At first glance, it would be easy to think of Daniel Daggers as an inaccessible human being. Serving an international client base of the uber-wealthy, Daniel is credited with being the man who sold the most expensive terraced house in Britain – all for a modest £95million.
Working with the rich and (sometimes) famous, one could hardly blame Daniel for losing sight of needs and wants of us ‘lesser mortals’, and yet nothing could be further from the truth.
Daniel is a trusted advisor to some of the wealthiest and most influential people on the planet – advising them on their largest investments and sales. His toolkit is a balanced combination of charm and good humour, but at the root of all of it, he puts his success down to two simple words – hard work.
And for the origin of that mindset, Daniel Daggers looks to his parents. As a twelve-year-old boy, Daniel – like many boys growing up in the UK – had a love of football. Not just a love of watching it or supporting his team, but of playing it, and indeed he had aspirations of doing so professionally.
One cold Sunday afternoon in London, his mother came to watch him play, and as young Daniel left the pitch, she posed a question to him, which caught him by surprise.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
Daniel was stumped. He really didn’t feel that anything was wrong and could not understand why his mother had suggested otherwise. Intrigued, he asked her why she thought that anything could be wrong. He told her that he thought he’d played very well.
“No, you didn’t,” she replied, and to a young Jewish boy from North West London, such criticism was somewhat jarring. It was then that his mother offered him some words of wisdom that have resonated with him ever since;
“If you’re going to spend time on something, you’d better do it to the best of your ability.”
Indeed, followers of Daniel on social media will attest to his strong work ethic. His online profile is a reflection of his business life, so much more than his personal one, and Daniel would be the first one to tell you that when he is not posting about the work that he is doing, it’s because it’s likely that he is working on something else!
Daniel Daggers – A History
Whilst his is, by no means, rags to riches story, Daniel Daggers did come from humble beginnings. He was raised in a council house in Maida Vale in North West London, and his parents saved as much money as they could in order to send their son to private school.
It was there that Daniel first got to mix with people from more affluent backgrounds. At that time, he certainly didn’t consider himself a student of human nature. In fact, he freely admits that at the age of 11 he wasn’t really a student of anything at all, and frequently got into arguments with his mother about his lack of effort when it came to reading and schoolwork.
Fast forward some six years, and a 17-year-old Daniel is studying for a GNVQ in Business Studies. One of the requirements of the course that was students needed to complete two weeks of real-world work experience. Daniel’s father spoke with the manager of one of their local estate agents and asked if they could give Daniel some work in the office for a couple of weeks.
Daniel was not truly working in the world of real estate at that time. His work consisted primarily of licking stamps and making tea.
No, his passion was football, and his dream was to become a professional football player – something into which he poured all his time and energy. Sadly (in hindsight, perhaps not,) that dream came to an end when he broke his collar bone and so Daniel quickly recognised that he would need to let that dream go and focus his energies into finding a ‘proper job’.
Again, he acknowledges his parents for the mindset that he had at this time. They had always given him a balanced upbringing. They recognised that whilst he might have a future as a footballer, it was important to be realistic. They certainly encouraged his passion, but knew how important it was that his feet were planted firmly on the ground, and that helped him to be honest with himself, for which is eternally grateful.
He applied for various sales roles and was unsuccessful, and freely admits that he had no idea what he wanted to do, but then the manager of that same estate agents bumped into Daniel’s father and asked him what he was up to. His father explained that Daniel was recovering from a collar bone injury and was looking for work and so this manager – the late Stephen Vickers – interviewed Daniel over the phone and offered him a job.
Training for young and new estate agents in those early days was minimal. There were no computer systems to learn, no emails or social media profiles to set up – the hardware comprised a telephone and a box of index cards. As such, the “training” – and those air quotes are intentional, was all learned on the job.
Fortunately for Daniel, the one thing that he brought with him to the office was a strong work ethic, primarily inspired by his father.
Daniel’s father sold and installed kitchens. He left for work at 7 am and would often come home after 9, and that is what Daniel grew up believing the world of ‘work’ to be – he never knew any different, and it allows him to have a very simple view of success.
“The harder you work, the more opportunities for success are presented to you, and with every success, you climb further and further up the ladder.”
Moreover, Daniel recognised that his continued successes were helping to grow his skill set, and as a consequence, his value.
The Next Step
After 11 years with the firm, Daniel felt that he was ready for more. He was outselling his colleagues at a remarkable rate, and knew that was he was bringing to the world of real estate was worthy of greater recognition.
He approached the partners for a stake in the business and whilst they told him they would consider it, and yet it never came to fruition.
Daniel realised that a change was necessary, and when the credit crunch struck in 2007, he had an epiphany. He understood that his typical and established client base was not where he needed to focus his energy. It was the wealthy that would weather the economic storm, and therefore, that was the marketplace he needed to enter.
He joined Knight Frank – a leading estate agency which currently employs around 15,000 people worldwide. He was working in St John’s Wood – an area of North West London which sits just on the outskirts of Central London, and he was given a choice. He could work the desk which focussed on properties from £1-4million, or on the desk which focussed on £4-10million.
He didn’t know that more expensive bracket at all, but he knew he was good at what he did, so he chose to test himself, and the first 6 months at Knight Frank were a major culture shock for him, as he went from closing 50 deals a year to closing zero in six months.
But of course, things changed, and he puts it down to simply liking people. He is extremely personable – he engages with new people every day and is comfortable building rapport within those first 10-15 seconds of meeting them.
Once again, he looks to his father for inspiration here. Everyone loved dealing with Daniel’s father. They smiled when they knew they were about to see him, and in return, he created an environment where people simply felt comfortable – not with a view to letting their guard down – but because people are just more pleasant when they feel comfortable.
Daniel ‘gets’ people. As a child, he went to youth clubs where he would frequently mix with people from all walks of life. Every ethnicity, every social status – he was thrown into a melting pot, and he made as many connections as he could.
And it’s this early education into people watching to which he attributes a lot of his success. Regardless of their background, people’s micro-expressions often tell the same story, and Daniel has become an expert at reading that story.
He’s someone that people trust – he’s thrown off the image of the typical, self-serving estate agent and has become a friend and trusted advisor to people who not only feel comfortable working with him, but also genuinely want to do so.
Daniel is not pursuing celebrity status – his social media, and indeed, regular media persona serve to help him do what he loves the most – to help his clients be their happiest selves. And of course, it doesn’t stop there. Daniel took the time out to meet with TABHQ and share so many of his insights (thanks Daniel):