Co-Founder of Base Property Specialists
Shoreditch – London
How many years have you been an agent?
15 years – 13 as an owner
In one sentence why do you think independent agents are a better choice for the public?
Quality independent agents are quick to adapt, evolve and innovate to deliver market-leading services often with a family-like ethic running through the business.
What do you hope CIELA will achieve?
Give independent agents a strong, uniform voice that will champion them among the cacophony of big brand marketing, the hype of online-only offerings and the seemingly unrepentant attacks by the mainstream media. However, I feel very strongly, that this should not be done by engaging in negative conversations but rather champion the success stories, creative innovations and delighted consumer stories to create a single, positive voice.
To what do you attribute your success over your competitors?
We constantly evolve and look for new innovations that create a better consumer experience, a better client service or company efficiency- ideally all three of these. We are not focused on ‘market share’ or the perceived size of the company, instead we strive to give the most comprehensive and forward-looking let & manage services in the UK. As London Agents earning much higher fees than most of the country I feel we have a responsibility to pioneer new ideas that can then be adapted by other agents as they see fit.
What is the hardest part of running an independent agency?
Establishing a strong voice, as a small agent in a seemingly over-saturated marketplace, can be difficult and thereby losing out on instructions to agents whom you know (in your heart and mind) you are much better than.
Most agents would admit to being busier than they like. What one thing would you advise them to stop doing?
Undertake a full review of every single marketing activity you undertake. Understand the costs (both financial and man hours) and fully understand what that delivers in terms of revenue, personal traffic or brand recognition. Start trimming the fat and stop doing stuff just because you always have or because all the other local agents do. Only spend time & money on marketing activities that achieve the intended goal.
Who is the most impressive agent you have ever met?
Josh Phegan. I saw him at a Rightmove event back around 2010/11 and I was fascinated by his passion to deliver an amazing service. To boldly do what no one else had/was doing. At the time, he was using an approach when any valuation enquiry would immediately be couriered an intro pack and a small gift- arriving with them within 2 hours of the conversation taking place. Talk about making an impression. He showed how you can give a passionate service, delivering well above and beyond what 99% of your competitors do, achieving some of the highest fees in Aus. In a marketplace beset by cut fee offerings and agents often competing down- it’s imperative we counteract this by agents truly willing to do more but get more for it. By independents competing in THIS way, our industry will transform so fast people will quickly forget the troubles of the past.
How would you describe the overall quality of the founders group?
The group of founders delivers a truly diverse portfolio of agents all of whom are truly passionate about four things: championing the work of independents, championing standards and the perception of our industry, understanding the value of the consumer experience in all aspects of transactions- not just the paying client and finally, ongoing innovation to deliver an ever-better service.
Why do you think Charlie is the right person to get this organisation started?
I had never worked with Charlie before CIELA. However, at The ESTAS 2016, I was rather blown away by the passionate speech he gave championing independent agents and the amazing work we do – Easymatch were a major sponsor. Interestingly, he didn’t talk about his company once – he simply raved about how great we are/can be. When Charlie approached me about CIELA I instantly knew he was the man for the job. It is also important that he understands that, as passionate as we all are, we have a primary role- that of owner/managers and he understands it will be his responsibility to drive the organisation forward from a commercial perspective.
What aspect of your business are you most proud of?
Probably the most common feedback/comment we get, and one that still makes me smile every time we do, is ‘Why don’t all agents do this?’. When someone says that we know we are doing something quite special. The pride almost all of our consumers take in our company is the true motivator each day.
If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about your business, what would it be?
A larger/stronger voice in the London Landlord community, engaging more Landlords and educating them on industry pitfalls and regulations and amazing them with our solutions and offerings.
In one word how would you describe the responsibility of being an employer? To ensure every person in our office is passionate about delivering the best possible service/experience. With this in place everything else falls in to place- staff are happy and proud, consumers are engaged and loyal and, most important of all, work becomes truly enjoyable- who are we going to delight today?