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£13,000 in advertising down the drain - there must be another way to get landlords?

Let me tell you a story of someone I know very well in the property business. 

They own a small chain of estate/letting agents (6 offices) and manage in excess of 3000 rental properties. Nice people and nice bosses. However, in one town, they were strong in student lettings, but not in professional lettings.

They had a plan .. we will stuff the local newspaper with adverts saying how cheap our fees are ... £35+ VAT per month fully managed.. cheap in anyone’s book! They had a 2 inch by 2 inch colour box on every double page in the local newspaper from page 2 ... '£35+ VAT per month fully managed' .. on every double page ... and I mean every double page secreted amongst the news articles (the stuff people really actually read).. there must have been over 15 of them .. sometimes nearly 20 .. and when you got to the estate agency section ... a half page advert that said letters 4 inches tall ... £35 + VAT  fully managed .. no gimmicks, no minimums, no subject to’s .. no catches.

After spending £13,000 over 4 months on these adverts ... how many landlords do you think he got (.. and remember, these guys know their stuff)  ....  wait for it ... 4 properties

Being a letting agent by interrupting people isn’t productive or even effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out a landlord and send them unwanted messages (a landlord who is paying £100 per month cant swap whilst there is a tenant in the property, as they would end up paying not £35, but £135 as most letting agents terms allow for at least three months of fee’s and sometimes allot more – therefore you might be cheap but he/she is unable to move). 

As there is a tenant in the property 95% of the time, the landlord cant move agents 95% of the time .. (ask yourself how many landlords have left your agency WHILST THERE WAS A TENANT IN THE PROPERTY ?) ..... precisely ... not many ... I can count them on two hands and I have been in the business 20 years.( and counting)

The only landlords that will react to such messages are the ones who are pi$$ed off with their agent because they have fallen out with their agent or more probably have a void/empty property. Sorry Mr (or Mrs) Letting Agent.. hoping someone will read your half price fees or free rent guarantee insurance and that some landlords /potential sellers will send you the keys of their property to rent or sell. .. come on!

Instead, the future belongs to estate agents and letting agents who talk the language of the landlord or in the case of our estate agency colleagues  ...potential seller. Interesting, back in the Summer, I was helping a letting agent in the Home counties .. we had a brainstorm session and came to the conclusion that people from his town were interested in property, but not the UK property market. No most people/landlords are only interested in their own town’s property market, the town they live in and normally buy their BTL properties in.

So we wrote a property market report on the town, and in particular how the rental market was performing. Question was, how do you get that into the hands of the landlords?  Well I cant give too much away, as I intend to offer a similar service to agents in the coming months, as now I am freelance, but by splicing/integrating two social media streams (Linkedin and Twitter) and driving through a BMD (Bulk Mail Delivery) system I designed, together with the use of Microsoft Publisher and Outlook, we produced and sent a nice looking PDF property local property market report to over 4000 people in his town. 

After 4 weeks, he got 23 new rental properties on his books .. worth in excess of £30,000 in fees over a year ....

.... and the best bit was, 9 of those properties came from one landlord who didn’t receive the report directly from our man .. no .. no ... my man had sent the report to an accountant in the town... who then forwarded it on all of his clients. He (the accountant) didn’t forward it on as a favour to my man .. no ... he forwarded it on (just like people share on facebook and retweet on twitter) .. to make him (the accountant) look good in the eyes of the accountants own clients.  

Now that, my friends, is letting someone else do the work for you.