Sandra Matos Office Manager at the Engel & Völkers agency in Lagos answers the following 10 questions:
1. What did you do before becoming a manager at the Engel & Völkers agency in Lagos?
My relationship with real estate started at the 'back office'. For over 14 years I had the privilege of working in a communication company based in the Algarve with my main role being focused on the development of marketing tools to promote tourist / residential projects. This experience was fantastic as it put me in touch with the leading real estate developers in the golden age of residential tourism in the Algarve and allowed me to develop a range of skills and experience that motivated me to move to the front office and collaborate directly with the largest promoters of residential tourism in Portugal.
2. Why did you decide to take on this challenge?
Contact with real estate agencies as a representative of the developer (residential tourism) has allowed me to realise the importance of being a mediator when it comes to supporting a client who is looking for a holiday home outside their home country. The potential of the second home market, especially in the Algarve and the possibility of continuing to do what I like more broadly, were decisive factors that led me to gladly accept the job role that was offered to me.
3. Which aspects were of most importance to you when choosing a brand like Engel & Völkers?
From a personal point of view I like to believe that I identify with the core values of the brand, "Competence, Exclusivity and Passion". The brand, which has high international visibility, has over 40 years of proven success. This success is on the basis of a rigorous franchising system that focuses on continuous training, management software and efficient sales & marketing procedures.
4. What are the most important skills you need to be able to lead a team of real estate agents?
The ability to manage expectations. Motivation, integration, communication.
5. What aspects do you consider when selecting real estate agents for your team?
The things we value most are personal skills. We are looking for agents with or without experience who identify with the brand values, have good communication skills, and enjoy working independently. Self-motivation and resilience are also very important.
6. What are the main benefits of a brand like Engel & Völkers for its franchisees?
The proven experience, market positioning, networking, ongoing sales & marketing support, and training agents.
7. How does your agency differ from other competitors in your area?
Our international network, Sales & Marketing tools, our factual market knowledge and our team. We continually analyse the real estate market in our specific area by compiling the information in our "market reports". We publish these reports annually and allow our team to transparently and comprehensively advise our clients, property owners and buyers.
8. What advice would you give to a franchisee who is about to open an Engel & Völkers agency?
I would advise them to focus their attention on staff recruitment and obtain in-depth knowledge of their area as all the marketing and administrative procedures are provided in the brand's procedures manual.
9. What aspects should an investor look into when buying an agency?
Comprehensive knowledge of market potential, the competition, and the ability to form a great team in the shortest possible time.
10. How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?
Easy! I love what I do and I have a great ability to manage my time. I never go without my schedule and I like to plan my days… one of my biggest luxuries is time. It is worth learning how to use it in the best way.