Interview with Tatyana Jefimova, the most profitable consultant of the International Department of ARCO REAL ESTATE in 2014
Tatyana Jefimova, a consultant of the International Department of the Real Estate Company ARCO REAL ESTATE, has freed a time for conversation in the late afternoon, when most employees are going home. She arrived for an interview at the scheduled time, holding in hands, in her view, the most important work tools - mobile phone, planner and a pen. Tatyana, being a certified agent of the Latvian Real Estate Association (LANĪDA) since 2012, creates impression of an reliable person: groomed, charming, dressed in a businesslike manner and always smiling woman with a pleasant voice timbre, and palatable Russian language accent.
Watching and listening to her nuanced story about consultant’s daily life, you notice at once her intelligence and knowledge of business etiquette.
What was your occupation before being a broker? What were your responsibilities and successes?
Until now, for 13 years I was working in various levels of the banking sector. I started my career in customer service where I have accumulated invaluable experience in communication skills and persuasion; as a result I was using the gained knowledge in senior positions. Most of my development was furthered by work in the management of settlement groups and a branch, when I was Deputy Manager.
At that time, when I was leading 12 settlement groups I in which there were employed around 60 persons, I could be proud of the success in engagement of corporate customers, and those skills can perfectly be used also at present, namely in the broker profession. Also, work with private persons afforded real satisfaction. Persuasion skills and capacity of explanation were proved by cases when customers after negotiations closed accounts opened in other credit institutions and agreed to enter into a contract with the bank represented by me.
Is communication with people and their persuasion your call?
Definitely! Just this motivated me to get involved in the field of real estate, where this ability is one of the keys to success.
What prompted you to change the field of activity?
The company's internal reorganization caused by the crisis led to the need to look in another direction. In 2009, in the result of optimization, I was offered a lower position, which I did not agree with.
Why did you choose just the real estate industry?
I was interested in this field already at the study time when everyone was writing a paper about real properties. I remember that the current Latvian President Andris Bērziņš was participating in a discussion about the real estate profitability; and then I had a unique opportunity to demonstrate my argumentation skills.
Similarly, complaints of specific bank customers on low deposit rates and their willingness to invest in real estate acquisition increased my interest in this field. During communication, I saw an opportunity to continue to work with loyal customers, what I successfully implemented.
What is your education?
I am a graduate Financier. In 2003, at the age of 42, I started university studies at the BA School of Business and Finance, and in the result of persistent and purposeful learning process I gained higher education.
What was your way to broker profession?
When I terminated the employment relationship with the bank, I decided to research internet resources, and then I got useful information about the real estate field and trends. This new passion led me to the Latvian Real Estate Association, where I expressed a desire to work in the real estate market. The spokeswoman of the Association made it clear that a broker must be very energetic and motivated, as no constant monthly salary is being paid. It surprised me as I did not expect that income was dependent on the number of transactions. Taking into consideration my energetic character, I decided to continue to explore this field of activity. I applied to an international workshop arranged by the LANĪDA and the things I saw made me happy: I felt that I was belonging to people who were in the conference room - solid, wealthy people with well cultivated manners.
During the workshop, in the presence of 300 participants, I was given the opportunity to tell about myself. My story was considered to be worthy by representatives of several companies, who after the event stood in line to give me business cards and invite to work in their team. At the end of the day from about 15 business cards I could choose with whom to start communication. Attention was attracted by ARCO REAL ESTATE, because it was the only company listed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange. Thus began my career in the real estate field.
It has been heard for many times that the toughest in the broker profession is just the start. How successfully did you fit into the industry, and how long had you to wait for the first success?
I had not to wait a long time for the first success, since I started work actively and purposefully, and ARCO REAL ESTATE also is a company that cares for its new employees, providing customer base, although I have no shortage of it since the time of my working in the bank. I concluded my first two intermediary deals in the second month of work unlike many other beginners who are leaving the field due to lack of motivation.
How do you get the motivation, knowing that the sale of property has both highs and lows?
I get inspiration from motivational and psychological literature that generates useful insights for every day. I am trying to program myself to success, because I believe that human thoughts have overwhelming force and effect. I am convinced on sincerity of the cognition "what a person thinks, so he lives".
How in your opinion you can distinguish a good broker from the rest?
Speaking in general terms, a good broker is characterized by a number of features, such as honesty, responsibility, activity and psychological stability. The most common failure of even experienced brokers is that during a conversation the mediator does not try to find out the needs of customers, but instead sets out the entire spectrum of offers. Customers like an individual approach, so a professional broker will always listen to the needs and only then express his/her proposals. Also, a good broker is distinguished by efficiency both in communication with the client and in action which is forgotten in the current dynamic market conditions. As to my advantages, it should be emphasized that my added value are recommendations, which are increasingly expanding my client base, as well as knowledge of legal issues. Positive feedback from satisfied clients I get due to the fact that when looking for a property I imagine myself in the place of the buyer, delve into every nuance. This is the model of successful cooperation, as real estate – it is a long term business relationship.
Why do you decided to obtain LANĪDA certificate?
I believe that in the near future we will meet the moment when broker certification in Latvia will be a compulsory condition for providing professional mediation services. But for now, as long as such a provision has not been implemented at the national level, the certificate is my distinguishing mark which certifies the quality, reliability and safety.
How much of your time do you devote to your work?
This question is impossible to answer unequivocally. There is a saying: real estate mediation is not a work, it is a lifestyle. Taking into consideration that five hours of sleep is enough for me, I devote 60% of the total time of day to my work.
What are the major benefits and risks of broker profession?
Ability to plan the time is the greatest advantage of this profession which ensures success to highly motivated people, while the risk that withholds most of the people to join this business field is irregularity of income, which is dependent on the number of transactions.
What are the main problems in the Latvian real estate market? What would you like to change in the current situation and legislation?
I would like to have certification of brokers by the Association as a mandatory rule set out in the law. Professional brokers work could be improved also by implementation of a common "bad" customers and debtors database. It is no secret that in the field of the real estate you can see both foul intermediaries and customers, who hire brokers. Transaction security, in my opinion, is in the first place.
What can you tell to those who are considering entering the real estate field and becoming a broker?
Working in the real estate field is very diverse, it has no routine and boredom, but the most important than all the rest is the opportunity to be the ruler of your success, so this is a very appropriate field for motivated people. And if the choice must be made between potential employers, I would recommend ARCO REAL ESTATE, which can be proud of a friendly and professional team, as well as excellent working conditions. It is not difficult to become a patriot of this company, as there are all the preconditions to it.