After frantic emails over the weekend it’s clear I am going to have to re-arrange my Monday morning. Some very important clients are coming over from Los Angeles. I can’t mention names but they are two incredibly famous people who normally grace the front cover of Hello! magazine.
While they are in London they want to see three houses. I duly book the appointments and tell the sellers that they must all go out — this is a top-secret visit and we cannot have word getting out that these guys are in town.
But it all goes wrong when they ask to meet at Starbucks for a “low-key” coffee first. By the time we get to the first house, 11 paparazzi are waiting outside. Our cover is well and truly blown.
It’s motivational meeting time. As head of London residential at Strutt & Parker, I host a twice-yearly get-together for the team to reflect on past achievements and devise strategies for the months ahead. It’s important to gather everyone together frequently to remind them of our ethos and give them a pep talk.
I arrive at the office at 6.30am to pack up the goody bags — I have ordered a miniature trophy for each member of the team, to remind them that Strutt & Parker had its “Best Year Ever” last year. I start the presentation with a dramatic Chariots of Fire intro film, which goes down well.
I am left with only 28 seconds for lunch, followed by an afternoon of meetings. Then I’m off home to eat takeaway pizza.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I am not surprised to discover that a rival estate agent is making a valiant effort to poach one of our best fee earners.
I spend the morning with my employee, reminding him of the brilliance of our business and by lunchtime he tells them he isn’t coming. Job done. I am extremely proud of our tremendous staff loyalty at Strutt & Parker.
The afternoon brings a business plan brainstorming session with a senior colleague, out in the fresh air on Wandsworth Common to get the juices flowing. I find the outdoors a much more conducive environment than a stuffy old boardroom.
The cappuccinos and muffins certainly work their magic and we part ways at 8.30pm with a great and cunning plan for the future.
A speedy trip on my scooter is necessary this morning. I’m off down to Wimbledon, where a very special client is selling a belter of a house with a tennis court and swimming pool. I always try to be at the cutting edge of marketing, so I employed a drone company to do an amazing aerial film of the house and grounds.
I found this £12,000 piece of kit absolutely fascinating as it buzzed around the skies, and today, so do the 12 or so prospective buyers. After nine hours on my feet, I am reminded just how exhausting being an estate agent can be. I’m back at my desk by 5pm, ready to do some paperwork.
After days of dashing between A-list celebrities and the boardroom, there’s a sombre end to the week. It’s a sad day as I attend a memorial service for a well-known fellow estate agent who died recently.
Seven hundred people cram into a little church in Chelsea and there isn’t a dry eye in the house. After 30 years in the business, it reminds me what an amazing industry this is, where competitors are ultimately friends, sharing the same values.
As I walk home, I have the chance to reflect, and to realise that estate agency is really about people, rather than just property.
- Andrew Scott is head of London residential for Strutt & Parker (020 7629 7282).