Graham Harrison, B.Sc FRICS
Tel: 01271 347855 Mobile: 07818073538
I consider myself to be very fortunate to have joined Webbers some 47 years ago straight from university and to have had such a long and stimulating career with the company. I accepted the job having only ever having had one career interview because even back then I thought Webbers had something special. The warmth and friendliness of the staff from top down made me feel valued and we have always tried to maintain that tradition with our staff and our customers.
Whilst many aspects of estate agency have changed the fundamentals of the job are still the same, matching people to property and this requires high quality well trained staff. We pride ourselves on our customer service, have been monitoring our results carefully for the past 20 years and as a consequence we have won a series of National awards, most recently Best Agent in the UK from The Guild of Property Professionals.
Webbers now have 150 staff, we are one of the areas largest employers and we work hard on maintaining the highest of standards. We network with the leading agents from around the UK to find out what’s working well, what are the new ideas we should adopt and one of the outcomes from this is our new Customer Care department. Fully staffed until 8.00pm this new team are taking our service to a new level and that’s what we like doing, being innovative and always endeavouring to offer an Exceptional service.
I enjoy being Chairman as it allows me to maintain an active but part time role within the company. I am incredibly proud of the achievements of the people who work with us at Webbers and I enjoy being able to bask in their reflected glory. Friends ask me when I plan to retire but if you still enjoy coming to work why would you?
After a rather worrying 35 years in this wonderful profession – 30 of which have been with Webbers, I have seen this business change and grow with the changing times in which we live – some good, some not so good BUT what we must always remember is that “this is a people’s business, we just happen to sell property”. That is my favourite quote that in my view says everything about our profession.
My interests and hobbies bring me in touch with a variety of inspiring and interesting people but I have realised that they all have one thing in common they are genuine, honest, caring and actually very open people. A visit to Vivienne Westwood’s Worlds End store will see a warm greeting EVERY TIME! There is a local contemporary artist (now in Brighton) “Pam Glew” – order a print and I get a personalised note saying “thank you” – small things but so important.
The Webbers business is built on exceptional customer care, professionalism, local knowledge and experience – My Webbers career began in Minehead 1 1987, joining a new office as a junior negotiator, progressing over the years to manager, local Director, Residential & Marketing Director and now a dream job based in Barnstaple. Living in North Devon is a real treat, a wonderful place for Leonie & I to bring up our little girl and when I have time, explore the country lanes on my beautiful Ducati!
Officially, I first ventured in the Estate Agency Profession at the age of 17, back in 1984. Unofficially (both Parents being Estate Agents) I probably started at about the age of 10, working every holiday by assisting the then family business with admin, copying and all manner of wonderful “apprentice jobs”. Allowed out on viewings and valuation appointments with my parents and other colleagues within the office on the understanding that I said nothing, touched nothing but that I listened and learned. Looking back, it gave me an invaluable education, at a very early age, not only into Estate Agency but into business in general and most importantly our customers and how to help them achieve their next sale or their next purchase.
At the age of 19 I took on my first very junior management role, running a small office in Porlock, followed at the age of 21 by then taking over and running our wonderful Exmoor office at Dulverton. Looking back, I was exceptionally young to have been managing and valuing client’s properties, many of those properties being typical country homes, equestrian properties as well as Exmoor village and town homes. It did however give me a phenomenal education in how to market and sell some of the very finest homes available within the region and to learn how to help our customers. Indeed in the early days, being so much younger than all of the other agents that I was competing with, I was regularly not the first agent of choice (but soon became so), Instead clients coming to me after they had tried another agent. This actually gave me one of the very best educations that I could ever have wished for and taught me a lifelong lesson. How to look at any client’s property, even one that has already been for sale for a long while and to find a way of reinvigorating that property to create a successful sale. A lesson I still like to use every day.
Today, I oversee 5 of our Somerset Residential offices and two of the Somerset lettings Departments as well as running the Fine and Country Business across the South West for Webbers. I am also Deputy Chair of the National Advisory Council for Fine and Country and Head the National Marketing Committee via our Fine and Country Park Lane offices, an organisation with over 300 UK and International offices, marketing over 14,000 properties worldwide.
I presently live in West Somerset and truly love working for Webbers and its phenomenal team of colleagues, working hard, as we all do every day, to ensure that our customers receive the very best advice, the very best customer service and most importantly that we do everything that we can to make their move as enjoyable as possible and that we are always there for them with a smile.
About 45 years ago while I was still at school I was fortunate enough to have a “careers interview” with a delightful rural Chartered Surveyor who was a well-known local Estate Agent. From that moment in time the die for me was cast. On leaving school I pursued a 3 year full time course in Bristol in Valuation and Estate Management which embraced all of the elements needed for a career in property and which ultimately led me to being appointed a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, of which I am now a Fellow.
My working life started in rural Buckinghamshire with that same Chartered Surveyor from whom I learnt a great deal, much of which I still put into practice today. In 1977 I moved to the West Country where I have been for very nearly 40 years and in 1986 I joined Webbers, initially as a branch manager, becoming a director in 1994.
I feel hugely privileged to be part of a great company in a wonderful part of the country which I very much regard as home. My wife Sue and I, together with our two (now grown up) children, have grown to love the West Country way of life and it would take wild horses to drag me away,- even then under protest.
I enjoy a rich variety of roles which my everyday working life provides and I am fortunate enough to become involved in the sale of some of the region’s finest homes. I regularly deal with the cut and thrust of the busy new homes market and have been actively involved in the growth of Barnstaple and the surrounding area. I relish the challenge of wielding my gavel as an auctioneer and I am enormously proud of the successes that we here at Webbers have enjoyed over the years.
When not working I enjoy tennis, skiing and travelling but most of all being with a wonderful group of colleagues, friends and my family in glorious North Devon. Having pursued my career now over more than 4 decades people often ask me when I intend to retire and, frankly, because I enjoy it so much the thought hasn’t even crossed my mind.
It’s hard to believe that I have been at Webbers now for just over 10 years?, I started my working career in local government in 1976 and after gaining my Accountancy qualification saw the light and moved over to the private sector. After several moves I landed a position as Financial Controller with a local Advertising Agency where I headed up a team of 13 staff, unfortunately centralisation of the accounts function to London meant the end of this period of my career. However, that old expression that “for every door that closes another one opens” was so true in my case when I was offered the Accountants position with Webbers in 2005. I was fortunate in 2009 to be offered a position on the main board as Finance Director with additional responsibilities for the company's IT. Having had a varied career and gained experience with a cross section of industries, local government, MOD, Engineering and Advertising all of which have had their challenges. I have a small, but excellent team of helpers around me that give great support in what is a time of change in our industry. In my spare time I am a keen but occasional golfer with 3 grandchildren (all boys) who keep my wife and I, young and on our toes?.