The Life of a Property Consultant
August 18, 2011
As a property consultant, you are usually generalised as being money hungry because most consultants are paid on a commission basis, which is dependant on the amount of deals made in a certain timescale. It is also common for consultants in the working environment to be known as sharks – because of their pay structure colleagues are known to lie to applicants or turn them against each other, in order to get the deal.
Most annoyingly, the reputation of a property consultant is destroyed because of this, which doesn’t bode well for tenants whom are seeking new homes to move into. Some applicants may also feel cheated into paying more money than a property is worth, which therefore has an impact on the customer service offered to clients.
Shortly after joining Young London in September 2010, the pay structure was reviewed and changed from being rewarded on a commission basis, to being rewarded on customer service feedback. This meant that after a tenant had moved into their property, they would be sent a questionnaire asking for feedback about their initial contact with Young London, right through to becoming a tenant. The amount I earn a month in ‘commission’ is based and determined on the feedback given by the applicant. Coming from a customer service background, it was an ideal situation to be in, and fell right in my forte. I very strongly believe that you should only be rewarded for your work if your customer is happy with the service provided by you. Further to then striving to provide the best possible service, it was noticeable that tenants appreciated the honesty and ‘non-sharky’ behaviour provided by us, and are constantly recommending us to other searching applicants because of this.
Upon viewing a property with an applicant, I believe it’s of paramount importance to inform them of our pay structure, as I think its something to shout out loud about. Most applicants are startled by this, and appreciate the honesty given to them by us. We’ve also found that applicants feel a lot safer and thus open up more to us, and tend to share poor experiences they have had with other agents. I was once informed by an applicant of mine of another agent who ‘was supposed to be meeting me, and phoned me 1 hour before to confirm the viewing, only to not show up. 30 minutes after the viewing was arranged I received a phone call to say they did not think the flat would be suitable for me’. This applicant then viewed a flat in the same development, and is now a tenant of Young London’s.
Another story an applicant has told me is of a time when they ‘put forward an offer for a property, which was £5 below the asking price, I was made to wait 2 weeks and had not been given any update as to where her offer stood. After constantly chasing the agent, I was informed that the landlord did not wish to proceed with my offer, because it was below the asking price. A couple of minutes later, I phoned the agent back to make an improved offer, to meet the landlords expectations, only to be informed that the property was now off the market’. This is a perfect example of where working on a commission structure means that pleasing your tenant is not the sole focus, therefore hampering the relationship between tenant and agent.
When the review of the payment structure was introduced, I was slightly sceptical, knowing that the lettings industry’s reputation wasn’t great, along with knowing that there is a possibility that you wouldn’t earn commission. This was however overcome by knowing that if I provided ‘amazing service’ to all of my clients, I would still be earning the same amount of money. Working for Young London is a breath of fresh air, because you can tell everybody in the team have the same aspirations and goals, always making sure their client is their priority. This improvement has also been noticed within the team, where property consultants are not battling with each other, congratulating each other instead when an offer has been accepted. Also, tenants feel that they can discuss anything with anybody in the team, and we are all more than willing to assist them.
Overall, I believe that Young London are re-shaping the private residential sector by demolishing the norm, and making our own rules. Slowly, but surely, I hope that other agents will look to follow suit, as in the long term, its obvious that treating your customer with the respect they deserve will undoubtedly make a company grow, and be successful.