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Are you an evil estate agent? Take the test.

There are times when it’s sorely tempting to have a pop at other estate agents in your area, or to compare them in a negative light, or to deride customers and clients. While it might be human, understandable and often funny, it’s also a corrosive behaviour that can chip away at standards and attitudes, particularly if its starts working its way into your team following your example. So I’m not suggesting that you are an evil person, merely that engaging in any of the practices listed below can become quite detrimental to what you would like to achieve, and thus evil towards your own ambitions.

So, and just for fun, take the evil test below.

1) Do you write things like “we’re better than other agents”?
If your copywriting says the other agents are terrible, or that you’re better than them, or that no other agent does what you do, you are, I’m afraid, evil. Wake up call: NO-ONE IS INTERESTED. Stick to what makes you great, unique, exciting, irresistible. I don’t like corporate agents, but one thing they do well is to steer clear of slating other companies – they stick to their message of what they are offering. When your website, leaflets, company brochure and letters make negative comparisons about other estate agents, you are fostering an environment where people will relate to you as snide, egotistical and – yep! – evil.

2) Do you make fun of other agents with your team?
You are evil. Like you, the other estate agents in your neighbourhood are there to run a business and make a living. You might very well be (or think you are) better, but self-congratulation only leads to arrogance, one of the most hated qualities of estate agents. If a client asked you what you talked about in the office and you answered “we like to take the piss out of other agents”, would it enhance or detract from their impression of you? If you do something in your work that you’d never admit to a client, don’t do it. Unless you’re evil.

3) Do you criticise other agents when you’re on a market appraisal/valuation
Amazeballs! Most people who come in to contact with you will already have some idea in their minds about what an estate agent is going to be like. There will be concerns around how dodgy, spivvy or otherwise you might be, often brought about by dodgy or spivvy experiences they or their family and friends have had in the past. So this will, unfortunately, already be hanging over you before you ring the doorbell. How you behave in that first meeting, and indeed subsequently, will drive how your customer relates to you. There are some truly brilliant and approachable estate agents out there, but, as in every industry, there are some others. They are evil.

4) Do you play sellers and buyers off against each other?
You nasty little thing. The process of buying and selling property is already full of enough anxiety for people without you sidling up to one or both parties by saying you’re on their side, or that the other person is being difficult, etc. Perhaps you also like to invent offers to show what an extraordinary individual you are. Being an estate agent is about really listening to people, hearing their concerns and finding a route through all that stuff to a successful sale – it’s called negotiating. If the best you can do is complain to one person behind the back of someone else, you are surely in the wrong business. And evil.

5) When things go wrong, do you look for who to blame?
Extra evil points for this one. It would be wise to accept that things are going to go wrong; it’s just the way it is. Not every sale will exchange contracts. Not every offer will become a sale. Not every viewing will become an offer. And not every valuation will become an instruction. In short, you won’t win everything all the time. People are perfectly entitled to sell through another agent, to buy through another agent, or to change their minds about something. It is nobody’s ‘fault’. If you cannot accept this, and instead resort to slamming down the phone, shouting at someone, storming out of the office or otherwise being a little baby, then you are also, most definitely, evil.

So how did you do? Are you a positive, honourable and inspiring estate agent? Do you see some areas for personal improvement? Or are you – gasp! – all-out evil?