It Runs in the Family: Savills

Savills Gloucester Gate

It Runs in the Family: Savills

We speak to Savills’ Stephen and Alicia Lindsay, a formidable brother and sister duo, about what it’s like to work and operate alongside each other in St. John’s Wood.

Words by Sophie Hampton

Alicia and Stephen Lindsay

How long have you both been in the industry and how did working together come about? 

Stephen: My career in the property industry began back in 1988 when I joined the boutique agency Bargets as a senior negotiator. I worked there for just over 11 years, establishing myself as an agent and learning all the relevant skills. I then moved to Knight Frank where I spent over a decade within the St John’s Wood sales department, rising to partner by the time I left.

In 2010, I joined Savills to run the St John’s Wood sales team and lead the office. I operate at the upper end of the market in and around the neighbourhoods of St. John’s Wood, Primrose Hill, Maida Vale, Little Venice and Hampstead.

Alicia: It was actually Stephen who encouraged me into the world of property. It was the early 2000s, I had been working in marketing for a few years but had been thinking about a career change for a while. Property had always appealed and when Stephen mentioned that they were recruiting for a couple of negotiator roles within the Knight Frank St John’s Wood team, I felt I had to apply .

After several rounds of interviews, I was offered a role as a negotiator focused on selling flats and smaller houses. I was the youngest in the team but was so determined to be successful and to build a long-term career in property.

I worked at Knight Frank for eight years and I left in 2011. Stephen had made the move to Savills during my first maternity leave in 2010 and suggested that I would enjoy the new challenge and environment here too.  I took the plunge and I am so glad I did.

What’s the biggest benefit of working with one another? 

Stephen: Between us, we cover the breadth and depth of the local market and have become quite a formidable team. We are both experts in our individual fields so there’s never any competition between us and ultimately the end goal is the same – selling homes, achieving the best prices for our clients and providing a best in class personal service.

It’s not uncommon that I’ll sell a home to or for a family and Alicia will then sell them a smaller home to downsize to or perhaps a flat for their grown up children. We capture clients at those real pivotal life moments and help them through the process. It’s that cyclical nature to the industry that really highlights the benefit of working with one another.

Alicia: We come as a bit of a package deal and clients really like that. We often pitch together, so over the years people have got to know us both.

Different approaches suit different clients. We both have our own styles in how we operate as agents but  when we come together as a team, we bring out the best in each other. We’ve both worked incredibly hard over the years to forge strong relationships in the areas of the market we look after, alongside the rest of the office and wider Savills network.

Savills Park Village West Park Village West – Guide Price £11.5m

What are your areas of expertise?

Stephen: My expertise is geared more towards the local prime and super prime markets – so that can be anything from apartments at £10m through to trophy mansions at £100m.

I’ve always lived in and around North London, so I know this patch inside out and back to front. Having been in the industry for 35 years, I’ve also operated through a number of market cycles. There’s no doubt that the property market has been tough to navigate in recent years but having dealt with periods of economic uncertainty before, I’m able to draw on that experience when I am advising my clients.

The power of the Savills brand paired with our knowledge has played dividends and we are now consistently out performing our competitors in the market. Savills sell more homes in St. John’s Wood than any other agent and this credibility puts us at the forefront of sellers minds.

Alicia: All my career has been focused on selling properties from £1m through to £6m. Having worked in the same area for such a long time, Stephen and I have developed a reputation within the local community for being reliable and knowledgeable in our respective market areas. Many of those we come across through our line of work such as lawyers and surveyors are individuals we have dealt with for many, many years and they often recommend us to their clients, family and friends. It’s those personal touches and recommendations that really highlight to our clients that we are experts in our field.

Buyers and sellers know that when they come to Savills they are going to get a certain standard of service and when you do a good job for people, they are likely to recommend you or return years down the line.

Gloucester Gate – Guide Price £1.8m Gloucester Gate – Guide Price £1.8m

Does being brother and sister help you win instructions?

Stephen: Definitely. If either of us has dealt with a client before, we tend to go on the pitch together so that there’s a sense of continuity for the client and they know the level of service they are going to get. We’ve had clients in the past say to us “we want to use you because of your legacy” – that’s when you know you’re doing your job well.

Alicia: Our situation is fairly unique so why not use the surname to our advantage? When I got married I decided to keep the Lindsay surname for work purposes – I like that we come as a team and clients like that too. That being said, the work we do is a product of the whole office and the wider team, backed by the many services and departments within Savills.

What do you admire most about each other?

Alicia: Stephen is a phenomenal operator and is so incredibly dedicated to each and every one of his clients, regardless of who they are and what they are buying. Whether they’re long-standing or new contacts, high profile individuals or industry leaders, the service you receive from Stephen will always be exactly the same. Having worked in the industry for 35 years, he has built such a solid reputation as a go-to agent, people really value and trust his advice and many come back to him time and time again.

Stephen: Alicia really gets what it means to move and fully understands the emotional highs and lows that come with buying and selling a home. Her passion for the job and her enthusiasm are matched in equal measure to her skills and that’s what makes her such a successful agent.