The business branded “Australia’s worst real estate agent” has pushed back on the marketing hype of Channel 7’s The Mentor, but said that putting their hand up for help was well worth the risk of public scrutiny.
Sharon Lisch, principal of family-owned Moreton Bay Realty, told My Business that overall the scrutiny of prominent businessman Mark Bouris had been a “good experience” and one that has delivered meaningful change for their business.
“It was a good experience. It was confronting – we knew we were opening ourselves up for a whole lot of scrutiny and perhaps criticism, and we could have been putting our livelihood on the line,” said Mrs Lisch.
“If it had come back that we were absolute rubbish and that we would never survive or that we weren’t worth it, then I guess we would have had a huge think to do.
“[But] we do believe in ourselves, we know that we know our stuff, so it was worth a gamble.”
Of course, appearing on reality television is never going to be smooth sailing, and Mrs Lisch admits that show’s editing and promotions were “hard to swallow”.
“TV is edited. I actually believe that the advertising leading up to the show was probably harder to sit through than the actual show. I thought that the lead up to it was a bit harsh,” she said.
“The commentary that was put over it [was harsh]. If we for any moment thought that if we weren’t good at what we do and we weren’t professional, we wouldn’t have done the show.”
Nevertheless, Mrs Lisch said the whole experience had been beneficial to their business and their family dynamic.
“Would we do it again? Yes we would. Even with the little bit of backlash or negativity, the majority has been good, and it’s got us working better as a team,” said Mrs Lisch.
“Running a family business is a bit more challenging, because you do have to learn the degrees of separation and switch roles from being a parent or child to being a worker or a boss or a colleague. But we needed someone to point us to that right focus.”
The family have taken Mr Bouris’ suggestion of rebranding the business, which has now been completed, with the old Ubiquitous Realty website linking through to the new site. And, as well as regular training sessions, the family have also implemented important processes to deliver structure within their business.
In addition to delivering improvements to support the business internally, Mrs Lisch said they have received “great” support from the broader community since the show went on air. “To be honest, we’ve had great community support. We have a great profile in the community and it’s just gotten stronger. The majority of feedback was supportive,” said Mrs Lisch.
“A lot of people commented that it was a brave thing to do, to put yourself out there and open yourself up to the scrutiny, and they liked the re-branding and renaming. [They said] ‘good on you for doing it and for saying that you needed help’.
Mrs Lisch said that their appearance on the show had even inspired other business owners to seek out help and advice.
“A couple of businesses have [contacted us] – not just real estate. They have reached out and said ‘that was so brave of you’, ‘I wish I could have done it’,” she said.
“The one thing we will always say is ‘never be afraid to ask for help and never be afraid to continue getting coaching and support. Just because you’re doing it as a private business and doing it on your own, doesn’t mean you have to be alone’.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.