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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, what’s it to be Mr(s) agent .. Would you rather have yourself described as a person (and company whose attributes’ included Quality, Specialism, Precision and Targeted or be described as  Quantity man, Jack of all trades and very non specific. The second can describe the corporate .. but you, as the independent agent, should be the first, shouldn’t you? (interesting I do believe if the corporate took the wool out of their ears and blinkers off they too could be the first).

The problem with non specific is that it's easy come as well as easy go. Don’t get obsessed by the number of likes on facebook? Don’t you write your lettings blog to give yourself an ego boost and lots of followers it because you enjoy it, do it on the assumption only one landlord will read it, but that landlord is special, show them your knowledge of your local property market.

You see, and here is the big question, ‘Would the landlords miss your blog if you stopped posting? When you deliver important and interesting content to the person who is your potential
 client, it means that potential client is expecting your blog, no in fact if they subscribe to your blog, they invite you into their world with words and images that matter to them. It means that we are trusted enough to be permitted to speak the first few words, and talented enough to keep the attention we've worked so hard to earn. Most of all, its meaningful, and meaningful to the potential LANDLORD. Now what’s interesting to a potential landlord is not interesting to the general public nor will it be interesting to thousands of wage slaves in your town who dream of buying their first home, let alone a BTL property, but if it’s interesting to the 40 to 70 year middle class males and females in your town (your landlord demographic) because it is seen as meaningful, then it will stick out like a sore thumb as an oasis of interesting and meaningful information.

It's no longer possible to become important to everyone, not in a reliable, scalable way, not in a way that connects us to people who will read ads or take action, not to people who aren't already clicking away to the next thing by the time they get to the second or third sentence.

But it is possible to become important to a very small connected group of people (landlords in our case) that care and are interested about what you are saying or that story that you tell or a particular point of view. It's still possible to become meaningful, meaningful if you don't get short term obsessed, almost greedy about  numbers of followers, bet on the long run instead.

My advice to the letting agents is that if they can't write persuasively and passionately enough about a topic which their potential audience are obsessed about .. your local property market, then I might suggest you are in the wrong job !

You see, as the lettings market has grown by 100% (In 1991, the Private rented sector was 7% of houses and by 2011 it had reached to 15.6%) but the number of agents has tripled from 4000 to 12000 (figures from Rightmove). As the lettings market continues to grow, the number of letting agents will continue to grow quicker as people jump on the band wagon and become a letting agent. At my training course on Wednesday, I asked the 23 letting agents how many letting agents were in their town, the lowest 12, the highest 176 and the average was 34. Now, what are you going to do if you become No.35 or if you are one of the 34, but languishing at the middle or bottom? What are you going to do to make yourself different?  More importantly, how are you going to be meaningful to the all the hundreds or thousands of landlords in your  town?

The future of lettings, and growing a lettings agency has to lie in the fact that if your potential landlord population thinks it's worth subscribing to your particular point of view or feature or idea, if it's worth looking forward to and thus worth trusting, then you will get inside that landlords head.

You see Mr (s) Letting agent, if I could show you a way to capture and hold the loyal attention of the powerful, connected, concerned and intelligent landlords in your town, and you regularly wrote anticipated, personal, relevant and most importantly, meaningful content for those people, could you make it into a business? Answers on a postcode to ....

PS   s8 vs s21 notices aren’t meaningful !!