Double Gold at the Estate Agency of the Year Awards 2013
After our first year of trading as Preston Baker we won the 2012 silver award for Best Small Northern Agency.
Unfortunately I wasn't there to accept the award, as I had to leave the before ceremony in London to jump on a train to York after hearing that my wife had gone into labour with my fifth child. Hugo was born while I was somewhere between Grantham and Doncaster, so I missed both the award ceremony and the baby’s birth!
With this being an annual event, the awards this year fell on Hugo’s first birthday, so I had to decide if I was going to attend. My wife, Claire, very kindly suggested that I should go. So the day before the awards I rushed to the Disney store to find my son a soft toy for him and dropped off at home. For any of you know one-year-olds, they don’t really care about presents, but the enticing box and gift wrap was a big hit.
James and I went down to London to enjoy the seminars and to see how we would fare at the awards. I felt unexpectedly nervous about how we would perform as I very much wanted to do better than last year’s silver award.
We were short-listed (the awards equivalent of runner up) for innovation behind two national estate agents so we felt pleased about that achievement. But then came the Small Agency Awards.
When they announced that we had won the Gold Award for Best Small Northern Agency, I have to confess that I didn't handle it in a suave, understated way.As I had said to Russell Manning earlier in the day, “If you don’t care any more it’s time to find something else to do.” (Russell and I had been discussing how much we didn't like seeing other agents’ boards in areas that we trade in and it’s that passion which infuses both of our businesses.)
James and I were delighted and it was only after we had recorded a short video that I considered that rather than just the Northern Gold, this would now mean that we would be competing against the other gold winners from across the country for the national award. When they announced Preston Baker as the overall winner for the UK, we were speechless but it was an amazing feeling and I will remember it for the rest of my career.
The comment from the Judges’ Report is below and it’s something that we could never write ourselves, because we would never want to be seen as arrogant or complacent. That being said, we go to great lengths to explain to potential clients that Preston Baker is not the same as the other agents you might see in Leeds, York, Selby or Doncaster.
We work differently, and we achieve better results for our clients. We hope that these awards will help support that case and demonstrate that no matter what the market does in 2014, when you instruct an agent from Preston Baker to sell or let your home you are selecting one of the very best in the UK.
Judges’ Comments for the Best Small Agency in the UK 2013
“Preston Baker is a brilliant firm based in Yorkshire and is taking the area by storm. In just five years it has grown from one office to five with high turnover and profit, even after the considerable reinvestment in the business."
"It is family owned and the directors work in the branches at the grass roots of estate agency. This has fostered a culture whereby the staff feels able to approach the partners and know they are part of something. The owners in turn understand that without the team there is no business so they go out of their way to look after them."
"Career progression opportunities are extensive across the branches and the development programmes are very good indeed. This exceptional business is growing at a very fast rate. The top quality directors know exactly where they want to take it; they are delivering exceptional standards for their customers and building a culture to take them onto great things.Watch this space.”