So, here’s the thing - you know the day’s not going to turn out well when you get tooth paste on your tie and snap your shoe lace before you’ve even left the house! I’ve got an 8.30am appointment to carry out a property appraisal on a house on the west side of Bridgwater. Great side of town, the west side – I need to make a good impression and to get on the front foot. I’ve prepared my valuation evidence, collated a body of comparable properties, and my ‘presenter’ is laden with slick company brochures and example sales particulars. I’m on top of my game and we’re ahead of our competition by a country mile again this month. This guy would be ‘nuts’ not to choose me to sell his house – what could possibly go wrong?!
Having briefly called in to the High Street first thing, I leave the office with a spring in my step - the temporary shoelace is holding nicely, the toothpaste stain is barely visible and I’m feeling confident. As I pull up outside the house, I’m a polite 2 minutes early – it may seem like a ritual, but I always aim for ‘2 minutes early’. I know my guy’s working from home today, but he certainly won’t thank me for keeping him waiting. Pet hate of mine that, being late – it smacks of disorder and shoddy practice.
The rain’s held off, so hopefully he’ll be happy for me to keep my shoes on in the house – I always ask if the client would like me to remove them, but secretly, I’m willing them to say ‘no’ – feels so awkward padding around in socks whilst trying to remain professional! As I get out of the car, I catch a glimpse of him sizing me up from behind the lounge curtain. He’s impressed by my punctuality - my recently waxed car’s not been lost on him either!
I brush down the River Island suit as I walk up the drive and position myself at the entrance to the house. As he opens the front door, an expanse of polished parquet flooring is revealed – this guy’s got class! At least he’s got a loose mat to wipe my feet. Let’s look at the evidence here – we’ve got a polished hard floor and a doormat; my socks surely won’t be getting an outing at this appointment.
Good Morning Mr Jones, I’m Simon from Gibbins Richards, I’m here to appraise your property, would you like me to remove my shoes?” “Morning Simon – no, don’t worry about that, as long as you wipe your feet, that’s fine”. Result! I’m liking this guy already. As I step into the hallway, I lean down to place my brief case on the floor, whilst offering my hand to formally greet my host. Now this is the moment that I have relived many times over the years, and is the scene that I have described to appreciative audiences at many a social gathering. As I grasp the hand of Mr Jones, I’m still vigorously wiping my feet on the mat which is positioned on the shiny parquet flooring. Now, I know that you’re already there in your mind, but actually, no, it’s far worse than that, because as I lose my own footing on the mat on the highly polished parquet flooring, I’m still firmly attached to Mr Jones (my firm handshake is a very proud hallmark) and as the scene plays out in slow motion and I fall onto my backside, Mr Jones, unable to extricate himself from my vice-like grip, also loses his balance and falls squarely on top of me, showing scant regard for my personal space. Now the manner in which we get back up on our feet is hazy to say the least, but as we eventually establish some decorum and I straighten my tie, I do remember being comforted by the reassuring knowledge that following the incident earlier that morning with the toothpaste, I was, if nothing else, smelling extremely fresh!