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How to get ahead in estate agency

"I’m relatively new to estate agency and am keen to get on and work my way up the career ladder. Can you advise on how to achieve success as quickly as possible?"

Julian O'Dell


Julian O'Dell

The very fact you’re ambitious and keen to seek advice tells me that you have a great chance of progressing in estate agency, so hang onto those assets! Alongside that, it is worth realising as early as possible in your career, that there is no quick fix to success – it does take time, so be patient.

I have inducted and trained hundreds of fledgling negotiators and the key advice is to appreciate that achieving success in estate agency takes guts. Not ‘guts’ as in courage (although that’s not a bad trait) but ‘GUTS’ as in four key principles, the initials of which spell out that word.


Successful career imageThe ‘G’ stands for ‘Get yourself noticed.’ The best way to do this is to be great at your job – that involves an appetite for selfimprovement through training and learning, but you can get yourself noticed for many other appropriate reasons. Bosses notice great timekeeping, particularly early morning arrival. It resonates well when employees aren’t first out of the door in the evening too. Even the odd appearance on your day off can raise your profile. Create your style – dress to the highest standard you can afford. Look good, smell good. If I had £10 for every pair of agents’ shoes I’ve seen that needed a damn good clean or binning, I’d have a fortune.

Be the employee who offers to take on extra responsibility or makes suggestions on improving customer service. Don’t be shy of asking clients to give you a review or testimonial. All these will ensure you ‘get yourself noticed.’


The ‘U’ stage is ‘Under promise over deliver.’ If you know you can do something for your boss by Wednesday afternoon, tell them you’ll have it done by Thursday evening. Most of the time this approach ensures you go above expectations and become known as super-dependable. Adopt the ‘UPOD’ mantra with customers. If you say you’ll send something by email by the end of the day but then hand-deliver it on the way to a viewing within the hour, it reassures the customer that they are dealing with a high calibre individual. I had dealings with an estate agent who adopted an ‘over promise under deliver’ approach (“I’ll get back to you asap” – then nothing for two days). I won’t be dealing with him again. Don’t be like them – make your personal rule never to deliver late or short on quality.


The ‘T’ of GUTS stands for ‘Total commitment.’ You are going to have to work harder than your colleagues and competitors to accelerate your success. You will be the member of the team who is most diligent and focused. You won’t be sucked into office politics, gossip or distractions. You need to be clear on what will help you and your employers be successful and prioritise those tasks. Put yourself in the shoes of everyone you interact with – customers, clients, colleagues, your boss – and behave in a way that will ensure they all see you as someone they can trust, who is upbeat and cheerful, who never lets them down, who always makes them feel important. Enjoy your work, look forward to each day with a positive attitude and be able to look at yourself in the mirror before bed and say, with unequivocal honesty, “I could not have given any more of myself in my work today.”

‘T’ stands for Total commitment. You are going to work harder than your colleagues and competitors to accelerate your success.


Finally, the ‘S’ means ‘Strategy.’ The most successful people have short-term and long-term plans – if you set out on a journey without knowing where you’re going, you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up somewhere where you don’t want to be. Take time to understand the progression path within your company (and within the wider industry). Where do you want to get to? How do you get there? What is the first stage? Talk to others that have been on a similar journey. Don’t limit your ambitions. I remember starting my career as a junior negotiator and looking up to the MD with a sense of awe at how much he knew, how successful he was, how important he seemed. It dawned on me after a while that he started his journey in the same way as I did. Thankfully, by applying the GUTS principle, I got to where I wanted to get to, just as you will too.

But do keep in mind that all these ideas are just as important to maintaining your desired status within the industry as they are to achieving it in the first place – whatever rank you are, you always need ‘guts.’

Julian O’Dell is founder of TM Training & Development.

September 4, 2016