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My Story of a Neg that got too big for her boots

I came to Estate and Lettings Agency Management quite late in life, 32 years old to be precise. I had risen through the ranks of Junior TeaBoy, Senior Teaboy; all the way up to the rank of Senior Valuer.
Back in 2003, I was Senior Valuer for two branches of the Halifax, while there was a Manager for the Banking side of the Branch. These were happy times with fantastic bonuses. WE had a red hot resi-sales team, and the Banking team could sell PPP and other Consumer Finance products with their eyes closed – so much so we were always in the top 10 Banking branches in the UK for selling FS products – happy
.. then one day the Bank Manager of the office got a promotion to Area FS person. You would have thought the applications for the role of this very lucrative branch would be as long as your arm. No .. not one person applied.
They didn’t apply because the staff in both the resi-sales and banking had a reputation that spanned back years. A predominately female environment, words like bitches and cows were nouns used by outsiders to describe individual members of the staff.
The Area Manager made me Branch Manager of this 13 Full Time Equilavent colleagues Bank and Estate Agency.
After one month, Jane, our superstar Senior Neg and one-woman Mortgage lead machine, came to me and asked for a £1 per hour raise. I went to my Area Manager for advice, and he said, “Give it to her, Chris.” So I did.
A month later Jane returned and demanded another £1 per hour raise, and she said she would quit if she didn’t get it. I went back to my Area Manager for his opinion and advice, and he said, “Let her go, Chris” I went atomic, “You can’t let Jane go,” I pleaded, “the place will fall apart.” “Let her go, Chris” he repeated. So I did.
I dreaded the next day. A sleepless night
But to my everlasting surprise, two other Neg’s came forward to claim Jane’s position. FS leads went up 33% in the week and continued up at those levels and “Mrs Irreplaceable” was replaced in the blink of an eye — and was never missed.
I made both of the Senior Neg’s
How irreplaceable do you think you are, Jane?
I have heard salespeople boast on hundreds of occasions:
  • If it weren’t for me, this place would belly up.
  • If it weren’t for me, we’d be out of business.
  • This agency couldn’t survive without me.
  • I do all the Mortgage leads, so this place can operate.
  • My Hot Box and Mailing List built this place.
Here are 10.25 early warning signals that your sales brain has stopped functioning.
  1. Completing Weekly Sales Forms is a waste of your Time
  2. You think most prospective landlords/vendors/buyers/tenants are not as smart as you
  3. You don’t review today nor plan your next day.
  4. You meticulously follow up leads
  5. Everyone else does wrong things except you.
  6. You get blamed for things you are convinced are someone else’s fault.
  7. You believe your conversion rates could be better – if you just got a few breaks.
  8. You ignore the advice of your boss, your AM or fellow peers at the Area Meetings give you, or do anything to further your sales education.
  9. You are arrogant, sceptical and critical.
  10. You go to free Valuations unprepared (no personalised ideas for the prospective or information about the prospect).
10.25 You think your boss is stupid.
Many Negs and Valuers/Listers (and Branch Managers) are failing or doing poorly and claim they don’t know why, or blame their colleagues, their competition and even blame the dog.
Many Negs and Valuers/Listers (and Branch Managers) blame others and things instead of taking personal responsibility.
The Truth is they can’t or won’t look themselves in the mirror.
I know of many estate agents who seem to hop from one job to another every 12 to 18 months, blaming circumstances. If you are that estate or letting agent and you think leaving will solve the problem every-time, always thinking it’s someone else’s fault – you’ll likely repeat the whole process, groundhog day style at your next job… and the job after that .. and the …(you get the drift). If you constantly getting blamed and you believe it is someone else’s fault – think again.

So instead of playing the conveyor belt estate agency (where you move employers every 12/18 months), surely it would be a whole lot easier to catch yourself before you swap jobs? 
Remember, you can’t be both poor and know everything
So, do you know everything?  No – I didn’t think so
Well to start with, it’s not your fault you are like this. Blame your parents and your blame upbringing. And after you have accepted that, here are a few things I have picked up over the years that you can do to make it better for yourself.
Instead of thinking about yourself, think about the client. Client devotion eliminates a lot of the ego problems. When you’re busy helping clients, your time to brag and complain reduces. You need to believe in four things because to succeed in estate and lettings agency, you must believe that you are the best, your colleagues are the best, your estate/lettings agency is the best, and that your services are the best. All four are needed to succeed.
Read books and educate yourself. Watch videos on You Tube by Simon Sinek and all the TED Talk videos. Listen to Marshall Goldsmith and Zig Ziglar on YouTube. Help your colleagues, help clients – don’t help yourself. Think self confidence – not cocky. Get in one hour before anyone else and prepare and plan the day. If something goes wrong, take one for the team and take responsibility
Acknowledge the truth to yourself by accepting fault. Then document what you could have done to have prevented the issue or made things better. Then make a daily (morning) plan to make a change for the better.
For the things and circumstances of your life to change — you must change first.
Not much will happen without a change in your thinking, your attitude to life and maybe eating a piece of humble pie.
Until you realise it – we are our thoughts, we are what we think and so if you want to things to change – you have to admit to yourself – you need to change.
Are you Jane?
Next Step to the Road to Change – read this book – it changed my life …
Marshall Goldsmith – What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How successful people become even more successful
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