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If I match the fee, will you stay with my agency?

You have managed to land that landlord  and he or she is going to swap letting agents to you, then it all to goes  t*ts up and he/she changes her mind and stays put? Ring a bell? Let me tell you a story which might ring true.

Jason (he of the Shiny Suit and Senior Lettings Neg at your competition .. I mean Senior.. come on.. his Linkedin profile say he has been in lettings for seventeen months and you can work out he is only twenty and three quarters ...... name changed to protect the innocent!!!!!) rang up your new landlord and said, “If we can match the deal you got at the new letting agent, can we get you to stay?"  You know the landlord didn't leave because of a better fee, but to get the business, you still did this new landlord a cracking introductory fee when he left them to come to you.  The landlord told you that the old agent explained that matching the rate was a nice gesture, but it was not the reason he left.  

At this point, he thought Jason was going to cry, but Jason had an Ace up his sleeve, the guilt trip card.  "After all we did for you when you needed us to help you out on that tenant eviction even though you are only a tenant find landlord, how can you leave us like that?  I thought there would be more loyalty than what you are showing us now." Thankfully, the landlord didn’t fall for the trap .. but many do, don’t they? As a parting shot, Jason then sent a few digs on the way about YOU, the landlord’s new letting agent, after which he hung up to run home to tell his Mummy.

When you close a deal to replace a landlord’s letting agent, for any reason, you must expect that the old letting agent will attempt to retain that landlord and pull out all the stops to succeed (including deposits, keys, copies of AST’s .. we all know the tricks).  If your new landlord is moving their business to you only because you were able to beat the price they were paying, you will certainly be standing on the edge of a cliff. Why, because if it was only fee, there will always be someone else down the line who will do it  a lot cheaper than you.

 It costs a lot of money to get your hands on and replace a lost landlord.  On the other side of the coin, if this landlord is moving to you because you found the landlord’s compelling reason to employ you as a letting agent and you are uniquely qualified to solve their problem, all the begging and persuasive tactics in the world won't cause your landlord to return to their old agent, the agent that was not able to solve their problem.

If you know that the old letting agent will be calling to undo what just got done, what can you do to prevent an unhappy ending for you Mr/s Letting Agent?  Easy, prepare your new landlord for the telephone call!  Ask, "So what will you say when XYZ lettings calls and offers to match our price?"  "What if they lay a guilt trip on you?"  "What if they start to beg?" 

What you should learn from this is the importance of selling the value of your agency instead of just the fee? You had better be sure that all of your landlords are happy with you or you may find yourself in the same position?