News and advice

New Agent-Focused Brand To “Challenge Old Business Model”

Two former franchise leaders have banded together to establish a new business that will celebrate customers while also recognising the importance of the agent in the transaction.

Following years of working in high-ranking roles across some of Australia’s biggest franchises, Darren Cole and Craig Yarrow decided to leave the big names and launch their new agent-focused operation, Cole + Yarrow, located on the Redlands Coast in Queensland.

According to the duo, “plenty of last straws” ultimately pushed them to challenge the old business model of doing real estate.

“For example, the only time the national marketing manager of the franchise called was to complain about a colour selection in a social media post because it was off-brand. But maybe an alternative approach could have been to ask, ‘What are your thoughts on our brand?’ or ‘How can our brand work for you, guys?’” Mr Cole said.

“The rigidity of many franchisors around the growth of their brand as opposed to the agent’s personal brand remains a real tension point for me and for many in the industry.”

As business owners, they want to be able to continue celebrating customers, while also recognising the agents that make the transactions work.

Mr Cole said they want to champion agents within their business by making sure “it’s not our name at the top of the sales board, but their name up in lights”.

He added: “They’re the ones who bring in their business, not Craig and me. That’s where many franchisors are missing the point as their share of the agent market continues to diminish.

“People list with people, not franchises. The franchisor is just lucky enough to partner with that successful agent, and not many add value or get the fact that their agents are their partners, not their subordinates.”

Cole + Yarrow will be operating under the UrbanX model.

Looking ahead, Mr Cole said the business ultimately aims to generate real value and the highest-quality experience for customers by building good relationships and supporting their agents along the way.

“We’re really interested in the customer’s needs, not jumping through ‘corporate hoops,’” Mr Cole said.

“For our sellers, we’re a coach, counsellor and confidante — so while we’re keen to sell plenty of properties, what’s really most important at this stage is building quality relationships through delivering on what we promise, not simply a turnover-focused operation.”