Empathy and the estate agent

There was a documentary series some time ago about a firm of estate agents in North London. The early episodes focused much of their attention on one relatively new recruit. He was an earnest young man, who made a point of emphasising that he wanted to do his very best to match buyers to their perfect properties. He didn’t last long. The boss thought he was an idiot. The company had a range of properties on its books and a finite number of potential buyers coming through the door. The job of the agents was to sell what properties they had, even if they were not quite what the buyers were looking for. His agents needed to be a bit pushy – and very ‘positive’. They needed to highlight all the benefits of the property and downplay any problems. This way there was a chance someone might be persuaded to buy something that didn’t quite meet their requirements. If, on the other hand, the agents had spent too long worrying about what the buyer wanted – like the innocent new recruit – they might have missed these sales. And so lost their commission! They needed to err on the side of the company’s interests, rather than those of the buyer; they needed to be slightly selfish. That was their job.

And that’s why I don’t like estate agents.

Givers and takers

– end –


Published by Peter Runkel. Introvert or HSP or … something. Reluctant business consultant. Lives life in PowerPoint.

Published by Peter Runkel

"Work hard and be nice to people." Anthony Burrill

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