Does effort equal opportunity in modern estate agency? - Blog

Does effort equal opportunity in modern estate agency?

Does effort equal opportunity in modern estate agency?

CEO Comments Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals 14th December 2023

In a new episode of The Home Stretch podcast, Ben Madden, Director at Fine & Country Chiswick, Fulham and Teddington, joined CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, to discuss the steps the Fine & Country team are taking to become ‘the number-one estate on the planet’ from improving culture, to being more proactive day-to-day.


McKenzie opens the episode by remarking, “you have become one of the leading figures in estate agency in its current era, Ben. I think listeners would really like to hear your backstory because it is a fascinating backstory.”


Madden responds, “I started an agency about 20 years ago, in an area called Acton, quite a tough area at the time, so it was a really tough introduction to estate agency, but I wouldn't change that for the world. I set up Thorgills in 2008, during the credit crunch and financial crisis, but we went from being a full service agency to a letting specialist in the period of three months. Again, tough start, but it taught us to be everything we needed to be, to learn, to pivot. Fast forward 14 years later, we exited that business, sold to Leader Romans two years ago and now I'm fully fledged Fine & Country.”


Later in the episode, McKenzie and Madden go on to discuss the importance of striking the balance with culture in the sales environment, and how to hire a team for their individual specialities. Madden comments, “if you have the right individuals with the right attitudes, they will apply themselves and do the right thing and work in the right way and ensure the work gets done. Those attitudes collectively create the culture within the business. Culture quite often drips down from the top though, so if you have got the right leader, they can impact the culture positively. Occasionally a fantastic salesperson gets promoted to sales manager and they're a disaster. Because a fantastic salesperson doesn't necessarily have the skillset to manage.” McKenzie challenges this statement by retorting, “I believe that the skill set to be a great salesperson is the same skill set as being a great leader. Because both of them are, if performed properly, want-makers. They're not salespeople, they're want-makers, make people want it. So the philosophy is the same.” Madden responds in agreeance, “Daniel, who is my business partner at Fine & Country was an exceptional salesperson and an exceptional sales manager. What I find is, the success rate of a salesperson going into a management of people management role is significantly lower than, for argument's sake, let's say a negotiator progressing to a valuer. I think the reason for that is not necessarily because they're very egocentric individuals - I've got no criticism of people that are egocentric. We want to be the number-one estate on the planet. If there's ever, if there's a more ego-based statement out there, let me know! Egos create competition. It's healthy.”


McKenzie’s co-host, Holly Hibbett, joins the conversation to ask Madden about how his team of salespeople put in the effort to create their own opportunities. To which Madden responds, “it's the Richard Branson classic, right? Get an opportunity, say yes, and then learn how to do what they've asked you to do. It's sort of attitude over aptitude. Two things we do on a daily basis, we create opportunities and we justify our position. There is the traditional stuff, which all agents can do, they can answer the phone, they can book a viewing, they can do a viewing, they can take an offer. Everyone does that - it's reactive. When it comes in, you just handle it. But our team are proactive. Our business is lead generation. I know it's not popular with some people, but we knock the door of every property that comes to the market regularly to have a conversation or to drop off a Refined magazine. If we have a piece of activity on a particular road, we'll knock on every door on the road and introduce ourselves and let them know that we're valuing in this road next week, would they like an up-to-date valuation?”


To hear this conversation in full and find out more about Ben Madden’s lead generation tactics on his mission to become ‘the number-one estate on the planet’, visit The Home Stretch podcast.


Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals

Iain McKenzie is the CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals and is responsible for the direction and management of the brand plus offering support to the network of over 800 Guild Members. Iain is a highly established estate agent and business leader, with over 30 years of industry experience and a strong entrepreneurial background. He has led and managed teams to success, as a business owner, Franchise Director and MD for a large corporation. Iain has 30 years’ agency experience starting within the industry at 17 on a youth training scheme in Devon. He quickly progressed through the ranks, and at 26 he became a Regional Manager. Three years later, he set up an independent estate agency, called Complete Property Services, and became a Member of The Guild of Property Professionals. This was his first encounter with The Guild and was extremely impressed with the services that were offered. In 2011, he joined a large corporate as Managing Director, which grew year-on-year

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