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Showing posts from June, 2014

Letting agents .. Why cheap fees don't work.

Ok, some whippersnapper agent has just come into town and is offering cheap fee deals .... trust me, cheap fee deals ... they don’t work (remember the story I told 4 months ago of the agent who spent £13,000 over four months advertising ridiculously cheap fees in the newspaper, only to get four landlords .. link here
Lowering your fee is a one way street to lettings hell. Either it's cheaper or it's not.
At first, the process of lowering your fee involves smart efficiencies. It forces hard choices that lead to better outcomes, but as the sands of time pass though, in a competitive market, the quest for the bottom leads to some interesting choices as a business owner, cutting your costs, cutting your staff, cutting your salary.. there will always be another agent willing to go a penny lower than you are, and to compete, your choices get ever more limited.

The problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win. Even worse, you might come in second. To reduce your fee from…

Grow your lettings agency by 20% to 30% within a year - there must be a catch?

Why do over 800 letting agents read this blog every week, but only 3% of you have taken up the challenge.  Are you suffering under an assumption that I hadn’t anticipated (or not to such an extent anyway) that “It’s too good to be true.” The headlines  ..... increase your lettings turnover by 20% to 30% within a year are certainly enticing.



So why aren’t more letting agents trying the technique? Yes, you can pay me to write the articles or even for me to teach you the techniques. But I constantly offer in these blog posts to agents who don’t want to pay me a penny, the ability to pick up the phone to me or email me with questions and advice on the technique .. many do, but I can only count them on my fingers and a few toes.
I have given you many testimonials of my system (more of that later).. but come on, if you do this ‘landlord farming’  and do it consistently and patiently, you will succeed. It’s alot of hard work, takes many hours of time and you don’t see any results for months  …

We need more landlords for our lettings agency

It's so tempting to get straight to the issue, especially since you're certain that you're right. 

You know that many landlords don’t move agents from you, why? Is it because you are the best most fabulous letting agent in the town? Is it because you are the friendliest?  The most professional? Your ARLA exam results had the highest % score in the year you took them? No .. its none of those things (well it might be for your agency .. but think it through the eyes of all the landlords who are with the below average and rubbish agent down the road who offers a really rubbish service and you always wonder why landlords aren’t leaving them in their droves?)

It gets even stranger when you think most landlords don’t really love their letting agent, they just tolerate them (not you Mr(s) letting agent – but again think through the eyes of the landlords on with Mr Below Average and Rubbish agent (as above)).  Landlords don’t move because of cost (agents will charge them to leave the…

Letting agents advertising ... Spend £5,000,000 or spend £190 ... your choice

As I travel up to Middlesbrough on the train, courtesy of East Coast, I was flicking through LAToday and saw an old article about the Easyproperty launch. I wasn't planning to write a post until this evening on my way home, but after reading it, I thought, hey, lets get this written this morning! Before we kick off, Joey aka 'The Lettings Dog' is in fine form .. if fine form is sheding hair by the bundle load .... The Dyson was clogged!  My good lady wife says we could knit another Joey .. I will get some more pics of him soon .. but those of you who need a Joey fix .. here is his famous video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRv5yoLdiXc
EasyProperty is due to launch sometime later this year, with a budget of £5,000,000 to attract landlords to their lettings business. Should you be worried .. well in my humble opinion, possibly and no.
Sir Stelios has a great reputation of shaking up the markets he enters into. Airlines, car rentals, hotels, why not estate agency and letting…

Courses in getting more landlords to use your lettings agency

Hectic weekend ... ran my first course on a Saturday this weekend! Had 14 letting agents from one firm in the West Midlands be taught the 'landlord farming techniques'

Checking my emails, I have had someone move courses, so here is a little note that a slot has come free for the 8th July 2014 course on how to attract landlords to your lettings agency in Grantham (near Nottingham)

Grantham is 63 minutes from Kings Cross for those of you in South and 40 minutes from Stevenage by train. 
More details /costs / testimonials (about the course are here http://how-to-grow-your-lettings-agency.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/one-day-course-on-how-to-find-and.html )
If that is too soon, currently taking bookings for late July and August .. just send me an email to christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk
Many thanks  Chris

(any questions, call me on 07950 147 572)



Letting agents - bigger is better .. that's what all the girls say!

Since I started teaching letting agents about this ‘landlord farming’ technique, one of the questions I  get asked is “What about the numbers?”. How many Linkedin connections should I have? How many Twitter followers should I have? How many people should I have by now on my blog?.


What is it with you agents, you are obsessed with numbers! With this online media lark, agents have been transfixed by scale, bigger is better, by numbers, by rankings, by the number of Facebook likes, by being in Zoopla100 or the Mondinion thingee or Chris Walkey’s (top bloke) EATop #500 agents list. Even websites suffer from this, with Google Analytics or how many hits to our website.


Forget lettings or websites, in this world we live in, don’t you agree with most aspects of life, it’s a trade off between two things. It’s Quality vs Quantity (you can’t have both), or its Specialist vs Jack of all trades, precision bombing or carpet bombing, or in business ... targeted or non specific.

.... less is more?

So, w…

Letting agents .. stop being so bl**dy perfect!

Having just had some Dinner with a very good friend who is a letting agent, he told me that he was going home to work until midnight to check all the files from the day’s work. My friend is a perfectionist and a great letting agent. He even told me he was getting 5 or 6 properties a week over the last month or so, and he put it down to be a perfectionist.
I couldn’t disagree with him more. I told him the reason he was getting that new business, was because he went the extra mile,... its because he and his team cared, not because 100% of the boxes were ticked correctly on WinMan (or Jupix or whatever software system he used). It was because he sat down with landlords, talked to them, listened to them and they thought it such a revelation, they had started to tell their landlord mates  
If you want to grow your lettings agency, there will come a point where you need to take on people aka colleagues/staff. Now, as the phrase goes, you wouldn’t have a dog and bark yourself, would you? So wh…

Its just me ..me.. me with you letting agents

Does what your friends and relations think,say or do really alter what you think of the world? Does the fact they love one supermarket change the shop you do the weekly shop at? Does the thought your mate banks with Santander and loves them make you swap banks from HSBC to them? Would you buy a Jaguar because your work colleague bought one make you change your mind on you buying that BMW? Should you be also flying those little St.Georges flags from your car because everyone else is. No .. not really. So if your friends and relations can’t get you to change your mind, how the hell can a faceless (lettings/estate agency/airline/broadband provider) company get you to change yours with advertising? In this world, everyone has choice, everyone has their own mind and most people are ‘set in their ways’. Just because a mate or friend or a relation does or believes in something, doesn’t mean I have to, unless it correlates’ with my own point of view. Peoples points of view don’t change on a wh…

Landlords are real people .. aren't they?

There are two ways to can attract landlords to your lettings agency (and the same is also true for estate agents trying to attract new vendors to their estate agency).

Lets look at option 1, the option that 98.5% of letting agents use, day day in, day out .. In a nutshell, and 98.5% of the people reading this do this, they pump out messages that say,
We are the most professional agent in townWe are more professional than any other agent in townWe offer free market appraisals, that are ‘free’er’ than anyone else’sWe are ARLA registered and our ARLA registration is most ARLA’ist in townOur staff are the friendliest in townOur fees are very competitiveX number of landlords cant be wrongWe rent a property every so many hoursLandlords wantedHalf price feesEven more landlords wanted0% for 6 months feesWe soooooooo need landlords, now its urgent ... fake real tenant waiting
All boring dull advertising. You see this advertising is something the lettings company wants to say, regardless of whethe…

Lettings is a people business, not a property business.

Over the last few months, I have come across a few letting agents that have said, ‘Chris, I have seen what you do, I have seen the results and testimonials from people who have adopted them, but I just want to try something else first’. Now I do not have a monopoly on knowing what does and doesn’t work, but what I do have is experience of working for some rather large firms in the property  industry; including independent, corporate and franchised.
In my 20+ years in the industry, I have seen many campaigns tried (and mostly fail). In the last few years, my focus has been on lettings and I have seen every campaign under the sun. Cheap fee deals campaigns, Landlords wanted campaigns, We let a property every so many minutes campaigns, Landlords wanted campaigns (there have been a lot of them) , Bullet pointed A5 flyers listing all the services campaigns, more landlords wanted campaigns .. you get the drift.
.... but why do agents still persist with these types of campaigns. I don’t say t…

’If I were a landlord, why should I use your lettings agency?'

One of things I always ask letting agents is, ’If I were a landlord, why should I use your lettings agency?’. I work with a over seventy letting agents, both independent and franchised, although quite strangely, no corporate’s. Let’s be honest, all franchised agents are just independents, trading under the same brand name, with some fringe benefits, but to all intense and purposes, they are agents, just like independents who own and run their own firm.
When it’s your own firm, you go the extra mile, because its yours. You care because its yours, and that should rub off on to the staff. But what if you are an independent or franchise, and you have multiple offices, are your staff as good as you, because you can't be in to two (or three or more offices) at once? Also, if you are just a one office operation, what is happening when you are out of the office?.. do the staff care enough when you aren’t there?

Of course, the thing that makes your lettings agency is you, as you are at heart…

£200,000 pa increase lettings fees - and he does it for fun .... Heyyyyyy!

Trust .. without it you have nothing, in friendship, in family and now in business. So, out of your family friends and work circles, who do you trust the most .. well a firm called Freuds (sounds like a lefty Guardian reading drivel thinktank).. well this Freuds firm (their website says they are world's leading strategic marketing and communications consultancy for consumer brands, public sector bodies and global corporations’   ... what utter ballcocks) asked 8000 UK people who they trusted the most, and Sir David Attenborough came top. I don’t about you, but I also think he is really quite trustworthy .. but hardly any of us have met him .. and normally, you need to meet someone, not just once, but many times to build a relationship, from which trust is forthcoming Every once in a while, over the last thirty years, Sir Dave has been on my telly, telling me about one interesting wildlife story event or another. He is consistent and he has built a body of work over time, taking h…