I'm hoping to sprinkle that touch of charm, flash of brilliance and sense of assurance that will persuade them we are the right people for the job
‘We need to bring our A-game to this meeting,' I said to GG, my business partner. This is a house we want on our books – it's the sort of sale we specialise and, dare I say, excel in. In one part it's a quintessential London house: handsome, stucco-fronted, Victorian and on four storeys.
It veers towards the exceptional in that it offers lateral space, is detached and has that rare but highly desirable combination of direct access to communal gardens and off-street parking. It happens to be located in an area of charm, large garden squares, villagey atmosphere and, to be blunt, money.
It needs to be handled with discretion – placed with the right people at the opportune moment and presented with the allure of being uniquely available. All this is true and easy enough to inform our potential clients of but I’m weary of sounding too ‘estate-agent-like’, for my industry has a certain reputation – one that is in some parts warranted.
There are the tall tales, the ‘blaggers’ who will say anything to get an instruction and then those who frankly don’t know what they’re talking about but have an address book.
WE PRIDE OURSELVES (he rather sanctimoniously writes) on being scrupulously honest about pricing, strategy and only offering our services if we believe we can do at least as good a job as anyone else, if not better. Let’s face it, selling properties isn’t rocket science, but at the very high end a certain finesse is required.
I feel a bit like Don Draper in an advertising pitch, hoping to sprinkle that touch of charm, flash of brilliance and sense of assurance that will persuade them we are the right people for the job. I'm not nearly as smooth as Don (though partial to a cocktail) so I just play it with a straight bat.
I’ve found that you need to read clients relatively quickly to see what they’re looking for. I sense that these clients want to hear the facts and how we’d handle their particular sale and not a whole load of superfluous waffle about GG and my past achievements.
Some clients want a microscopic history of your experience and how much you achieved over the guide price in varying instances while others want to hear about your tenacity and ruthless negotiating tactics – they want to feel they’ve got a Rottweiler on their hands. It’s impossible to be all things to all men but we try and tailor our style to suit the personality of the client while in essence doing the same job.
On my part I do make one big concession – in homage to Don, I don a tie. My normal attire is open-necked shirt and a tailor-made suit or sports jacket. I hate the formality and restriction of a tie. This house warrants the full deal though and it remains to be seen if my sartorial efforts will be rewarded.