Interview with Christian Völkers, CEO/ Founder of Engel & Völkers AG

For me, success means achieving goals

Engel & Völkers stands for luxury, lifestyle and a portfolio of premium properties worldwide. However, the company’s current portfolio is made up not just of property but also yachts and private jets. In an interview with European Business, Christian Völkers explains why he wrote down a guide on his company’s corporate identity, which other business fields he is interested in and the similarities between playing polo and leading a company.

Yachting
Lobby of Engel & Völkers Headquarters to come
Private jet
Market Center Elbe

European Business: Mr. Völkers, as the founder of Engel & Völkers, a company with roughly 800 offices spread across more than 30 countries on four continents, you are seen as one of the most prominent personalities in the real estate market worldwide. Is success part of your programming?

Christian Völkers: For me, success means achieving goals. For that you need three things: Creativity, assertiveness and perseverance. Despite encountering many setbacks in the beginning, I never gave up on my desire to turn Engel & Völkers into a leading broker of premium real estate. But the development of the company into a leading international brand would not have been possible without the support of many inspirational people. Whenever I experienced success, it only motivated me to set myself new targets. Even today, I like to think about new directions for the company.

"Whenever I experienced success, it only motivated me to set myself new targets."

Christian Völkers
CEO/ Founder of Engel & Völkers AG

European Business: Your success as an entrepreneur is based on the principles of “competence, exclusivity, passion”. Are these also your own personal guiding principles?

Christian Völkers: These three core values inform everything we do at Engel & Völkers. We want to provide our customers worldwide with first class service. This means providing competent advice as well as an exclusive portfolio of properties. These values also influence my own actions both in private and at work. My passion for my work has always spurred me on to take on new challenges and expand my areas of expertise.

"We want to provide our customers worldwide with first class service."

Christian Völkers
CEO/ Founder of Engel & Völkers AG

European Business: You have written a guide to ensure a uniform appearance for your brand and structure for your company. Amongst other things, it stipulates that the exterior of all franchise offices should be painted white and have two box trees and a dog bowl by the front door. Why?

Christian Völkers: The guide is the key to our corporate success. When I wrote it many years ago, I already listed the required parameters for a uniform brand identity, from the corporate design to the individual service procedures. That includes the box trees you mentioned, the way customers are greeted and the way a property viewing should be conducted. Of course, the guidelines are constantly being updated and adapted. My idea was to draw up a standardized set of guidelines that would serve as an aid for our real estate agents. Its universal adoption means that Engel & Völkers enjoys a high level of brand recognition and ensures that our customers worldwide have the same brand experience – regardless whether they are in Paris or New York.

"We always wanted to offer a more comprehensive service than other real estate agents."

Christian Völkers
CEO/ Founder of Engel & Völkers AG

European Business: Your portfolio comprises premium real estate from the residential and commercial property sectors and, more recently, yachts and airplanes. What other areas can you imagine adding in the future?

Christian Völkers: We always wanted to offer a more comprehensive service than other real estate agents. That is why we have continually extended our range of services so that it best meets the needs of our customers. Our target audience is very wealthy and sophisticated and likes to travel. That is why it was only logical that we expand into the business areas of yachting and aviation. But we want to expand still further in the future. Our focus will be on Europe and North America. We want to grow faster in key real estate markets there and win a greater share of the market. With regard to new business areas, I could envisage us marketing works of art.

"The decisive qualities for success in our company are teamwork, passion, knowledge and single-mindedness."

Christian Völkers
CEO/ Founder of Engel & Völkers AG

European Business: A personal question to finish: You are a passionate polo player and owner of a string of 22 polo ponies. Does playing polo help you be a better manager or is it the other way around?

Christian Völkers: I see many parallels between the sport of polo and the way we conduct our business: speed and agility, perfect teamwork, always looking ahead, precision and reliability are important on the polo field and in the property business. The decisive qualities for success in our company are teamwork, passion, knowledge and single-mindedness. The same qualities are also key to success at polo. Moreover, like the game of polo, our global Engel & Völkers network is based on predefined rules and a goal-oriented approach. Add to that the fact that the polo community is highly international. That helps as well when dealing with our network of customers and business partners.

Interview: Sarah Urquhart


Engel & Völkers AG
Stadthausbrücke 5
20355 Hamburg

Phone +49(0)40 36 13 10
Fax +49(0)40 36 13 12 22
www.engelvoelkers.com


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Kia Motors Europe GmbH

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Today the most renowned Korean car brand worldwide, the history of Kia began in 1944 when the company was founded as a moped manufacturer and later turned to producing cars for the local market. More recently, Kia entered the worldwide market and became a global player within an incredibly short space of time, which Michael Cole, COO of Kia Motors Europe GmbH, Kia’s Frankfurt-based subsidiary and European business headquarters, recognizes. “The company continues to develop at a phenomenal rate,” he enthuses. For good reason: With a great price-performance ratio, excellent customer service and award-winning design, Kia is on its way to achieving a top position, and not only in the European market.

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European Business

Q3/2017

In this issue: Gleeds France SAS – Your partner for your building / D. Carnegie & Co AB – Refurbishment formula for safer suburbs / SLM Solutions Group AG – True child of digitization / Hast Retail, s.r.o. – Shopfitting as art / Hyundai WIA Europe GmbH – Banging the drum for Korean machine tools

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