How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?
Like everybody else, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have become the new norm. Everything that I previously did in the face-to-face arena, I’m now doing from my home office behind a camera.
We are lucky in that our industry has adapted to the virtual world very well – virtual meetings are widely accepted and have allowed me to bring in new business as well as keep in regular contact with my existing clients.
What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Personality. Being able to build lasting relationships is key and understanding my stakeholders and their motivators is the starting point.
I like to know things like why do they come to work, who is at home, where is their next holiday, what is their favourite sport and I’m also keen to understand what do they want to get out of using our technology.
My working relationships are so important to me.
What personal skill would you most like to improve on?
Golf. I have never really played golf but so many in this industry do.
I have been asked to join a number of times and feel like I really should give it a whirl. I need to go and get some lessons before I agree to go with anybody else, as I would be horrific, if my crazy golf skills are anything to go by – my six-year-old son is better than me.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
Bumper-to-bumper traffic is frustrating, stressful and unproductive – give me back-to-back Zoom calls all day long over sitting in traffic.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
I was part of a leadership programme back in my banking days whereby the bank heavily invested in coaching its leaders. There was a section surrounding human conditions which coached out over 20 conditions and behaviours and how to deal with them – either if you yourself were displaying one or a member of your team.
Pretty much all of them were accurate and it really resonated with me. I could see members of my team or myself across the spectrum.
The one I used to quote to my team time and time again was, “professionals act as they must, not how they feel.” The principle being that regardless of what is going on inside or outside of work, always act professionally.
Whist everybody goes through hard times in their life, it is important to remember that every time you interact with a colleague, stakeholder or customer, you will be judged by your interaction and how you treated them.
What has been your lockdown coping strategy?
It has been a real slog and very hard with two young children, but I am so thankful for my happy and healthy family so can’t complain.
My coping strategy is basic – stick to a routine. It’s very difficult to not blur the lines when you work from home 100 per cent of the time, and I for one feel like I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked before.
The one thing I’ve stuck to is that the weekend is the weekend. No laptop or emails on a Saturday or Sunday, and when I switch off on a Friday I head to the fridge, get my wife a wine, myself a beer and enjoy family time – everything else can wait until Monday.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I’d make a good surveyor – I’m unqualified, might I add – as I love looking at houses. Having moved recently, I walked around so many house viewings where I would come away and start pointing out all of the negatives to my wife – I started to feel like a surveyor.
What did you want to be growing up?
I went through two phases – one where I said I was going to be a vet and the other where I said I was going to be a solicitor.
I ended up as neither – but I was warm with the solicitor one considering my role now in the conveyancing space.