CHRISTO'S A WINNER WHEN IT COMES TO TRAINING
CHRISTO Pretorius, principal of the Dormehl Phalane Propety Group branch in Pietermaritzburg, was all smiles when he took the DPPG award for Best Training Principal this year - but he should not have been as surprised at this accolade as he says he was.
The reason the fast-rising property group's national trainer, John Wilkie, selected Christo for the award was because of his diligence and care for his interns.
"I was quite surprised to get the award, due to the fact that we have so many franchises nationally, each with a principal, but it was a real honour to get it,' says Christo.
He does admit, however, that when it comes to assisting the eight interns at his branch,he gives his all.
"I avail myself continuously to my interns, especially during their training phase, as it sets the foundation for them to become good agents."
Beside a DDPG certificate for his devotion to duty, Christo also received a floating trophy, a power bank, pen and personalised notebook at the DPPG awards ceremony, held in March at Port Edward's The Estuary.
"I get personally involved with my interns' logbook training, making time daily and weekly to discuss what has to be done and to check all assignments are completed," he explains.
"I have eight interns and the intern from Ladysmith has been assigned to me as well. Of the eight interns, six have completed their logbooks and have now enrolled for the NQF4 qualification. Two are still doing logbook, and the intern from Ladysmith has just started the training programme."
What comment on the Pietermaritzburg branch's Michael Lombard winning Training Agent of the Year at the DPPG awards this year?
Christo replies: "Mike is, firstly, a career policeman, having spent 41 years in the SAPS, holding the rank of colonel. He is retiring from the SAPS in 2020 and has acquired a particular passion for real estate.
"In addition to his main employment function at SAPS he self-studied to work his way through varsity and mentorship, passing a board exam to become a Professional Associate Property Valuer, registered with the South African Council of Property Valuers.
"Also, Mike joined Dormehl Phalane Property Group and immediately took on all the training required, completed his logbook, then wrote and passed the PDE exam to become a full-status agent. He then immediately engaged with the South African College of Auctioneers and underwent training to become a qualified auctioneer.
"All of this development, which came to finality in 2018, at a rapid pace, was done at his own expense and in his own time."
Christo has been principal at the Pietermaritzburg branch, at the Mayor's Walk Centre in Prestbury, since joining DPPG in 2011.
Before that, he completed two years compulsory national military service, then joined Stock & Stocks,where he completed a four-year civil engineering diploma at Vaal Triangle Technikon.
"After completing this, I was retrenched due to the construction industry facing difficult financial times. I then joined Total and its South Africa management programme. I went from junior management to senior management - depot manager to terminal manager.
"During this period I had the opportunity to travel overseas for business and also took part in an international yacht regatta, for which Total South Africa enrolled a team of seven people."
Christo left Total after 11 years and, in 2004, bought a Spur franchise in Glenwood, Durban, which he ran for two years before selling it.
"I then started bond originating in Pietermaritzburg. I had clients who wanted me to sell their houses, but because I was not a registered agent, I could not do so.
"In 2007, I wrote the then-board exam and became a principal of my own little business called PC Properties/Bonds. I was next approached by a friend wanting me to join him at the Realnet Franchise as a co-principal.
"We had that franchise for about two years but Realnet did not survive and all franchises in KZN closed down. That is the time I met Owen Dormehl and we joined the Dormehl family in 2011. I am now by myself, but still very happy to be part of the Dormehl Phalane family."
Christo, who was born in Germiston in 1967, was attracted to the property group because he was impressed with Owen.
"His passion and dedication to the brand, and his openness and passion for property, was contagious. I had never experienced this enthusiasm at other franchises, where the CEO was so involved. Even during the training (NQF5) Owen was alongside us the whole time."
The progressive thinking and advanced technology that was shown to him made it an easy decision to join the Dormehl family, Christo adds.
Another strength of the group, he says, is it having its own training academy for interns, focusing on logbook training for the NQF4, and having ongoing training for not only interns but also full-status agents and principals.
"We have excellent training on new legislation, excellent head office support staff and good, modern computer technology available."
At his branch, everyone prides themselves on relationship-building, be this with sellers or buyers, landlords or tenants, or trustees in body corporates.
"We regard ourselves as professionals in all aspects and definitely go the extra mile."
The area covered by Chrisio's branch includes Pietermaritzburg and the KZN Midlands up to Mooi River, Camperdown, Greytown and Richmond.
"Challenges and plans for the Pietermaritzburg branch are to make the Dormehl Phalane brand more visible and competitive in our area, by getting more involved with the community, such as continuing with the Blood Drive at our office every three months, something we started in 2011."
Christo has been married for 29 years to Ronel, a registered nurse. They have two children -Tian, 25, who is completing his Master's in computer electronic engineering at NWU-Potchefstroom, and Chané, 23, who is in her second year of studying industrial psychology and labour relations .
Christo's motto as a property person?
"Communication is key - and you must build a caring relationship of trust with clients."
Author: Billy Suter