What it takes to work at Conran Estates

In this edition of Home Front, Simon Hughes explains what it takes to work at Conran Estates. Debunking many a myth of what-your-typical estate agent is all about, this is definitely worth a read!
whatittakes1There is a widely held public conception that selling houses is rather easy and it is as simple as taking a few images and uploading onto various websites.
To be fair, there is a little truth in this as this is exactly what internet agents do, but the majority of time vendors whose use these services would get less money for their property, together with a higher fall through rate when compared to the traditional way of selling property through a local specialist.
Here at Conran, our customer expectations are rather different as they have come to realise the value of what we do and it all starts from the staff recruitment process. You probably don’t expect this – but we rarely recruit people who have worked for previous estate agents, largely because I know the kind of bad traits they would have developed and they definitely wouldn’t work in our company.


Personally, I have a wealth management background and so pride myself on the fact that Conran Estates has what we call a ‘self-regulated framework’ where we hold service as more important than results – as it’s my belief is that if you offer the best service, results will naturally follow.
Whilst recruiting we look for people who have the passion to work and really want it, as we’ve found that skills can be taught later. People must have the capability to excel when dealing with customers and fit within our company culture. Not typically a tough recruitment process you might think, as passion cannot be easily seen on a CV!
As you know, we’ve got more than a few offices at Conran Estates, and as MD generally my days are busy but, on day one of employment I still personally undertake new team members induction programme. As part of this process new recruits have to learn the area where they work, information such as transport links, local parks, good local retailers, nurseries and schools (and how they perform), even local tourist attractions, historic information and of course the local housing stock.
whatittakes3This sounds like a lot – it is – and people constantly ask why it matters and my answer is always the same.
Over my time, I’ve learnt that the majority of a purchaser’s reasons to buy are due to lifestyle choices and not necessarily the property! It’s not solely about the bricks and mortar, but increasingly the local area that counts. You are, in many ways, where you live.
After induction, all staff gets ongoing training to learn the skills which will hopefully make them great at their job. I am a sceptic when it comes to training as I see so many businesses use failed staff in this area, simply moving them sideways into their training department – rather than costly specialist trainers as we do. Our vendors and landlords want the maximum price the market will pay for their property and we’ve found investing in our staff so they are highly trained, well qualified and possess a great local knowledge – is why we are so successful.
One statistic that I find especially interesting is that 95% of our purchasers initially call us about one property on our books and end up purchasing a totally different property. Why is this? It is due to the skill of my team members in explaining the lifestyle quality of each property and ensuring our applicants view all properties which suit their criteria selection.
An example of this is the fact that we regularly sell properties in alternative areas such as Charlton and Eltham because you do get more house for your money when compared to say Blackheath or Greenwich. Many purchasers are willing to take a compromise whether it is on bedrooms; garden size or another aspect of the house and part of our job is to uncover their latent requirements, which may not be obvious to begin with.
So if you are looking for a good local, independently owned agent who know the Borough of Greenwich really well, are really interested in the area they work and offer unrivalled marketing – then contact us to discuss your requirements as my team are very keen to help.
Alternatively, …if you just need to know the route of the local 386 or the best schools in an area – feel free to pop in too!
Warm regards

About Simon Hughes

Originally a wealth manager by trade, when Simon was given the opportunity to take over an ailing Conran Estates he jumped at it and turned it into the thriving business it is today. Look out for his monthly blog in Greenwichmums where he talks about all things residential.

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