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Beating Purplebricks and YOPA at their own game (part 3)

(part 2 can be found here - )

Dating vendors and landlords

Every estate agent must offer the prospective house seller (or landlord in the case of letting agents) a reason, almost, a motivation (some might say incentive) for putting their hand up and volunteering to give their email address.

So if we look back at dating, on the these dating sites, you need a decent picture of your self with lots of GOSH (whatever that is), because you have to offer something that makes it thought-provoking and interesting enough to go out on a first date. A first date, after all, represents a large investment in time, pound notes and self-esteem. So there better be reason enough to volunteer.

After the first date, if you don’t give a motive to continue dating, your new potential house seller or landlord (and your new potential date) will decline you a second chance. If you don't deliver a benefit to the potential house seller / landlord for paying attention, your estate agency (or letting agency) offering ie we will sell your house, we will let your house will undergo the same destiny as every other estate and letting agent advertising campaign that's competing for their attention. It will be ignored.

The benefit you offer to the homeowner or landlord must be so good, so interesting, so intriguing and most important, so helpful, that they are happy to use their valuable time to get to listen to what you have to say. That benefit must be explicit, obvious and unmistakably delivered… time after after time.

This is the most understandable difference between Property Guru Marketing and old school Estate Agency Marketing.

Old skool vs New skool

Old school Estate Agency Marketers spend all of their time interrupting strangers, in an almost piteous and woeful attempt to strengthen popularity and capture attention. .. don’t believe me?  What are all those sold triangles for in your newspaper advert? What are all those sold in your street leaflets doing? What are all those ESTA’s/ Sunday Times/AllAgents awards doing? … massaging your ego.

You might say that’s below the belt .. it’s meant to be.

Wake up an smell the coffee UK Estate and Letting Agents .. you are on borrowed time. If you don’t buck your ideas up and start up’ing your game – the Purplebricks and YOPA’s of this world and all their commoditised online ‘cheap as chips’ online 0.25% agents will like a virus, slowly over the coming years, nibble away at your market share. Two years ago, online/hybrids had 1 to 2% market share and today around 3% to 5% (depending who you ask) .. so what if they got to 6% to 8% in a couple of years, then 10% to 25% by 2020 .. they have taken hold and it might be too late?

Think I am talking rubbish?

Supermarkets killed the High Street butchers, bakers and greengrocers in the 1960’s/70’s and 80’s. The internet killed Blockbusters (with streaming and Lovefilm), the internet killed Woolies and Comet (with Amazon), Amazon (internet) killed the Bookshop. Over the last ten years, what has happened to High Street Insurance brokers and High Street Travel Agents? The internet has killed them ..

If you aren’t careful, will Purplebricks and YOPA do the same for estate agency?

Unless you are Doctor Who or Skynet from the Terminator movies, you cannot turn back the clock.. but you don’t need to. You need to think, am I going to be sucked into a competing against the PB’s and Yop’s of this world with cheap fees .. or am I going to make the change now and earn what I deserve?

Estate Agents - There is another way

PB bang on about their people being ‘Property Experts’ and YOPA have ‘Local Property Managers’

Anyone can have a fancy title, At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – who do you think is the Director of First Impressions?  The Receptionist. And I read once that one bar had Beverage Dissemination Officers – Bartenders!

Beat PB and the others at their own game .. because on the pecking order of life, Top Trumps style, whilst an Expert might beat a  Local Manager, a Guru will always beats an Expert

…. I want you to become a Property Guru .. THE Property Guru for your town and more importantly .. not by just saying it …  PROVING IT AS WELL.

Property Guru

The first step Property Guru Marketers devote as little time and cash talking to strangers as they can. Instead, they move as quickly as they can to turn strangers into prospective house sellers and landlords who decide (of their own accord) to opt in to a wanting to hear from you.

The second step, utilising the attention offered by the homeowner and landlord, the Property Guru Marketer offers a teaching program over time on a subject the agent knows the homeowner / landlord is fascinated in, whilst subtly in the background, also teaching the homeowner (ie potential house seller) or landlord about the estate/letting agency service he has to offer. The Property Guru Marketer knows that the first date is an opportunity to sell the other person on a second date. The second date a third, the third a fourth so on and so forth … Every footstep along the way has to be interesting, useful, pertinent and relevant.

So as long as what you talk about is interesting, useful, pertinent and relevant, since the prospective home seller / landlord has agreed to pay attention, it's much easier to teach them about your agency. Instead of banging on about your firm, or your services or yourself, to try and attract attention, with fancy suits, Italian shoes or spending £1,000,000 a month on TV adverts with fancy sizzle designed to attract the attention of strangers, the Property Guru Marketer is able to emphasis on his benefits in exact and precise ways on his he will help that prospective house seller. Without query, this ability to talk unreservedly over time is the most powerful element of this marketing approach.

The third step involves underpinning the reason of the homeowner / landlord to keep in contact, therefore, reinforcing the reason to keep in contact, thus increasing the level of consent the Property Guru receives from the potential house seller / landlord. By giving more to the prospective house seller/ landlord, you are hoping for something back in return (or in terms of dating analogy , going through the bases from second, to third to …. Well you know the rest!)

The Property Guru marketer uses the permission he has achieved to change the behavior of the landlord or potential house seller, that is, get them to say, I do.

How does it work in real life – this ‘Property Guru thing’?

If you recall, earlier in the article, I said you had to be so good, so interesting, so intriguing and most importantly, helpful to all the home owners, (ie potential property sellers) and landlords

However, most of you will say,

1.     What’s interesting, intriguing and helpful to potential house sellers and landlords?
2.     Even if you are interesting, intriguing and helpful … how the hell do you get that interesting, intriguing and helpful information to all the homeowners and landlords?

Easy …….

1.     With 100% certainty, I know what interests and intrigues a homeowner or landlord …and if you think about, so do you .. its right under your nose.. it’s simple ..


How much is it now, how much has it gone up, how much will it go up in the future.  .. in essence money   (for landlords you could also talk about rents and yields).

Notice I didn’t mention anything about you, your agency or your services, or what you have sold, or that you have buyers waiting, or you won an award. Nobody cares except you, your boss and your Mum.

Again, I am harsh .. but in your heart of hearts, if another professional, say a solicitor, said they were ace, they had had done so many deals this month, won this award, had so many offices .. so on and so forth .. would you care? No of course not – so why the hell should anyone care about you, your firm or your services?

2.     100% of all the homeowners, all the owner occupiers, of every property in your patch live in the property they are interested obsessed about .. obsession is beyond interesting, obsession is miles ahead of intriguing  .. the Brits are interested about property (Homes under the Hammer, Grand Designs, Sarah Beany, Location Location etc etc) but more importantly, they are obsessed about their own property.

Landlords I hear the Letting Agents cry!  Unless you live in Belgravia, Mayfair and Park Lane, where the only people who buy buy to let are Russian Oligarchs, Saudi Prince’s and Sovereign States  .. report after report published for the last 10 years has said, 40% to 60% of buy to let landlords live in the same town (or immediate villages that they buy their buy their buy to let property.) Landlords buy what they know .. so they buy local. They know where the good areas and bad areas are. They can keep an eye on the property. They have their own trades people etc etc

So, lets just recap, 100% of homeowners and 40 to 60% of landlords live near your office AND  you know what interests them .. the value of their property(s). Talk about shooting fish in a barrel? Easy

Property Guru Marketing Is An Old Concept With New Significance

Property Guru Marketing isn't glitzy or trendy as filming a TV advert with a middle aged blokes behind a purple screen. It isn't as easy as putting thousands of landlords wanted ads or properties wanted on A5 flyers or the local newspaper. It isn't as inexpensive as building a web site and hoping that homeowners or landlords find it on Google.

In fact, it's hard work.

Worst of all, Property Guru Marketing requires a huge amount of patience.

Property Guru Marketing campaigns grow over time. The reverse of what most traditional Estate or letting Agents look for these days. Even worse, Property Guru Marketing requires a leap of faith. Even an awful properties wanted leaflet campaign will gets some results right away, while a Property Guru campaign requires set up and structure, and a belief in the resilience of the Property Guru concept before it blossoms with success..

But unlike traditional Estate Agency Marketing, Property Guru Marketing is a quantifiable process. It develops over time for every Estate Agent or Letting Agent that uses it. It becomes an increasingly treasured benefit. The more you commit to Property Guru Marketing campaigns, the better they work over time.

Property Guru Marketing is just a fancy name for Content Marketing for Estate and Letting Agents .. and content marketing has been around since caveman times. Since the Stone Age, cavemen were doodling on walls to sell sticks, content has been profoundly transforming business. But now more than ever content is unsettling the traditional marketing approach. Why? Because consumers are in comprehensive control of what they want to engage in. Roll the clock back 20 or 30 years ago, big companies and their big brands regulated/controlled the message through advertising and big media companies controlled newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. But the internet and tech has changed the game. Consumers can ignore advertising and irrelevant content at will. To break through the confusion, companies need to tell remarkable stories that are worth listening to.

So, you might ask, if Content Marketing is so successful, and the ideas behind it not really new, why was the concept not used with effectiveness years ago in estate agency and lettings?

Well Savills, Knight Frank, CBRE, Hamptons, Douglas & Gordon and Strutt & Parker have been doing Content Marketing for years .. look at what they produce  .. 

·       Knight Frank

·       Hamptons International

·       Douglas and Gordon

All of them are estate and letting agents just like you .. All of them sell or let property like you. Yes, have Surveying arms .. but YourMove(LSL) own eSurv and Countrywide have a very impressive surveying arm .. and they aren’t on the list no difference there.

However, there is something ALL of them do .. produce reports and get them in front of local people with their local report on what is happening in the a particular local property market .. making them local property gurus.

The Savills and Knight Franks of this world are the Waitrose agents, and do so well in agency, in my humblest of humble opinion, because of their Research departments. To run these departments it must be costing them millions a year – they don’t do research for fun – they do it so property owners say to themselves .. these guys know what they are talking about.

In fact Savills employs, according to its website, 31 people in it’s research department across the UK .. even if the average salary was £35k (which in London won’t even get you a  decent Neg), the wage bill is over £1m – so lets say it’s nearer £2m with rent/rates etc .. that is a huge amount of cash .. but Savills must think it is worth it I am sure Knight Frank/ Hamptons and Strutts do.

Would Savills, Knight Frank or Douglas and Gordon have marketing leaflets like this?


You see, I bet no one at Savills or Knight Frank has ever said, “I don’t get why we do these Research Reports, let’s do instead some A5 leaflets with a list of bullet points on what makes us brilliant estate agents, the number of offices we have, the awards we have won and at the bottom of the leaflet, be uncouth and direct by asking for a free val .. and for the boys in lettings ..landlords wanted leaflets”    

Don’t get me wrong, the two leaflets are very nice, but ask yourself, are the leaflets above, are your leaflets, do they have the four magic criteria

1.     Do they Educate
2.     Are they Interesting,
3.     Are they Intriguing and most importantly,
4.     Are they helpful .

I think if you lived in London, that would educational, interesting, intriguing and helpful

… and if you lived in Putney, this would be even more interesting …

.. but what if you have not got £50,000, let alone £200,000 or even £2,000,000 to spend on a Research department?

Do it yourself

Well, these agents aren’t spending that sort of money because they have a Outsourced Research Department producing a monthly newsletter like these (link below to download the hi-res PDF versions)

Here are some examples of similar newsletters estate and letting agents have about their local property market (

Now, with a newsletter about the local property market ... you aren't the 'local property expert' ... you will become the 'local property guru'  .. and most importantly ..PROVE IT.

That my friends is how you play the likes of Purplebricks - play them at their own game ...  because anyone can be an expert .. but there can only be one guru

kind regards

Ghostwriter of the newsletters you have just seen - because you don't think the agents have time to do all that - do you?