“We want the business to create 101 millionaires”
In February 2011, I did an interview for an article in a real estate publication called “Sold Magazine”. In the interview, Craig Gillies talks about their business at that time and then again in 2015.
Now in 2018, I have personally witnessed Coronis and their growth, they have doubled in size and is one of the most recognised privately owned real estate brands in Australia.
Craig Gillies is the Sales Director, formally a Solicitor who started with the Coronis family in 1992, Craig is continually looking for ways to improve his own skills and those of his team so that the “Coronis” experience is constantly evolving to a higher level of professionalism and excellence.
Here is the interview…..
SS: Craig, you have grown to 12 offices and 120 staff, a rent roll approaching 3000 properties across South East Qld and you are still growing, please explain?
CG: As the directors of the company Andrew Coronis (Managing Director), Jodi Ford (Property Management Director) and I see our jobs as “growing people”, both personally and professionally. We have great people in the team, and our growth has been fuelled by their desire and goals to progress from salespeople/property managers to office leaders and business owners.
SS: Can you tell us a bit about the early days?
CG: Ahhh. One office, carefree, stress-free and money free!! Actually it wasn’t that bad but like many people out there we had 1 office, we did Okay but we wanted more. So we had to change, lots.
SS: Can you give some idea of your current rate of growth?
CG: We have a growth target of 20% p.a. That’s across the board, office numbers, sales, property management.
SS: Can you tell us a bit about how you have maintained such a high rate of growth?
CG: Our four pillars, Recruitment, Training, Systems and Technology.
SS: How has technology changed over that period and how have you adapted a) business management, b) property management and c) contact management?
CG: Having an integrated system that handles everything from logging enquiries to producing our property books to managing to advertise was something that we didn’t even know we needed 10 years ago. That style of system is integral to managing an organisation our size, and in I can see real benefits for any sized business. The ability to have universal access by any staff member anywhere to anything they need to perform their role takes away a lot of blockages inside a business.
SS: So how do you manage the hundreds of sales the leads?
CG: We partnered up pretty early on with Scott Schindler & ReNet to provide us with our solution to this. They are all logged and the software does the rest in terms of reporting, cross-matching, marketing and communication.
SS: You have regular team meetings, what technologies and methods can you share?
CG: We have weekly training meetings and management meetings. The training is ongoing and there is also a big element of accountability involved in the meetings as well. Because of our structure, I am really proud to say we can respond to anything that is thrown at us very fast.
SS: With so many staff, how do you manage results and keep personal relationships with your staff?
CG: My direct reports are our office leaders. I speak with them daily about their results and teams. Our teams are relatively small and as such are like families. I try to get around all the office as often as possible but this is proving harder and harder so it really is up to our office leaders to run their “families”.
SS: You have always been proactive with technology. What have been some of your success stories?
CG: Centralized data, bulk uploading, emarketing, sms.
SS: What do you think about Social media and its role in Marketing?
CG: Yes. I’m not sure anybody has really got it right yet, but for us, it is all about getting our market to engage with us. For Coronis it plays an important role because people learn more about the company and the people within it on a more personal level, not just in a professional environment. It makes business more transparent than ever before in many ways.
SS: Obviously systems such as single entry of listings is not now however what other technologies have created efficiencies?
CG: Bulk uploading to all of the websites we use is a huge time saver for our admin team. The ability to assign standard “trails” to prospective clients is also a boon for contact management. Utilising our database for prospecting purposes either by phone, email or SMS all off a central web-based system lets our team take to get on with things without the need to switch between applications.
SS: Describe the office “culture” of Coronis.
CG: It’s so hard to put the finger on what ” good Culture” is. I suppose in short we have fun, we work hard and we all are striving to grow together. We understand everyone in life does things for their own reasons so we have created a great culture by making sure the company’s and the individual’s goals are aligned so that we all succeed.
SS: Tell me a bit about how you remunerate and reward your staff?
CG: I’m glad you mentioned reward because reward and recognition are things we are big on. We have quarterly and Annual awards and other competitions we run through the year. This gets the whole team involved and awards are open to people at all levels within the business. This contributes to the team environment of the Company. All of our Sales Team are paid salaries and monthly bonuses.
SS: How do you measure performance?
CG: Purely on dollar productive activity and client satisfaction.
SS: Craig, you have always presented your properties with fantastic images, how has this helped the business?
CG: Absolutely. We have 3 professional photographers on our staff that have a brief to make their shots “magazine quality”. We also are big believers in floor plans. This has helped us maintain big numbers of enquiries on properties and contributes to the results we get.
SS: How is Coronis Realty different from other agents?
CG: One thing I know is absolutely unique to us is our Career advancement plan. For example, you can join our business and have your own office and a share of the profits from it in under 12 months. Within a 5-year period, you can own part of the whole business. I believe our structure and the opportunities it offers is our biggest difference. It is really innovative for the real estate industry.
SS: Describe Coronis 2015?
CG: Bigger and Better!! We are so passionate about helping our people get more out of life our success and growth is assured if we make a difference in our people’s lives. We will have expanded beyond Queensland’s border by then. However, no matter how big we get, everything will be guided by the businesses core values. If something doesn’t fit, we won’t do it.
SS: And lastly, what’s your ultimate goal?
CG: Big Question. Andrew and I have a catch cry that we want the business to create 101 millionaires. A little Queensland Business called Flight Centre created 100, so we figure we can go 1 better!