Top questions from our last three ‘Behind the Scenes at AshdownJones’ days – and our answers

Wouldn’t you love to see what goes on behind the scenes of another independent agency?

To look past the pretty Instagram posts and the ‘everything is wonderful’ Facebook feed to see the good, the bad and the downright ugly of agency?

When we first opened AshdownJones, it was exactly what we wished for. We needed to know everything –

  • Which systems were other agents using to run their offices?
  • Who in their team did what and what were they like?
  • How did they decorate their offices?
  • What did they do about compliance?
  • What the heck did they write on their whiteboards?

We needed information, inspiration and confirmation that we were doing it right – or how to improve our methods so they worked better for us.

Maybe that’s what you need too? A peek under the hood, and as a bonus, a bit of a motivational kick-start?

If so, you’re in luck. Because if you’re an independent estate agent, you can apply to come to a ‘behind the scenes’ day at our agency, AshdownJones. Plus, you’ll be in a room with only non-competing agents, so you can share freely and ask anything you need to know.

As well as wanting to see behind the scenes of another agency, some people come because they want to see how the AJ Mastermind looks and feels, and how it works. Whatever your reason for coming along, you’d be very welcome!

And the cherry on the cake is that we’re in the most beautiful part of the country (we think) – in the heart of the Lake District.

So if you’re interested in applying for a spot on our next ‘Taster Day’, just go to and click the green button – we’ll do the rest.

Oh, did I mention, it’s free? That’s right – no charge or cost. (And yes, there is such thing as a free lunch.)

So what goes on, on one of our taster days? Here’s what the agenda looks like:

AJ Mastermind Day Agenda

9.30am Coffee, pastries and meet the other attendees

10.00am – The 8 Critical Factors to Add £100k to Your Top Line

1.00pm – Lunch

2.00pm – Your big questions, answered

3.30pm – Office Tour and Ask the Team Anything

4.00pm – Takeaways and Next Actions

4.30pm – Close

You might be wondering, what kinds of questions do people bring along to these days?

Honestly, they vary enormously. Even though we’ve put on over a hundred of these ‘Mastermind’ days over the past two decades, we always hear one or two questions or challenges for the first time.

Difficult styling conversations’ was probably my favourite from this event

Here’s a selection of the questions from our last three Mastermind days:

  • How do I get more high-value valuations?
  • Do I need to add a ‘plus-brand’ to my bread-and-butter brand?
  • How can I dominate in my area for high-value homes?
  • How do I develop more confidence charging a higher fee?
  • I’m a zero start up – what should I do first and where do I focus?
  • How to get everyone in the team on board with new marketing tactics?
  • Who is my first hire and when?
  • How do I prove differentiation in a saturated market?
  • How can I win high-value instructions when I’ve never sold a house over £400,000?
  • My conversion rate is less than 50% – how do I get it higher?
  • How do I get vendors off the fence and decide to sell?
  • What social media should I be doing?

“Should we buy a low to mid-brand agency? Would it be a distraction? Alternatives?”

Here, I pick the top three questions we hear the most and give you our best answers:

1. How do I get more high-value valuations?

The short answer is letters! (You knew I would say that.) Plus a system to make sure they go out every single week, no matter what. Our target is 300 letters per week, rain or shine. They’re a mixture of ‘not on market’ letters, and ‘on the market’ letters, to a rough ratio of 10:1.

There’s a longer answer too, which includes social proof, door knocking, novelty mail, social media, content, and much more. But you’ll have to come along in person to hear that answer…

2. Do I need to add a ‘plus-brand’ to my bread-and-butter brand?

Probably, but it’s not a black-and-white decision. Phil and I have worked with agents who have stretched their brands to accommodate the high-end market, some who have moved into the high-end and dropped the low-end, and others who have sold their main brand and started all over again. We can share with you the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy, plus talk you through the case studies of those agency owners who have done what you’re considering. One thing is clear, if you’re planning on adding a plus-brand, you’ll have a whole list of questions about your website, logo, staff, fees, and a ton more, right? So the decision is only the first step on your journey. Getting clear on the whole process is super important, and that’s where the Mastermind can help you.

3. Who is my first hire and when?

We have a really simple organisational chart that will take you to a £500k turnover, one staff member at a time, until you get to 5 (including you). The first hire needs to happen sooner than you think, and it’s what we call a ‘Team Executive’. This person answers the phone, books in viewings, handles all the admin and generally keeps you organised. Hire early, hire well, and train even better. This person could be with you for years, or longer.

We have a Talent Brief for a Team Executive (as well as the other members of our team) that we can share with you to help you get your first hire right. It’ll be in the pack of resources you’ll leave with at the end of the Mastermind day.

As you can see, the Mastermind days are intensive, challenging, thought-provoking and the most useful day you’ll invest in your business. We’d love to see you at the next one, and as I said, the day is on us. Just pop an email to me at, call us on 015394 40892 or WhatsApp me on 07812 794967.

See you in the Lakes!


The sun is always shining in Windermere. Honest.

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