Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Learning Curve - Tuesday

‘Our viewing figures are down.’ I tell the morning meeting with all the relish of a soggy burger left too long on the warmer, waiting for someone who actually wants pickle.
‘There’s no point in taking out punters who are just time-wasters.’ Counters assistant manager T, sipping his tea gingerly.
‘It’s a numbers game.’ I hear myself saying, not liking the whiny echo of my bean counter boss’s proclamations. Statistically, it’s true the more viewings you carry out, the closer you are to your next sale. But there needs to be some quality control, otherwise you’ll be ferrying, nutters, habitual lookers and just about every other socially incontinent individual, plus a few genuinely incontinent people, round your whole housing register - with nothing to show for your efforts other than disappointment and damp car seats.

‘I’m not sure people come into agents’ offices like they maybe used to,’ speculates negotiator S, adding hurtfully. ‘Than, perhaps when you started.’
There’s a choked communal giggle round the table, as I try not to take offence. I’m sure in ancient communities the elderly used to be respected for their wisdom and accumulated knowledge. Nowadays they are shunted off to overpriced boxes with orange emergency pull cords, an absent manager and rising service charges.

‘Yeh but you are always banging on about qualifying applicants properly.’ Continues T doggedly. ‘There’s no point shunting round dreamers like Mr and Mrs Brownlee, who’ll never move in a million years.’ There’s a soundless chorus of nodding heads – if such a thing can exist - and I can already feel my enthusiasm waning, that’s before I mention the lack of financial services introductions we’ve made for M, our moribund mortgage advisor. He’s on some continuing professional development course in a budget chain hotel, learning how to circumnavigate the latest mis-selling legislation. Financiers and insurers don’t like paying out if they can avoid it.

T has a point. Mr and Mrs Brownlee have been looking for the perfect property for at least a decade. I go to value their house every eighteen months, but in the unlikely event of ever listing a home they’d consider, I’d have several other better placed buyers before they’d finished haggling over their asking price, my fee and the fact that nobody could come to view unless they took their shoes off and hadn’t eaten peanuts in the last twenty-four hours. Yet, they’ll still be in the office several times a year, asking to see what we have available in roads they can’t afford.

‘Granted we need to manage our resources.’ I acknowledge, as I sip my weak drink and wonder just where central purchasing sources the dusty teabags from? Judging by the quality of the self-seal envelopes and the flimsy A4 paper that keeps jamming in the printer, it’s nowhere near what used to be called Ceylon, in my youth.
‘So it’s a circle you can’t square.’ Announces dozy trainee F bullishly. We all look at him and his confidence drains faster that lettings lush B’s glass most lunchtimes. ‘The fact that you want us to push more viewings but don’t want to waste time with… with…’ F trails off.
‘Idiots?’ suggests T pointedly.

Maybe the Brownlees’ are a dying breed, I ponder? The sort of greying-purchasers that are not internet savvy. Who need to physically visit an outlet for their holiday and property needs, rather than surfing the web and getting their jollies on-line like all the other porn-lovers - property or otherwise. At least Rightmove and Primelocation don’t ask for your credit card details before showing you the pictures and the occasional point-of-view video inspection – although they financially abuse us every month when the invoices roll in.

‘We need to aim for well-qualified applicants AND maximum viewings.’ I tell my team sounding like one of those training women, with the slightly too fat arse for a trouser suit, we employ. The sort with no direct sales experience who flog e-learning click-and-tick computer programmes that supposedly confirm you understand Money Laundering regulations and the difference between Data Protection Laws and Freedom of Information legislation.

I wonder if the Brownlees’ fancy a visit? They do make a nice cuppa.


Learn more about the market for less than a pot of tea..

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