The Daily Mail is running wild today with the news that Trevor Abrahmsohn, the estate agent who enjoys a monopoly on Bishops Avenue, has sold ’3 billion worth of property
Yet his success wasn’t always guaranteed. As the son of a South African dentist, Abrahmsohn jumped into the property world in October 1974 after deciding that the family craft wasn’t for him.
For a shrewd man, his timing couldn’t have been worse. The UK was in a deep recession and the country's confidence was rocked by the three-day week.
Without an apprenticeship to speak of, young Abrahmsohn was armed simply with common sense. So he decided that if he was going to sell residential property, he’d focus on super prime as it was a commission-led business.
Thankfully, an audacious letter to a client paid off, and sufficiently impressed by each other they started a business.
Abrahmsohn chose the name Glentree because it sounded pleasant and because he called his family’s houses Glentree when growing up (a union of his and his brother’s names, Glen and Trevor).
The firm originated in upper rooms of a Golders Green hotel with a bank loan for £10,000: £2,500 for a photocopier, £2,500 for a car and £5,000 for running costs.
Business boomed – notably Abrahmsohn sold an 11 acre estate in Highgate – and soon enough, in 1986, he was ready to float. Despite the first nine banks saying that Glentree was too small, the single branch agency eventually hit the markets with a capitalization twice the size of Savills.
The rest is history and can be read on the Daily Mail’s website. But the need to know information is Glentree’s selling style.
In contrast to the competitions’s one dimensional sales methods of write, phone, complete deal, Abrahmsohn sees a deal between two self-assured and self-made businessmen as more a matter of facilitating face-to-face meetings.
In these summits, the challenge is to get negotiations past the haggling-over-the-final-10% point. Abrahmsohn sees it as the job of the agent to work with both parties until they agree – and when they do, he encourages a reiteration of terms and then a handshake: ‘double stitching’ as he calls it.
The combination of American tenacity and British honesty underpins the £3 billion of sales he has enjoyed in Bishops Avenue: a street that spans 2 acres, is nestled between two 16th century villages and costs a third of Central London. And with such a lure, is it any surprise that Mikhail Gorbachev came to Glentree’s 35th anniversary celebrations?