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 can swap agents, without incurring those withdrawal fees or hassle, is when the tenant hands in their notice. But how many landlords at your agency, when you informed them the tenant had handed in their notice, said to you, ‘Don’t put my rental property back on the market for a few days, I am going to see if there is any new / better letting agents in town’. Again, not many.
The problem is, unless the landlord has really fallen out with their agent, 99% of the time the rental property goes straight back on the market. The landlord has better things to do with their life than take time off work to see if there are any new or better letting agents in town.. and anyway .. all you letting agents are the same, aren’t you?
You see I believe the relationship that most landlords have with their letting agent is the same sort of relationship that people have with their own bank. People don’t love their bank, in fact most people don’t even like their bank, it’s just they can’t be bothered to swap banks, be it apathy, too much hassle etc. I believe most landlords feel the same about their letting agent – you are all the same and it’s too much hassle to swap anyway.
However, what if I could show you a way that made a landlord want to come and talk to you, want to come and speak to you not when their tenant handed in their notice, as that is almost too late; but come and speak to you before the tenant handed in their notice?
Also, if you believe lettings is a ‘people business’ and ‘people buy people’, then over those months, between them meeting you and the tenant handing in their notice, you built a relationship with that landlord, never asking for the business, always interested in them as a person but more importantly, you as the letting agent were one of the most interesting people in the eyes of the landlord, there would come a point where that landlord would say, to themselves, ‘Do you know I really like that guy called Bob, he is always very helpful .. next time my tenant hands in their notice, I’Il will try him ‘’
You will never get a landlord’s interest until you get their attention and you will never get a landlord to take action until they make a decision So how do you do get a landlord to decide they want to come and talk you before their tenant hands in their notice? Getting the attention of the landlord is easy, but it’s the obtaining and keeping of the landlords interest that’s the make or break issue here.
There is nothing more interesting to a landlord than if you talk about the local property market ...... remember, a landlord in Uxbridge only cares about Uxbridge property, a landlord in Bournemouth only cares about the Bournemouth property market. eg Why have yields in Bournemouth gone up to 5.5% whilst in next door Poole they have dropped to 4%? Why have property values increased by 32% in Uxbridge over the last 5 years whilst property values in neighbouring Hayes have only increased by 21%?
Deliver this sort of information in front of people who are more likely to be the local landlords, tell a story, make it interesting and those people who are landlords will beat a path to your door. Does it work? Well in the offices I helped last year who adopted my methods, they more than doubled (some almost tripled) rental market appraisals within nine months .... from a consistent 6 rental appraisals per month to a consistent 15 to 18 market appraisals per month at one office, and another office, which went from a consistent 4 appraisals per month to consistent 14 per month.