When a new recruit started this month at a small independent, he found it completely different from his previous experiences working for larger firms.
James Liggins has previously worked for Dexters and Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, both in London, and also has his own property investment firm which operates in the north of England.
But such is his enthusiasm at joining a two-office independent west London agent Horton and Garton, that Liggins has penned a blog.
This is a shortened, exclusive version of what will go up on Horton and Garton’s website later today.
And no, we’re not sure what Dexters and KFH will make of it either!
Six Things I Won’t Miss About Working For A Corporate Agency
by James Liggins, Associate Director, Horton and Garton Chiswick
My career in agency thus far has been spent working for corporates, and the experience I’ve gained has been invaluable in terms of learning what to do and, more to the point, what not to do.
At Horton and Garton we can do things better and work differently to the London-wide chains.
At a corporate, their company-wide policies and procedures means, as a negotiator, you frequently can’t take decisions that fully benefit the client.
As we don’t need to please our manager’s area director’s CEO, the whole team is fully client focused, working for them instead of the company’s self-centred interests.
It’s a incredible feeling – I feel like a new man!
Reflecting on my first week in independent agency, here’s what I won’t miss about the corporate world…
– Joyless, bland property descriptions. In corporate agency, I had zero flexibility when it came to writing property descriptions and would often have my sellers calling me to say, “Can you add in our favourite local pub that’s just a three minute walk? We think it’s a real selling point.” I had to tell them I wasn’t allowed as it didn’t fit in with the standardised description! Utter lunacy.
– Politics. Politicking was part of every day corporate agency life. Ego-stroking and keeping the peace between negotiators was exhausting. I’ve witnessed clients suffer due to the dark art of office politics. Selling property should be about the client, not inflated egos!
– Up to 50 live listings. I’ve always believed too many listings is a recipe for failure. You might sell a few of them, but what happens to the rest? If you’re considering an agent with 50-odd live sales listings, you should also be considering how many minutes of their day the experienced team members will have to spend on your property. It’s just basic maths.
– “Smashing the phones.” If I never hear this phrase again it will be too soon! The utter inflexibility of working for a corporate agency meant cold calling was part of my routine. I absolutely hated it as I knew the buyers I was ringing hated it too. People in west London detest cold calls. They might be received happily in other areas of London or the UK – who knows? – but they don’t wash here.
– Leafleting and door knocking. It’s still common practice but thankfully not at Horton and Garton. We’re good enough at our jobs that we don’t need to employ these outdated (and desperate) tactics. In fact, we run a paperless office in Chiswick so printing thousands of leaflets would go against the ethos.
– Ties. Bad ties, silk ties, ties in general. This one speaks for itself – never again!
Below, a (tieless) James Liggins. The firm tells us that it operates a ‘noose-free’ dress code.
His full blog will be found later today at https://www.hortonandgarton.co.uk/six-things-i-wont-miss-working-corporate-agency/