Long-Term Use Of Dedicated Property PR Helped Michael Parry-Jones Compete With The Nation’s Largest Companies And Enabled Him To Realise His Ambitions
Michael Parry-Jones is ‘old school’, VERY successful, and proof that sticking to a long-term formula of using regular PR campaigns, and PR skills, is the best way to reach your goals. In his case realising his ambitions to retire in his mid 50’s and spend time with his family and travelling (a grown up word for holidaying!).
Michael totally believes in the power of PR and he used it to build up his profile and brand as an estate agent in the top end of the Surrey market, from scratch, enabling his businesses to compete with Global International brands such as Knight Frank, Savills, Hamptons and Strutt and Parker.
Long-Term PR Built Profile as Key Agent in Area
Michael has always kept a very ‘tight ship’. Twice he ran his business (setting up again after being bought out the first time) from a small village in a delightful converted stable, with minimal overheads.
Competing at the top end of the property market, Michael’s major competitors were the national estate agents who had huge offices of staff across the country and big matching marketing budgets. They were spending thousands each month on advertising and although he could not and did not want to compete with that, he also knew that being mentioned in EDITORIAL was worth 500 times the cost of an advertisement due to the third party endorsement, and the power of association, it gave from the national journalist writing the article.
People (his target audience) read articles in the property sections of Country Life, The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail and (in Michael’s case) the Surrey Advertiser, much more than they read advertisements. He knew that if he was seen regularly commenting on the Surrey market, where best to buy, how to prepare your house for sale, with examples of his properties for sale alongside the article and comments from happy clients who had worked with him, the boost to his profile and brand would be phenomenal. And it was.
He decided to use his very limited marketing budget on doing PR, convinced it would be the tool to reach his goal of establishing his business and being THE leading local estate agent of top end property in Surrey. He was right. The hundreds of column inches he secured in many national media, as well as a constant stream of local editorial, meant that the return on his PR investment was far more than if he had bought advertisements.
National journalists, used to dealing with the big national estate agents, often commented that he must have a team of staff and a very busy agency as ‘you seem to be everywhere, in all the features’, when in fact he was working from his small office, using just his phone, his trusty black book and lots of PR to make sure that a story and/or commentary on the market was in every relevant media, every week.
Result – Big Deal
His presence in the local and national media was so constant, and his profile so strong that after only a couple of years on his own, he was approached by a national agency who wanted a presence themselves in Guildford. The combination of the local profile and National brand worked incredibly well and when Michael left after five years the office was the top performer within the area and the company – top marks to PR, networking and profile.
Take Two – New Business, New Deal
A year later he re-emerged onto the market with a new business name, but the same black book of contacts, same small village office, couple more staff, and the same minimal marketing budget.
Again he concentrated on PR and networking, building up the new brand in exactly the same way as before. This time after 6 years Michael merged the business with a lettings company to create a larger multi disciplined business with a strong high street presence.
Michael is convinced that the PR he secured, which showcased his expertise powerfully to the full, brought a much higher profile and greater opportunities.
PR Achieved Best Prices and Profits
Michael’s dedication to PR meant that he became known among the national and local property journalists as someone they could trust for immediate commentary and help in creating their stories. With the result that his houses gained more valuable coverage than his competitors, which allowed him to achieve higher prices for his clients. Good news all round.
Other PR Tools Helped Build Trust – and Revenue
As well as constant media activity to keep his name, and that of his business, in front of his target audience in the publications they were looking at, Michael used other PR tools to lift his profile and ensure his business was always on top of mind whenever his target audience decided they wanted to move house. He carefully selected, and sponsored, local sports, school and social events that his target audience attended, and was always networking in the right places. Thus the people he wanted to attract were constantly linking him to the events and organisations in their lives, which strengthened their trust in his brand, and meant they naturally brought their houses to him to sell.
Personal PR Skills Kept Clients Close
Being ‘old school’ Michael took a long time to be convinced of the value of technology over the good old-fashioned ‘little black book’ of contacts. And even when he did eventually put them onto his computer, he still contacted them personally, on the phone, on a regular basis to check how they were going, were they thinking of moving, and if they were he could find them ‘the perfect house’.
This was also a form of PR. His clients knew, liked and trusted him from his regular contact with them, which meant they stayed with him and didn’t stray to his competitors.
Michael Parry-Jones is a good example of how using PR for the long-term, and trusting in its incredible power to build your brand and expertise, can help you achieve your financial, and personal goals.