Much like in tennis, you've got to have balls in business - Spear's Magazine

Much like in tennis, you’ve got to have balls in business

The Christmas season is in full flow: there’s a slight sense of urgency that this is the last week to get things wrapped up before everything descends into a mist of mulled wine and office parties. Having said that the parties have started already. My clients, on the whole, tend to high-tail it out of London by mid-December heading for the piste or warmer climes.

I should see this as a valuable time to network and circulate my cards among the good and the great who attend my clients’ parties but I seem utterly incapable of doing that. If I’m told there is someone who is actively looking to buy a house and needs a search agent to help them, I manage to scrupulously avoid them. I’ll skirt behind Christmas trees, refill my drink at a tactical moment to avoid crossing their paths or engross in conversation anyone but the person who could be useful to my business – it’s very strange.

Read more by Sebastian Gibson from Spear’s

If I’m one removed from the situation, I’m pretty good at being politely forward. I once assaulted Woody Allen as he bounced a tennis ball against a wall at Queen’s tennis club. I was playing my weekly game of singles with Tarquin (a school friend) when I saw him. I knew Mr Allen was in the midst of a love affair with London and had made a series of films here.

Another friend, Louise, an aspiring actress is a huge fan of his and had written an article accompanied by a very foxy photo about the struggles of being an actress which had been published that very weekend.

I approached the esteemed director, explained Louise was not only talented but beautiful, Vespa’d at precarious speed back to my flat, collected the article, wrote her number on it and returned to Queen’s club to hand it over. He, bouncing the ball on the same spot, looked rather bemused. I could only hope my chutzpah would impress him.



Tarquin, who is very proper, was horrified by this invasion of privacy and I added insult to injury by calling Louise as we walked to our court twenty minutes behind schedule (the use of mobile phones is firmly banned at Queen’s) but I needed to warn her to be on the alert. I wish the story could end with Woody Allen calling and her gaining a part in one of his films, but sadly it doesn’t. The phone never rang… but it could have done.

‘Why can’t you apply that to your business,’ Louise asked me.

‘It’s that’s British thing, I don’t mind doing it for others but if I did that for myself I’d feel horribly pushy.’

‘You need to get over that,’ Louise said. And I think she’s right.

I shall try this party season so beware if you see someone with card dangling in hand. I’m starting, though, a more robust resolve when it comes to the deals we’re still working on. Two of the properties we’re selling – one flat and one house have serious interest in them. There are three parties hovering who have been between four and six times respectively.

They’ve continually promised offers will be forthcoming and one has even gone so far as to make an offer that’s been accepted but we’re not yet permitted to put it in the hands of the lawyers. It is time for me to ‘show the sword’ and I’m on the point of making three calls, which will say in effect, ‘put up or shut up’. We’ll see how the new me works out.