Nicole Ciantar is the founder and Director of Vogue Real Estate. Established in 2011, Vogue Real Estate is one of Australia’s fastest growing and most unique boutique real estate agencies. Offering buying, selling and leasing services with an importance placed on delivering exceptional service, Vogue Real Estate is unlike your typical real estate business. A motivated business owner and entrepreneur with three young children, Nicole is passionate about the real estate industry and has years of experience, which in turn have provided her with the necessary skills to operate such a successful business in NSW. While many real estate businesses purport to offer the best customer service, Vogue Real Estate actually delivers on this promise, and Nicole has put in place good systems and practices to ensure the business not only meets its promises, but also tracks, monitors and evaluates its own performance with the assistance of external parties.
voguere.com.au @voguere facebook
Vogue Real Estate possesses ethics, morals and standards and has a focus on providing the community with a service that they haven’t experienced in the past.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
Vogue Real Estate was born to change the real estate industry! There is a general stigma around real estate agents, who can often possess similar characteristics and selling traits to used car salespeople – where, typically, selling property is based on profits and ethical standards are ignored. Vogue Real Estate was formed with the vision to create industry service standards so clients can say that they had an honest and enjoyable real estate experience. Vogue Real Estate possesses ethics, morals and standards and has a focus on providing the community with a service that they haven’t experienced in the past.
Please explain your business model.
Vogue Real Estate has a virtual and home office, and works to put customer service back into the industry. If a client is stuck at work, the Vogue Real Estate professionals will always go to visit them personally. Vogue Real Estate ensures that calls are always returned and staff endeavour to go the extra mile to try and satisfy the needs of clients, regardless of whether they are a landlord, a tenant, a prospective purchaser or a seller.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
The team and I are working on a few items at the moment – building up the rent roll, continuing to increase our sales listings and generating some involvement with the Box Hill development. On a personal level, I have also started studying Valuation at uni.
How do you make ideas happen?
I personally believe that in order to make ideas happen, you have to chase them. It also helps to find out who you need to know to make them happen.
What does your typical day look like?
A typical day at Vogue Real Estate Australia involves plenty of travelling, visiting clients and coming and going from meetings.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
Personally, I have learnt a few key lessons in business to date.
1. The first step is overcoming fear of rejection. Having only worked under large-scale company names and franchise businesses, I initially lacked the confidence to take the leap and start up a real estate business of my own. I sat down and asked myself many questions about uncovering and dealing with sales objections and challenges, both mentally and emotionally. It required me to know myself, my strengths and weaknesses, not only the services I provide. Understanding that I had the product knowledge, creativity, sales tools, and self-belief is what I had to realise within myself. I appreciated the fact that I must combine technique with honesty and conviction to resolve any lingering doubts or conflicts.
2. Coming to grips with the virtual world. Nowadays, people are quite familiar with technology; however many still have concerns with a virtual office. It was a challenge ensuring clients provided us with the opportunity to work with them. Due to the fact that we are locatable, return phone calls and emails promptly, and are contactable either ‘face to face’ or via technology, eventually I learned that most clients are indeed willing to meet with us and feel confident in the service we provide. The virtual world has greatly benefited my business and business relationships, and allows us to have consistent contact with our clients.
3. Differences in ethical standards. After opening the doors of Vogue Real Estate Australia, I quickly learned that your own values and standards and the values and standards of your employees can greatly differ. In previous job positions, I have always put the company first; however, now owning my own business I have come to realise that not everyone will possess the same work ethics as you. Therefore, it is important to monitor staff activities to ensure that tasks are being accomplished and planned, and you can correct any significant deviations. Monitoring staff performance is essential to ensure the standards are being met.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Rule number 1 when it comes to real estate – NEVER sell property unless you have to!
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
Absolutely everything! Businesses are seen as reputable and professional, and therefore we should all be treating the community with old-fashioned customer service to instil respect for one another.
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like to support?
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Name some Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Michael Yardney @michaelyardney
Mark Bouris @markbouris
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
Vogue Real Estate Australia would love some strong marketing tips, as all of our current clients are word of mouth.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
What is the best source of marketing and or how long will it take to get clients?
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Nick’s Seafood Restaurant, Sydney.