OKAY.com saw tremendous growth in 2017: in addition to welcoming many new property agents, the company had a record year, including many real estate transactions on Hong Kong luxury properties HK$50 million and above. Here are some insights on what led to this success (and a few of last year’s challenges) from our own leading ladies, Lily Wong, Hiroko Byrne, Andrea Ott and Belinda Woo:
OKAY.com Director (Residential Division) Lily Wong, who has been a brand-building presence in the Hong Kong luxury property market since joining OKAY.com, was the top-performing real estate agent at the company last year, completing several luxury property sales in the HK$50 to HK$150 million range, in addition to many other luxury sales and leases.
Lily attributes her success to an inspiring work environment, mutual trust, and a management team that does not micro-manage its employees: “If it’s clear that you care about your clients and work with integrity, they trust you to help clients as you see fit. This creates a comfortable and positive environment that allows you to focus on your work and clients.”
Transitioning from her own boutique relocation firm, to sales and leasing beyond corporate relocation at OKAY.com in mid-2016, Senior Manager Hiroko Byrne devoted additional energy and resources to promoting her team to her predominantly Japanese client base. Her efforts paid off in 2017 as her team expanded and began generating significant revenue.
Director (Residential Division) Andrea Ott recalls her first HK$50 million transaction and the challenges she overcame to make it happen, including going a week without sleep to fit a second viewing and a feng shui meeting for a Stubbs Road apartment into a 12-hour window: “The old tenant had just moved out, and the new tenant was moving in the next day. What made the process even more difficult was convincing the landlord that I had a sincere buyer after he was inundated by sales calls from other agents. When we finally signed the deal, it was like the stars aligned!”
Although all four team leaders have distinct leadership styles and personalities, they are equally committed to ensuring the success of their teams.
Hiroko spent 2017 laying important groundwork for her team. “Real estate is the kind of profession you can do all your life. I want everyone on my team to feel like they are building careers for the long term”, says Hiroko, who is in her 70s and “still very passionate about the business”.
Meanwhile, Belinda Woo, Director (Residential Division), showed appreciation for the company’s open management style, which has enabled her to learn new ways to improve her leadership skills, to develop great relationships with her team members and to foster success at even higher levels.
And Andrea, who had an “extraordinary” 2017, describes seeing almost everyone on her team surpass their personal goals (some by a lot!) as a “rewarding” experience. “2018 will be our ‘Year of the Team’. Having now built a team of over 20 great professionals, I want to focus on helping each person to advance one, or two, tiers above where they are now”.
In the coming year, all four team leaders have set their sights on growing the ever-expanding OKAY.com family. On top of that, Lily, who is known for treating her clients as though they are her friends, would like to take full advantage of OKAY.com’s technology in following up on quieter clients to see what she can do for them, rather than waiting until she has extra time on her hands, which rarely happens.
Belinda says she simply cannot wait for even more high-calibre property agents who are committed to making a lifelong career in real estate to join OKAY.com, while Andrea has high confidence that “we’re going to stand out even more in Hong Kong real estate”. “It’s going to be fantastic!”, she says.
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