In this month’s ‘meet the staff’ profile, we catch up with our Business Development and Marketing Director Margaret McMillan. Margaret has been with Wallace Quinn for almost twenty five years; before her current role, Margaret headed up our in-house Estate Agency.
How did you get into Estate Agency?
I had a good relationship with the solicitor I used in my personal life and even convinced him to give my sister a job. I was convinced I wanted to go into social work and so took a short-term job with the firm until I found out more. when I was ready to apply for jobs, I went to my solicitor/boss for a reference he suggested I stay and develop their Estate Agency. I did that, but I also developed my skills and I think I was the first person in Scotland to get an SVQ in Estate Agency. I did that for five years and then the job came up at Wallace Quinn just at the point where I was looking for a new challenge. I came in for an interview and really liked the atmosphere and the culture of what was then a much younger firm! I came in to grow the Estate Agency at Wallace Quinn and here I am nearly twenty-five years later.
You’re moved from Estate Agency to Business Development – why?
The Estate Agency business model has changed a lot in the last twenty-five years, particularly with people now doing much of their house hunting digitally. The digital world means there are more online estate agents looking for business and that all means that while it appears easier and more accessible to anybody looking to sell their house, the process of matching buyers and sellers has become more complicated. At Wallace Quinn we’ve always delivered a high standard of customer service and to ensure we continue to do that, last year we teamed up with Glasgow based Keys Estate Agency to offer an enhanced service to both our clients. Now Pam and her amazing team at Keys handle the Estate Agency marketing for both firms while Wallace Quinn handle all of the conveyancing. That has given me more time to concentrate on business development.
What does the ‘business development’ part of your job involve?
I develop business! A big area of growth for Wallace Quinn in recent years has been in new-build conveyancing. If you buy a house in a new estate, you need to appoint a solicitor to deal with the builder’s solicitor to complete the purchase, which is the process known as conveyancing. We find that if we take the time to understand how builders work and the culture that underpins their company, we can offer our clients a faster, better service, which means the conveyancing process completes quickly and efficiently. Keeping any relationship working well takes time and effort and a big part of my job is ensuring we do that with the many leading Scottish builders we work with.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the variety in my day, where any two days are rarely the same.
What’s the most unusual thing that’s happened to you in your job?
In one of my first jobs as an Estate Agent, before I started at Wallace Quinn, somebody had moved out of a house and I had to secure it, so went there with a couple of maintenance men. We checked everything and just before we left, I pulled a door shut hard and a spider dropped from above and landed on me. Not an everyday spider, but something I assume had escaped from a tank. The maintenance men screamed and jumped back, which I think scared the spider and it bit me. I brushed it off my clothes but it was like that scene from ‘Home Alone’ as one of the guys continued to scream and jumped on it with his big boots while the other hit it with a copy of the Yellow Pages. Sadly, the spider died. My adrenaline was rushing and my heart was racing which I thought was normal after being bitten by a big spider, but by the time I got back to the office my leg was hurting and nobody believed me when I said what had happened. Well, until the maintenance guys pulled the dead spider from a bag. Then everybody started screaming and I had to go to the doctors where they gave me an injection of something and I started to feel better.
Hang on, what? Are you pulling my leg?
I would never do that.
Hmmm. What do you do to relax?
I find doing nothing quite stressful, so I’m always on the go doing something. I’ve got a professional sewing machine at home and I’m always making cushions, or curtains, or pelmets for curtains, or something. I like wallpapering. Basically, I like most aspects of interior design. If I’m not helping to sell properties, I’m usually dreaming up ways to improve the look of them!
What’s your secret to success?
Always listen to the other person and always aspire to be cheerful at work. That isn’t always easy, but if you can do it, it makes the day more enjoyable and easier. Try to be optimistic and resist the urge to be pessimistic! See challenges not problems, never give up and keep going for as long as possible.