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Showing posts from February, 2014

Other blogs to get you more landlords .. its like London buses!

I know its hard to believe, but there are other blogs that can help you letting agents get more business

The best by a country mile is the Rent View Blog ..

Here are some of my favourite posts by Andreas (top man!)
How letting agents should use facebook .. linkLandlord marketing .. linkHow to find landlords .. link

Tenants don’t matter

That's what one letting agent told me the other day. The value of marketing focused on tenants iszero.... completely useless. You can market your lettings agency bytellingor you can market it by showing.There's no doubt that interactive marketing, marketing where you actually deliver something of value, is far far more powerful than telling. Telling is just bragging. Telling is ignored. Showing, on the other hand, is about me. me, me, me! It's about providing an interactive experience that touches me.
What a great opportunity to do just that. I might be crazy, but my guess is that people who are  tenants are also people who might be landlords (or even more importantly, know landlords). And my guess is that giving someone, a tenant, an extraordinary experience (by simply caring and not treating them like a piece of dirt on your shoe like many agencies do) when they are a tenant is the best way in the world to turn that person into an advocate, a flag bearer for your lettings …

The Nine Rules of Letting Rule #6

The sixth rule is quite a simple one .. the number of households in your patch. Step 1Now the first thing to do is list down the postcode areas of your core patch (The postcode area is the letter(s) and the number before the space eg UB3, SW1, NG31, DA23 etc etc Step 2Now, use this link, but once in the website, go to the web address and change the NG31 part of the web address to  each of your core postcodes. Eg, if your postcode was UB3, you would change NG31 to UB3 on the weblink. Step 3Now add up all the Detached, Semi detached, Terraced and  Flats numbers for that postcode and repeat the process for each of your other postcodes... this will give you a number .. the total number of households in your patch. Make sure you only use postcodes that are your core areas. Step 4So once you have your number .. what does it mean? Below 10,000 – the area is too small10,000 to 20,000 – the area is small, especially at the lower end, but still …

Six more ideas to get more landlords .. think local

Just a few ideas I want to share?
Stay open extra late one evening a fortnight to capture landlords who aren’t served by your normal letting agents’ hours... hey, you could even call it a landlord clinicHave a weekly trivia contest or game night on your websiteSet up a children’s area in your lettings agency with toys and games to keep kids occupied while parents shop. If you aren’t big enough, have some colouring books and crayonsPut art from local artists on the walls of your agency. You can even sell the art and take a commission from the artists!.Why not put Recipe of the Week on a window card .. mention on twitter. I did that once and people made a beeline to look at the recipe each weekCreate a monthly newsletter about your local property market. I can help write and get it sorted for you. Then deliver it to all the solicitors, accountants, movers and shakers in the town. One office I helped with did such a thing and get 23 new rental listings in one month from it. Now that is ex…

Five steps to growing your lettings agency

Some thoughts .... 1.Weigh up the oppositionYou can’t stand out from your local competitor letting agents if you don’t know what they are doing. In my previous job, I helped open 26 cold start letting agents in two and half years.
I insisted they carried out 20 hours of visiting and following up their future competitor agents, spending 30 minutes in each and then going back a couple of time afterwards to see their strengths and weaknesses. That’s fine if you haven’t opened yet, but if you are established, you may not be able to visit your competitors yourself without raising suspicion. Therefore, if you have a friend who is also in the letting game but in a different town, then you could check each other’s out. If you have no letting agent friends, then ask your local friends or family members to mystery shop them to in person.
Dont look to see if they don’t have EPC’s on their brochures or tenant fees displayed .. landlords couldn’t give a monkeys about that You/they are looking for w…

Letting agents .. facebook likes are worthless

Many letting and estate agents will tell you they have so many hundreds or thousands of followers on twitter or so many likes on facebook.. the more the better. However, you need to stop and ask yourself – why do you want more Facebook likes or twitter followers? Yes, it’s nice to look popular on estate agency or lettings row , but what good will looking popular really achieve? The truth is, nothing at all. The real value of social media comes from genuine clients, not facebook likes. These are the landlords and sellers that will be past/existing people who largely have an actual interest in your lettings or estate agency business and what you have to say. It is generally worthwhile investing your time into engaging with them as they are far more likely to convert into repeat sellers / landlords, or more importantly, recommend you to others. Remember, all social media is a form of communication. Communication is two sided affair. Say something and listen to the reply. The low down is, i…

Stop treating landlords like cash cows

Some letting agents agents see their landlords as cash cows. The tenants keep paying and we will cream out 10% each month .. kerching! I think that is so wrong. Why treat your landlords as if they are a population of faceless one size homogeneous cash machines. They have different goals, different needs, different backgrounds. Don't sell to your customers as if they are a exchangeable, one size fits all lettings service, a walking cash machine waiting for you to punch. Six of one are not like half a dozen of the other. They tell themselves different stories, have different needs and demand something different from you. Different landlords and for our estate agency colleagues, different potential sellers, we have the choice to treat them as individuals. Not only do they need different things, but they offer differing amounts of value to you and to your agency. Now, as letting agents, you have a chance to differentiate at a person by person basis, to use behaviour as the most important…

Landlords - solve their problems

More thoughts on helping you get more landlords
Landlords have problems .. what are you doing to help them?
Here are some suggestions....
1. Eradicate practices that waste your landlord's time, money or efforts.....why not agree all works up to £100 can be given approval by you, so you aren’t bothering the landlord for every little thing
2. Work out what your landlord is thinking and the world around them, helping them achieve their goals, and make them aware when something important you think needs their attention. – that doesn’t mean talking about the differences of section 8 or section 21 notices nor does it need you to talk about the need for gas safety certificates or whether a tenant is liable for an extra set of keys to be cut .. that’s boring .. that’s what they pay you for. You know what to say .. stuff like this ...
3. Learn from your landlords, and remember what they tel…

Letting agents .... Ignore your targets

In many letting agencies, especially corporate’s but independents can be just as guilty, landlords get just barely enough service and satisfaction to prevent them from going elsewhere. This situation saps the energy from boys and girls on the front line; it's no fun to work for a lettings agency whose motto could be, "We are just about good enough."

But the truth is you do not have to wait for your Area Manager (or whatever they call them nowadays .. many firms give them fancy titles just make them feel important) to turn things around (myself, my title is Head of Toilets and Catering). A small group of negotiators, property managers and listers, in an office, banding together, can make a difference. You might not transform your entire UK lettings or estate agency corporate company into a dynamic, cutting edge, passionate, groovie, cutting and thrusting independent , but you can transform your little office into a team that increasingly operates like one.

How .. well that’…

The Negotiator Magazine article .. How to land a landlord

This is a copy of my article that was kindly published in March's The Negotiator Magazine last week ....

Most lettings agents will say, “Just get a landlord sat in front of me, let me talk to them and I will get their business”. Well if you want a landlord to talk to you, the first hurdle is to find those landlords, but nobody walks around with a badge that says ‘I’m a landlord’ and the only landlords that do walk through the door of your lettings agency are those who have had their rental property on the market for 6 weeks, the tenant moved out at week 4 and they have an overpriced void property that 3 agents in the town have already tried to let.
But the challenge gets even worse. When was the last time a landlord of yours swapped agents whilst there was a tenant in the property? Precisely ... not many. As there is a tenant in the property 95% of the time, the landlord is unable (without incurring withdrawal fees and hassle) to swap agents 95% of the time. The only time a landlord…

Lettings Agents .. do you do it for love ..or profit?

There are two ways to think about lettings ·We love our landlords because they pay us money. ·We love our landlords, and sometimes there's a transaction. The second is very different indeed from the first. In the first case, landlords are the means to an end, profit. In the second, the lettings agency exists to serve landlords, and profit is just a great side effect. It's easy to argue that without compensation, there can be no service. Taking that to an extreme, though, working to every screw ever landlord with hidden fees or extras to get the profit up of each property let rarely works in the long term. If you seek to charge above average fees for below average lettings service, your landlords will discover this, and let the world know. In a free market with plenty of information, it's very hard to succeed merely by loving the money your landlords pay you. I think it's interesting to note that some of the most successful letting agents in the UK got there by focusing obses…

More examples of good copy that attracts landlords

Again, putting my money where my mouth is, I wanted to show you a series of three more articles. Again, I have never been to Hemel Hempstead or Watford (I am sure they are very nice places) .. but it goes to show what information is out there. This letting agent emailed them out to his landlord database and put them in the paper as editorial.. after 8 months his turnover had gone from £36k per month to £43k per month.... enjoy
Hemel Hempstead terraced houses to rent - Bunyan Road or Ickleford Road - what's the best?
I was walking back from a viewing the other day, from one of those terraced houses on Ickleford Road, when one of my long established landlords from Gosmore, who had come into Hemel Hempstead to tax his car. We got talking about property and he asked where I had been. The conversation carried on and it got to a point where we were discussing the various merits of streets on the northern side of off Fishponds Road. This got me thinking and I carried out some investigating…

Letting agents -- get very good at marketing to landlords who would prefer not to change agents

Some letting agents believe that tomorrow is likely to be better. Better opportunities, better technology, a brave new world to make a new kind of difference. Others letting agents believe that yesterday was a lot better than today. Tomorrow represents fewer resources, fewer opportunities, one step closer to the finish line. As a letting agent, there's a real choice here .. do you market your letting agency to landlords who are eager for change, or to get very good at marketing to landlords who would prefer not to change. 
You see, if you can get a landlord to walk through your door before the tenant hands in their notice, and after you have met that landlord, use good old fashioned Victorian business values of caring and being attentive, building a relationship over those months .. there will come a point that landlord will say, "I like that lady at soandso agents .. I think I will try her with one of my properties the next time one of my tenants hands in their notice". I…

The nine rules of lettings .. Rule #7

The Nine rules of lettings countdown continues with Rule #7.

As with most things in life, the rules are both an art and a science. Our first two rules are scientific rules (ie number driven - links here .. rule #8 and rule #9 where if you recall we looked at the size of the rental market and the number of agents - which in turn gave us a ratio).

Rule #7 isn't strictly number driven and therefore falls more into the 'art' category.  

In my many hundreds and thousands of hours analysing many towns and cities up and down the UK, I found that there was direct link between how 'posh' a town was and its rental market. Towns which were very posh, very up market, tended to more difficult to get established in as a cold start (or as an established agent to grow in) and likewise, towns that were at the low end of the scale were also difficult to get started in (or grow in if the agent was already up and running). However, towns in the middle tended to be much easier to get star…

Blogs are a complete waste of time .. Landlords grab all your advice and never use you

They will just read your blog, take your advice and use the cheapest letting agent in town?

Some say that most blogs can be more destructive than productive. We live and work in free market economy based on the principles of supply and demand. If no one knows about your lettings agency and more importantly what makes you different to all the others, you won't be in demand. It's excruciatingly hard to earn money when no one knows who you are or what you are capable of doing.

My thoughts on writing a blog reflect my thoughts on life. It starts with this set of principles ... be generous and clear, be an expert, open minded, persistent, adaptable and most importantly, trustworthy.

Notice I didn't say anything about stuffing your blog or tweets with keyw0rds or hashtags. That's shallow stuff compared to who you are and how you treat others. Effective blogging revolves around being a principled human being who genuinely wants to help others.

My first principle of writing th…

Get out of that rut Mr/s letting agent -

Which is more important to you? 

To get the most landlords to 'use' your brilliant letting agency services in the most effective way possible, or do things the way you were taught and do things the way you have always done them and are almost in a rut with? 

I ask you this because today's thought is nothing new, but it is ignored by 97% of letting agents
It pains me to admit that 97% of letting agents (and it goes for estate agents as well) 'uses' are wasted. Letting agents talk when landlords aren't listening, they tweet but landlords don’t reply or re-tweet their posts, they post on facebook but no landlord walks through your door, they advertise their properties in their agency’s newspaper advert like their Grandfathers father did in 1931 (name across the top, grid of property and telephone number at the bottom) and they repeat the same communications strategy that failed last month, last year and the decades before that.
It is far better to show someone your le…

How to write interesting articles for your property blog

Well the blog is now into its 6th week now and we have had over 40 posts. Thank you again for all the kind emails and comments about the blog and I know many of you are starting to consider to put into practice what I preach, whilst others have asked me if I could do all the blogging, article writing, twittering, social media malarkey for them.

I keep banging on about stories and talking about the local market, being interesting to your potential landlords but haven't really shown some real stories in the flesh. Therefore, I have below, a trio of stories that were released on a weekly basis .. remember, these would go in the newspaper, on blogs, Tweeted, dropped into facebook, dropped into newsletters and emailed / hand delivered to existing and potential landlords. This is the sort of detail you need to go into to get landlords attention..... and as a final note, I have never ever been to East Grinstead .. I dont need to know a town to write these sort of articles with this amount…