We saw down with the Head of Sales & Development at Century 21, Chris Summers, to find out what makes Century 21 such a great franchise for those interested in the property sector.
What attracted you to a career in the property industry?
I was a qualified baker by trade until I was 21 then I got tired of early morning starts. A friend was setting up their own agency and asked if I would like to go in as a trainee and I jumped at the chance. It offered a complete change in career and industry. After 18 months I was running the office. I then opened the second office when we branched out. The experience was a great breeding ground for me – I learned so many customer service skills, which are so vital to be successful in property.
What would you say are the biggest plus points of owning a franchise?
Owning a franchise gives someone the chance to do something they may have never done before. It opens up the opportunity to start on a new path with total industry support and training. Almost like an office-in-a-box approach, everything you need to start on that path is in the box – they simply have to take it out, put it together, implement it and work hard delivering it.
Why would you recommend opening a Century 21 franchise in particular?
Being the world’s largest estate agency is a huge draw for potential franchisees, and rightly so. We operate in 81 countries from 8,800 offices, so we must know how to get success and make people realise their dreams.
Being part of SDL Group also allows our franchise owners to offer every property service their clients need, including sales, lettings, auctions, mortgages, estate & block management and surveying. Not many High Street agents can offer all these services under one roof, and they give our franchisees additional income streams.
It is also great to see a seller or a buyer move in to their new home. Knowing you helped make that happen for them is very satisfying.
What 3 tips would you give to new Century 21 franchisees?
1. Throw yourself into the training and ask lots of questions to use the Century 21 approach daily
2. Get to know your territory and your competition
3. Take the time to employ the right people
What sets Century 21 apart from its competitors?
The sheer size of our business makes us unique. We have a vast number of multi award-winning estate agency franchisees from around the world, and we can call upon them to assist us. As a hugely successful franchise, we have a proven track record and strong brand, and our extensive experience means we know our market brilliantly.
Being part of SDL Group is another major bonus, especially for our owners. It gives them so many other ways to earn income and it means their customers can treat them as a one-stop-shop.
What would you say makes a good estate agent?
- have strong communication skills
- be able to put themselves in their clients’ shoes and empathise with their situations
- offer a very personal approach – treat the sale or purchase as if it were their own, always go the extra mile for your clients and arrange appointments for when it’s convenient for clients, whatever time of day that may be
- really get to know any client before working for them
The top 3 skills Century 21 franchisees need to have are...
- Entrepreneurial ability so they can spot an opportunity
- Strong work ethic and tenacity
What are the biggest challenges the property industry is facing at the moment?
Uncertainty of Brexit is probably affecting the major cities in the UK. It’s not so much because of whether we leave or stay or what the deal is – it’s the sheer time it is taking to get a deal done. Most estate agents probably feel they could negotiate the deal better themselves!
Other poor estate agents over-valuing properties to win the listing is also causing issues for the industry as a whole. This is a weak approach that does nothing to help the seller in the long run. It shows a lack of confidence from the agent.
How is Century 21 helping its franchisees overcome these challenges?
Being part of SDL gives our owners more income streams. This diversity enables them to gain income from other areas. Some of these services are recession proof, such as estate management because whatever situation the property market is in, blocks have to be maintained and service charges need to be paid.
Over-valuing causes many issues. It gives the seller false hope of achieving something they will not. Our owners and their staff will always value to sell, not to sit on the market, and we provide the seller with firm and concrete evidence that the price we are suggesting is correct.
What makes Century 21 a market leader?
The Century 21 brand is a major reason why we’re leaders. It is hugely successful around the world.
Secondly, it is the sheer hard work the whole team at Century 21 puts into working with the franchisee eight weeks before they even open their office. This process ensures early and quick success.
Lastly, our attention to detail is extremely high. We leave no base not covered. We support franchisees and help them recruit staff, then we train these staff via workshop and empty house training. We deliver first class office visits and offer collateral. Our marketing team is also at the cutting edge of the industry, ensuring our offices are ahead of the game and ahead of their respective local rivals.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©