We would like to introduce Ralf Oberänder, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Commercial in Leipzig and Halle, as well as the residential property shop in Halle. He has had an exceptional career at Engel & Völkers. The 37-year-old reports on his success at E&V, which led him from being a freelance employee to begin with, to a sales director and finally licence partner.
How did you come to work at Engel & Völkers?
I completed my studies in Political Science, Modern History and Economics in 2005 and dived right into the world of work. During my studies I worked as a journalist at the broadcaster MDR and was an intern at ProSieben, going on to forge a career for myself in the communication business. I worked in a PR agency in Düsseldorf and found every day there utterly boring. I complained about this on a walk with a friend and told him about my desire for an exciting challenge with real prospects for realising my personal potential. I also happened to mention that I would be interested in selling houses. Before I knew it I had the mobile number of the Head of WGH at the Engel & Völkers commercial office in Düsseldorf. A week later I was sat in his office.
What particular opportunities for development has Engel & Völkers offered you?
As a freelance employee at Engel & Völkers Commercial Düsseldorf I worked on an entirely independent basis. My drive came from ambition and a great desire for success. I used to spend ten to twelve hours in the office most days and really got stuck into my work. An important motivator for me was also the team in the office. I was also given lots of opportunities to develop my skills and had a great deal of trust placed in me. After just under two years, they offered me the chance to take part in a one-year Engel & Völkers Leadership Program. The aim of the program was to recruit the managers of tomorrow from the existing workforce and to qualify these individuals for managerial positions and responsibilities. In addition to the specialist knowledge we were given, key competences were trained, above all in the fields of self-management, communication, moderation, entrepreneurship and change management. This program formed one of the foundation stones for my further success and my current role as a licence partner. At the end of 2010 I received the opportunity to prove my managerial credentials in Thuringia. I moved back to my home city of Erfurt, where I set up the commercial division in the Thuringia region. Shortly afterwards I was also entrusted with the management of the residential property shop in Erfurt.
In doing so you went from being a freelance employee to being a Sales Director. How did you become a licence partner?
I managed both business divisions in Erfurt for two-and-a-half years as Sales Director. I joined the company EuV Immobilien Sachsen GmbH as a licence partner in 2012. Two months later we opened the new Engel & Völkers commercial office in Leipzig under my management. In 2013 we expanded our offices in Dresden and Leipzig with the commercial licence for Halle. In June of this year we then opened our office in Halle and purchased the residential licence for Halle at the same time, enabling us to operate both business divisions from the same premises in Halle.
What qualities are required in your opinion to be successful at Engel & Völkers?
It is key to approach people, to be able to convince them with arguments and – perhaps most importantly – to elicit a precise statement from the client that I can really work with as a sales advisor. These qualities are particularly crucial when it comes to the supreme discipline of cold calling. Some people find this easier than others. Patience and perseverance are useful traits though, especially for owner acquisition. Anyone who gives up after two months of continuous rejections or gets a fright when the telephone rings is not necessarily suited to a career as a sales advisor. In addition to commercial talents, sales advisors shouldn’t be afraid of hard graft either. Success is not so much down to luck as to a structured and systematic approach and simple hard work. Even though the Engel & Völkers brand is a supporting strength, you still need to know your market. I am of the opinion that you should be in a position at any time of the day or night as a sales advisor to speak with potential clients about the market and individual properties. For me, my hobby has become my profession and I feel great fulfilment from my job.