A veteran estate agent has got hot under the collar about a London firm which has ordered its negotiators and other staff to not wear ties.
David Alexander, a long-standing property management agent and now joint managing director of Apropos, says the current trend towards informality is not necessarily right for all aspects of the industry.
Last week Estate Agent Today broke the news that London agency James Pendleton had ordered its staff not to wear ties, describing them as “old school” and no longer good for business. To demonstrate the point, agency founder Lee Pendleton posed for photographs cutting staff ties in two.
But now David Alexander says: “I have worn a suit and tie to work every day for nearly 40 years and I believe that it makes you feel confident, assured, and helps your clients to feel comfortable and reassured that they are dealing with a professional who will help them achieve their desires.”
And he adds that those who dress casually are not being ’neutral’ but are encouraging clients to form an opinion of them.
“If a waiter approaches you in a restaurant with dirty hands and fingernails in a tattered t-shirt and trainers, you will definitely form an opinion about what sort of experience you are about to have” he says.
Alexander says that whatever the dress code, service is paramount - but he insists that there are certain jobs where a stricter dress sense is required, and agency is one of them.
“When you are dealing in property either selling or renting you are helping people to make an enormous decision in their lives: which property they are going to make their home. If you are speaking to landlords and investors you are asking individuals and groups to make major financial decisions and a certain sober-suited gravitas helps in such situations.
“It is not that casual wear is wrong in all circumstances but there is still a place, I believe, for suits and ties and smart dress.
“To paraphrase the title of the new Bond movie, many may feel there is ‘No time to tie’ but I believe certain roles require a certain dress code and we need to make time to dress appropriately.”