Nathalie Southwell, BDM at Macwell Property|Real estate career from $97 per fortnight.* Enrol now|Kick-start your real estate career||Real estate career from $97 per fortnight.* Enrol now
  • 01 Jan 2020
  • 4 min read
  • By Aislinn Dwyer

New career - new you! From barista to BDM

Career, BDM, Business Development Manager

What do a barista and a real estate professional have in common?

A lot actually, according to REIQ graduate Nathalie Southwell.

Southwell - who now works at Macwell Property Management - held a number of customer service roles before pursuing a career in real estate.

However, it's the skills that she learnt behind the coffee machine that proved the most valuable when transitioning into a career in real estate.

"Building rapport with complete strangers and turning them into what feels like personal acquaintances is not a requirement of your role as a barista, but it definitely helps," says Southwell.

"Working as a barista seems as simple as making a coffee, putting it on the counter and not seeing that person again.

"I took it upon myself to always learn people's names, what they liked and didn't like, what they did for work, how their family was and always conversed with them - even on their worst days."

Southwell says these interactions - no matter how small - helped her to build a bigger picture of a customer's life in a short amount of time, which has been exceedingly helpful in her roles in real estate.

"I have found that these skills have been vital in my transition to real estate, as I deal with lots of different people on a daily basis."

A jack of all trades

Southwell has worked with Macwell Property Management in a number of roles since gaining her real estate certificate through the REIQ. She is grateful for the mentorship of principal Samara Bedwell, an REIQ trainer and REIQ Property Management Support Service consultant, who has helped her career blossom.

"I have learned such roles as business development manager, lead leasing consultant, customer care manager, accounts manager and, along with my property management team, we created new processes and services to provide better results for our owners' portfolios and our tenants' overall experience with Macwell Property," Southwell says.

"Having a mentor like Samara has allowed me to work alongside her with a big picture way of thinking in mind, which has allowed us to continue to provide a great service in a professional and ethical manner."

Southwell says she has gained extensive knowledge, perfected her market appraisal skills and now oversees all new tenancy approval and renewals. She says she has confidence in giving sound advice to owners, tenants and potential investors.

Dabbling in sales

In July, Southwell says she began to dabble in the sales side of Macwell Property by assisting Jason Bedwell in the sales department.

Southwell and Bedwell noticed that, with the change in the market, there were property owners wanting to sell. There was potential in combining Jason's expertise in sales and Southwell's knowledge of the property market to better assist home owners and investors.

"Our sales feedback has been the highlight of the experience - with both our owners and our tenants happy with their overall experience," Southwell says.

"I have always liked being known as a jack of all trades but when I entered the real estate industry I felt very out of depth. Within a few short months I noticed how all my other skills came in handy to enhance my performance within my roles.

"At the end of the day, real estate is a business of people, helping investors prepare for their future... [while] the other side of that is helping people find a place to call home and build a life in their ideal homes or locations."

Southwell says she has enjoyed her real estate journey so far and looks forward to exploring and growing within the industry.

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