“How can we consciously and strategically add value to our customers right from their very first contact point with us?”
This important question set the tone and theme of this year’s Annual Ironfish Conference.
Hosted in a different city each year, the Ironfish Annual Conference is an opportunity to recognise the efforts and achievements of our outstanding team members, reaffirm our values as a company and learn more/grow our skillset as a group.
This year, our annual conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand at the beautiful Peninsula Hotel on the Chao Phraya river, bringing together 85 of our top achievers across Australia and China.
Over three busy days – from February 28th to March 2nd, the team gained new inspiration, insights and tools from the Ironfish leadership team on how to better connect with and add value to Ironfish customers.
“Everybody has had an experience where someone has served you – but hasn’t really ‘served’ you,” said Ironfish Director, Property & Research Grant Ryan.
“So how can we ensure we are listening, asking, learning and giving our customers what they want and need?”
Ironfish CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou, kicked off the discussion on Day One, with an overview of Ironfish’s own journey – from a single office with 12 staff, to today, with 14 branches in two countries, over 350 staff and more than 13,000 customers served.
“Life is about building stories. What’s so powerful about the Ironfish platform is that we can help our customers realise their dreams while also realising our own dreams along the way. We want all our customers to have their own ‘Bicycles to Bentleys story.”
Joseph also pointed out a powerful statistic about Ironfish employees – whereby 85% of our staff are property investors themselves. By comparison, in Australia, only about 8.5% of Australians are property investors.
“Through the example you set for our customers, and through your dedication, we can not only help our customers to see a bigger, brighter financial future for themselves, we can also show them how to achieve it through investing. We can help them to feel confident to take action.
“Property investment is a long game; through our long-term support, through our portfolio building strategies and our services we can help customers to hold their portfolio for as long as it takes to double in value.”
Our attending Strategists heard stories not just from our CEO and leadership team, but also from our Senior Strategists: Priscilla Cheung and Bruce Guan for some first-hand advice on how they have grown trust, credibility and loyalty amongst their own customer base.
“I have a customer who experienced multiple hiccups and challenges with one of the properties he purchased with me – all issues outside of Ironfish’s control. But because he felt genuinely supported and valued, he didn’t have a single negative thing to say about the experience or about our company. He chose to believe, he chose to make it work.” – Ironfish Chief Investment Strategist, Priscilla Cheung
“One of my customers had experienced water damage from an upstairs neighbour in her own home (not an Ironfish property). It was creating a lot of anxiety for her. Since I work in the industry, I have a great network of contacts – I sent a building inspector (at my own cost) to write up a report, I briefed her solicitor to make a claim with her strata. I make my customer’s problems my problem – whether they directly relate to investing or not.” – Ironfish Senior Investment Strategist, Bruce Guan.
On Day Two, the entire team also undertook an extensive briefing by our Head of Property William Mitchell, on each of the five major property markets in each city.
Mr Mitchell provided a comprehensive update on each city, their sub-markets, new trends, performance indicators and data for the short to medium term – but added an important clarification.
“You hear a lot of noise everyday from the media. You even hear it from myself and the research team, but all you really need to focus on is helping your customers hold their portfolio over the long term – ie 20+ years. Then really, none of these short-term fluctuations, trends, updates really matter.”
In between the many presentations and educational sessions, attendees were treated to unique cultural experiences, including a Thai-themed dinner, a bike ride through Bangkok back streets, temple visits, turtle feeding and a memorable Muay Thai performance. A couple of our own attendees had an opportunity to try out their skills in the ring also.
The event culminated in a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony to recognise the achievements and service of our team members.
“Ironfish is a people company at its heart and we’re very proud of the talent we’ve managed to acquire here, and to keep with us over the last 13 years. Our conference provides an opportunity not only to help our people to keep growing and developing, but also to reward their hard work and outstanding achievements,” said Ironfish CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou.
Our Strategist of the Year award went to Chen Chen from Box Hill. In a very honest speech that resonated with many in the audience, Chen Chen talked about how much she herself had changed as a result of joining Ironfish and how her goal for the upcoming year is to work more on herself – to become a better person- kinder and more patient and to help more customers change their mindset as the first step to changing their lives.
Our bronze and silver awards went to Priscilla Cheung of North Sydney and Shelley Zhang of Glen Waverley, Melbourne.
In addition, Shelley Zhang and Jason Jin (from the South Yarra branch) entered the Ironfish Hall of Fame for their long-standing contributions.
Three Ironfish staff celebrated a momentous anniversary of 10+ years of service with the company: Teresa Liu from Head Office, Julian Stevens from Adelaide and Li Pan from Box Hill.
All three talked about how much their time with Ironfish had changed their lives for the better.
Teresa Liu: “I was thinking to myself – ten years is a long time to stay with a company, especially in this day and age. So what made me stay? Is it the great team around me? Absolutely. Is it a belief in the company and its vision? Absolutely. But the stand out thing is how much my mindset has changed. When I started, I tended to be more of a pessimistic person. After joining Ironfish, and being surrounded by the positive culture, now this positivity and can-do attitude has become not just a habit for me, it’s part of my DNA.”
Our outstanding teams of the year: Ironfish Glen Waverley, Box Hill and North Sydney branches
Next year, Ironfish’s annual conference will be held in Sydney, the city where Ironfish was first founded back in 2006, with the opportunity for attendees to experience some hospitality from our founding city and Head Office. We look forward to welcoming our interstate and overseas team members here in Sydney next year.
We would also like to thank all our conference attendees and event organisers, and also send a big congratulations to our high achievers. We’re so proud of your energy, integrity and your dedication to helping families make significant financial progress in life. It is truly life changing work that we do, and we feel lucky to be able to do it together.
Are you ready to start building a portfolio for your future? Our team is now back from Bangkok, energised, inspired and ready to make 2019 your year.
Make an appointment today for a personal strategy and analysis session with one of our amazing Strategists. This is a free service we offer, here at Ironfish, as part of our commitment to helping families achieve long-term financial wellbeing through portfolio investing.