EVERYONE who works for the White family feels part of the family, and the group’s values were on show this week at the annual franchisor conference, Crows Nest.
Every one of the 150 Ray White attendees at Crows Nest felt appreciated for the impact that they have had in another extraordinary year in real estate markets across Australasia.
The three-day conference, held again on the Gold Coast and not at the beloved original tin shed in Crows Nest in regional Queensland where Ray founded the business 121 years ago, is the most important event on the leading franchisor’s calendar for its corporate team.
The most anticipated day of the year is the Curiosity Day where this year 44 corporate team members delivered a five minute pitch to their peers to make the business better.
From creating a real time dashboard for tracking marketing spends, to creating a Ray White Business Academy, to staying closer to our alumni to removing the yellow box on our residential logo – nothing was off limits on Curiosity Day.
In keeping with the auctioneering foundation of the group, the conference culminated in a hilariously fun mock auction with fake Crows Nest dollars issued to the attendees.
Chairman Brian White says there was no such thing as a bad curiosity, only having no curiosity.
Ray White Managing Director Dan White (pictured above) said the annual conference demonstrated the group’s commitment to its team.
“We keep looking ahead to challenge ourselves and never be complacent, and to keep chasing our potential,” Mr Dan White said.
He spoke of the Ray White springboard which aims to empower leaders, create a family experience, network effects and competition creation. “We have over 1000 leaders in our group and understanding where they are on their journey is critical, as their effectiveness defines our future. We need to hustle and make sure we are across our leadership opportunities and challenges.”
The family owned group has grown using the ‘Three Horizon’ models, identifying the stages of evolution of businesses and how well established businesses can help the creation of new opportunities.
The family’s Horizon 3 businesses are more experimental (Neoval). Horizon 2 (Ailo and NurtureCloud) which are high growth. Horizon 1 businesses are the core businesses (Ray White, LMG and RWC).
How are we going to improve our organisations?
“We want to create a better environment for our people. The best ideas will come from in this room. Are we creating and nurturing the most ambitious talent and providing a the place for them to flourish?”
“There are 25 leaders here who have their own team and P&L, enabling more decisive and focused leadership that enables us to move quickly,” Mr Dan White said.
“We know we still have so far to go.”
Sam White (pictured above) explained how his mortgage aggregation business LMG had spent the last three years integrating three former NAB mortgage broking businesses – PLAN, Choice and FAST.
LMG now has 5150 brokers in its network, with $11 billion a month in settlements representing some 27 per cent of the Australian broking market.
“Where will we be in 2028? Our goal is to have 40 per cent residential market share of residential (up from 27 per cent), 50 per cent commercial (from 38 per cent) and 30 per cent of asset loans.
“Market share drives everything for us, and brokers like continuity,” Mr Sam White said.
“The system migration was harder than I ever expected and far worse than expected and we lost a lot of focus in this time. Complexity is expensive.
Some great things came from the integration too.
“We budgeted to lose 15 per cent of brokers but we only lost five per cent. We also had higher revenue than planned thanks to the strong market. And our service model has landed well. And our market share is 27 per cent which has brought a lot more opportunity with lenders in Australia.”
Dan White said the group’s growth in 2023 looks to be the same as 2022, which is good with overall volume being incredibly resilient.
“Our market share is 13.6 per cent in Australia and New Zealand. Our auction market share is around 25 per cent and after 121 years our focus on auctions remains as relevant as always and we haven’t lost energy in talking about this.”
Chairman Brian White (pictured above) said he got such a thrill to see the fourth generation family owned and led business that was still getting stronger.
“It doesn’t happen very often to reach a fourth generation business, it’s very rare and we are stronger every year for 121 years. The reason this is happening is we are determined to keep getting better. Groups that have faded did it to themselves. When good things happen often complacency is never far behind. We are determined to keep getting better, and our market share is now twice that of our nearest competitor. We are continuing to strive to keep getting better,” he said.
“I love this company and I hope it brings you a sense of achievement and challenge, as that is a big part of what we do. If we think we are there, we are already on the way back.”
Ailo founder Ben White (pictured above) said his property management platform aspired to replace all the legacy platforms available on the market.
Ailo now manages 40,000 properties as at October 2023, with $1 billion in rent through the books.
“It’s been a big year for us with more users and more challenges. We are a payments business which comes with more risk management and is highly licensed,” Mr Ben White said.
Ailo now has 13,000 property managers, 2500 tradespeople, 60,000 renters and 50,000 landlords on the platform.
“The entire premise for Ailo is the growth that comes from growing and delighting landlords,” Mr White said.
“The Ailo roadmap has some big releases coming in the next four weeks to become fully paperless. Agency growth is the focus in 2024. A rent roll is important because it is a source of low contested sales leads.”
The case study sessions were presented by various speakers including Jason Andrew, Ray White Queensland CEO, who discussed a recent transition in Townsville in far north Queensland that took two years to come to fruition.
Principal Gio Spinella said he and his brother Santo were transparent (pictured above with Mr Andrew); that they wanted the name Ray White Townsville or their rebrand wouldn’t have happened.
“We wanted unity and we wanted to be Ray White Townsville. It was a hard decision, it was like losing a sibling to leave Explore but there was no other option for our future. We wanted to dominate the area as Ray White Townsville,” Gio Spinella said.
“Our team is our family and we wanted to make sure we were making the right decision for our whole team. I am very proud of the culture of our team of 50 people. We only lost one staff member during reband.”
Principal Santo Spinella said the business wanted to get from 10 per cent market share to 40 per cent. “We had also been doing it all ourselves and we wanted a partner to give us support and fuel our vision to go forward and dominate Townsville.”
Andrew Freeman, James Linacre and Todd Alexander explored their own case study centred on Ray White’s commercial network and the 2023 update to its visual identity to become RWC.
Mr Freeman said it was a case of mistaken identity.
Head of Marketing Todd Alexander thoroughly explained the process they went through during the rebrand to RWC.
“Our franchisees wanted to stay connected but they wanted a clear separation from the residential network,” he said.
NurtureCloud specialists Courtney Martin and Mark McLeod spoke about the proptech tool which is changing the face of the real estate industry.
There are now 717 active offices using NurtureCloud across Australia and New Zealand and yet some 22 per cent of the network hadn’t even downloaded the app.
“It’s a leadership tool and we need business owners’ buy-in. We have some 7112 agents active in Australia and New Zealand and we are making more than 500,000 calls in Australia in a month.”
A bulk SMS feature will be rolled out in December. The buyer module will be released in 2024, which will replace Vault and complete Ray White’s own agent operating system.
Keynote speaker Kamal Sarma (pictured above), chair of the R U OK?, spoke about the future of human connections.
From being a monk for seven years to becoming a venture capitalist, he wrote the bestseller Mental Resilience – The Power of Clarity.
“Research shows that 50 per cent of us do not get enough sleep, 62 per cent don’t get enough exercise and 53 per cent of us are overwhelmed,” he said.
“One in five people are depressed, and one third of us are obese, and 22 per cent are exhausted. We work at three levels. Me, family and team. Your team can make or break your life. Congruence is the key to sustained performance.
“We work with successful people who want to take the leap to the next level but unlearning is so much tougher than learning.”
Mr Sarma said there were three stages of truth.
The first phase is ridicule, then violent opposition and then accepted as obvious.
“We sometimes resist what can help us the most. Stop listening to people. RUOK a conversation that can change your life.
“People are oppressed by time. The scarcity of time makes us feel stressed. How do you flow, achievement without exhaustion and achievement without success.
“Conscious stress is bad but it’s not the worst. Subconscious stress is weird – legs shaking, biting bottom lips, biting fingernails but unconscious stress wakes you up in the night. We are designed for acute stress not chronic stress.”
“Some 80 per cent of work-related stress comes from internal team issues. You can get a 40 per cent uplift in productivity if you resolve team issues.
“Accountability conversations, performance conversations and giving feedback to peers.”
“Your job as a leader is not to listen but to make others feel heard. That is your role. Am I making you feel heard?
“Give your best energy to the people who will come to your funeral. Understand your conscious and subconscious stress.”
Ray White Head of Organisational Development Nat Hortz (pictured above) announced the establishment of the group’s Springboard Academy, a program for the wider corporate team to upskill and reach their full potential.
Growth program – an application only program, designed to nurture talent in small groups of 8 to 10 people through peer to peer learning.
Leading people program – designed to support and upskill people who lead people. Every 4-6 weeks this group will meet either in person or online over a 12-month period. This will kick off in the network’s Leadership Week next March. It will start with psychometric testing and tie in with the group’s wellbeing program.
At the highly coveted Chairman’s Cup Awards, Ray White Head of Network Finance Australia Craig Heath (pictured above with Brian and Dan White) won the sought after Chairman’s Cup perpetual crystal trophy.
2023 Chairman’s Cup Award winners:
Gavin Croft – Myf Porter Award
Dean Bowerman – Curiosity Award
Daniel Gray – True Believer Award
Stephanie Watson – Christine Gray Award
Jackie Smith – Further Together Award
Courtney Martin – Cutting Edge Award
Andy Ebett – Next Generation Award
Mark Whiteman – Challenge Cup Award
Matt Lindblom – White Family Award
Craig Heath – Chairman’s Cup Award
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