Diary of an Estate Agent: Cobham
The launch of a firm’s rebrand is sweetened by 500 cupcakes…
Arriving at the office at 8.30am, I look around and realise today is the end of an era and the beginning of an exciting new one. After 10 years we are rebranding the company, changing the name from Gascoigne Billinghurst to Grosvenor Billinghurst with a new logo and look to go with it.
After briefing the team on the busy week ahead, I set off to meet a Russian buyer at one of Surrey’s most prestigious private estates. I recently flew to Moscow to meet him and discuss what he was looking for. Hopefully he’ll like it as he’s travelled a little further than most for a viewing.
Back in the office, one of our sales team thinks they have found the perfect house for a couple looking to move to the area. It seems to have everything they require. “But will the painting fit?” we all ask in unison. The couple owns an enormous painting and won’t look at anything that doesn’t provide the perfect hanging space.
I meet the computer company on site at 8am, as today is changeover day for our email and website addresses. It feels as if months of preparation and planning are finally coming to fruition. There’s a real buzz in the office about the rebrand but we still need to focus on our clients.
One of our senior negotiators heads out to meet a couple to whom we sold a house off-plan, enabling them to finish it to their own specification. As the property backs on to a golf course, they want to make the most of the views. After building up a good relationship they want to show him their plans for the landscaping, including a swimming pool, and see what he thinks. It’s a real compliment that the clients value his opinion so much.
After several weeks of negotiations we have finalised a sale of a house on a substantial plot to a developer, who is going to build two new multi-million-pound homes, which we will benefit from selling in 18 months’ time – if everything goes to plan.
With new fasciae being fitted at our five branches tonight, and interiors changed in preparation for tomorrow’s launch, I’m kept busy with calls from the fitters and designers all afternoon. We’ve kept some existing elements of the brand, so the new logo retains our synonymous ‘wonky G’, as it’s instantly recognisable – especially on our sales and lettings boards.
It’s launch day and what better way to celebrate than with cakes – 500 of them to be precise. The team set about delivering branded cupcakes to local businesses and clients and receive a fantastic reaction. I even drop some in at my barber. After all, barbers can spread a story quicker than anyone.
Throughout the day people pop in to congratulate us on the new name and fresh image and, speaking with our other branches, the rebrand is being well received across the business, especially at our new office in Esher.
And just when we think our day can’t get any better, a sale exchanges on a new house in Cobham, bought by a couple who have just relocated from New York, where they were for 10 years. During this time they had two children and their UK home was no longer big enough to move back to, so with space and good schools a priority, we liaised with local developers and found them the perfect home.
Everyone arrives at the office looking their best this morning, as we are taking photographs for our rebrand. We’re selling a development of three houses in Cobham and the owners have kindly agreed that we can use their sweeping driveway for our shoot. After erecting 10 of our new sales boards, we stand between them looking businesslike, but it seems the photographer has other ideas. “On the count of five I want you all to pull a dance pose,” he says.
This works to relax us all and we get some great shots for our marketing.
I think the change has gone down really well and one thing I have learned this week is that everyone loves a cupcake.
Ian Davies is managing director of Grosvenor Billinghurst at Cobham (01932 588288)