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

Estate Agency is like finding “lurve”

The best way to compare traditional Estate Agency Marketing (which 99% of estate agents do) with the Property Guru Marketing is with a story about finding love. (Everyone loves a story about love!)

We have two agents, the first agent is our traditional Estate Agency Marketer and the second agent our Property Guru Marketer

First, let us look our traditional estate agent Estate Agency Marketer. The story (or analogy) I would like to tell/use is where the Estate Agency Marketer (for the purposes of this story – I assume he is male) buys a tailor made Savill Row mega priced suit, the latest (£1,000 a pair) Italian leather shoes from Milan and a flashy £500 pair of ultra cool sunnies walks into a singles bar.

The Estate Agency Marketer walks up to the nearest lady in the bar, gets down on one knee and proposes marriage.

He gets turned down. So up he gets, walks 6ft to the next lady, drops his knee and pops the question again… and does this to every lady in the singles bar.

If the Estate Agency Marketer gets nobody to say yes after spending the entire evening dropping to his knee and whipping out a ring, it is obvious that the blame should be placed on the threads and the fancy footwear – so go and get another suit and tomorrow and go to a different singles bar.

Does this sound recognisable, it should. It’s the way most estate agents look at the world.

With their “use our agency ‘cause we are brilliant” marketing, they are interrupting people and hope that one in a hundred will go ahead and use their estate agency… just like the man in the singles bar.

Plenty more fish in the sea

Plenty of you reading this will be married or in a long term relationship (which is as a good as marriage). Is this how you got to be in your marriage?

No – you did something a lot more sensible… you asked someone out on a date

The Property Guru Marketer goes on a date.

Just like you and your marriage .. if the first date goes well, then two of you went on a second date, then a third, then a fourth, so on and so forth until both sides really got to know each other, always talking, sharing ideas, educating each other, intriguing each other so after quite a few dates, you get to met the inlaws ..and finally, after months and months (or even years) of dating, the Property Guru Marketer proposes marriage.

Property Guru Marketing is just like dating. Just as dating turns strangers into friends and friends into life long partners, Property Guru Marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into lifetime house sellers and landlords.

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 …….

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?

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  ..

  • CBRE

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?



7f42c22af4305debcfaadf509b8d1611 530d04379ce83a566369b8cbc7f3fca4

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 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 .

Then you this from sort of marketing material Savills—other/market-in-minutes-prime-london-residential-markets-january-2016.pdf )

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, nor do they have the time to write such newsletters … so they have a Outsourced Research Department producing a monthly newsletter like these.

Here are nearly 20 examples of newsletters that agents are using up and down the country. Click on the images to download the the hi-res PDF versions …

Screenshot 2016-06-02 08.10.32
Screenshot 2016-06-02 08.07.12
Screenshot 2016-04-02 12.24.54

and here are 17 other newsletters … (again click on the image and you can download them from Google Drive)

Screenshot 2016-05-20 07.08.24

If you want to be the local property expert guru .. and give the Purplebricks and Yopa’s of this world a run for their money …. then prove it and get these newsletters through the door every month to every middle to upper class property in your patch .. and show the world you are the guru… the local property guru



If you want to see if being a guru is for you and your agency .. and you like these newsletters – then send me an email to

You could always look me up on Linkedin –

.. or watch some videos on attracting landlords and homeowners to your estate and letting agents

kind regards


  • Christopher Watkin
  • Ghostwriter  for Estate and Letting Agents
  • 07950 147 572

Christopher Watkin

I teach, guide, support, mentor, consult, counsel, partner many hundreds of UK Estate and Letting Agents in their quest to grow their estate and lettings agencies business. Old school techniques of touting, landlords wanted leaflets, ring us for a free valuation, we have sold this in your street leaflets don't work anymore. There are too many competitor agents .. meaning cheap fees are epidemic, overvaluing is almost a norm to get the stock and don’t even mention about the online/hybrid threat. So a few years ago, I set about looking around the UK and spotted that certain agents (not many mind you) in certain towns were still seen as the ‘go to person on property’, the person the newspaper editor rang up every week for a comment and I looked at what they did and they were doing some thing quite remarkable…. Only one thing but they were doing it so well .. and reaping the reward in terms of decent listings and decent fees, happy staff, decent sales pipeline and exchange income, managed lettings portfolios in the many hundreds .. but more importantly, they really enjoyed the job… they enjoyed getting up in the morning and people looked up to them Over 400 agents around the UK are on a mission to change the way our Estate and Lettings agency profession is perceived and looked upon, doing it town by town, city by city. I guide these 400 agents, teach them, mentor them and support them to be seen in a different light, to be seen as the ‘go to person for property’, actually be the ‘local property expert’ and prove it. Christopher Watkin 07950 147 572

You May Also Enjoy

how to present your property for sale
Estate Agent Talk

6 Property Management Marketing Strategies For And Beyond

Did you know that over 70% of individual renters find their new homes on the­ internet? In our current digital e­ra, a sturdy online existence­ isn’t just an extra for property management firms—it’s a critical need. Nonethele­ss, with innumerable property administrators scrambling for visibility, how might your firm gain promine­nce? The solution is a de­tailed…
Read More
Estate Agent Talk

Strategies for Successful Real Estate Investment: Emphasising Luxury and Privacy

The appeal of luxury real estate lies in its ability to combine opulence with exclusivity, offering more than just a property but a lifestyle investment. For those seeking to enter this lucrative market, understanding the nuances of where and how to invest is crucial. As we navigate through key strategies for successful real estate investments,…
Read More
Estate Agent Talk

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill – Thoughts from the Industry

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill has become law with the Act making it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their freehold, increase standard lease extension terms to 990 years for houses and flats, and provide greater transparency over service charges. The Act will also remove barriers for leaseholders to challenge their landlords’ unreasonable…
Read More
Who are Rentd
Letting Agent Talk

Renters (Reform) Bill Dropped – Thoughts from the Industry

The Renters (Reform) Bill has been dropped as a result of the general election being called. Here are some thoughts from within the property industry. Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association: “It is hugely disappointing that this Bill will not now make it into law. The news comes despite the fact that…
Read More
Estate Agent Talk

July 4 General Election – Thoughts from the Industry

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has called a general election for July 4, 2024, citing now being the time for the people of Britain to choose the next government. Here are some thoughts from within the property industry. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert: “A look back at recent elections shows that house prices and activity usually…
Read More
Rightmove logo
Breaking News

Rightmove’s weekly mortgage tracker

Matt Smith, Rightmove’s mortgage expert said: “Today’s inflation drop feels like an important milestone on the road to the first Base Rate cut. There’s been some to-ing and fro-ing over whether we’ll see a summer Base Rate cut, but today’s news will likely reinforce some of the positive words coming from the Bank of England…
Read More