders in Ray White but also in the industry. “The quality of work and leadership by Megan Jaffe of Ray White Remuera and the ownership team at Ray White Rolleston is of the highest standard. Not only do they succeed through the volume of their sales, but they have the highest ethics and this is returned through continued repeat and referral business to their respective companies.”
Ray White New Zealand‘s Property Management Business Performance Manager, Zac Snelling, worked closely with Phil Thompson to develop these tailored Personal Safety Awareness Workshops for our members – from salespeople, property managers, and administrative staff through to their friends and family members. The overall objective of the workshop (which is also running later this week in Christchurch) is to empower our members with the realistic skills and confidence to stay safe during all aspects of their job as well as in their private life – addressing a serious subject in an enjoyable, informative and interesting way. The response from our members who have attended has been extremely positive: ”It was an awesome workshop really enjoyed it. It has opened my eyes to being aware of ourselves when we are out there in the community and how we deal with people, and their situations. Lots to take on board.” - April Hetaraka from Ray White Kaitaia.
By addressing self protection holistically the seminar gives participants complete value that can be applied immediately. Phil who is highly regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading experts on the topic of self-defence and self protection believes that “beyond the physical, effective self-protection involves a variety of behavioural, emotional, psychological, ethical and legal aspects. To understand them all is to truly feel safe.” His unique perspective on self defence, developed in part by his own life experiences dealing with real violence and conflict, has pioneered a new standard in the industry. “To us, self defence is about getting you home safely to your family. It’s not all about technical application, because in reality the technical stuff – fancy moves, in other words – usually fails. Our focus is on staying safe from violence either by avoiding it, diffusing it, or if necessary physically defending against it as efficiently and effectively as possible. All of our training is designed to help people live more empowered, confident lives free from un-warranted fear and worry” he says.
Chantall Turner from Ray White Glenfield told us that she “got a lot out of the day” and felt the realistic presentation of potentially challenging behaviours were spot on… “As a society you can become complacent with thinking you are safe in ‘your ivory tower’ and it pays to know the world can potentially become a completely different place in an instant. - Having personally seen the emotional and physical after effects of an opportunist attack on a family member I know it’s a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone. - I felt empowered by the course and am seriously considering the benefit of this training for my three teenage children.”
Phil Thompson is a highly regarded self-protection expert and has written two influential books on self defence. With over 20 years experience in his field he has helped empower thousands of people with the skills and confidence to protect themselves and their loved ones, and this year also presented at Ray White New Zealand’s Annual Conference. ”As well as being entertaining and great at holding attention, Phil is an effective trainer, very good at getting his points across” says Cindy Tizard of Ray White Whangaparaoa. ”I was most interested in his teachings of body language for someone whose intent is to harm, and what to watch out for and his reminder not to ignore your intuitions. Also learning the size of a potential attacker need not matter was important to me – and our own belief that we could escape a much larger opponent was vital. I feel very lucky to have been shown the skills which could potentially save myself, and my family, if ever faced with a dangerous situation. I have no doubt that he is the best at what he trains and I will always hold great respect for Phil.”
Ray White is running the workshop with Phil in Christchurch this week. (Ray White New Zealand members can call Ray White Corporate on 09 377 5069, or email, to register.)
Ray White New Zealand are excited to confirm that we are once again entering a team, led by our Chief Executive Carey Smith, in the Sky Tower Stair Challenge – raising vital funds and awareness for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC).
This years event will be held Friday 1 August 2014, and the Ray White team will once again include Ray White New Zealand CEO Carey Smith, Wayne Maguire from Ray White Mission Bay; Cheryl Hayes from Ray White New Zealand, as well as Delanie Horrobin and John Tanner from Ray White City Apartment Rentals.
The Sky Tower Stair Challenge involves running up 51 flights of stairs at Auckland’s Sky Tower and the team will be doing this in support of the Leukemia and Blood Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.
Every day 6 children and adults in New Zealand are diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. LBC is the national charity dedicated to supporting patients and their families, this support that can last months or even years. LBC receives no government funding, so please sponsor us and help us support this great cause.
Although training for this years event has started slowly, regular trainings are scheduled over the coming weeks at locations including the Metropolis, Bella Vista, Mt Parahaki (Whangarei) and the Herne Bay stairs.
Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand, said “After the success of last years event which saw us acknowledged as the highest fundraisers ever for the Challenge, we decided to give the event another ago this year. Although training has been a struggle, we’re excited to once again be a part of this great event fundraising for the Leukemia and Blood Cancer Foundation.”
We’re also proud to announce that this year Ray White Pinehill have also chosen to join us! Ray White Pinehill team leader, Stephen Burdett says “We are looking forward to the Step Up Challenge for 2014. It is important as a company to be doing our best to support those who are less fortunate that ourselves and we see the Stair Challenge as a great way to be able to achieve that. Other team members who are part of the Ray White Pinehill team include Louis Henry, Christine Ulugia, Carmen Gravatt and Winn Cheng.”
For more information about the event please click here. All individual fundraising information and updates on training can be found on the Ray White New Zealand and Ray White Pinehill pages respectively. - For individual support or to make a donation please click here and search for one of our team members.
Steve Brennan and Winnie Leung recently opened their new Ray White Forrest Hill franchise office in Auckland’s North Shore. Sitting high on the ridge with a major arterial road at their door, it made sense to take advantage of the high profile location so they decided to install a 42 inch commercial display screen from Digi Screens.
We all know how compelling it is to look at a moving screen, and passing foot and road traffic can’t help but be drawn to large bright property photos and videos constantly changing in agency windows. “As a business owner, I know this is a very good investment. It achieves a number of things for us. While actively promoting the properties we are selling, it also assist our team with listings – by showing our customers the kind of superior service we can offer… We’re already noticing that these screens literally act like a magnet to people who are both looking to buy and to sell” says Phil Horrobin, Ray White Franchise owner in Broadway, Parnell and Epsom who already utilises the technology. With this in mind Steve and Winnie decided on installing their own digital display in their entrance-way to grab the attention of passing traffic.
Steve and Winnie are thrilled with their new marketing tool and wasted no time in displaying their agents’ profiles and listings on the new screens. Fortunately the Digi Screens software automatically loads their property listings through to the display from their internal management system – ensuring that the displays are always up to date for their customers, and Steve and Winnie say the process has been effortless. Another great benefit they tell us has been that they are now able to utilise the television in the meeting area to display listings and other Ray White information.
Over the last 12 months we have seen many new Ray White offices adopting digital signage solutions. ”Many offices install the screens to modernise cluttered and sometimes dated window displays” says Leonie Smits of Digi Screens - who installed the Forrest Hill display. “By offering their vendors a high-end service, it can also give the agency an advantage in an otherwise competitive market. Its a win/win strategy for the agency and vendor – as the time and significant cost of producing window cards can now be eliminated with a fully automated feed updating listings every 30 minutes on these high-tech, high-profile screens.”
“We’re really proud of the uptake from our businesses of this technology. It is a wonderful way for our agents to professionally present their vendors properties and we’re already seeing increased attention in the properties featured on the screens.” says Graeme Fraser, Auckland Business Performance Manager for Ray White New Zealand.
Last week it was announced that the Ray White Henderson team would give away a car in a promotion running until December this year. Entry is open to all Ray White Henderson customers who list and sell their property exclusively with the office – up until the 10 December 2014. David comments that has already had calls from other agencies asking about the promotion and what is involved, but the promotion is clearly a Ray White Henderson initiative and open exclusively to Ray White Henderson’s customers. - Fittingly, and in keeping with Ray White’s Corporate Colours, the winning car will be a white Holden Barina Spark. ”I have been a Holden fan for years… our property managers all drive Holden Barina’s too” says David when asked why he chose the Holden?
“It was a recent idea, and one we were fortunate to get off the ground quickly” says David. ”Bernadette Warne, my Sales Manager, has been the driving force and very supportive right from the start. She spent a great deal of time checking the legal details around running a promotion of this scale. Ray White New Zealand CEO, Carey Smith has also been very supportive and given us lots of ideas to carry out and promote this initiative.”
After finalising the terms and conditions last week the ‘Win a Car‘ promotion was officially launched on Thursday and runs up until 10 December this year. “Clients are already calling to find out the details, and we already have two customers listing their properties with us.” says David. The promotion is being further marketed by the team via ads in the Western Homes, office window display, online and email communications as well as flyer drops in the area.
Bernadette Warne from Ray White Henderson adds that: “From a salespersons point of view we are looking forward to increased enquiry levels. Having this promotion gives us a little bit of something extra for our presentations. We (the salespeople) have an increased level of energy which the vendor can buy into. We’re confident about it, so it will transfer into more business.”
“The biggest challenge initially was the financial cost involved- but I was ready to take the personal risk, and fortunately the team has been behind me 100 per cent. All 12 of our sales team have wanted to be part of the promotion and get involved – their support has been fantastic… As a salesperson myself I have always reinvested in my own business – something CEO, Carey Smith has also reiterated the importance of over the years he has mentored me both as a salesperson and a Ray White business owner” says David.
David has invited Carey Smith to draw the winning entry on Friday 12th December at the Ray White Henderson Office. “It’s an official draw and will so will also be supervised by an officer from the Henderson Police Station.” says David who will also be inviting local councillors and local MPs to attend along with all the competition entrants.
“A promotion such as this is very much an exciting first for David, his sales team and indeed his business. We look forward to the final draw and will watch with interest the promotion over the coming months.” says Graeme Fraser, Auckland Business Performance Manager. ”We understand David is already planning a further promotion in February next year.”
- Click here for more information on the Win a Car Promotion with Ray White Henderson.
Over 250 parents, teachers and friends turned out at St Thomas’s School annual quiz night and auction held recently and the Ray White Kohimarama office were once again there to support – helping the school to raise over $33,000.
The theme for this years’ event was ‘United Nations’, and each table was allocated a country, and with the FIFA World Cup on the minds of many at present many tables chose to come along in football regalia. ”We drew Jamaica” says Peter Best of Ray White Kohimarama “so some of us wore Bob Marley style hats along with dreadlocks, etc. Unfortunately we didn’t fare too well this year and lost out to the winning team, England – but, as always, we had a great time!”
The $33,000 raised over the evening was the result of sponsorship donations from local businesses including Ray White Kohimarama, ticket sales, food and drink sales, raffles and prize draws throughout the night as well as auctioned items. - Neil Newman has donated his time and services over recent years to conduct the auctioning of the key items throughout the evening. The funds raised will be used towards the arts and outdoor education facilities. This includes band equipment, a sound system, outdoor seating and enhanced education facilities for the new seniors block that is currently under construction at the school.
Peter Best, Director of Ray White Kohimarama and Ray White St Heliers tells us they have been sponsoring St Thomas’s School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) events for over ten years. St Thomas’s is one of two primary / intermediate schools in the suburb of Kohimarama, and is a state school which caters for students from Year 1 to Year 8 (aged 5 years to 13 years). Ray White’s long-standing relationship with the school started when one Ray White Kohimarama’s team members had a child at the school and was on the PTA, since then a number of Ray White Kohimarama’s staff members have had children and grandchildren at the school.
Peter Best, Director of Ray White Kohimarama, who actually lives adjacent to the school, comments: “We have a strong commitment to supporting local organisations, especially schools. St Thomas’s draws students from a broad area around us and has a student roll of just over 700… Our home adjoins the playing fields and we regularly get balls, hats, shoes, lunch boxes etc over the fence which I have pleasure in returning to the school office next day as the children are not allowed to go over the school fences. The office’s marketing team designed and produced many of the marketing materials for the event , and provided the office the opportunity to profile both their offices: Ray White St Heliers and Ray White Kohimarama. ABC Signs also supported the project – providing signage to promote the school’s event which was installed on a prominent high profile location at the school. ”We have also launched a raffle for one of our Ray White yellow bicyles at the quiz night- which is opened for the month of July, so we look forward to seeing who takes home the bike!”
The Ray White team have also been involved in, and supportive of, other events run by the school throughout the year. – “Over the 10 years of Ray White Kohimarama’s sponsorship it is estimated that through the various functions and events the Kohimarama team have raised over $250,000 – which has gone toward various school projects” says Graeme Fraser, Auckland Business Performance Manager for Ray White New Zealand. ”We are extremely proud of the passion and commitment our offices show to their local schools and communities.”
Over 300 Ray White New Zealand Members have attended the 2014 Ray White New Zealand Technology Roadshow series – run by Keith Ashkettle, Head of Technology at Ray White New Zealand, and Adam Campbell, Technical Director of MyDesktop, over the last two weeks.
The companies adoption of Google, and Google platforms, including Google Communities and Google My Business, were discussed as were mobile technologies and advancements in this area. Interestingly projections indicate we are soon likely to see mobile web access overtake desktop internet usage worldwide. With populations becoming more mobile, and more and more people having access now to mobile devices (with other reports from ITU Wolrd Telecommunication showing mobile penetration within 5% of the actual world population) this is an important area, and one in which Ray White remains active in investigating and advancing.
Ray White’s presence on TradeMe Property and Realestate.co.nz websites was discussed in length- as Ray White offices continue to lead the way in the adoption of Feature Listings on TradeMe.co.nz (over other agencies advertising on the site). Statistically, Feature Listings lead to far higher page views and enquiries for the property being advertised – resulting in more enquiries on the property. Interestingly too in April 2014 54.2% of browsers to TradeMe came through to the site via a mobile device. As online industries and consumer review sites, such as Yelp.com, gain further traction in an online space Ray White’s impressive Customer Service Satisfaction program was reviewed.
Facebook targeted advertising has been another area online marketing tool trialled by various Ray White offices. One Ray White Richmond Facebook ad was reviewed – the property receiving 1121 office website hits – almost 4 times more enquiry in it’s 3 weeks of marketing compared to a similar property the office had had listed and which had been on the market for more than 3 months! These statistics could be visually compared in Ray White’s internal MyDesktop System – and were supported by Google Analytics reports from the office.
Vanessa McKenzie, Co-Director of Ray White Whangarei, who attended the first session held on 30 June for the Ray White Northland Zone commented that “One of the things of most interest to me was the discussion around capturing the attention of a passive buyer and how to interact with them online – both on Google and Facebook, and Keith’s case study of this initiative – highlighted to us the simplicity and effectiveness of these tools available to us.
“We already encourage, and actively attend, the online webinars to our Whangarei, Bream Bay and Tutukaka teams, and the individual salespeople who have adopted the regular learning sessions have shown growth in their business – but it’s great to come together in a training format such as this – with other Ray White team members – to both learn and share ideas.”
Video marketing is one area in which Ray White are increasingly active – currently offering free video for every property listed, and with recent video views on the companies YouTube page exceeding 2 million, Ray White agents and offices continue to adopt and employ advancements in this technology. “This is impressive when you consider that people only generally remember about 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see – but people generally remember 70% of what they see and hear – which is the case with video content.” says Keith Ashkettle.
At the 10 roadshows run over the two weeks, Adam Campbell presented a range of new technologies, integrations, reporting tools and options for the Ray White Group in MyDesktop, and Ray White’s Digital Marketing Packages were presented to our Group – for our agents to utilise for their vendors. “These technologies provide extra depth, and additional value to our agents and offices. We look forward to implementing them in our business” commented Vanessa McKenzie upon conclusion of the Roadshow.
Once seen as a novelty, digital signage has proven to be an effective way to capture and convert the attention of potential buyers, and one which Ray White New Zealand have adopted with great success nationally.
Creating the overall experience for customers is now recognised as one of the most important means to encouraging customer enquiry and in-store service. Whether it is selling low cost products, informing customers who are looking to make informed decisions, or to advertise product in great quality – “establishing a better overall client experience is hugely important for small and large businesses alike.” says Grant Verry, Sharp New Zealand‘s Divisional Manager who supplies digital screens to Ray White offices across the country. ”A recent study of consumers’ retail preferences by design consultancy Dalziel & Pow recorded that ‘lack of atmosphere’ is the most common reason for shoppers’ dislike or avoidance of certain shops. The report also suggests that customers are attaching increasing importance to the overall brand experience in store” says Mr Verry.
“Ray White offices continue to gain a competitive edge in a crowded market by utilising these digital displays with great success for our customers” says Keith Ashkettle, Head of Technology for Ray White New Zealand. ”Digital signage allows our Ray White offices to not only establish a premium quality client experience, but also allows our clients to present their properties on the highest quality marketing platform.” Interestingly IBM research shows that customers are 10 times more likely to observe dynamic, digital signage than static, so it is not surprising that the global market for digital signage is estimated to grow each year until 2020 by 8.94% (according to Marketsandmarkets.com).
Sharp New Zealand have been a long advocate of digital displays, and have now installed a range of digital display solutions for Ray White New Zealand office since their first installation in Ray White Newmarket (pictured above). Further Ray White offices to have adopted this technology include: One Tree Hill; Mount Albert; Takanini; Forrest Hill; Sandringham; Royal Oak; Wanaka; Shirley; and Manly – with Ray White’s newest offices Merivale and Mangere Bridge also looking at installations.
There are a range of benefits to our offices of this agile content management system offered by digital signage. Digital signage allows a greater amount of information to be displayed than print, and is generally more cost effective (for both the business and the vendor) than many other forms of advertising – but it is flexible too. Content displayed can not only be updated from a single source quickly without needing to be printed, but the message that is displayed can change at different times throughout the day.
While the retail sector already utilizes this technology at the time of purchase, Sharp is also noticing specific advantages for their real estate clients. “The digital displays provide a unique value to a vendors marketing. – At the end of the day the company who can provide the greatest value for a client often secures the listing” says Joshua McKenty, Sharp New Zealand’s Brand & Communications Manager. ”Digital screens allow Ray White’s content and quality of brand to be seamlessly distributed through the company’s existing content management system – Which helps create a consistent and high quality experience for not only our customers, Ray White, but also their clients and vendors.”
”Value for a property seller will generally come in two forms: monetary and emotional. Starting with a personal example of emotional value, my Grandparents recently sold their home of 30 years – an extremely difficult decision for anyone that has owned a home for that long. Their property (by chance) was displayed by a real estate agent utilising high quality digital screens. While the house sold at a great price, the one thing they couldn’t stop talking about was how proud they were of the way their property was displayed. The value for them was being able to display their home with amazing quality.
On the other hand, we are hearing from our real estate customers that they are achieving higher sell prices which they attribute to displaying listings via this technology. The proof of impact for us is observing the digital medium generating greater interest in properties, which ultimately results in higher prices and a faster sale” adds Mr McKenty.
Kawarau River Station, one of the Wakatipu Basin’s most significant freehold land blocks sold on July 4 for $8,050,000 at a high profile auction at Ray White Queenstown’s Church Street offices.
The station was bought by Queenstown Farm Ltd, a company associated with the Porter brothers, well-known developers of Queenstown’s Remarkables Park and Shotover Park and the company behind a proposed Convention Centre in Frankton.
The impressive high country station was initially taken to the open market for only the second time in its history late last year and has received “unprecedented interest”. Today’s mortgagee auction was on behalf of the second mortgagee Aston Investments Ltd
Local realtor Bas Smith said the auction went “incredibly well” attracting widespread interest from New Zealand and Australia, as well of course local developers and potential buyers.
“It’s been a busy few weeks to get to this point. It’s great we’ve managed to get a good result for the mortgagee,” said Mr Smith.
“She’s an iconic and beautiful property and the new owner is over the moon to have secured a property of this size, location and nature,” said Mr Smith.
Ray White auctioneer Alan Lethbridge led the high profile and well-attended event which had 23 bids taken and many clients flying in especially for the auction. Bidding started at $6,000,000 until the successful last bid of $8,050,000 was taken.
Located at the foot of The Remarkables mountain range on the Kawarau River it is highly sought-after due to its position, natural attributes, 14km of riverfront land and its closeness to Queenstown. (See image above for indicative land boundaries.)
Kawarau River Station, historically known as Cone Peak Station, comprises an area of 1826 hectares of freehold property with an array of natural features along with two significant water sources – Rastus Burn and Owens Creek.
The Kawarau River forms the entire northern boundary of the property which over the centuries has formed lush rolling river flats and terraces which climb up into classic high country. All this crowned by Single Cone, the highest peak in the range and The Remarkables ski field.
Last night the Ray White New Zealand Corporate cooked dinner for the families staying at Ronald McDonald House, Auckland. Ray White have been partners of Ronald McDonald House since 2007 and regularly support the charity – from collecting for the recent RMH National Street Appeal, to providing monetary support through their office and salesperson partnership programs, through to volunteering initiatives such as this.
This year LoanMarket New Zealand also assisted the Ray White Corporate team who served up roast turkeys and lamb with seasonal vegetables followed by a pavlova desert in mid-winter Christmas style. William Laben, Business Development Executive from LoanMarket New Zealand commented that “it’s a great opportunity to give back, and its always a great evening. Being able to prepare a meal – something which appears to us to be such a small thing to us – is always so well received, and very much appreciated by the families who stay there.”
Ronald McDonald House has three locations across New Zealand: Auckland; Wellington and Christchurch. Their primary purpose is to support families on their time of need by providing practical and emotional support – as, when a family faces the weight of a child’s illness, the best thing they can do is face it together. New Zealand’s Ronald McDonald Houses keep families together – because families are stronger when they are together.
The Ronald McDonald House in Auckland, situated alongside the Starship Hospital, first opened its doors in 1994 with a humble 10 rooms. Today the House can provide care for 80 families each night. The demand placed on the House means they have been working too on expanding their facilities, and they now have finalised plans for a further 22 rooms for the second wing of Grafton Mews which they hope will commence in 2015. Claire Cooper, Ronald McDonald House Auckland’s General Manager of Fundraising and Marketing comments “We never turn a family away and in May alone we had to accommodate 12 families in a local hotel because our facilities were full. Getting Grafton Mews completed is our big goal!”
Evening such as the cook for the families night are always a collective effort, and this year was no exception with the Ray White Corporate team enlisting the support of friends, family and business partners to make the evening a success – with fresh local produce provided by friends at Croziers Turkeys, Te Akatea Farm, Freedom Farms, AS Wilcox & Sons, Snap Fresh Foods, Chevalier Wholesale Produce, Dessert Deli, Warkworth’s Lothlorien Organic Winery and many more.
Carey Smith, CEO of Ray White New Zealand says he is “extremely proud of the the support Ray White Offices and Members continue to show of Ronald McDonald Houses across New Zealand… and we remain proud supporters of these, the most valuable houses in New Zealand”