AWARDS: PropNex’s path to success

/ EdgeProp Singapore
October 12, 2018 3:19 PM SGT
As at Oct 9, Singapore-listed real estate agency PropNex had a sales force of 7,575, making it the biggest in the city state. It added 891 more agents than the 6,684 registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) at the start of the year. That’s not all.
“There are others who are still waiting for CEA approval,” says Ismail Gafoor, executive chairman and CEO of PropNex. He estimates that in the first nine months of 2018, PropNex received more than 1,000 applications, of whom more than 700 are experienced sales agents who crossed over from other companies, while the remainder are new agents.
He attributes this significant increase partly to project launches. PropNex was one of the appointed marketing agencies for 15 out of a total 19 new projects launched so far this year. “We sold the most units in these projects,” adds Gafoor.
It is not surprising that PropNex was presented with the Marketing Agency Excellence award at this year’s EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards on Oct 3.
Gafoor: PropNex is now a dominant player in the luxury segment (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
The strong sales achieved at new project launches are in turn due to the training provided and the culture of the firm, Gafoor says. Each year, PropNex holds four big conventions, with attendance at each convention reaching up to 4,000 people. At these events, the top 500 agents in each quarter are recognised, and their successes are celebrated with their families.
Another reason for the firm’s success is the boot camps that the company holds for its agents, says Gafoor. PropNex started holding them three years ago. The gruelling three-day camps start at 7am each day and end at midnight or even 2am. “We will replace the CPU [central processing unit] of our agents during these three days,” says Gafoor. “It’s not brainwashing. Our boot camps are five times more impactful than many self-help seminars. Agents will then become more than mere middlemen. They will be able to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the market they are in.”
Besides training and motivating agents, Gafoor believes educating consumers is equally important. PropNex is very active in conducting seminars or property talks, whether at developers’ sales galleries, PropNex’s own auditorium or other venues.
Three years ago, PropNex decided to split the agents according to different geographical zones — north, south, east and west. They were further sub-divided into central and non-central regions.
Having started in HDB resale and massand mid-tier projects over the years, PropNex’s ambition had always been to break into the luxury market. The project that gave it the chance to do so was OUE’s Twin Peaks. “Before Twin Peaks, we knocked on doors but nobody gave us the opportunity,” relates Gafoor.
At OUE Twin Peaks, PropNex sold 264 units — the most among the appointed marketing agents. This year, PropNex has been appointed one of the marketing agents for projects in the Core Central Region such as City Developments’ New Futura and South Beach Residences, Lian Huat Group’s 8 Hullet, Roxy-Pacific Holdings’ 120 Grange, Bukit Sembawang’s 8 St Thomas and Sustained Land’s upcoming project, 3 Cuscaden.
PropNex is also one of the marketing agents for GuocoLand’s Martin Modern as well as M+S’s Marina One Residences and DUO Residences. “PropNex is now a dominant player in the luxury segment,” says Gafoor.
His next goal is to bring the home-grown brand offshore. PropNex now has 800 agents and 18 offices in Indonesia; two offices and a sales force of about 200 in Malaysia; and an office in Ho Chi Minh City with about 100 agents.
About 30% of PropNex’s revenue contribution comes from new project launches. So far, 19 projects have been launched, with another six to seven before year-end. Next year, there will be a pipeline of about 20 new projects with a total of 6,000 units for launch, estimates Gafoor.
The remaining 70% of PropNex’s revenue contribution comes from resales of both private and public housing units, and includes leasing (17%) as well as landed home transactions (6%), says Gafoor.
The latest round of property cooling measures has made the market environment “a bit more challenging”, concedes Gafoor. “Yet, we’ve been growing since 2013, when the last round of harsh property cooling measures was introduced. I’m positive about this year, and looking at the market, I think we will do well next year [too].”