Special Feature

Dream coach: Why Orange Tee & Tie’s Teresa Tan is so sought after as a team lead

By Teresa Tan
/ Orange Tee & Tie |
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Ask any new agent and he or she will tell you that having a good mentor in the industry is very important to getting their foot in the door.
Teresa Tan, senior associate executive director at Orange Tee & Tie, is one of those mentors that any new agent should look out for.
“With new agents, I take on a very hands-on approach when it comes to guiding them. In my team, my senior agents and I bring our new agents with us and show them every single aspect when it comes to listing and selling a property,” she shares. This method enables new agents to better grasp the workings of the role as compared to theoretical classroom training.
“Whenever we have a new agent in our team, one of us will work on the same listing together with the newbie from start to finish. It is like working on a listing as partners,” says Tan.
“During weekends, which are our busiest periods, my team will group the new agents together. Each senior agent will take up to three or four new agents, and work the ground,” she adds. “As a leader, I believe that we have to lead by example and not just offer them tips on paper.”
Tan: “As a leader, I believe that we have to lead by example..."
Tan also believes in continuous learning, adapting to new technologies to stay ahead of the curve. For example, earlier this year, OrangeTee introduced new features such as the OrangeTee Price Indicator, a new tool that aims to provide instant indicative prices and the Project Launcher, a powerful tool that helps agents create a personalised project website to share the latest information about new projects with their Clients. Such solutions, which are unique to OrangeTee, are the result of customisations that team leaders and the OrangeTee Technology Department are constantly exploring as they adopt various advanced technologies in the industry.
Tan’s training for her new agents is a comprehensive one. The programme, which will last for around a generous 15 weeks, will see Tan and her team of senior agents bringing the new agents everywhere to shadow them.
This includes onsite viewings, meeting potential clients together, closing the transactions together, in addition to listing and marketing the property together. Tan also works closely with them to familiarise them with the suite of digital tools that OrangeTee provides for all agents. For instance, OrangeTee recently leveraged its property technological tools to offer virtual staging and virtual walkthroughs which allows agents to virtually stage properties and conduct remote viewings for clients respectively.
Tan’s programme includes analysing their activities to see if a particular activity is workable and whether the sale can be closed. But it is not just about sales. Embodying the client-first culture at OrangeTee, all agents are committed to going beyond the transaction to add value to the service. “As an agent, we have to play multiple roles – this includes sales, marketing, closing the actual sale and providing after sales service.”
In Tan’s team, should an agent show an aptitude or preference for a particular role over another, she’ll form a smaller team per listing where a few agents will take on each individual role per transaction. “This is so that they can specialise and leverage each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
After the 15 weeks, the agent can then decide if he or she would like to continue partnering Tan or one of her senior agents, or work on his own projects individually.
Tan’s programme has been so successful that most of her team members who have been through the same training, have been in the industry and in her team for around 18 to 22 years.
“We’d like to be able to duplicate our successes to the next generation as well,” says Tan.
Tan believes that passion and discipline is what makes a great property agent
What makes an agent suitable for the role
In Tan’s view, a property agent – especially a new agent – has to have passion for the property industry itself.
“Agents have to like the industry that they’re in. It’s not just about making good money. They have to really love the nature of the industry – from working weekends to having to settle clients’ issues at any time, whether it’s a good day or not,” she says.
“Without this passion, an agent won’t be able to survive in the industry for long,” she adds.
Tan, who has been a property agent since 1994, can attest to this. After all, her passion for property has led her to become a success in her field for 28 years.
“I enjoy seeing the different houses I get to encounter. It’s really the same as a sales person believing in and enjoying the product he sells,” says Tan.
A landed expert
Tan, who is now solely focused on the landed segment, is renowned among the property circles – for her specific skillsets and for her programmes for new agents.
“Selling landed property is different compared to selling HDB flats and condominium units as every landed property is unique,” she says. “You will have to bring out each property’s unique selling point and highlight other advantages of buying that particular property.”
“In the past year, as prices for landed properties escalated, selling landed homes through floor plans are getting more common,” Tan adds. “As the smaller developers don't usually build showflats unless it's a big project and as every property is different, an agent in this segment will have to really help their clients visualise the final development.”
This is where your passion and knowledge of the industry really come in. You have to be passionate about the property that you’re selling and be able to show potential buyers the end product, Tan shares.
Due to Tan’s experience in the field, she has many clients who return to her whenever they or their family members need housing advice or are looking to switch up their housing needs.
One of the things she tells clients is to ensure that they have the ability to afford a particular property comfortably.
“I’m not someone who asks my buyers to commit a high loan for the sake of closing a sale. It’s about whether they have the ability to afford and service a loan in the next three years, because if you sell before the three years is up, they’ll have to pay the seller’s stamp duty (SSD),” Tan says. “This is something I teach my new agents as well.”
Another reason why Tan enjoys a slew of returning clients is because their real estate goals are hers.
“One of my mottos as an agent is to help my clients achieve financial freedom through real estate. This is why I aim to help my clients achieve any targets they’re looking at,” she shares. “As property agents, we are the best people to help our clients grow their wealth through real estate. That’s the focus I guide my agents with.”
Discipline matters
Before joining the industry, Tan was a teacher in Malaysia. When she moved to Singapore, she worked as a production planner in a company that produced plastic parts, before joining the property industry.
“Having flexibility and being able to control how I spend my time is very important to me,” says Tan. “I also believe in getting remunerated for my effort. With a regular job, your income is fixed, and your bonus is under the mercy of someone else. In this industry, an agent definitely gets paid for the amount of effort he or she puts in.”
“This is why having discipline in this industry is very important,” Tan adds. “Without a boss, you are essentially working for yourself; you can choose to work any number of hours you want and wake up at any time you like. This is why, as part of our programme, instilling discipline where our agents have to keep a certain set of hours, is necessary. An agent will be able to make it when he or she has settled into a routine that works for them.”
As a team lead, Tan is someone who will not encourage her agents to spend unnecessarily. “I firmly believe in agents working towards financial freedom. “Even if agents make a lot of money, overspending means they’ll still have to slog to pay off their loan installments. This will demoralise them eventually.”
She adds: “I want my team to be able to enjoy financial freedom at an early age. That’s a goal I have for them. Apart from being able to be good at sales, I talk to them about their CPF contributions too, which is something a lot of agents forget, since their income is mainly in cash.”
“I want my agents to have enough money to retire and have no financial commitments. This way, they can also do better and focus on serving customers whole-heartedly without any financial stress. In our industry, we have to help our customers make decisions since we are experienced in this field, and we should not let them down by providing them bad advice,” Tan continues.
Fulfilling career
All in all, Tan enjoys her role as a team lead and finds it fulfilling to nurture the newer agents. During our interview, she expressed her gratitude to OrangeTee’s management team for being in tune with the needs of agents on the ground and accordingly invest in digital resources and platforms to support them. According to her, the positive energy dynamics with her senior and junior colleagues make it a joy for her to work and motivate her to do better each day.
For more information:
Contact Teresa Tan l 96677772
Associate Executive Director (R014297F)
OrangeTee & Tie Pte. Ltd.

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