Lilian's passion and attention to detail
Category General News
GET the basics right and you're set for success - that, in a nutshell, is the work ethic of Lilian Volschenk, co-principal of the Dormehl Phalane Property Group (DPPG) Zululand branch, who believes "you must be passionate about what you do, or not do it at all"
She adds: "I am very detail-orientated and strongly believe that if you get the basics right, you have the confidence to give the desired service which leads to sales. I enjoy working with people and see them succeed."
For Cape Town-born Lilian, the benefits of being in the property business include "that awesome feeling you get when you have a very satisfied and happy customer...and building relationships with people".
Lilian joined DPPG at the beginning of 2015, having previously operated on her own in property for five years.
"I have now been in the property industry for allmost 10 years and I'm one of the two principals of our Zululand franchise, the other being Derick Moor. We have branches in Empangeni and Richards Bay, but the franchise also covers surrounding areas like Mtunzini, Kwambonambi and St Lucia."
Lilian says a big buzz she gets out of her work is helping staff with their training - and she does it so well that DPPG's head trainer, John Wilkie, loudly rings her praises, saying of her that her commitment to her interns is unparalleled.
Not for nothing, then, that Lilian received the 2018 DPPG annual award for the most co-operative and dedicated principal in the area of training.
"It is heartwarming to see agents complete their logbook training with the excellent assistance from head office training," says Lilian, adding that she firmly believes in sharing knowledge to empower staff.
She says one of the biggest challenges in her areas has been, and remains, finding the right staff, people with a true passion for the property industry.
After matriculating in Cape Town and before rooting herself in the property business, Lilian joined the Standard Bank Group.
"I did so as my dad was banking with Standard Bank at that time. I stayed with the bank for most of my working career and left in 2008, when I was branch manager in Richards Bay."
During her years in banking, Lilian acquired diplomas for marketing and management. Then, in 2009, she left and started, in a partnership, providing debt counselling and property management.
"The property area was growing faster than expected at the time and the debt counselling was declining. Consequently, both the partners were getting more involved in the property industry," she recalls.
Why did Lilian opt to join the Dormehl Phalane Property Group family?
"We saw a gap in the training of our staff and the sales area of our business, as we were continuing to grow, so started looking at various franchises to join. An opportunity to go with the Dormehl Property Group came about and, after our first meeting with (company head) Owen Dormehl, there was no turning back."
What are the strengths of the Dormehl brand now?
"The excellent leadership by Owen is the reason the DPPG brand is growing from strength to strength. His vision and passion is contagious, and the hands-on support and the training provided from head office are commendable, to say the least.
"I find Owen a great leader, as he drives this big ship with passion and determination - and he has a great vision of where he wants to go, which is very inspiring."
Any concerns for the property market and how does Lilian think DPPG is prepared to face them?
"The property market, in general, has always shown periods of good times and not-so-good. It is during these not-so-good times that perseverance is key to keep going - and one needs to make adjustments, as and where needed, to survive."
Away from the property world, Lilian loves some 'alone time', with a glass of Coke, she says with a smile. However, she is also a bit of an adventurer.
"I enjoy outdoor activities. During my stay in Newcastle, I spent weekends horse-riding and grooming our horses. After coming to Empangeni, I tried some bike-riding, joined a bike club, and fell a few times with my bike, but luckily did not break any bones."
Lilian then tried her hand at microlight flying.
"I had had it on my bucket list to fly with a few of the microlights in a group somewhere and have done this a few times. I am now planning to jump and glide from Table Mountain, on one of my next visits to Cape Town... and hope to land on the beach."
Lilian's favourite place to holiday has always been Cape Town, to visit her children and grandchildren there, but she has now added New Zealand to her list as her son, Johan, and his wife and four-year-old daughter recently moved there.
"I have been divorced longer than I was married, but my ex-husband and I have stayed friends all these years," she says.
"I have two children and three grandchildren. They are my 'everything' and my life. My daughter, Natasha, and her husband stay in Cape Town and they have a seven-year-old daughter and a boy aged five."
Author: Billy Suter