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Taking the lead: We chat to Rawson Properties MD Tony Clarke

Taking the lead: We chat to Rawson Properties MD Tony Clarke

MAIN IMAGE: Tony Clarke – Rawson Property Group’s managing director

Staff writer

He moved up the ranks into management positions and eventually, in 1999, bought the first Rawson Franchise. He sold his business to his partner at the time. After overseeing the Rawson expansion into the Northern regions of South Africa – the “Rawson Groot Trek”, as it were – he took over as the Group Managing Director in November 2006. Tony is well-regarded for his proven ability to grow companies by identifying and developing new business opportunities and creating strategic partnerships. And he’s big on service.

How would you describe the notion of success in the real estate industry?

My notion of real estate success is if you find yourself in a position to serve: Serve your community, serve your clients, serve your franchisees and property practitioners, serve your industry and, ultimately, serve your family. Serving your fellow man means assisting and supporting others in ways that positively impact their lives.

The manifestation of success in the real estate industry can be defined in various ways, and it often depends on individual goals and perspectives. Ultimately, success in the real estate industry is a multifaceted concept. It can be a combination of financial achievements, professional recognition, personal fulfilment, and the ability to adapt and thrive in a constantly evolving market. Success is often about setting clear goals, working diligently to achieve them, and continually assessing and adjusting one’s definition of success as circumstances and objectives change.

What team values do you engender/encourage in the agents and admin staff around you?

I rate several values highly, including professionalism, communication, a customer-centric approach, teamwork, adaptability, responsibility, resilience (because the industry is constantly evolving) and integrity. Being goal-orientated is essential, too. I encourage those around me to set and work towards clear, measurable goals, which keeps everyone motivated and accountable. It’s important to continue learning because the industry is constantly changing. I also believe empathy – understanding and empathising with clients’ needs and concerns – can set a team apart. In addition, our industry is obligated to serve the community. That involvement (in the local community) is the most valuable way to build relationships and reputation—and, finally, work-life balance. One must promote a healthy balance to prevent burnout and maintain long-term career satisfaction.

Can you tell us more about the Rawson Engage platform?

Designed by us, for us, our Rawson Engage ecosystem of products and tools allows for the seamless integration of everything an agent needs to build knowledge, monitor activities and performance, attract business, communicate with clients, provide expert property valuations, list and market properties effectively, match properties with interested clients, seal the deal, and then maintain lasting business relationships with every client via value-adding communication and property advice.

We have always believed that the agent is at the centre of the real estate transaction and should be enabled by tech so each tool connects with the other and agents can focus on building relationships. In contrast, the tech assists with process and execution. Rawson Engage makes it easy for agents to deliver extraordinary customer experiences, translating into more income and enabling franchises to operate more cost-effectively and profitably.

Can you share some important lessons you’ve learnt in the industry?

There are so many lessons I have learned on my journey, and a lot of them you have probably read in a self-help book at some stage, but if I had to single out my top three, they would be (in no particular order), the following:

  1. Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.
  2. Strategy and culture must be aligned.
  3. Ask yourself this question daily: would you work for You? And then change things if the answer is no!

What has been a proud milestone for you at Rawson?

While there have been many achievements in our group and personally, my proudest moment was when our Franchise body bestowed me with a simple yet elegant trophy with the words “Franchisor of the Year award” inscribed. It is one thing to receive an industry award from your peers or suppliers, but it is a whole new level of pride when your Franchisees, whom you have grown with (or helped grow), recognise your contribution to their successes.

Is there a personal/professional achievement you’d like to share?

I find immense personal pride and an overall sense of achievement when a client, an agent, a manager, a real estate industry leader or a leader from another industry stops to ask for my advice. There can be nothing more rewarding than that. I’m not always sure whether they take my advice, though.

Please mention anything else you’d like to share with the property professionals

When asked whether there is anything I would like to share with fellow property professionals, my immediate response is: be a lifelong student – the world changes constantly and dramatically, and as an entrepreneur, if you do not recognise the need for continuous learning and adaptability in the evolving business landscape, then you are done. Entrepreneurship is about embracing challenges as opportunities and seeing failures as learning experiences. Most importantly, remember to enjoy the process. Learn from other successful entrepreneurs – read biographies, listen to podcasts, watch interviews, and follow thought leaders. Learning from their journeys can provide valuable inspiration and insights that can be applied to your journey.

Entrepreneurship can be a demanding but also rewarding and fulfilling path. Celebrate your successes, find joy in the learning process, and cultivate a deep passion for your work. Enjoying the journey will keep you motivated and enthusiastic as you pursue your real estate aspirations!

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