To finish off our 2020 interviews, I spoke to Toby Albert-Corban. An innovator looking to bring some change to the industry. With an eye for design and a knack for digital marketing, Toby has made a distinct name for himself in the industry and on TikTok. Here is Toby’s story:
Could you tell me a little bit about how and why got into real estate?
I guess it started right after graduation from university in New York. I actually attended university in the States and spent almost a decade there, I just wasn’t too sure about what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I didn’t want to be in an office all day and that I didn’t want to become some corporate guy.
A few friends were in real estate and just kind of put the idea in my head, “hey look, you probably might actually be good at this”. So when I returned to London, I applied to a few agencies. I dipped my toes into the industry and realized, oh, actually I kind of have a passion for this. Then I realised that I could create the life I wanted in real estate.
I’ve always had a strong interest in architecture and design and I realized, oh, it’s not just solely about the property. There’s different aesthetics to it, too, you know. The design and how you communicate the concepts is very important. I’m client focused, and I saw my client niche in the industry. I like to deal with people. And I guess that was when my passion started to build for the industry.
Well, what do you think is lacking?
Innovation and Quality service. I started focusing on my passion, and to provide the best service possible through value and innovation. The innovation came through marketing and providing a bespoke service.
How long have you been working in the real estate industry? And Corban Group is your company, correct?
Exactly. I started just about just over two years ago. I started in corporate High Street and then I worked for a quite well-known, well-established boutique firm. I just realized, look, this model was great, but how can I be a bit more personable in my appearance and become an independent agent when the opportunity arose.
I knew there was a different way to provide the service. It doesn’t have to be solely underneath a high street company or brand. There is the potential opportunity for you to be your own agent and have the opportunity to grow. When I realized that was possible, I knew that I could brand myself and could provide a good, if not better service than a lot of the companies that are out there. I was happy that the opportunity arose, and I was happy that I was able to take it then.
Can you tell me a little bit about Corban Group?
We are a full-service agency that helps people buy or sell property. We provide a bespoke service by ensuring that we’re able to adhere to our client’s needs. We’re not a one model fits all kind of agency. We make sure that we’re providing the customer with exactly what they need, no matter what the requirements.
With this tailored approach, have you faced any difficulties getting customers onboard? I would think a lot of landlords go after either cheaper fees or they go after the bigger names. How has that experience been for you?
You know, it’s been good, to say the least, and of people would think, oh, it’s probably challenging to go about it the way I’m going about it. But the thing is I lead with value. So when I’m going to appointments, I make it clear that I’m here to provide a service and the best service possible. It’s all about providing value and getting the best results.
If my client doesn’t see that or understand that, then they’re not the right fit. We work hard and we have successfully been finding the clients that understand my value.
How did your agency have to adapt or how did you guys have to adapt to meet those changes and to kind of survive during these changes?
The one thing that we decided to do once the first lockdown was initiated was to really innovate. And what was a successful for me was innovation within marketing. So video was huge for us. We created a YouTube account. We created a Tik Tok, which was extremely successful. We managed to build up to almost one hundred thousand followers. With multiple videos which reached millions of views and actually went viral.
And that was a big eye-opener for us because we actually got business from the success of our social model. An exclusive campaign to market the remaining units in their development. We realised that we had to innovate and social media was the spearhead for us. And due to social media, we’ve been able to reach millions of people.
And then where are you looking to take Corban group in the New Year?
So in a new year, I think our goal is really growth. It’s to really expand our reach, whether that’s online or with a physical presence.
What is the one thing that you think agents or agencies need to change to be able to adapt to the New Year?
I think now that we’re in the digital age, especially due to COVID we’ve been forced to change the way we’ve been working. But then we’ve realized that we can actually work in different ways now. We no longer need a physical office.
I would say that people need to build themselves digitally online as well, and they need to build their brands. I think that things have really changed. You have to be open minded and build more an authentic presence online.
Find us in London
868 Salisbury House
London Wall, London
020 8064 1431