At only 31 years of age, Mohab Hassouna, the CEO of Seven Figures, one of Egypt’s top real estate brokerage firms, is at the top of his game. A quick look at the many self-help books and biographies in his office, indicates that he has a passion for learning, that, no doubt, contributed to his rise to becoming one of the country’s top achieving real estate brokers. Amidst his busy schedule, Hassouna made time to have a conversation with eniGma’s Farida El Sayed about his journey to success, a story that will inspire other up and coming real estate brokers starting out in the field.
Hassouna’s passions as a younger man were a far cry from the field of real estate. His area of study at the Arab Academy of Science and Technology was Logistics and Business. But his dreams lay elsewhere. He had always dreamt of becoming an actor, and he travelled all the way to Los Angeles to follow his dream. In LA, he enrolled in the New York Film Academy’s Acting and Filmmaking course, completing his studies and eagerly returning to Egypt to apply his newly learned acting skills. Once back, however, he was disappointed, feeling that show business in Egypt was less serious than he had thought. “Essentially, I felt that whatever I was going to do here, would be a waste of my time,” he explains. So, when a friend urged him to join the team at SODIC, the prominent real estate development company, he was ready to explore the proposal, not knowing that this would be the start of a career where he would achieve amazing success.
“I was hesitant at first,” recalls Hassouna, who had never thought he would ever consider working in real estate. “I didn’t love sales and I wasn’t comfortable talking to people to convince them to buy something,” he adds. After a short stint at SODIC, however, Hassouna had caught the sales bug and went on to work at various other real estate developers and brokerage firms before establishing his own company, Seven Figures, in July of last year. Although reluctant when he started, real estate has proven to be Hassouna’s true calling in life and his best career move thus far, and as Hassouna always says “your destiny truly unfolds when you least expect it.”
To deal with his initial misgivings Hassouna devised his own sales tactic that suited his personality. “I felt it was off-putting to badger people in an attempt to convince them, so I found a sales style of my own, which was true to myself,” he explains. His casual and friendly approach to clients quickly helped Hassouna become an indomitable figure in real estate brokerage.“I find that brokerage should provide the client with a learning experience. It’s about sharing your knowledge with clients and providing them with insights to help them make better-informed decisions. It’s about changing people’s lives,” he adds, passionately.
It was natural that Hassouna’s personal vision on what real estate brokerage was all about, would eventually spur him to open his own firm.“I wanted to instill my strict values of loyalty and honesty in everyone working with me. I couldn’t do this effectively as an employee, so I decided to open my own company. However, at the beginning it was not easy at all. I faced a lot of challenges with sales and with financial management and I often thought that, perhaps, it would be easier to just close the firm,” Hassouna recalls.
Looking back, Hassouna credits his experience at the real estate brokerage firm Blu for teaching him a lot about the industry. “The owner of the company is one of my dear friends,” recalls Hassouna, “Ahmed Mohsen, not only helped me understand the intricacies of the real estate business but also stirred in me a great passion for this line of work.” For Hassouna, watching closely how Mohsen runs his business was very insightful for the young broker and to this day Hassouna stresses the importance of having a role model, “I always like to observe people who have started from scratch, because the journey to reaching success is very important,” he shares.
Thankfully, Hassouna persisted with his own venture, and soon enough, Seven Figures began gaining traction. Within its first six months, the company was a top sales achiever, beating out many lofty competitors. Today, Hassouna’s firm is the top achieving brokerage firm for top developers like Misr Italia and Mountain View.
Hassouna’s business game involves properly vetting the developers he chooses to work with. “That’s why we work mostly with developers who have been in the market for 10-20 years. When you work with a developer with a history like that of, for example, Mountain View, which has projects in almost every part of Egypt and has a proven track record of providing immediate delivery service along with flexible payments, you can trust them. That is because you know that they have already faced problems, solved them and have grown stronger in the process. Their history also gives buyers a good idea of what to expect from the developer’s upcoming project,” he explains. In fact, Hassouna urges his clients seeking to buy real estate, to analyze the financial stability of the developer, to find out if they have delivered a lot of houses, how they deal with maintenance, and how good the developer’s after-sales service is.
Undoubtedly, Hassouna’s own personal charm is also a cornerstone of Seven Figures’ success. “It’s not just about sales,” he says earnestly. “Purchasing a property is a big decision, whether you have two million or a hundred million in your bank account. That’s what I try to teach my salespeople,” adds Hassouna. Clearly, for him, real estate brokerage is not about brief encounters, but about cultivating a lifetime relationship with the client. “I don’t lose contact with my clients. For example, the clients to whom I have sold homes as far back as 2014, still call me to ask for my opinion on their second investment or about the current state of the market,” he explains.
Including expatriates in his team is also a part of Hassouna’s innovative approach to marketing real estate. Since he started his company, his office has included expatriates from all over the world, utilising global talent to his advantage through this initiative. “My company thrives on this diversity. It allows us to think outside the box,” he says. This diversity is probably one of the factors that has kept Seven Figures at the forefront of the brokerage game in Egypt.
Hassouna’s latest endeavor includes co-founding the recently formed Egyptian Association of Brokers. Through the support of many respectable names in the real estate field, he has high hopes for the impact of this step on the real estate market and its ability to improve and streamline the brokerage sector overall. “It’s going to change the market and will regulate a lot of the operations, making it easier for us to do our jobs,” he explains. As for his business plans for the future, Hassouna is looking forward to opening his second branch in the city of 6th of October at the end of this year. Looking further ahead, his sights are set beyond Egypt, with plans to expand throughout the Middle East within the next couple of years.