US based Keller Williams Realty or Keller Williams (KW) , recognised as a leading technology and international real estate franchise in terms of number of sales associates, has recently set up its shop in India as KW-Delhi – NCR. In this exclusive interview with Torbit Realty, KW Delhi-NCR Director Sahil Kapoor talks about KW strategy and business plans for India, their brand strength , key issues and scope of real estate brokerage business in India. Excerpts…. Vinod Behl
What is the thought behind entering the Indian market when so many global brokerage chains are already present here ? What is Keller Williams’ strategy for India ?
Globally , Keller Williams (KW) has set up franchise operations . But for India it has adopted a different entry strategy by setting up its direct entity- KW Delhi-NCR. This is primarily because of the reason that India is a large and unique market having high potential.Moreover, the global brokerage companies which have come to India through a franchise route are not doing well. KW has gone for a direct company-owned entity as they first want to be familiar with the market and developers and have stronger feet on the ground before thinking of franchise operations.
Why have you chosen Delhi-NCR for your India entry and what are your precise plans ?
It is a strategic decision as Delhi- NCR is the largest market with high sales and a large number of new launches. Moreover it has the presence of strong corporate players . So, first of all we want to tap this high potential market before moving to Mumbai and Bangalore. In Delhi-NCR, we are setting up a big team of 100 real estate professionals having good experience in the real estate sector. We are also taking professionals from industries like automobiles who have HNI contacts and have experience of selling high ticket projects.
We will be transacting in both residential and commercial real estate. But initially we will focus on residential real estate and that too on the primary market and three quarters down the line, we will get into commercial leasing. Soon, we will be opening an NRI desk to assist NRIs in the West and Europe to invest back home or liquidate their assets in India. We have the advantage of a strong base of Indian origin professionals across the world in the KW team.
What sets you apart from others ?
KW brand name and service standards in other global markets and the referral business through Indian diaspora agents, will stand us in good stead. Our focused approach to work with strong and highly credible developers will also be to our advantage. We are already working with top developers like DLF, Birla, Adani and M3M. Our standardised documentation and processes help us effectively understand customers’ needs and serve them better. Then we have a very strong internal technology platform- Command to manage CRM, transactions, customer relations . It also helps us run our lead generation campaigns on social media. We have a design tool also to build designs and creatives of projects we need to promote. In the near future we will be launching a customer-centric App.
Lack of knowledge and training of real estate brokers and channel partners is adversely impacting the brokerage business. .Comment
Unfortunately, a lot of people do not think it is relevant or important. They are more concerned with numbers . Industry bodies like NAR India are playing a significant role in upskilling brokers at the city and state levels through workshops conducted by their expert trainers . I am also a NAR India trainer. At KW, we are here to fill the skill gap. We have over 200 hours of internal content to improve the knowledge and skill of our team members in order to make them more customer-centric and provide the best of information to customers along with making the property buying process simple, smooth and hassle-free.
With the ongoing consolidation in the brokerage business, do you foresee the monopoly of big players, especially the IPCs ?
Large brokerage set ups will always be in greater demand as they fulfill consumers’ need for one-stop solution by providing value-added services like mortgage, registration, relocation, interiors, vastu, besides legal advice. They will continue to command a higher share of business. While IPCs are more into the commercial segment- consulting and leasing , big brokerage firms are very strong locally in the residential segment . So both will co-exist with specialisation in their respective domains. It is also to be noted that large brokerage firms will not like to spread themselves thin and rather restrict themselves to some core domains . Moreover, large brokers are aggregating smaller brokers. So, there will not be a monopoly situation. Both big and small brokers will co-exist.
Going forward, how do you look at the prospects of the brokerage business ?
Real estate sector in India is a recession-proof sector. We have a large population which does not have a home .With many having good disposable income, they aspire to own a home and also invest in real estate to have capital appreciation and rental income. So in this backdrop, despite global headwinds real estate in India is doing well and will continue to do so. And with that the scope of brokerage business will also go up.
Moreover, world over despite digitisation people while buying a brick & mortar house or office, go for physical transactions. Online medium is only an enabler for research, virtual visits etc before a physical look at the property for finalising it. In developed countries where there is so much transparency in terms of paperwork, taxation, pricing etc, property seekers still rely on brokers. In India, there is all the more need for brokers as property title related issues are there. Moreover, brokers bring a lot of knowledge and intelligence about future prospects of property. Also, organised brokers are using online tools to make business faster and productive. As such the real estate brokerage business in India has a big potential .