DG Properties was established in 2002 bywell-known property agent Denise Dogon, who has been a successful realtor on Cape Town’s desirableAtlantic Seaboard for more than 30 years. Before establishing the Dogon Group,she was involved with Durr Estates in 1973 and opened their first AtlanticSeaboard agency. In her 23 years there, she helped turn the company into ahousehold name and won many awards for her area, which was one of the mostprofitable in the group.
In 1995, Dogon joined Pam GoldingProperties and opened their international division in the exclusive Victoria& Alfred Waterfront. She left to establish her own company because shewanted to offer a property company with a difference. “I travel a lot and sawthat the top property companies in the UKand US were branding themselves and marketing their properties very differentlyto how we were doing it in South Africa,” Dogon recalls. “Their marketing wasmore sophisticated and I believed the local industry needed to offer a superiorservice.”That is what differentiates the DogonGroup. Dogon recognised that a high-profile location was required to correctlyposition her company. “A new building was being constructed adjacent to the BayHotel in Camps Bay. I contacted the owners and soldthem my idea of a ‘property café’ which offered a sophisticated lounge area,plasma screens and Italian espresso, where buyers could relax in beautifulsurroundings.”
For the first five months the companyoperated out of Dogon’s home, completing R100 million worth of sales. It wasthe commission from these sales that funded the company’s establishment. The DGProperty Café opened its doors in an exclusive 60m2 outlet in Camps Bayand has not looked back. “It has been exceptionally hard work,” admits Dogon.“I have worked seven days a week, but the results have been worth it.”A fleet of Mini Coopers in the company’scorporate colours was acquired and the cars branded with the company logo andname. An efficient and well-designed website was introduced to the mix.Today the flagship office remains in Camps Bay,but because these premises lack sufficient space, the group’s head office is inSea Point. Satellite offices are in Hout Bay and Kloof Street inGardens. An association with a property company in the UK has alsoyielded a number of connections and sales, says Dogon.The Dogon Group has sold more double-digitproperties on the Atlantic Seaboard than its competitors – and yes, doubledigit is double digit millions. “We have sold numerous properties worth overR10 million and five properties over R20 million. Our turnover in the first twoyears of operation topped the billion rand mark,” reveals Dogon.
So what is it that makes the Dogon Group sosuccessful? “We provide world class marketing and service, we have anoutstanding work ethic and we strive for excellence in all that we do,”maintains Dogon.She is quick to point out, however, that aproperty company’s image is only sufficient to open the door and does notnecessarily ensure success. “Although branding has been very important inestablishing our image, our ultimate success is due to hard work, delivering greatservice and remembering that you are only as good as your last sale.”
Dogon Group agents are renowned for goingthe extra mile and always being available. Dogon’s personal philosophy isstrict adherence to what she calls the five Es: ethics, enthusiasm, effort,energy and empathy. “I believe that if you can display all thosecharacteristics, you will be successful.”Both her sales and leadership style displaya no-nonsense attitude. “I tend to confront things head-on and I always try toact with integrity and respect for each client’s personal views and desires.”
There have been many challenges along theway, including setting up a professional infrastructure and maintaining thegroup’s successful position. “My advice to anyone setting up their own companyis to just do it. The first step is always the hardest because it takes you outof your comfort zone. Remain focused and don’t entertain thoughts of failure.Concentrate on what you’re good at and always remain passionate about whatyou’re doing.”
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