• Madeleine Bonser

Spotlight on James Tristram

Here at Spotlight, we had the opportunity to chat with James Tristram, Director of Tristram’s Sales & Lettings. He spoke to us about the biggest lesson he has learnt during his career and gave some great advice to those managing a team.

Business Background

I have worked in the property industry for around 10 years now. Prior to that, I was in the hospitality sector as a cocktail barman. This is where I learnt the gift of the gab, chatting to customers all day long. My business partner Fraser, who I attended school with, runs a secondary company outside of the property industry alongside Tristram's Sales and Lettings. Fraser invested in properties himself so had a solid understanding of the landlord’s side of the business.

We wanted to come into an already competitive market with an easy to understand fee structure. Therefore, we offer a flat fee service and not a percentage rate. This makes it easier for clients to know what they are getting paid on a monthly basis.

Overcoming setbacks

It's no mean feat to start a business from scratch! Our biggest challenge has been growing it from the start, but now we are on the snowball effect and continuing to grow from referrals.

Our biggest setback has been when the Government banned agents from charging tenants an administration fee, this cut our income by 50%! We had to alter a few processes in order to accommodate this, which has allowed us to continue just shy of what income we were originally making per deal.

Drive and determination

Both myself and Fraser have children and families of our own. We both have always strived to be successful and motivate each other to continue the growth of the business. Short term pain for long term gain has been our motto since we started.

The biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way

Stick to what you're good at! There are lots of shiny pennies that will distract your line of success to take a different path. Sticking to what you know and continuing with the original plan will benefit your business far greater than trying to walk down numerous different paths.

What would you say to your teenage self?

Focus on what you are good at. I was never overly academic, however, I was very charismatic and outgoing. Being confident in speaking to new clients and selling our services has enabled us to achieve what we have. I would always recommend trying your hardest in any educational setting. The valuable skills which are needed to become successful are learnt from a variety of places, not just school so thrive to learn in different ways available to you and remember to believe in yourself at every step.

Three tips to those starting their careers

  1. Work hard. Success and wealth come later on.

  2. Be persistent.

  3. Believe in your ability.

Advice to people who are wanting to start a business

Only work for someone else to get an understanding of the job, then find a gap in the market to add your stamp. Working for someone else has a limit, working for yourself is limitless.

Advice for people aiming for leadership positions

Have great confidence in yourself and your ability, networking is a great way to develop relationships and help learn from others.

Advice to someone managing a team

Learning and adapting constantly to the changing world, you see some businesses that have been around for years and don’t change their methods or approaches to situations, then one day they get left behind.

The best and worst part of your job

The best part is changing people's lives by selling them their dream home! I would say the worst part is letting people down in situations we cannot rectify. In this industry, you have to rely heavily on third parties and there are many external factors over which we have no control over which can have negative impacts on our clients.

To what do you attribute your success?

The passion and love for the job which I and Fraser feel heavily contributes to our success. If we did not love what we do, we wouldn't be where we are today.

The future

We are continuing our growth and are currently trying to buy out three different competitors. We want to aim to be the biggest Letting Agent in Nottingham by our 10th birthday (2025).

If you’ve enjoyed reading James’ business journey, be sure to connect with him on Linkedin and follow Tristram’s Sales & Lettings on Instagram today. To read more stories like this click here.

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