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How to become a first-class sales manager — interview with Yulia Dorokhina

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Yulia Dorokhina has been working at Tranio as a property sales manager since 2014. In this time, she has closed 22 deals in Georgia, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus. Yulia is now one of the most successful managers in the company and has earned a reputation for going the extra mile!

Yulia Dorokhina, Tranio real estate sales manager for Spain, Portugal and Cyprus

First steps at Tranio

Yulia, how did you come to work at Tranio?

First, it was my love of foreign languages that attracted me to Tranio. The thing is that my first degree is in translation and linguistics, my second in international commerce. After working at a bank and a private pension fund for seven years, I decided that I wanted to find a job that would need all my skills and mainly foreign languages — so I sent my CV to several international companies including Tranio. I passed the initial test but did not get a reply until two weeks later, when the managing partner of Tranio.com, George Kachmazov, sent a reply explaining that my email had landed in the spam folder. It also said I was invited for an interview.

Did you instantly start to work on the three destinations you lead today?

No, my first destination was Georgia as there were many queries about real estate there in 2014. I closed two sales there and then I was assigned to clients interested in two increasingly popular locations — Portugal and Cyprus — and then Spain too.

Was it hard to build a rapport with clients at first?

Of course! In my last job, clients came to me whereas at Tranio.com, I had make outbound calls to people I had never met. And that from day one.

Did you get nervous before these first calls?

I first called existing clients interested in real estate in Georgia, they were easier. However, I did get really nervous before calling a client who left a request for property in Portugal but, as it turned out, my worries were groundless: I got a very pleasant and communicative woman on the other end. After that call, it became easier for me. Though I still get nervous sometimes.

Did it take a long time to get used to the new workplace?

During my first month at Tranio, I learned the materials and work standards while getting familiar with partners and clients. Obviously, I had many questions for our head of sales Marina Filichkina, she’s an amazing coach! Any time I asked her for advice, she always found time for me. It’s thanks to that, I got into the work process so quickly.

-> Meet the woman behind Tranio’s sales department: Marina Filichkina

The clients

What clients are easiest to work with?

Obviously, it is easier to work with clients that have already been to the country where they want to buy, know what they are looking for and have a clear understanding of their budget. In terms of country, the easiest place to sell is Spain.

Portugal is very popular with European buyers looking for holiday homes

What type of buyers are the most difficult to work with then? Why?

Some clients only want property that matches their criteria 100%. Usually these buyers scrutinize the market in their chosen region and take a very long time to select just a couple of properties. Very often, they make it extremely difficult to support them during the decision-making process.

Portugal is the most difficult place to sell real estate. It is an interesting country and clients’ eyes light up when you talk about it. However, when clients go to viewings and get to know the country in person, they change their minds for some reason. From our experience, it’s because it is really well suited to European buyers, but not so much Russians, who make up a lot of our clientele. As a result, I have only closed one deal there.

The deals

How long did it take you to start making sales in new locations?

When I started at Tranio, I discovered that my expectations exceeded the reality of the job. I thought that I would instantly start selling property but it turned out to be hard work to get a client all the way from an enquiry to actually buying the property. My colleagues were really helpful and gave me advice. They recommended waiting and working on the client base and by 2015 I saw the number of sales grow.

So it takes a while to get up and running?

Yes, but it couldn’t be any other way in this business: you have to learn the local market, the rules, establish contacts and, of course, have a client. It all takes time. It takes time to get the deal through as well. For instance, if you want property that will earn you income in Spain, it can take months to pick the property, get the paperwork together and formalize the mortgage. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

Buying a rental property in Spain usually takes several months

Tranio.com has some particularly important guidelines in terms of work standards and client management. Is it really necessary to be so strict with the process?

Right from the start, I was very glad to have a clear work structure that I could rely on in every situation. I had less doubts about what to do in order to get a result. I can talk about our client management system for hours: it is easy to use, tailored to assist the sales department and there are hint messages that help you to catch every detail.

Is there anything you want to add?

Honestly, sometimes I wish the system had less requirements. When you get an email from the quality control department saying something is not done properly, you obviously get upset. But later, when you think about it, you understand that had you followed the rules, you would have got better results.

The motivation

So, at Tranio, a quality control team supervises managers. Does it bother you or does it, on the contrary, motivate you to improve?

Indeed it is sometimes uncomfortable to know that every move is being watched. But when I see my Skype calls getting better, it inspires new achievements. Besides, our quality control are also there to discuss our results, the best calls and also make plans. This approach is very motivating.

What about financial motivation?

I can’t say that financial motivation is key for me, but obviously, when there’s a big sale in the pipeline, I do get a bit excited. At the same time, it is very motivating to see how Tranio is developing as a whole — for instance, now we are actively engaging English-speaking clients. All this encourages me to develop as a professional.

What is the hardest part of your job?

First, there are the cold calls to clients whose contacts were given to us by foreign partners. Secondly, it is communicating with English-speaking clients: like I said before, these clients are pretty new to us so we are developing our English client standards, but I’m sure that positive results will follow.

What is the most pleasant and interesting thing about your work?

It feels good to meet sales targets at the end of the quarter. The most interesting thing, I suppose, are interesting client requests that make you think outside of the box and go in search of knowledge to be able to help meet their needs.

In 2015, Yulia visited Portugal and now uses this experience to help clients

What countries have you visited where you sell property?

I have been to the Canary Islands and I went to Portugal (Lisbon and Porto) in 2015. I wasn’t looking for property, just getting to know the country so I could share my experience with clients. Now it helps to communicate with new clients, I can tell them about the climate and ocean temperatures, about specific regions and many other things based on my experience.

Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you want to achieve?

My goal now is to become a first-class manager and close sales in several priority countries, while working with investors more. I think that at Tranio I have everything I need to achieve my goals: huge potential, opportunities for development and improvement and a great team that is easy and interesting to work with.

Anna Bugaeva, Tranio

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