The fine line between making it and not making it is incredibly thin. As business owners in the estate and lettings landscape, it’s hard to ignore this fact because of the countless obstacles that agents face. 

A classic example? The Tenant Fee Ban of 2018. The ban was set to lose agents between 15-30% of revenue – this was just another new and frustrating legislation that agent had to contend with. Some agencies even reported that this was a crippling 30% of their annual income lost, meaning that agents had to get creative and find alternative ways to make up for this!  

At AR Live 2019, James Scollard, a key industry leader chose to creatively navigate his way forward, through this upward battle. The Managing Director of Cliffton’s Estate Agency transformed his ‘upward battle’ into an ‘upward journey’ of sustainable business growth. Where it seemed almost impossible with such difficult restrictions, James rose to the challenge. 

From a loss-making business to a company of exponential growth in revenue, we share EXACTLY how HE grew his business.  

With the help of a community of like-minded business owners, experts and agents, James transformed his business by making informed and excellent decisions on the running of his business 

The Scollard Story  

So, who is James Scollard? Coming from a family of property experts, James was literally born and bred for the world of estate agency. Within a few days of being born, James was already introduced into the estate agency office. He actually spent most of his childhood and grew up within an estate agency environment amongst his family and friends. Talk about starting early! We do love a wholesome story.  

Clifftons is Born! 

With 24 years worth of experience to date, James Scollard established his first-ever Estate Agency in 2005 with a total of £15,000 in his pocket. To begin with, Cliffton’s Estate Agent had a rocky start, like many successful businesses in the early stages of course. Creating a business from scratch is never going to be an easy pursuit.  

Being a new-on-the-scene brand is always a challenge that every business owner must face, even with James’s wealth of experience within the industry. Not to mention, this is especially the case with the arrival of the tenant fee ban.  

Within ten months, the business fell into serious financial hardship because not enough leads were converted to make ends meet. With the support of his sister, James was able to pick himself back up and try again. It’s quite crazy how things can shift so positively when you choose not to give up on something that you have aspired to have for such a long time. Now Clifftons Estate Agency has £100,000 additional revenue and is a thriving estate agent on an upward journey of success. How? We’ll tell you… 

The Rant Method Secret  

James began working on converting his leads by firstly nurturing his current let only contracts. Rather than encourage let only, he aimed to ensure that he would convert a higher percentage to fully managed contracts, and even upsell to those who had already established a let only contract with Clifftons Estate.  

His first process was to add Sally Lawson’s ‘The Rant Method’. ensuring that his team would be able to confidentlyupsell their services.  By unlocking this secret, James was able to transform his team into one that would extend his services AND his PROFIT! The key to success was in this ability to convert and upsell with a polished and carefully thought out strategy. Attending both Bootcamp and the one-day Agent Rainmaker course, he discovered this new upselling and converting technique that would completely CHANGE his business for the better.  

Expanding his Network 

Something that James said to us, was how integral it was to have a supportive community of like-minded agents around himThis included agents and business owners who were also experiencing the brunt of the tenant fee ban, and were also riding the highs and lows of business. He wanted to see not only what other people were doing to be successful, he also wanted to open his mind to a world of possibilities and new connections.  

The lettings and estate industry are mainly legislative industries. So many training companies offer legislative-based training but tend to skip out on the business development portion that keeps businesses alive– how can agents be expected to keep the industry alive if this is all that is offered?Not many offer this service, and a serious demand for estate and lettings business techniques were definitely needed.  

James required training in maximising business development and profit to get to reach stability and overcome the TFB. Rather than simply rehashing over the legislation, James aimed to improve upon the upselling and conversion skill set of his agents by talking with Ex-ARLA President Sally Lawson, for tips and tricks on how to do just this. James entered into the AR Community and began this journey of business development. From this, he did not only build his network of local professionals to team up with, he extended his network nationally. They began exchanging ideas during the courses, viewing it as not only a learning experience, but also a fantastic networking experience! 

Getting to Work… 

From networking and gathering new insights from his newfound community of unique and innovative agents, he began to make some serious changes! 

From the get go, James decided to rewrite his Terms and Conditions that hadn’t been updated in 14 year! Simply by bringing this to light, he had sourced inspiration for pushing his business forward. The trouble was having the insight on exactly HOW to begin adapting his business to meeting that £100K goal. T&C updates were only the tip of the iceberg!  

Adapting his fees was his next mission. In response to the TFB, he decided ”Are you going extinct? Or are you going to adapt?”. He had successfully recognised that his business did not have to exhaust itself for close to no profit, simply making ends meet. This was NOT the way forward. Recognising the worth of the services that Cliffton’s , knowing how much to charge landlord was a huge step in James’s success. He actually tested out his new pricing structure with 15 different landlords who welcomed this change with open arms. Why? Because they understand that letting and estate agents have to develop and adapt in order to continue surviving. Not to mention, Clifftons prides itself on exceptional service and should not be undersold.  

One year ago, James said to Sally, “I can’t really see light at the end of the tunnel”. Now he has successfully reached his first £100K in additional revenue and continues this success to this day. James is constantly propelling HIS business forward, even amidst the current Coronavirus pandemic. With a strong community of letting and estate agents by his side, James has taken back control, and has successfully transformed his business! 

James began his AR journey on AR’s Legendary Bootcamp, read more stories like James using this link.

Did you enjoy this story? You can see his full-story in this video here 

Inspired to join our community? Check out our Facebook group of over 3000 lettings and estate professionals here! Expand your network today!  

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