LonRes & Co: The Secrets Behind a Successful Agency

25 July 2018

Our LonRes & Co series returns for a special interview with the LonRes 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Alan Russell, Managing Director of Russell Simpson. Having founded Russell Simpson nearly 40 years ago, the company has lived through many property cycles. We chat to Alan to find out the secrets behind his success. 

In today's challenging property climate, what tactics can agents employ to thrive and continue to win new business?

Strong family values, a strong work ethic, elevated customer service and embracing new technologies are a large part behind the success of Russell Simpson. Watch our quick interview with Alan Russell to learn more. 


William Carrington: Welcome to the latest LonRes & Co. I'm William Carrington, Chairman of LonRes. And with me today is Alan Russell, Founder and Managing Director of Russell Simpson and recent winner of the LonRes Lifetime Achievement Award.

Alan, you founded Russell Simpson almost 40 years ago now, a business that is still going strong today. What is the secret of your success?

Alan Russell: It's a difficult one. Hard work. Determination. Giving our clients the most care and attention. We're very proactive with the way we operate. I have a number of my children working with me, which has been a great benefit to all of us. They have a similar work ethic to me. We're in at seven in the morning, we leave at seven. And I think whilst there's huge amounts of news going on all the time, I slightly ignore that and just battle through. The most important thing is just trying to sell our clients' houses.

William Carrington: Right, and you said that your children have adopted your work ethic?

Alan Russell: I think hopefully they had it anyway. Coming from a very big family, they learnt they had to work pretty hard at home, helping their mother.

William Carrington: And they've embraced modern technology?

Alan Russell: Absolutely. I mean, that has done a huge amount for us, in the sense that I'm perhaps too old to have been there at the beginning of this modern technology, but using Twitter, Instagram, has actually become very important. I think we have now over 5,000 followers. We get enquiries from our photographs that we put up on Instagram. We've had offers through Instagram. We've got instructions through Instagram.

Whilst we still advertise a lot we find we get less enquiries from the magazines we advertise in and we get a lot of enquiries from the Internet. But the modern technology which my children have introduced to the business has made a huge difference.

William Carrington: It is a tricky time in the London market. What advice would you give to somebody experiencing it for the first time?

Alan Russell: I think really to tell people to try and offer as good a service as they can. Be very proactive. I think people have become too used to sending emails to everyone and expecting people to respond. I find they don't. Whenever you expect people to call you, they never do. So, the most important thing is to be on the phone, being polite of course, chasing the enquiries that you have and making sure people feel wanted and that we want to take care of them and help them, whether they're selling or they're buying.

William Carrington: Can you tell me why your clients keep coming back to you year after year?

Alan Russell: I think probably because we give them a one-to-one service. Initially everybody asks for me, and now a lot of people have met my children. We make sure that the client who calls us is looked after by the same person. They feel their hand is being held. They feel important, and properly looked after. I think that's vitally important in any service industry, really.

William Carrington: Well, a true family business.

Alan Russell: Yes, well, it is!

William Carrington: Thank-you, Alan, for coming in and sharing your experiences with us of the London market over the years and congratulations for winning the LonRes Lifetime Achievement Award!

Alan Russell: Well, thank-you very much. I'm very touched. Thank you.


Find out more about how LonRes helps agents do better business and thrive in challenging market conditions: