The saying that “Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it” by Brian Tracy, seems to ring true with Fallon Loo.
Fallon Loo, a dynamic leader with FLP Realty Sdn Bhd has been emphasizing to her team what teamwork and staying together truly means. The FLP team have been making waves, achieving sales targets that sound impossible to most in today’s current property market.
How does one do this? With great effort and an incredible team is how she does this.
Fallon brings the best out in her teammates and has instilled a sense of purpose which enables them to understand that the strength needed to fly high in today’s challenging market climate is indeed within themselves.
Property Insight: What inspired you to start FLP Realty Sdn Bhd?
Well, I’d say the people I work with everyday really inspire me. They are a group of extremely passionate and determined individuals with the desire to succeed in this industry. And I came to the conclusion that there was no better way to help them realise their potential than by aligning them to a conducive environment that would foster learning, sharing and growth, and one that gives them, in addition to monetary rewards, a true sense of meaning in their professional lives.
I’ve been fortunate and privileged to have had good learning and growth opportunities over the years. These experiences have given me invaluable insight on the kinds of change and enhancement in execution and efficiencies needed for success at each inflection point in the industry. And these are things I want to share with the team, while I look forward to learning new things from them. I strongly believe that doing and sharing what you know is a lot more important than just having a deep understanding of something.
PI: Why the name “ FLP ” ?
FLP stand for Forefront Legacy Partner and I personally believe that Legacy is about life and living. It’s about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. Although money is essential, it is fundamental in creating a sense of accomplishment, we can very easily lose meaning in life, professionally and personally.
Thus, a true legacy helps us decide the kind of life we want to live, as in our motto “turning dreams into reality”.
PI: What is your secret of retaining high performers?
Well, it’s no secret, the golden rule is rule No.1, ultimately, high performers must be rewarded in order for them to stay. However, this is the key ingredient in a mix of many ingredients, because while money is important, once it is neutralized, other factors become more important. Providing people with a strong sense of purpose, a mission with a larger meaning, is a cause that removes the dullness from their everyday duties. Give them a dream they can identify with, and you will see how committed they become.
It is also paramount that we engineer and honor achievements, while reminding them that there is no such thing as a small achievement. This will help them to grow in their jobs and applies to both high-performers as well, because we usually make the common mistake of focusing only on underperforming employees. To make sure they don’t need to seek growth elsewhere, work with them to set goals that will move them out of their comfort zones. Then, when they are ready, add new responsibilities to their plate.
PI: How do you train and develop you team?
Everything begins with clear and concise communications. Like laying bricks when building a sky-scrapper, each and every brick must be in its precise place. Conversely, in a team everyone must be absolutely clear about the vision, targets, and the role each person needs to play. In short, we need to ask ourselves, why are we here, where do we need to go, and how do we get there. Once that is carved in stone, we then address the how, and fill the gaps in order to get us there. This involves addressing skills and the need to develop them. For instance, rather than trying to change the personality of the individual, focus on training skills that can be taught and learned. If someone is naturally introverted don’t try to convince that person to be more extroverted in order to help close sales. Instead, focus on actively listening and using terminology customers understand.
Lastly, the notion of “What gets measured gets done” must be inherent and integral within every component of execution. If you really want employees to integrate a skill into their day-to-day performance, you must, must, must measure the results of the application of that skill. If you’re providing training on some aspect of your sales process, you should measure the conversion rate at that stage of the sales process, rather than just measuring the total revenue that’s booked at the end of the quarter.
PI: What is the secret of making RM300 million worth of sales for 2 consecutive months in this challenging time?
I wish I had a magic wand that would make things simple. But the reality is indeed a lot more intricate. Nonetheless, it’s also nothing overly strategic or complicated. The key here is discipline, consistency and determination. Everyone needs to be marching to the same drum beat. And as a leader you need to give your people clear marching orders, and this is where high quality communication plays a key role in eliminating any ambiguities before they exist. You have to invest heavily in the now, where short and mid- term objectives are paramount. Establishing clear priorities, matrixes, targets, and nailing each person’s job down are critical in ensuring we hit the ground running and cross the finish line strongly as a team.
In addition to these intangibles, the tangibles are just as essential. Price is what is essential to a customer, but we want to ensure they feel the value they received exceeds the monetary value. In this regard, we are extremely fortunate to partner with top developers in Malaysia, and fortuitously too, our vision, priorities, and commitments are aligned. For instance, we work very closely with Mah Sing Group, and are locked with them at every point. Their chairman, Tan Sri Leong and the entire senior management have been tremendously supportive of our team. Their priorities revolve around creating favorable conditions for the agents, while at the same time minimizing obstacles in the process. More importantly, the projects we partnered on have been extremely enticing and absolutely well-received in the segment we operate. Hence, while we attained record sales, Mah Sing has also been recognized as one of the top developers, and that is indeed a testament of their achievements in these trying times.
PI: What value do you as a team bring to your partners?
I have talked a lot about why FLP is the platform of choice for those who want to be the very best in this industry. Our track record attests to that and we have put some very capable people together with a common direction, and we have done this purposefully. Through training and development, we now have the industry’s top performers and earners within the team. Our diligence and innovations around the streamlining of processes has enabled what is probably the swiftest remuneration method in the industry, whereby the average disbursement period is only 30 days; this is almost unheard of in real-estate.
Our decision to work with only certain developers is a catalyst to our growth. We are extremely selective for a reason; once a decision is made, we do everything it takes to achieve that success factor. This can only work if the developer and FLP are directionally on the same page. We are very fortunate to partner with developers like the Mah Sing Group as they are relentless, creative, resolute, and determined to be on top, whilst we have a team of people who hunger and long to be the very best.
PI: What were some of your biggest challenges in setting up and leading FLP to greater heights? How did you overcome these challenges?
To be an effective leader, I believe there are a few essential things you need to do. The first of these is being flexible. Not everything goes as planned. Competitors change tactics, governments have new regulations on business, and, occasionally, natural disasters occur. And at times like these, leaders have to be able to change course; that is, to ensure that their businesses survive, and then find ways to reach their goals.
At the same time you also need to have the courage, tenacity, and patience. Having the courage to stand alone, the tenacity to not succumb under pressure, and the patience to keep fighting until you win the day. And being responsible and accountable for the good as well as the unpleasant things that happen at work and in life.
PI: What are your plans and goals for FLP in next 3 years?
You need to have a clear vision on where your short, intermediate, and long-terms plan will take you. Anything less than that will land you in areas of vagueness that would indefinitely be detrimental to your overall goals. There is an old adage that goes something like this, ‘We need to grow towards the sun’. Hence, in the real-estate industry it’s crucial to align with what the industry calls for, and what the buyers are seeking out. If monetization is the end result, and it should always be, then results will come easier and count for more when we align ourselves with market conditions. At this juncture, our team has achieved an incredible closure rate of 30% across the board throughout all our projects; this translates to 30 sales for every 100 customers we connect with on a daily basis. My goal is to enable the team to hit a closure rate of 65% over the course of the next 36 months.
PI: What do you foresee in Q4 for the property market?
Well we have just completed Q3 and Q4 is already here. All signs point toward a continuing momentum in the real estate market. This is despite the softer stock market and the ringgit. In fact, we see relentless investments from foreign buyers who have been continuously taking advantage of their stronger currencies. Currently around 30% of our buyers are foreigners, and the percentage does not seem to retract, which is very encouraging. These days foreign investors are usually well-informed and not many are deterred or discouraged by otherwise negative reports and or perception of the current local economic or political scenarios. Everything we have seen and experienced so far, point to a trend that should continue in the foreseeable future.
PI: What are your predictions for 2016 in the property market? What challenges do you think we might be faced with?
This is obviously not an easy thing to predict. It is a challenging and testing time for this industry as a whole. Nonetheless, if historical data is any indication, then we can expect the real-estate market to continue its current momentum. The last 20 years, even during the Asian financial crisis in the late 90s, real-estate has done relatively well in comparison to other sectors. Quite simply, it’s hard to even recall a period over the last few decades whereby property prices had depreciated or fallen even against a background of lackluster economic conditions.
Challenges are a constant. Without them, I think life would not only be dull, but would resemble one big void. There are bound to be challenges ahead, some existing and some newer ones. Still, I am pretty optimistic about the future.
Fallon is a mentor and she sees how the lives of her team have changed after joining FLP, and this gives her a sense of encouragement to keep motivating more and more people. Fallon is an inspirational leader that is passionate about what she does. There are a few such individuals that stand out in this business from time to time, Fallon is one very good example of this.