Charge 0%+VAT as a letting agent FOR LIFE and still earn ‘loadamoney’!

‘Chris, I have a great idea… instead of posting the newsletter online about the local property market, I will ask for landlords email address to subscribe to it, and then I will send loads of email addresses and I can sell things too.’

‘OK Michael, that’s a good idea, but if you have been reading my blog for the last few months, haven’t I always advocated you have to give before you receive? You do subscribe to my blog, don’t you Michael?’, to which he replied,’ No Chris, I log on most days to have a look but don’t give my email address away …… er …. yeah … I think I have just answered my own question, haven’t I Chris?’

You see, landlord farming is the blueprint for any modern lettings agency wanting to get ahead in this new information hungry landlord client controlled digital age.

Nowadays, you have to give before you receive.

I am not suggesting you give your management services and tenant find services away for free, just your knowledge, but the knowledge that other people, especially landlords would find of interest … your knowledge of the local property market in newspaper editorials, newspapers and blogs about the local property market … and give it away for free without any barriers (including the giving of email addresses).

No money and no commitment is required to receive this interesting info about the local property market. Essentially landlords can read this info and chose to walk away with free advice – with the letting agent’s compliments.

By creating as much free content about the local property market for your clients and prospects for them to enjoy, digest and absorb without wanting anything in return, you make it easy for your landlords to buy from you. One of my client’s in Buckinghamshire posts everyday … unfortunately (for his opposition) six months on and he has now tripled rental market appraisals (for the last few years, it was on average 1 a week .. now its 3 or 4 a week, and some days he does two appraisals a day)

If it’s done right, landlord farming goes beyond simply removing barriers to entry such as payment and shows and tells where the next best buy to let property is, irrespective of which agent it is on the market with. True, it’s quite a challenge for letting agents to actually make it easy for landlords and potential landlords to buy from you. But its well worthwhile.

… but at all times, we must not forget, this is a people business. Your blog and articles are from you, not your firm. The sooner your prospective landlords know about you the sooner they get to like you and the easier it will be for you to engage in a more meaningful way with them when the time is right.

The stuff you write has to adhere to the guiding principles of the 4 part article (I’ve mentioned this many times in previous blog posts). It must also be confident. What you write, your content, won’t be great unless it is confident. If you can’t write, I can write it for you, but if you do write, it has to be utterly confident which you have to demonstrate in great quantity

But at the same time, add some personality to your blogs. Most regular blog readers will know of Joey, our Rescue Dog. In fact more people ask after him than me!

If you can get people to read and trust what you are saying, then they will give something back in return. On my blog, I have a subscription service, that people can enter their email address. You could take that further and have an ‘investors club’, which in the case of one my clients , under my guidance, have set up his investor club which gives members 24 hours headstart on the buy to let deals.

These subscribers will benefit from any snippets about the local property market, and who knows, when that landlord finds a property, as they have been building up a relationship with that letting agent, they will naturally give the property back to them to let.

The important thing to remember is that if you want to obtain email addresses be prepared to give something in return. You have to make your landlord prospects eager to come back for more great content.

Yet some people run a mile when writing blogs or articles, and yes they need to be compelling from start to finish. What you write has to intrigue from the title, to the first line and each line and paragraph will flow smoothly into the next building enthusiasm and desire to read on. That can easily be done by writing the article as a story

Look at this letting agent story’s … but before you do, let me tell you first ….you don’t come from Derby, so won’t be interested in the slightest at the Derby articles, but most of the landlords who own property in Derby, come from Derby .. so they will be interested. Just change Derby to your town and now, would the local landlords love to read these sort of articles about yours/their own town?http://www.lettingssimon.blogspot.co.uk/

You have to write stories about your local town or city and bring it’s local property market to life in an almost tangible way. You have to be consistent, regular posts like a dripping tap. Your timing has to be exquisite and your posts need to be effortless. You need to add layers to the story increasing its appeal and always a twist (the third element of the four parts to a story mentioned above).

I know it isn’t easy, all this landlord farming. The hard part is doing it for months with no return, no phone calls, nothing …but if you do this whole heartedly, writing great content in your articles, newsletters and blogs, I guarantee you will succeed and grow. Don’t be afraid to give more of yourself and expect little in return – and then you may be pleasantly surprised.

My early clients who started with me in the Spring are now starting to see the fruits of their labours. Some have had wobbles, but if you enjoy writing about the local property market and it brings a smile to your face, then people (landlords) will see that, that you enjoy what you do and you are passionate about what you do. By giving this advice away for free, without any expectation of anything in return and with a genuine smile on your face, you are being generous and generous people are happy people.

So when you are considering starting this landlord farming process put everything into it with a smile on your face. Do not expect an instant return but do expect people to talk about you, tell others about you and your great content… because there isn’t much more interesting than the local property market to local landlords, is there?

PS .. Once you have the landlord on board .. then you can charge them 8%, 10%, 12% hell even more if you want if they think you are worth it

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 christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk

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