When Mark Kentwell rebranded his Newcastle-based real estate business to Presence recently, he did so with a clear vision in mind.
“Our vision is really to transform the real estate journey to a higher standard of consumer experience,” he said.
“And to have an amazing, vibrant team culture where every team member is really playing, staying and performing in a way that they can live out their ideal real estate future with us.”
Formerly part of a national franchise group, Mr Kentwell said he knew it was time to change brands as his business had always operated in a customised manner, with its own technology, training, in-house systems and support, marketing and the platforms that powered it.
The only question was which agency structure would best suit the new brand – joining another franchise, aligning with a boutique network, or establishing Presence as an entirely independent, standalone agency.
“We put a survey to the team to gain their thoughts on the brand change and whether they thought it was a good idea,” Mr Kentwell said.
“We wanted to know whether they’d prefer another franchise group, aligning with a premium boutique network that wasn’t yet represented our area and that we would have plenty of elbow room with, or going with a custom brand from scratch.
“There was overwhelming support for going with a custom brand from scratch, so that solidified our direction.
“Being independent, we can tailor everything we do, and don’t do, for the markets we operate in.”
Mr Kentwell said each of Presence’s four offices were strategically located to service the entire Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region.
“Our head office is right in the market we know intimately and our agents and property managers can work from the head office,” he said.
“Our East and West Lakeside offices are by the water in Warners Bay and Toronto, while our New Lambton office is nestled in another blue ribbon suburb.
“We also have team members working from home and in the office in order to extend their reach, which includes into the Central Coast.”
Mr Kentwell said the offices, like the brand’s new visual identity, reflects who Presence is.
“They draw inspiration from the marketplaces they are in and we own the real estate of two of the four locations, demonstrating that we have firmly planted our roots in our community,” he said.
“We’ve got property management as a stand alone business in Presence Property Management and our dedicated projects division has become Presence Projects.”
Mr Kentwell said Presence has 20 agent teams working across the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region, all working off a single, highly-refined database with incredible engagement.
“We have further expansion plans and have already received great engagement from pending new recruits,” he said.
Mr Kentwell said agents looking to level up were attracted to the Presence employee value proposition, which includes eight key pillars – one for each line that makes up the Presence ‘Perceiving Eye-Con’, the symbol resembling an eye in the brand’s unique logo.
Those eight pillars include a high performance culture, a large, highly-refined database nurtured by the company and industry-leading training and coaching.
Other pillars include company-funded agent and client support, unlimited service areas and earning potential, a unique employee equity scheme that builds over time, a new standard of agent and property marketing and innovative technology and sales methods to ensure market leading agent performance
“I’ve always been an advocate for principals providing the standard of support that helps agents to grow to their full potential,” Mr Kentwell said.
“For agents, having to hire, train and manage support team members can be incredibly distracting.
“As a company, providing this for our agents allows them to maximise the additional time they get back to be of greater value to their clients, which in turn, creates success and value for our team.
“We provide an incredible amount of coaching and training, from both external and internal trainers.
“Our agents are consistently performing at several times the industry benchmarks and we are constantly providing more ways to help our team perform better, without needing to work to inhuman levels.
“Now that we are independent, we’re able to invest even more into the team, into more value ads for clients, more into the community and more into innovations to make Presence the best environment to thrive.”
Mr Kentwell said Presence also believed in having great suppliers to work with and each of these relationships was built on mutual respect, mapping out high standards at the beginning and paying suppliers accordingly.
“If we treat them fairly and our systems help us be simple to work with, then we find they go beyond the standard contract for our clients and our team,” he said.
Long-term, resident performance coaches included top trainers such as Michael Sheargold and Charles Baynie, as well as internal coaching and training from partners with proven track records including Ryan Houston, Russell Dawson and Mr Kentwell himself.
As for the goals for the future? Mr Kentwell said that vision is simple:
“This is all about making the Presence more valuable for the team, because when we’re more valuable for the team, then we’re automatically more valuable for the clients,” he said.