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Showing posts from March, 2014

Could you improve your lettings agency without spending £1

A landlord rings up because you or one of the team have c*cked up, you offer to waive their fees that month. For our estate agency colleagues, you failed to get the property in the newspaper for the second week in a row, so you promise a run of four (meaning other sellers will miss out). You give a colleague a £5k pay rise because you heard they going to interviews with the competition Most of the time, people don't want a refund or a bonus. What they really want is for you to hear them and to do the right thing. What if every manager and every landlord / colleague contact in your organisation bought into that? Here are some things you can do that don't cost any money (but they certainly require effort): Bosses (that’s not just the MD, but everyone who is someone’s line manager) .... Treat your colleagues with care and respect .. listen to them .. give credit where credit is due. .. say thank you every night (and only say it if you mean it) when they leave the office on their con…

Letting agents' fees are too expensive

How many times has a landlord said your fees are too expensive?, Is it because they don’t have enough money to pay for them? Certainly, among the undeserved poor, this happens all the time when talking about the price of food and clothes, but not when it comes to landlords. When a landlords says "It's too expensive," it almost never means, "If I had enough money I think you are worth your fees." Often, what landlords are really saying is "you aren’t worth your fees .. you aren’t worth it." This is a totally different analysis, of course. Lots of things aren't worth it, at least to you, right now. I think it's safe to assume that when you hear a potential customer say, "it's too expensive," what you're really hearing is something quite specific. A £400 bottle of whisky is too expensive to just about everyone, even to people with more than £500 in the bank. They have the cash, but they sure don't want to spend it, not on som…

The Nine Rules of Letting Rule #5

The countdown continues on the nine rules of lettings .. the nine rules that determine whether a place (town, suburb, city) is either a good place to open a lettings agency OR if you have a lettings agency up and running .. if it would be easy (or difficult) to grow one's business.

Rule 5 (rules 6, 7, 8 and 9 can be found in February's and January's posts .. go have look for them) is all about the demographics of a town .. in particular the demographics of whether there are distinct posh, middle class and lower class areas.

The greater the distinction, the better it is to start/grow an agency .. why? .. you see if there are poor areas, people (tenants) will want to better themselves by moving to (by renting) to a more middle class area, whilst, if there is a posh area in the same town, that is where the landlords will live .. and as landlords tend to buy middle class properties to for buy to let properties .. and if those middle class properties are on their door step in t…

Why don’t landlords swap letting agents?

The relationship landlords have with their letting agent is identical to that relationship that people have with their bank (personal not business) In fact, 75% of consumers have never even considered switching their current account, an article I read recently. In fact in that article, figures showed just 7% of people have switched their current account in the past two years, compared to 31% who switched energy providers, 26% who switched telephone providers and 22% who switched insurance providers. I would say 95% of landlords don’t swap agents..
But why?
Cost – most letting agents tie landlords in, so if they swap whilst there is a tenant in the property, they have to pay at least 3 months of fees and in some instance, fees equivalent to a months rent
Frightened - landlords are reluctant to switch agents because they’re worried something will go wrong – such as their rent or deposit not being transferred properly or their credit rating getting hurt for example.
Hassle - Landlords will o…

Letting agents should be become scaffolders

20 years ago, if you wanted to be the best letting agent or estate agent in town, you bought the most pages in the local rag. You were the daddy of estate agency (and or lettings) in your town and you meant business. At my first office I worked as an estate agent in 1992, my boss took the first 8 pages of the property section .. he was king daddy of them all
.. and that went for all media, every company up and down the country, neigh the Western world ... huge multi national washing powder manufacturers would spend millions assembling a large amount of attention. A TV network or a magazine or even a billboard company found a place you can put an ad, and they sold you a shot at reaching their audience. You rented space to get the eyeballs of the customers on your product or service, so they would buy your product or service

Look at what your marketing department with your marketing budget. Your marketing department, don't care about the long-term value of this audience. It's like…

How does you 'landlord snizzle' work?

I get three or four phone calls a day from letting agents up and down the country asking how I can help get them more landlords, and one of the first questions that everyone asks... What do you do to get landlords?

It's all about making you the Guru of property in your town by writing great info on your town's property market and getting that interesting info out to all the landlords in your town by either ...
1)doing newspaper advertorials, 
2) email newsletters about your town's property market to all the movers and shakers in your town. I show you how to get the 1000 if not 2000 email addresses of most of the local landlords in your town.
3) hand deliver those same property newsletters to every solicitor, accountant, IFA, Doctor, Dentist
4) Sending the same newsletters in paper format to home addresses of every portfolio landlord in your town (finding the home address of every portfolio landlord in your town is something that I have perfected and can offer)
5) set up a …

What butchers could teach letting agents

One of my favourite hot and cold sandwich shop is a little butchers in my town. They sell in excess of 400 hot sausage and bacon bap. A sausage and bacon bap is £1.75.  (in the East Midlands, they are called baps) 

They sell 600 cold baps a day. A full on, stuffed with ham, proper ham, made on the premises with salad, decent sized bap is £1.20. It's always crowded. Sometimes people wait outside, in the cold, even though there are plenty of alternatives within walking distance. So, what's the secret? Why is it worth a drive and a wait?

But before we carry on with the story, I come from the East Midlands (just to the right of Nottingham) .. you see the word baps and think .. he is rude. You see I love baps, large baps

.. but you might know baps as one of these ... 
Bun – the Northern term for a bread roll, bread batch or bread Bread cake – (Yorkshire)Cob (Midlands)Bread roll or rollBarm or barm cake or flour cake – (Liverpool, Manchester, South Lancashire and West Lancashire.)Bin li…

Allagents and Letting agents

I was talking with a senior letting agent at one of the most well known property brands in the country last week. He said, "the powers that be keep coming to me with stuff they find on the internet, slagging them (the agency) off on Twitter, pulling them apart on Facebook and worst of all, stuff they find on Allagents about us, and say, 'take it down!' Of course, I have to explain that nobody can't take it down. No one can."

If your lettings agency has any traction at all, people are talking about you. Of course, they've always talked about you, but now they're doing it in writing, in video and in public. People love giving reviews ..

You can't control what people are saying about you. What you can do is organise that speech. You can organise it by highlighting the good stuff and rationally responding to the not-so-good stuff. You can organise it by embracing the people who love your lettings agency and challenging them to speak up and share …

More examples of advertorials

Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while will know, at the core of what we do is this..... If you as a letting agent, write deadly interesting stuff about your local property market, you will grab the attention of landlords, more importantly, it will be interesting and eventually they will want to come and walk through the door (for new readers .. its all here in my intro 2 min video - for older ones, you saw this a few weeks ago in early March). Its been proved time and time again.

So, as I am feeling generous  .... I spoil you lot ;-)  .... a small selection of advertorials to show you the sort of stuff you should be writing.

After you have read them, you will say it sounds expensive .. if you put your mind to it and do what I have taught you to do by reading every blogpost back to December 2013 (over 70 posts so far) .. it wont cost you ONE penny.

.... ahh, but it is expensive in time, thought and creativity. You control the first (time) .. if you are $hite at it at …

Lettings agencies and their toilets

A friend of mine, lets call him the Welsh Wizard, is a man who runs a very large Car dealership for a rather up market brand. He is a man of great acumen when it comes to running a business. The brand he has, sells large 4 x 4’s which sell for over £100k, but at the same time, you can buy a less fancy one, ideal for farmers from £23k .. so he gets everyone coming through his showroom. He has ran a number of large car showrooms, been an Area Manager and taken over others. I asked him how does he judge if a particular business is ran well, good for its customers, good for its workers, good for everyone .. and the answer that came back surprised me. He said, his boss had taught him many years before, that he only needed to look in one place to determine how good all those things were.. 'how the toilets were presented'.

What! .. the state of the toilets?  Yes .. its an ideally measure of how sophisticated an operation is, which at the end of the day, is what both car garages with …

Letting agents .. could you get 16.6%?

When a newspaper loses a sixth (16.6% to be precise) of its readers or 16.6% of its advertisers, it goes out of business. There are still people who want to read it, still people who want to advertise, but it's gone.

When a lettings agency increases its stock by 16.6%, profits will double. The number of properties under management doesn't have to increase that much for profits to soar, as 16.6% won’t require you to employ more staff, just make them work a tad harder
It's so tempting to head for green fields with a new office opening, pay stupid money for an acquisition or a new town to open up in. But in fact, 16.6% right here and right now might be exactly what you need.

How do you grow it by 16.6%?  Well, that's what this blog has been banging on about since before Christmas. But if you want to remind yourself again, here is everything we have said in the blog, in a 2 minute video ... (I uploaded the video a few weeks ago to this blog but it will do you good to watch it…

Independent Letting agents .. should you fear the Corporate's?

Most letting agents fear competition. Corporate’s are busily buying up the independents in towns, thus giving landlords in those town’s not much choice. When landlords don't have a choice, these corporate’s can raise prices, increase profits and lower quality (shipping out the management to call centres in the UK and even abroad), and landlords just have to deal with it. They are happy to be the profitable choice of last resort, the place for landlords with nowhere else to go.

So is that the sort of town you could start, or probably more relevant to my readers, grow in? Is there a thing of too much competition? Some letting agents though, work to find competition, instead of fleeing from it. If you have a system, a point of view and a process for growth, then a market that already exists is your friend, the next place you can grow. So, if there is a larger agent in town, open up next to him or her. As they drive prices up and quality down, don’t play that game, play the game of be…

Is this the most important question in lettings?

Are these the important questions in lettings? Are we on the right social media channels?Is our lettings agency service consistent enough?Are we on the right portals? Rightmove.. should we pay extra for Zoopla?Is our letting agency website cool enough?Should we move into an shop?Are our fee’s low enough?No, the most important question in lettings is something to someone who haven’t used your services before is ...

"Do landlords trust us as letting agents enough to believe our promises?"
Without that, you have nothing. If you have awareness but people haven't bought from you before, it's likely they don't trust you as much as you would hope. In fact, if your proposition is solid but properties and landlords aren't being coming on to the market, look for trust issues. There are only three things you need to do are 1.Earn trust of the potential landlord 2.Repeat No.1 3.Repeat No. 2   Then you can worry about the rest. How to gain the trust of a landlord .. easy, get them…

Learn this stuff

After being asked many times, I have now decided to run small bespoke one FULL day training sessions on what I say in the blog. By all means, you can employ me as consultant to write articles, blogs etc etc for you, but some of you, especially those who are starting off, who do have the time, have asked me to teach them how to write the articles (and do all the blog stuff)

Therefore, I have given in and now offer a one day training course with ongoing support thereafter.The cost of the day is £500 + VAT per delgate

The course will look at .. How to write advertorialsHow to set up a blog (we will do it for you in the session)How find email addresses of the local landlords Eshot systemsNewslettersGeneral ideas on business development in addition to the core stuff
The course, held in Grantham (1 hr from London and near Leicester) will include Lunch and coffee. There is a maximum of 3 delegates per course to ensure personal attention. You will need to bring a Lap top (or decent sized table…

The fear of starting your own lettings agency

When we deny our fear, we make it stronger. The fearless person is well aware of the fear he or she faces. The fear, though, becomes a guide, not a 12ft wall. It becomes a way to know what to do next, not an evil devil to be extinguished. When we comfort the voice in our head by wisely reminding it of everything that will go right, we actually support it. Pushing back on fear doesn't make us brave and it doesn't make us fearless. Recognising fear and moving on is a very different way of doing things, one that allows it to exist without reinforcing it. Life without fear doesn't last very long ... you'll be run over by a bus or your boss before you know it. The fearless person, on the other hand, sees the world as it is (fear included) and then makes smart and brave decisions. So what could go wrong in opening your lettings agency? Well if you are good at your job and hungry for teh business, you are good people and love property. You can run an agency from home if you want.…

Lettings negs are awful at getting new business

If you're a boss of a lettings agency and not happy with how the way your staff aren’t motivated to get new business, new landlords into your business, then take a look at what they get rewarded for. Until you change the rewards, your Negs and property managers are not going to change their behaviour, becausepeople always have a reason. Even if the reason isn't YOUR reason. If you pay commission on a simple gross office turnover, why would a Neg go out of his / her way to cultivate a long term relationship to get a landlord, when they can railroad a few tenants to sign up for those properties you already have on the books. Maybe, if you paid half their bonus on getting income/turnover ie new tenants for your EXISTING properties and paid the rest of the bonus on getting NEW business .. you might be surprised

What NOT to write about in lettings agents blogs

On Friday, I talked about how you should do a blog. Now to give the other side of the argument, i want to tell you what you shouldn't talk about ...
Anyone can start a lettings agency blog but not everyone knows how to write a lettings agency blog people( or more importantly landlords) actually want to read. What can bloggers do to keep visitors coming back for more again and again after their initial visit? Every effort on your blog impacts your readers from your design and feel, but the most important thing is content.
So, the most important part of any blog is what you have to say and how you say it. Landlords will return to your blog if they like what you write about a specific subject and they like your writing style (mine is quite chatty and like to have funny pictures all over it). With that in mind, your lettings agency blog should be written in a tone appropriate to your blog topic. Keep it personable so as to invite interaction through blog comments and links back to your …

Letting agent blog increased turnover by £170,000 in two years

There is no point in doing a blog if it isn't going to get you more business (ie more landlords trusting you with their property to let out). 
You want more business and you you want it fast
On my travels, I have seen many blogs that look nice but dint get a sausage in new business, all the way through to others that on their own bring in 80 to 90 new properties per year .. solely down to the blog.
The problem with blogs is three fold ...  Problem No.1 how the hell do you make people aware (and here's the important bit - the right people ie landlords) of the blog .. and Problem No.2 ... once they have found your blog, how do you make them keep coming back? and finally, Problem No. 3 how do you convert those visits into making them contact you to give you their business.
Well, here are the solutions ...
Solution to No.1 ... get all the email addresses and home addresses of every landlord in your patch PLUS all the email address of all the movers and shakers in your town who come into…

Part 1 - Indepth and detailed video on how to make landlords use your lettings agency

A 3 minute video on how we get landlords to your agency. This is part 1... 

..... and what of Part 2?

... buckle up because that comes tomorrow!

A landlord is for life .. not just for Christmas

I reading a report, just published, that said Christmas's No.1 toy was the Teksta Robotic Puppy
... no I hadn’t heard of it either, so it couldn’t have been like the Cabbage Patch Doll or Rubix cube of the 1990’s .. this was headline stuff. You see it went to say that parents surveyed said it was hard to find toys and gifts because nothing was new. Nothing new? What they're actually saying is that there's no mad rush for the "it" gift, the safe, coveted gift that demonstrates the giver was able to go that extra mile, call in a favour or brave a crush of Oxford Street shoppers. The notion of the one, the ‘it’, the ‘winner’, the ‘safe choice’ -- this is about buying without taking responsibility. You might have said it was the Xbox One .. but again, I know a few shops that had some available on Christmas Eve .. it wasn’t that popular (and its was flippin’ expensive) Clearly, there were as many new and wonderful things this season as there are each year, all that's…