Benjamin Willmore - Founder/ Managing Director at Yooodle
Benjamin Willmore is the Founder/Managing Director at Yooodle, an estate agency that tries to manage their business through the consumers’ eyes. Benjamin’s business journey started 12 years ago, when a chance meeting with a property developer in a pub launched his interest in real estate. Having previously headed up lettings at Chase Buchanan as well as Brinkley’s, Benjamin chose to start his own business in 2018 and try and change the way people view estate agents.
ecruit caught up with Benjamin to find out how he went from a bartender to a Managing Director in the space of 12 years, as well as his advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs.
When did you get your first big break?
12 years ago, when I used to work in a pub and met a developer who I ended up working with for 2 years. I learned everything about the trade during those two years, from property development to trading in auction. I soon found out I had a knack for it and bought my first property, refurbished it and made £90,000.
What do you love about your job?
You deal with the public daily and you’ve got such a wide demographic of people. You’re dealing with people wanting to sell or buy in values ranging from £100,000 to £10 million so you’re meeting totally different types of characters all the time. It’s extremely diverse and because of that it makes it more fun.
What frustrates you about it?
That’s just how it works, the more opportunities and the more people you meet, you’re bound to meet people who have zero interest.
Just keep in mind that if you enjoy what you’re doing and have a passion for it then actually there isn’t anything that becomes a frustration. Hard work is frustrating- trying to get deals done that aren’t happening to your time scale is frustrating but that’s all the fun part of the job cause that’s all what gives you a bigger drive.
What traits define a great sales person?
A lot of people disagree with me on this, but from my experience over the last 12-15 years, the key thing is having the right personality. You need someone with a personality that can become a chameleon where they can walk into any environment and blend into it rather than stand out. I have met people and recruited people that don’t have it and worked with them for some period of time to build them up but if they’re too shy, too quiet and not willing to go into a situation where they don’t know the outcome – they’re going to struggle.
What’s the next big advancement for your industry? Any big changes coming up?
I think the biggest thing over the next 15 years is that estate agents will come out of retail premises. The cost of the high street right now is so expensive and with the technological advancements everything will be online. So, I do believe in the next 10-15 years a good 60% of estate agents won’t be in the high street.
What is the best career advice you have been given?
I think my thing has always been: never find the easy route to take! Because the easy route is giving up.
If you didn’t work in property, what would you do?
I would be in this sector! When I got into property I was 22, and from the age of 16 to 22 I literally had a different job every other day of the week because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I worked in so many different sectors during that time but I think experience is extremely important. If I meet someone who’s been in the same job for 15 years and then I meet someone who’s been in 6-7 different companies I definitely prefer the one with 6-7 different companies. The one with 15 years has turned robotic, that’s all they know. Whereas someone who’s worked in 6-7 different companies has influence and knowledge of other things outside work and how businesses operate.
What are the challenges?
Our industry can be quite seasonal. So, one month you can have a massive high as a company because you’ve traded so much business but the following month could have absolutely nothing. During those harder months, I take the harder route. I work 5-6-7 times as much, I’ll make more phone calls out, increase productivity because no one has ever failed from hard work.
Final comments or advice
Work hard, knuckle down, learn and never be afraid to question anything!
I want to help the people I’ve worked with to help them progress in the same way the guy who met me in the pub spent two years of his life to help me progress. If you can help someone else to develop that’s a far richer life than money in the bank and a fancy car!