Property Angels 房地产的天使


June Loh, Joan Alcock, Nandita Bangera & Ned Gerrard

Directors of UPMKT

Charlie’s Angels was an American television series set in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There have been several reboots of the series, as well as a film adaptation in 2000, featuring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as the angels.

The plot has three glamorous women working in a private detective agency fighting crime in Los Angeles, USA. Their activities were directed by a male counterpart called Charles Townsend.

The parallel between this storyline and our featured guests in this article should be more than obvious to the global audience familiar with the Charlie’s Angels franchise.

Online Property Service.jpgFast forward to present day Melbourne, Australia, we find three smart and glamorous women fighting an uphill battle against a stampede of overzealous sales agents. Conventionally a male-dominated field, these superstar performers have carved a niche for themselves in the project marketing of residential developments.

In our modern version, the fictional cast has been replaced by June Loh, Joan Alcock, Nandita Bangera and Ned Gerrard. Together, they own and operate the technical residential company, Ausurban Pty Ltd, project marketing business Upmkt Consulting and online property management platform OPS.

To better appreciate their success, we have short-listed some of their achievements:

  • Sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars in a few short years
  • Hosting projects for some of the biggest national and international developers
  • Meeting pre-sales quotas to secure development finance where much bigger competitors had failed
  • Troubleshooting projects with under-performing sales teams
  • Assisting clients in brand development
  • Managing major projects exclusively with a work in progress of more than $600 million in value

With this impressive background, we invited June, Joan, Nandi and Ned to share their story and to give us an insight on what separates them from the pack.

EZ : How did the four of you get together?

June : Joan and I worked together in a real estate agency before we started our own. We connected with Ned through family and friends and got him to help us run and grow our business while we concentrated on sales. He is a finance and marketing specialist with an MBA from Monash University and experience at the highest corporate levels.

On the other hand, Joan and Nandi have known each other in prior employment and when Joan introduced her to Ned and I, we felt that she was the perfect fit for our group. Fortunately for us, she agreed and we were all thrilled to have her join us as an equal partner.

EZ : Being in sales, you ladies are at the frontline of your business, interacting with a vast number of people from different ethnic backgrounds. Given that all of you come from diverse geographic and cultural backgrounds yourselves, do you find it an advantage or disadvantage? June, you are from Singapore, Nandi is from India via New Zealand and Joan, you are a home-grown Melbourne girl.

Joan : First and foremost, we are women with similar values and goals. The net effect is that our dynamics seem to resonate with all types of buyers. We are equally proficient at selling to all racial, cultural and demographic profiles.

EZ : Is there a special characteristic that sets you apart from your competitors?

Nandi : I would say it is understanding. Understanding our client, understanding the market and understanding the buyer.

June : What really shaped us, is that we all started at the bottom. We ‘cut our teeth’ selling leftover stock that nobody could get rid of, after the big players had sold all the prime units (most notably to the Chinese who couldn’t settle eventually) and had virtually exhausted all their clients’ marketing funds. It’s not a good look for our industry when they plaster their 70% or 60% SOLD stickers on site hoardings when up to half of these sales will fall through and there is little or no marketing budget left to move the remaining stock.

EZ : Who are your major competitors?

Joan : There are too many to name, but the best way to explain is that there are two tiers of actual project marketeers. The rest are small real estate agencies or independent individual agents. The first tier are the residential divisions of the multi-national commercial firms and the second are the larger traditional real estate agencies extending their reach to off-the-plan sales, particularly with the recent trend toward higher density living.

Ned : Having a large cost base and many mouths to feed means that our competitors must adopt a quantity over quality approach. Securing exclusivity to as many projects as possible becomes a priority. Often, they represent multiple projects in the same street, despite the obvious conflict of interest.

What then is the guarantee that all projects will be given equal priority? What happens if one project sells better than the other? Would buyers enquiring on the poorer performing project not be directed to one that requires less selling effort?

June : Another major issue is that no organisation has the depth of sales talent to stretch over a multitude of projects. It is also highly unlikely that a sales employee of a large project marketing firm working on a major project would have the same drive to perform as if they were the owners of the business.

The critical question all developers should ask themselves when their project is ready to go to market is  “Who can best sell it?”

As sales and marketing is not in a developer’s skill set, the tendency is to assume that ‘big is best’ and therefore, to appoint either a tier one or tier two firm as master agent, depending on the size of the project.

We are all too familiar with this thinking, having been called in on many occasions to salvage a project from inertia or to improve a poor sales performance.

EZ : Now, a question on the current state of the market?

Ned : That is probably a question for me. We have auction clearance rates coming down from very high levels in the traditional market. We have a credit squeeze with banks applying much tougher lending criteria to borrowers.

The foreign investor market has just about dried up and the effects of the banking Royal Commission are still to be felt. Obviously, if the Labour Party wins the election in 2019, negative gearing will be seriously impacted. Many projects are not going ahead. According to the media it’s all doom and gloom for the high-density apartment market.

EZ : What strategy have you adopted in such an unfavourable market environment?

Ned : We had the foresight to switch our strategy and target owner occupiers well before our competitors realised that foreign investor buying would not continue unabated.   

Nandi : Our current projects are in blue chip locations where we found the sweet spot in the market, to be downsizers aged 55+. Through Ausurban, our technical arm, we can provide buyers with architectural services enabling the merging of 1×2 and 2×2 bedroom apartments into three and four-bedroom units that can also be customised.

June : Of course, every one of our competitors is now targeting owner-occupiers with developers being asked to offer ridiculous incentives and unprecedented agent commissions. Working against this background means that we have to be innovative by creating marketing strategies and plans that no other project marketeers have adopted.

EZ : Where to from here then?

Nandi : We are looking to establish a base in Sydney, another in Singapore through June’s connections and I am optimistic about being able to develop an emerging market in India for Australian properties.

Ned : We are also improving our business offering with a B2C portal for off-the-plan sales and property management.

EZ : Sounds exciting. We wish you all the best on your journey. 

“查理的天使” 又名“霹雳娇娃”,是以上世纪70年代末到80年代初为背景的美国电视剧。这部影片有不同的重拍版本,其中在2000年的电影改编版是由女演员Cameron Diaz、Drew Barrymore和刘玉玲主演。故事情节是叙述3名美丽聪慧的女人们任职于一家美国洛杉矶的私人侦探社,并与罪犯进行斗争,而她们的工作编排是由一位名叫Charles Townsend的男性所主导。对于熟悉这部影视系列的全球观众来说,故事主线角色和本文中我们的特邀嘉宾状况具异曲同工之妙。



• 短期数年内总销售额达到数亿澳元。

• 受到大型且顶尖国内与国际开发商委托项目。

• 满足售前配额,确保开发融资,即使他们许多更大的竞争对手也难以做到。

• 携手表现不佳的销售团队排除项目障碍问题。

• 协助客户进行品牌开发。

• 管理价值超过6亿澳元的独家重大项目计划。

有了这些令人印象深刻的成就背景,我们邀来了June、 Joan,Nandita和Ned解析他们的创业故事,领略他们非凡的商业运营方式。

EZ : 你们4位是怎么聚在一起的?

June :在开始创业之前,我和Joan是同事,曾在同一家房地产公司工作。然后通过家人和朋友认识了Ned,他的专业可以让我们集中于销售的同时,也协助推动营销业务发展。身为一名金融和营销专家,Ned具备莫纳什大学工商管理硕士学位,拥有最高企业级别的经验。另外,Joan和Nandi是在之前在工作中接触过,所以当她把Nandi带到我和Ned的面前,我们觉得她就是这个小组需要的合作人选。幸运的是,她竟然同意能作为平等的伙伴加入,这让我们很欣喜。

EZ :女士们,作为销售人员,你们是走在业务第一线的前锋,与不同区域、文化和种族的人们交流可说难以避免,考虑到大家出身自不一样的地方和文化背景,觉得这是优势还是劣势?比如June是来自新加坡,Nandi是印度出生然后到新西兰,而Joan,你是土生土长的墨尔本女孩。

Joan :其实最重要的是,我们有着相同的价值观和一致的目标。这个也造就最终结果,我们的积极动力似乎与所有类型的买家产生良好共鸣,且擅长向不同种族文化的客户群体进行销售。

EZ :是什么特质或者因素让你们可以脱颖而出?

Nandi :我认为是了解。了解客户、市场和买家。

June :一切从底部开始是真正塑造和磨砺我们的原因。当我们选择咬紧牙关卖出没人能脱手的剩余库存时候,许多大公司出售了所有主要楼盘单位(最明显的是卖给了最终无法定居的中国人),并几乎耗尽了所有客户的营销资金。所以,在他们大肆张贴着70%或60%大促销广告时,这对行业来说并非好预兆,因为销售量下跌一大半,清算库存的营销预算空间会被挤压。

EZ :你们的主要竞争对手是谁?

Joan :这个要一一举例就太多了。但最适当的解释方式是两个层次的实际项目营销人员,其余的是小型房地产中介或独立中介。第一层是跨国商业公司的住宅楼盘,第二层是规模更大的传统房地产机构,它们将业务范围扩大至期房销售,尤其是在目前居住密度逐渐提高的趋势下。

Ned :我们有很大的成本压力和现实的生计问题需要考量。这就意味着与竞争方对垒时必须采用数量压倒质量的策略,确保获取更多项目的优先权是我们的目标。因此,尽管存在明显的利益冲突,但很多时候同一条街道上会集中多个发展项目。


June :另外一个难题是,没有任何团队组织具备足够的销售人才可在众多项目中施展才能。大型项目营销公司的销售人员在从事重大项目时,因为自己不是企业的掌控者或所属人,缺乏积极的动力去表现。所有房产开发商都应该自我思索的重要问题是:当他们的项目准备投入市场时,谁能卖得最好?由于开发商一般不具备营销技能,很容易倾向于认为“越大型的项目就越好”,所以根据项目规模指定一级或二级公司作为总代理,这个想法和局面很常见,我们曾多次被召唤将一个项目计划从低迷的泥沼中拯救出来,或者改善糟糕的销售业绩。

EZ : 关于目前市场所面临的问题?

Ned :这可能是我要应对的问题。我们的拍卖清算率在传统市场面临剧烈的下行。而且银行信贷紧缩,针对借款人的贷款标准严苛了许多。外国投资者市场几近枯竭,至于银行业皇家委员会的影响仍有待观察。而如果工党在2019年赢得大选,负扣税将受到严重影响,许多项目都不能推进。另外,据媒体报道,高密度公寓市场前景黯淡。

EZ :在这个阴霾密布的市场环境下,你们采取了什么策略?

Ned :在竞争对手还未意识到外国投资者的购买力缺乏持续性之前,我们就很有远见地改变了战略和目标人群。

Nandi :我们目前的项目定位蓝筹目标群,且在那里找到了市场的最佳结合点,55岁以上的精简型买家。通过我们的技术支援团队Ausurban,我们可以为买家提供建设服务,使1×2和2×2卧室公寓合并为三、四卧室单元,也可以定制。

June :当然,我们的每一个竞争对手目前都在瞄准业主和开发商,要求提供荒谬的奖励和令人咋舌的代理佣金。不过,在这种状况下,也意味着我们必须以更创新的营销策略和计划甩开其他营销人员。

EZ : 那谈论下你们的后续计划?

Nandi :我们希望在悉尼建立一个基地,透过June的牵线联系,新加坡的基地也将设立。我对能够在印度拓展澳大利亚房地产的新兴市场持乐观态度。

Ned :我们也在改善业务服务,提供B2C电子商务门户,用于期房销售和物业管理。

EZ :感觉相当激动人心,祝愿你们在商业旅程上一路勇往直前。

Photography by Layzhoz Yeap