Under the Deregulation Bill 2015, the Government slipped in a little piece of legislation that will affect many estate and letting agents up and down the UK. The ramifications will drive a wooden steak through the heart of many agents, leading some commentators to say it was introduced as a vote winner in time for the 2020 general election .
From the 1st of November 2015, under Schedule 4 of the Act, paragraph 56, subsection J, point 32 ... it will be illegal for any estate agent or letting agent to publish either Rightmove Pie Charts or For Sale Board analysis bar charts if ..... and I quote, “ Should an agent insert smug comments about how wonderful they are next to the graphs, (or any other adjective pertaining to that fact) , the aforementioned agent shall be either sent to prison for a minimum of 30 days or perform 300 hours of un-Community-like Service and be forced to drop ‘landlords wanted ’leaflets, but only on wet and cold days in the winter months ”
Ok, I am only kidding, but nobody likes boasting or bragging.
In the real world of real people meeting other real people, face to face, in the flesh, bragging is seen as worthless and intolerable. However, bragging and boasting on social media has become so commonplace that it often passes without being seen. In fact modern social media absolutely promotes users to glorify themselves.
How my eyes (and I’m sure yours) roll like wheels of a one arm bandit when we see a friend on facebook giving themselves self complimenting status update. Or when they buy a car and say they have worked hard for it and deserve it, everyone uses social media to show their best sides. Even I’m guilty of it .. we all are.
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (the list goes on) have allowed the opportunity for people to build a public image by creating and moulding their online persona. .. one might go as far to say, people are creating their own brand. If you think about, that is what marketing is about, creating a brand .. a company persona .. so you can’t blame firms for doing just that on line and on social media.
In the old days, companies used to promote (advertise) their goods and services, its features and its benefits, but never talked about themselves as a company. Conversely, over the last few years, have you noticed how companies have started to talk exclusively on their own company’s achievements – how they have won this award, how they are No.1, how environmentally friendly they are etc etc?
Yet in real life, especially in Old School Britain, those with the intelligence and wisdom will tell you (and you know this to be true even if you are a sharp suited 21 year old silver tongue cavalier of a Neg or hot shot Lister) states that if you’re good at something, then there is no need to sing your own praises about it or blow your own trumpet.
If your agency is genuinely as good as you believe, then it creates so much value to your clients that they love you to bits, you should naturally gain more properties to sell and let. I am sorry, but pats on one’s own back marketing, congratulating one selves for something isn’t exactly professional is it? It could be seen as unethical at best, and scheming at worst.
Yes, be proud of your Rightmove advert or For Sale board analysis .. but don’t ram it down our necks please we don’t like it plain and simple.
You see, instead of you bragging, full of your vain self importance, why not get others to do the job for you? Taking this to the extreme and away from agency, but people pay hundreds of pounds for a handbag from some Paris fashion house that would cost a couple of quid on from the market? Labels are bought specifically because having and owning (and being seen to own) such branded items makes a statement about who owns it without them having to shout it out.
One might say the Savs and Knight Franks of this world possess this, especially outside London?
To obtain this status for your lettings or estate agency, you therefore need to consider how you will elevate the bragging value of your agency brand.
For small letting and estate agencies, the ideal way to build a strapping and sturdy brand is by being dominant and influential to your potential clients (be they landlords or vendors). If only there was a way you could communicate to hundreds and thousands of people, hundreds and thousands of potential landlords and vendors without having to contact them individually. There is, it’s called social media. If you produce and make amusing, creative, emotional content on social media, that will have a much better way to gain attention, interest then gain the trust of potential clients.
Do you really think “like us on Facebook” or “follow us on Twitter” are going to make people go, wow, these guys are good. You want people to be associated with you, so you make their lives more enlightening, more enjoyable, more humorous, more .. well just more. Bragging about how wonderful you are or what you have won doesn’t do anything for them ..your potential landlords or potential vendor .
Now I am not saying don’t do any personal promotion .. just do it in the right way. If you have won the ESTA’s or Sunday Times Awards or you have the most lets in the MK10 postcode between the 1st of June and 31st of June, yes tell .. but don’t sell. It’s a truth and something to be proud of but don’t force it.
If you fail to jump onto Twitter to show off your latest awards and achievements, they can easily go unnoticed. However, there is a compromise that can be struck, and showing off can be dealt with in a professional manner.
· Be truthful and sincere – There is nothing morally wrong about shouting about your strengths. But do not fabricate content or make pledges you cannot keep.
· Celebrate your agency’s journey – It is important to announce your latest awards, accreditations and achievements, but don’t act as though you are the only one who has ever won an ESTA.
· Don’t downplay your competition – just because you are top dog, doesn’t mean you have to grind the oppositions face in the mud. Least said soonest mended as granny said.
· Share the Love – I would always recommend you share positive reviews because by showing people honest reviews and success stories left by your consumers, because trust is transferable potential clients won’t mind reading and digesting them and they are seen as a perfectly acceptable way of building your reputation. Think Tripadvisor.
· Do not ignore your competition – Share their wins, share their content and leave your congratulations. Be magnanimous and generous to them ... remember, keep your friends close and enemies closer!
Blowing your own trumpet may still have negative implications surrounding it, but in today’s frantic social media digital world, your consumers can also depend on it. So unless you are Louis Vitton or Savs, learning how to show yourself off, in the right way, is an unqualified necessity.
PS Just for the record, I am a big fan of such graphs from Rightmove and For Sale Board Analysis firms. .. all I ask fellow agents is that se them wisely