Not another training course!

by | Jan 27, 2015

As I sit here in yet another Heathrow hotel room, having stopped over to be fresh ready for yet another days learning on this cold but sunny Sunday, it made me think back to a time when I didn’t see the need for training, or so I thought.

For the first 15 years of running my business I was full on, running the business. The adverts bought clients to me, the office was busy and we were successful at what we did. I knew enough to run my team and do the job, but I remember actually feeling that I felt like I knew everything, and I suppose to do the job well, I did, I knew enough.

I used to send my new staff on training courses to learn the legal stuff, and they took care of a lot of the coal face issues, and even though I had completed all my ARLA courses and exams in the early years I had personally not attended any training events since.

I can remember being asked to go on many training events and just thinking, “I haven’t got time to go, why waste the money, what can they teach me anyway” I was king of my castle, in charge of my own business, I made the rules, who could train me. How wrong I was.

One day I received an invite from a local solicitor that I had been wanting to get in with commercially, to attend a networking event locally. It was at 6:30 in the morning! Oh crickey, what a time to network, do people really get up at that time I thought, but I decided to go, this was 2005.

On reaching the business networking event I found a room of highly motivated business people looking to work together and prepared to meet every week at this unearthly hour to promote their businesses, they were prepared to share, discuss and help each other, WOW I had never seen anything like this before, I was hooked.

This I would pin point as my turning point, because up to that point I had not left my office so to speak, for anything other than an appointment or to go home, I had not worked on developing me, or promoted my business in that way either so this is where I started to realise what I did NOT know.

I realised that not everyone in the town knew who my agency Lawson’s was, I thought everyone knew us and knew what we did, we had been in a prominent physical position and market leaders in our town for over a decade, we had also run large paper ads since the day we opened. So how could they not know who we were? But they didn’t, this was a shock.

Then I realised what I didn’t know, I was not very good (nervous in fact) of standing up and public speaking, I was not a confident networker and many of the modern marketing methods being adopted by businesses locally, I had not implemented, because I had been carrying on just doing what I had always done… This is where I realised, I and as a result, my business had been complacent, which meant we were actually moving backwards as the rest of the world moved forward.

This shock, prompted me to look further, to seek people to learn from, who could teach me modern marketing methods, who could help me grow my business, how could I learn to public speak? how could I reach out to more landlords and businesses in the community? what could I do to get my business out there? But the biggest change was that I realised how little I knew, I knew very little, I could see all this knowledge I wanted to consume and learn and I had to find experts in their relevant fields to learn from.

So I embarked on my journey; of learning from the best in the industry I could find, I attended various national networking events, started attending property courses, marketing events, training on social media, writing, and speaking courses. This led to me speaking on stages around the UK reaching out to landlords and agents, within 4 months of my first speaking event, I was on stage in London in front of over 1000 faces looking at me, and I loved it…


Most importantly, I now know that I have so much to learn we can never know everything, as a result I am constantly seeking out people to learn from all the time. I read books on a huge range of topics, I attend courses every month somewhere in the country, I am reading on the internet in forums, blogs, videos etc in any available spare moment I have so that I can help others achieve more.

Which led me to where I am today, I now teach others on all I have learnt and implemented in my businesses, I make videos to help those in my industry, and we receive over 13 hours of view time on those videos every day, so others are also seeking knowledge. It’s my responsibility to teach our Concentric franchisees, members of the Agency Circle, my staff and now my son too, who is also in business.

It really helps that I’m now surrounded by family and colleagues that have the same mind expansion attitude too. In fact it’s not uncommon for one of us to go on a course, and then all the others book on it the next month if it was good. This gives us all an environment of learning and sharing, which we are all, thankfully passionate about.

The motto of this blog is, that even the teachers needs teaching, the motivator needs motivating because the world is moving so fast that if you get too consumed in your own world for too long, you end up too far behind the curve, so keep on moving and keep on learning.

I had better get up now and get to my course! Have a great day!

Sally Lawson
Sally Lawson is CEO of Concentric Franchise, heads the training for Agency Circle and is also on the board of ARLA. A landlord and letting agent for 25 years, letting and managing over 6000 properties during that time and now works full time training and developing others.