I was asked at the last minute to fly to London to educate agents and investors on where to invest in the United States. They wanted to know more beyond what they find online or in the newspapers. What I didn’t know was I would learn even more from them.
I arrived after a red eye flight and had to speak almost immediately. Speaking for me almost comes naturally, but this was my first experience speaking in London, my nerves were high, and I tend to tell jokes as a way to break the ice. I should have tried them on my driver before I used them in a theater full of people. Needless to say the jokes were a bust. Once I recovered from the jokes the presentation went smoothly. The crowd asked a lot of questions after I completed my presentation, 45 minutes worth, here in the States you be amazed if you get questions for five minutes. I enjoyed their enthusiasm to learn.
I spent the next several days meeting agents in individual offices across the city. Doing that I learned the following lessons:
1. I learned agents there don’t like to take selfie’s! They feel that it’s condescending and very arrogant. They asked me if I was a 12 year old boy, as selfies are a child’s game.
2. I learned it’s all about the property not the agent. They take knowing their property very seriously. They work in a community, they create relationships, and experience for their clients; they see no need for self promotion.3. I learned everyone has a specialty. They become masters of their niche. They stick to their neighborhoods and they work their Sphere of Influence. In a typical office there are four agents. One agent to do the selling, they will have an assistant (who is person number two), the third person will do the leasing or as the call it letting and fourth person does the marketing.
4. Social media is not important. They believe that relationships face-to-face are the most important thing. They treat their clients like gold. It is truly an experience unlike anything I have ever seen. When I got back in the states and looked to see if I could find any socially active agents online there are very few. Compare that to the states and every agent seems to be online. Maybe we need to change our focus?