real estate career sales success with Ray White Damerell Group

Dressed for success.

Becoming highly successful in any career requires support and mentoring. High performance athletes are supported by a coach, sports psychologist, nutritionist and a physiotherapist. It is no different for high performing salespeople who are always searching for a competitive edge to grow their business. For many salespeople starting a career with a company that positions you for success, with ongoing professional support, can be the difference between success and failure. A report by the REA reveals 21% of new licensees were no longer active after one year. 33% were no longer active after two years. 

Sylvia Duda has all the characteristics of a high performing sales-person. Sales experience, resilience, competitiveness, the ability to listen, honesty and confidence. However, it wasn’t till she joined the team at Ray White Damerell Group that her real estate career really started to flourish. Hear from Sylvia on how it all started…

New York, New York.

Sylvia’s career path started in tailoring. She quickly figured out that she preferred dealing with people rather than sitting at a sewing machine. This led to a sales job with well known New Zealand fashion designer Andrea Moore.

In 2014 Sylvia moved to New York. She landed a job with America’s fastest growing menswear company dressing high-powered businessmen on Madison Avenue. Within a year, she became the No.1 salesperson in New York. Even more impressively Sylvia achieved no.2 salesperson in the entire USA. “In America you can work in fashion retail and make really good commissions,” says Sylvia. “There was fantastic earning potential and it was seen as a career rather than just an in-between role.”

On her return to New Zealand in 2016, Sylvia discovered that salaries in menswear weren’t very high paying. Being familiar with a commission based role, and great at sales, real estate was a natural career progression. Sylvia enrolled at the Open Polytechnic and studied in the evenings while working as a regional manager at Barbershop Co. The company shared a lunch room with a real estate agency. It was here that the manager suggested Sylvia work for them in property sales.

Starting out.

While Sylvia looked at a few other agencies she admits to not doing a lot of research before signing up. “ I started at the first agency just two months before the March 2020 lockdown which was challenging.” “

Even though I was new, it felt like everyone assumed I should know what to do. There were no systems in place, no clarity or focus about what I should be doing. I felt pressured to annoy friends and family for listings and use personal social media contacts, which just felt wrong.” “My first two listings were both auctions on the same day. The agency convinced me that auctions were stressful and a rollercoaster, which didn’t help” says Sylvia. “When the properties sold the agency didn’t offer training on what to do next or how I could look to get further business off these listings. It really felt like I was left to sink or swim.”

“After successfully selling my first two listings I was ready to leave real estate. I didn’t even want to go into the office. It was at a turning point in my career – do I want to quit or not.”


Someone I knew had moved to the Damerell Group and wanted to possibly team up. While I felt the dynamic wasn’t quite right, he said I should still check out the Mt Albert office as the systems and management were fantastic.

A fresh start.

I decided to meet with Damerell Groups Head of Talent, Jolene Marks. She talked me through all the great systems that the agency had in place. I was really impressed with the Quarterly magazine as a tool I could use to engage with new prospective clients, but also to keep my existing clients informed and allow me to develop relationships. Jolene explained the amazing weekly training on offer and it just sounded like there was support and mentoring for me to grow my business and career.

Then I met with the Mount Albert Sales Team leader, Joe Hurn. Joe was great, he talked me through the processes and training they had in place. He explained how they could help me not only find and win appraisals but also grow my business from these listings. I finally felt like there was someone who could provide me with a structure and roadmap to a successful career. “It was really night and day compared to where I had come from.” 

“Joe gave me the confidence to not only believe in myself but also that I could be successful in this career. Joe really put me into a better headspace to succeed”

says Sylvia.

Before I even started, Joe invited me to what Damerell Group calls ‘Prospecting School.’ This is a weekly meeting where the team gets together to discuss what they are doing, what’s working and what results they are seeing. We also discuss what to do once you meet a potential client. What conversations do I need to be having? How do I add value to that person so I am just not another annoying salesperson? It really is a culture of working together and everyone sharing ideas with great energy. This was completely different to where I had come from, where nobody would even tell me how they were getting appraisals.

The Damerell difference.

Joe and the entire Damerell leadership team, have an unshakeable focus on outstanding customer service and delivering unparalleled success for both Ray White’s clients and salespeople.

“Every new salesperson that comes on board brings specialised expertise and complementary skills,” says Joe. “My job is focused on providing our salespeople the systems, training and business strategies so they can achieve outstanding results.”  An open culture, with a focus on both collaboration and innovation, have propelled Joe’s high performing team to be amongst the area’s top performers. Joe also lends his time to Unitec, where he uses his wealth of experience to assess students who are just starting out in their Real Estate careers.

Not a rookie anymore.

A year on and a lot has changed for Sylvia. “When I first started in real estate one of my goals was to walk into a room and be confident that I know what I am talking about”, says Sylvia. “I now believe in myself, that I am good at what I am doing and I can own that” Joe has really helped me with boosting my confidence – I am not the rookie anymore!

My career has really taken off. Just last week I had two properties sell under the hammer. I have great momentum and I am going from strength to strength. Thanks to Damerell Group and Joe, I now know how to run a pipeline for my business. I don’t worry anymore about what comes next. Having the support from the other salespeople in the business has been invaluable as well – I can call anyone in the office for advice.

“Now I can help to support the new rookies which is something I absolutely love doing.”

If you feel like your real estate career isn’t really taking off or you aren’t getting the support you need from your current agency then get in touch with the Damerell Group team for a confidential chat.

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