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Imbibing the entrepreneurial culture

The company culture is important
By Debbie J. Pepito |

For three times since 2007, property developer Megaworld Corp. has hit the billion-peso mark in its monthly real-estate sales. The secret behind this performance, says Noli D. Hernandez, vice president for marketing, is the company having successfully inculcated the entrepreneurship culture among its sales staff.


“A company’s culture is very important,” he explains. “In Megaworld, we teach our people to treat themselves as entrepreneurs. If you can get people to think themselves as entrepreneurs, then you’re off to a very good start.”

Hernandez handles Megaworld’s Marketing I unit, which sells residential condominiums, lots, and villas at the company’s projects in McKinley Hill Village in Taguig City and at the Forbes Town Center at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Makati City.


All of the Megaworld sales personnel, Hernandez says, undergo at least a two-week orientation and value-formation training before they are sent to the field to sell real estate. These programs have been designed to appeal to what Hernandez says are two things that ultimately motivate people to work harder: “the pursuit of pleasure, and the avoidance of pain.”



This approach involves explaining to new sales staff recruits how fast it is to achieve financial security if only they would work harder and smarter, and how economically and socially painful it would be if they miss on these opportunities.


“Most of our sales people used to commute by public transportation,” Hernandez says. “Now, almost all of them—and they are still in their 20s to early 30s—already have their own brand-new cars and condos.”


Megaworld’s sales people usually establish initial contact with prospective clients by distributing flyers in places with heavy foot traffic (they call it “flyering”), putting up booths inside malls and department stores, and getting referrals from existing clients as well as from relatives and friends. Since the sales people earn their money through commissions (2.7 percent of the gross sale in the case of Megaworld), they are not treated as employees but rather as the company’s business partners.



Says Hernandez: “I tell them: ‘This is your business and it’s part of our business. If you do your business well, we can go on doing more business and be financially successful together.’”


He elaborates on this approach: “If everybody sees this job as his or her own business, the synergy is there and all we have to do is cultivate it. I’m sitting on top of a well-oiled machine and I’m happy that it’s like that because now I’m counting on people to think for themselves and realize that they’re not working for me but for themselves. As entrepreneurs, they can put in as many hours in this business as they like and I don’t have to breathe down their necks. If we get them to realize this truth, then my job is half done.”


Rachel Peñaflorida, senior sales manager and a one-time protégé of Hernandez, has found the Megaworld culture very contagious and appreciates the fact that it allows each sales staff to do what works for him or her. She recalls that when she was new to the job, some of her colleagues preferred to do flyering to get new clients but she found that the approach didn’t really work for her. Instead, she used the referral approach, made her first sale through it, and has been doing business through referrals ever since. “The best strategy is finding what works for you, then creating a solid reputation among your existing clients,” she explains.



According to Peñaflorida, part of building a reputation is setting limits. Most first-time property consultants would do anything for a prospective client to the point that they may lose out in the end, thus sending the wrong message. “Don’t promise something you can’t deliver, it’ll only hurt you,” she says.


As to dealing with rejections by prospective clients, she gives this advice: “Don’t take rejections personally. Stay nice and courteous even when you don’t make a sale and your clients will likely remember you at a later time when they do want to buy. They may even recommend you to their friends.”


Since she is now a senior sales manager, Peñaflorida no longer makes active client calls but she continues to make sales through referrals from satisfied clients.


According to Hernandez, one major boost to Megaworld’s sales performance is the robust demand from overseas workers and from the work force of the business process outsourcing industry (BPO), coupled with the country’s improving economy.



“When I was a property consultant several years back, we couldn’t even make a billion in a year’s time,” he says. “But now, we can hit that target within a month. In fact, we actually made over P7 billion last year, and that’s just the Marketing 1 department alone, not the whole of Megaworld. In 2008, we made close to P800 million in January, P1.078 billion in February, and another P1 billion in March. So that says a lot about the real estate industry today.”


Forbes Town Center Showroom
26th Street corner Rizal Drive,
Crescent Park West District
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Telephones: (02) 816-2937;
(02) 840-0549 local 124
Fax: (02) 816-2514

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