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Charlie Wright's Top 5 Tips for being a Great Estate Agent - become one today!

In the last 10 years of providing a range of forward thinking technology and marketing services, Charlie Wright, founder and architect of thebu2iness.com, has worked closely with the senior management team of literally hundreds of different estate agents. From the likes of Savills, Knight Frank, Hamptons, Douglas & Gordon, Jackson Stopps & Staff and John D Wood, through to one-man-bands who run their agency from private offices, he was worked with them all. It is experience like this which has led to him being appointed as a judge at last year's Sunday Times Estate Agent of the Year awards and again at this year's Lettings Agent awards.

All this exposure to the industry has allowed him to observe the common practices amongst the best agents, whether corporate, independent or individual. Here, he shares with us the top 5 observations, which in his opinion, all the best agents have in common.

1. Return all phone calls! Estate agency is a service business and customers want optimum customer care more than anything else. This translates into the simplest thing - returning all phone calls promptly. It may sound obvious, but it is the biggest difference between the best and worst agents. The best agents always return every phone call as soon as they can.

2. Call your clients as often as possible even if only to say 'nothing to report'! It will comfort them that you are on the case of marketing their property, it will improve the quality of the relationship and it will make them more likely to listen to your advice re: price drops, or to forgive you if you make a mistake and come clean about it. The best agents are absolute sticklers for this.

3. Coach your staff all the time - If you run your own business, you know that you will probably give better personal service than your staff. This means you're not coaching them enough or giving them the benefit of your experience. Any time spent coaching your staff will pay long-term dividends and will improve the quality of service your clients will receive. It will also take work off your plate, as you are able to delegate more tasks to your staff as they become more professional and competent. All the best agents, large or small, focus on staff training as one of their top priorities. Turn your team into highly accomplished mini-me's!

4. Get written feedback on your service from the clients on every property you sell or let. At best you will have a powerful testimonial to take with you on future valuations and at worst you will get useful feedback on your shortcomings or failures which you can act on to improve. Perhaps prepare a typed questionnaire to send to each client, or at the very least call him or her and ask for feedback. It's amazing what you will find out about your staff that you didn't know.

5. Smarten everything up - It's amazing how many agents have scruffy, tired offices, battered cars, threadbare suits, dirty shop-frontages, and think that if their service is ok, that this wont matter. The most successful agents always take huge pride in the appearance of their brand. Repaint your office, replace the worn out chairs, clean the signage, clean your car, and make sure all your boards are clean and straight by inspecting them every week. If you appear scruffy this will affect people's perception of your service. This includes your property details, brochures and any marketing material. Make sure it’s clean and smart!

Just by getting the basics right and following these 5 steps obsessively, you will make a big difference to your company (if you're not already doing them!). The effects will not be apparent overnight, but adhere to these rules religiously and within a matter of weeks you will begin to notice a difference. This difference will start to materialise as more referrals, better instructions, and best of all higher average fees come into place.

Don't get carried away spending time and money on gimmicks until you've got these basics right.

Good luck and have fun helping people find their new home!

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