London, England – A Brief History 1529AD To The Present

Since its founding as little more than a Roman fort, London slowly prospered and expanded. Such is its resilience, it survived the Norman invasion, the Dark Ages and the Black Death in the following 1,500 years.

It’s greatest period of prosperity started during the time of Henry VIII, in the sixteenth century, who — despite his shortcomings as a loyal husband — did lay the foundations for massive global expansion in Britain’s influence and empire.

A fortunate by-product of Henry’s split with the Roman Catholic Church was the arrival in England of Protestant Huguenot refugees, from the nearby continent of Europe. England has always benefited from the skills of its immigrants and none more so than from the Huguenots, who brought with them their secret skills in silk weaving. Silk cloth was a highly prized product and proved to be a massive boost for the trade and wealth of the country — and London, in particular.

The increasing population and wealth lead to a great deal of new building. Being an island gave Britain an extra layer of protection from invasion. So London was able to expand well beyond the confines of the original walled city without fear, and this it did.

Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII, sought to curb this expansion without effect. Indeed her own encouragement to empire building in the form of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake, only gave new impetus to London’s wealth and power.

Due to the restrictions on building new property, many of the existing properties were bizarrely extended upwards, with floors which jettied beyond the original walls. This lead to situations where the upper floors of houses almost touched, forming archways over the streets, with the occupants able to lean out of the upper floor windows and shake hands with the people opposite!

After the civil war and the execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell eventually relinquished his position as Lord Protector and England once more had a monarch, in the person of Charles II. During his reign, there was a dramatic flowering of science, lead by Sir Isaac Newton.

London also experienced the Great Fire of London, in 1666, which destroyed most of the wooden buildings in the old city of London. It also, conveniently, destroyed the last vestiges of the plague, which had decimated the area the previous year.

Sir Christopher Wren, who designed and built St Paul’s Cathedral, drew up a grand design for the replacement of the whole area, to avoid the unsanitary conditions that had lead to the plague. However, such a dramatic transformation would require wholesale acquisition of the land in the area and, due to the difficulty in tracing all the various owners, time ran out and new buildings were put up. These were of more fireproof materials, mainly brick, but still following the higgledy piggledy lines of the old city. Thus the organic charm of the old city of London was not swept away by Wren’s grand vision, and still survives to delight visitors in the 21st century.

Until the seventeenth century, London had grown on east-west lines, along the River Thames, using the river itself as the main highway. What minor inconvenience the River Thames presented to north-south travel was overcome by the provision of ferries, both in the London Bridge area and up river at Putney. However, as London expanded to the north and south, the need for swift transport across the river became apparent and this period was the start of the building of London’s many bridges.

During the Georgian period, London — by then the center of a growing worldwide empire — expanded even more dramatically, with many of the fine and sought after terraces so admired today, being built very rapidly.

As the latest in technology — the railway — developed, there was pressure to keep these away from the center of London. This is why present day London is ringed with railway termini, which originally stopped at the then edge of the city.

With no major railway line cutting right through the city, it was left to the ingenuity of engineers to provide an alternative. This they did by digging a cutting to take the railway, which was then covered over and built on. Thus was created the world’s first underground (or subway) railway. This technique of “cut and cover” as it was known, proved such a success other lines were created in the same fashion. When the railways reached the outer areas of London, they were permitted to rise to ground level, which was considerably cheaper. This, in turn, led to the springing up of new suburbs, clustered around the new railway lines, which offered fast, comfortable and safe transport into the center of London.

Finally, “the commuter” was born.

The most popular suburbs were to the west of London, as they were downwind from the smoke and pollution arising from the city. In the 1930s many cleaner, new “high tech” industries — many American owned, such as Gillette and Firestone — sprang up along The Great West Road, originally the old coaching road to Bath, the ancient Roman city in the far west. Also at this time, several movie studios were built in the western suburbs of London.

World War two came right to the center of London with almost nightly raids by heavy bombers of the Nazi Luftwaffe. These were targeted mainly on the east of London, where the mighty Pool of London docks and factories were situated. Many of these devices were incendiary bombs, designed to maximize damage by starting massive fires. There is a famous picture of St Paul’s Cathedral, surrounded on all sides by raging infernos, yet unscathed and defiant against the very worst that could be thrown at London.

Rebuilding and expansion after the war, lead to the creation of the Green Belt: a notional belt of undeveloped land surrounding London to limit further expansion. With it’s “green lungs” — the massive parks right at its center — the green belt sourrounding it, plus the thousands of trees within, London, despite being one of the largest cities in the world, still retains a village feel, with each former village, now swallowed up by the great metropolis, still retaining much of their own particular character and charm.

In the 1950s the pollution, particularly from thousands of household coal fires, coupled with London’s famous autumnal fogs, combined to create “smog”. The government brought in a Clean Air Act, to force the use of processed coal — called smokeless fuel — which cleared up the smog.

In the 21st century of its existence, London is not resting on its laurels and is, right now, busy re-inventing itself. It already boasts the world’s busiest airport, to the west and is hard at work regenerating the eastern area of London ready to stage the Olympic Games in 2012.

Learning How to Do a Sales Pitch or Presentation in a Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate today the pressure of presenting and pitching your services can be high. Most opportunities for a listing will involve a few agents all chasing the same listing opportunity. This then says that your presentation process should be finely tuned and very professional.

The ‘generic’ approach to presenting your services to a client today just does not work. In every respect your presentation needs to be of the highest standard. To help you with that I have given you some tips below:

  1. Check out the client’s situation prior to developing any thoughts about the property and how you can take it forward. Find out why the client may be selling or leasing the property today; that information may impact your choices of property promotion. Find out why the client purchased the property in the first place. Also ask them about their impressions of property features and improvements.
  2. Get the facts of the market locally. There will be some competing properties in the general area that will tell you something about prices, rents, enquiry, occupancy and time on market. Get all of those facts together as part of your preparation to meet with and make recommendations to the client.
  3. Walk the streets around the property. As simple as this seems, the process of getting out of your car and walking helps you see and observe many things that you would normally overlook.
  4. Understand the property legally and physically. Most properties will have issues that are of impact to the marketing campaign. Look for the ‘hurdles’ that could affect your choices of marketing and inspecting the property with prospects. It is wise to remove the ‘hurdles’ prior to commencing property marketing.
  5. Know about the precinct and its history. The records of sales and leases should be accessed so you know what has happened in the area over the last few years.
  6. Give information to the client about the best alternatives in marketing and inspecting the property. They like to have choices and understand the logic behind each. In that way they will not be limited or frustrated in the final agent choice or decision.
  7. Show some successes as a local agent. Most clients want to work with the best agents and those that really know the local area. Have some examples handy of relevant property transactions that you have been involved with previously.
  8. Be relevant in your presentation and provide a visual time line to the actions that you will be taking. The client can then see how you will be moving things forward for them in a timely way. If anything, that will give them more confidence when it gets to the final choice of agent.

Presenting and pitching your services as a top real estate agent does not have to be hard. You can make a deliberate choice to be the best agent for the job and give the full facts of the process in moving ahead. Confidence is the key.

Negotiation & the Art of Rapport

Asking questions works better than making demands in any area in life. You don’t always have to get your own way to win in a negotiation. Patience, listening skills and presenting alternatives can smooth over ruffled feathers. Experienced negotiators listen patiently and ask questions and then propose the alternatives. Recognize the other party has opinions and propose valid options to get to a goal. It’s not just your way, even when you want it to be.

Successful negotiators disagree without undermining the rapport they have taken time to create. They do this by listening patiently and confirming by repeating back to the speaker what they have just heard before they start contradicting the statements or proposing different options.

Whatever you do, do not try to push your opposing party into a corner, this will not make matters any better for your negotiation. It’s not a murder trial! It’s a negotiation where you should be working towards a mutually beneficial outcome. First and foremost, make the statement that you understand where they are coming from. Showing commonality & compassion will not cause them to react negatively to you. Then, at this point, you can disagree with them, but do so without insulting or putting them down. Don’t let the disagreement become confrontational. By all means, don’t out do the opponent.

Rather than a direct confrontation, use the salesman’s feel, felt, found formula. It’s been used for a hundred years but it works.

Think It Out To Yourself

Mean it when you say it. I understand how you feel (Be sure you do) then add “I’ve felt the same way” (You probably have) and conclude with “But in my experience I’ve found….” Then slowly present or propose an alternative solution. It’s a negotiation, not you getting everything and they get nothing.

Identify With The Opponent

What you strive to accomplish with this strategy is keep rapport and disagree in a non-confrontational manner. Most of all you’ve identified with the opponent and hopefully your suggested solutions will guide the opponent to a different point of view.

Another method of non-confrontational disagreement is to state how you’ve solved a similar disagreement in the past. Most opponents are willing to listen to suggestions and solutions that worked before.

Alternatives And Solutions Are The Best And Easiest Way To Negotiate

That way you are not criticizing the opponent and you are cooperating. Be first to present alternatives – that’s plural. Many of your opponents will say no to all of your suggestions. Prepare for that. Time is a significant part of the negotiation and it takes time for people to consider alternatives and options. They need time to think about it. People are begging to be lead, make suggestions. Encourage the opponent to participate. Show that you can go beyond what’s normal. Show them a better solution. When they are confronted with something better, when it’s staring them in the face, it’d hard for them to argue.

Differing Opinions

The intensity of a negotiation can create clashing and violent differences of opinions. Let the other party have equal say so, so they don’t get frustrated and become hostile. The more you listen the more you know what they want and you can pin point the solution or alternative.

Open ended questions, such as “Why do that?…”, “What are you thinking…” or “What other suggestions would you like to make…”, “Do you have other options…” or “What’s the consequences of that proposal?”

The idea is to create reciprocity, equals working towards a common benefit.

Using these techniques will help you to gain perspective in any negotiation, and tend to help you reach the goals you set forth to accomplish.