As a standout sole operator in the Newcastle region, Annette Pinkerton has a few tricks up her sleeve.

First, with an extensive background across radio, television and newspaper plus qualifications in marketing, she understands the techniques to draw people in to an open home and the importance of good advertising.

“What I do can fix people’s problems and even change their lives.”

Annette also understands which of her daily tasks must be prioritised so she can maximise the time she has available.

As a result, Annette is able to enjoy a steady stream of listings, plus online reviews that describe her as “brilliant!!”, “a true professional”, “determined and motivated” and simply “the best”.

Close to home

One of Annette’s early career roles was helping real estate agents to advertise in local paper The Express Advocate on the Central Coast. “Real estate appealed to me but I had small children at the time,” she says.

After her children became less dependent on her, Annette joined this industry. Within just four years, she was able to step out on her own.

“I enjoy that it’s different every day and I thrive on challenge. What I do can fix people’s problems and even change their lives,” says Annette. “Often people are dealing with breakups or trying to purchase their first homes and having the right help can have a huge impact.”

While many agents have become transactional and migrated away from a community mindset, Annette prefers to build relationships with her clients. As a result, she needs next to no personal marketing and gets most of her business through referrals.

Overcoming challenges

In 2019, the market slowdown meant that while there were plenty of vendors, there weren’t plenty of sales. With banks lending to fewer borrowers, those who did have approval to buy were keeping offers low. As a result, vendors weren’t getting the offers they were hoping for.

Fortunately, things are picking up again but Annette was able to rely on the property management side of her agency to carry her through what ended up being an almost national stalling of the market.

When it comes to listing homes in a flat market, Annette prefers not to be pushy. “I talk to the vendors about what they want to achieve and what they want to do. If they want to downsize and they have their eye on a villa, they do have to act.”

“It’s a matter of trying to find out the vendors’ requirements and working with them. If there’s no reason to sell right now, they can just wait till the market comes back and do it later down the track.”

Skipping the pressure tactics means Annette’s clients know they’re being looked after.

A savvy operator

With properties listed in her main ‘patch’ of Adamstown plus all around Newcastle, you’d assume Annette has a large team.

However, she runs a very tight operation, consisting of herself and an overseas virtual assistant. “I use an agency who help me find the right person to work for me 20 hours per week,” she explains.

To ensure her VA is productive and occupied, Annette has systems, procedures and manuals in place. This means there are step-by-step procedures for everything and she knows all tasks will get done.

“The software we use is called Trello”, shares Annette, “It lets you assign tasks and keep track of everything and because we have a small team it’s free to use.”

So far, Annette has created over 370 systems to help her VA keep on top of things. “My VA does all the admin and social media so I can focus on income-producing activities.”

While Facebook and LinkedIn are some of the main strategies to attract leads because it is easier to target an audience, Annette also uses her VA to post what she calls ‘vide-ettes ‒ short property videos to share on Instagram. “The quicker the better,” she says, “You have to be smart with your videos and not waste time.

Becoming One Agency

It was back in her newspaper days that Annette first came across One Agency Group. “Paul and Annie got in touch to place an ad looking for licensees. I’ve since developed a close relationship with them and seen how One Agency is a community and a family.”

“I’m a huge advocate for One Agency Group. It’s a smart, good-looking brand that stands out. Having a marketing background means that’s important to me.”

Annette found a great deal of value in the done-for-you service of OAG. “Everything was already set up from day one and I didn’t need to do anything,” she says.

This included accounts and passwords for portals, being provided with the supplier contacts she needed and marketing collateral including A-frames, letterheads and business cards. “I had everything I needed to get started and the supplies lasted for almost a year.”

Having the support of One Agency meant Annette could focus on getting listings and growing her business using the successful model she has today. Her advice for agents thinking of transitioning to operating their own business is to forget about trying to do it all themselves. “Get a VA and use systems so you can focus on income-producing activities”.

"It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep that counts."
‒ Paul Davies, Founder and CEO

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About Paul Davies

As founder and CEO of the fastest growing real estate network across Australasia, I offer real estate professionals an opportunity to reap the financial rewards of going it alone with the security and clout of an established brand. Talk to me and my team about your options.

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