Getting landlords to swap letting agents

Have you ever wondered how the letting agent down the road, the one that offers an appalling service to both their tenants and landlords manages to hold on to his landlords?

Today, in this podcast, I talk about how letting agents are wasting their time, money and effort in trying to attract landlords .

EITHER LISTEN TO THE PODCAST or read the TRANSCRIPT  BELOW (Transcript = Posh word a written version of the Podcast!)


You know that crappy agent, the one that doesn’t pay their landlords for months on end, the one who doesn’t do quarterly inspections, the one who thinks a tenant reference is just the need for a note from the tenant’s Mum saying, ‘Please give Johnny a home ‘cause he needs it’ .. how the hell do you they keep their landlords?

You think – I could look after that landlord like a King or Queen. I could help them with their challenges , their problems and most importantly, their opportunities to the point which you create a level of such awesome value that is literally unrivalled and without compare! It gets better because you have more positive testimonials from other landlords than the best hotel on TripAdvisor, you have a cast iron, Kevlar coated, 100% guaranteed lettings service. You can produce graphs from RM and Board Count companies proving you are the Agent of Choice. If you stacked up your ESTAS and Sunday Times Awards, they would span your local Ring Road. Simply .. you are the Daddy Letting Agent in your town … so why the hell aren’t landlords swapping to you?

A landlord won’t swap agents until they decide to engage in the process of changing … and until they do, all the good stuff mentioned in the previous paragraph is worthless.

Most landlords don’t love their letting agent fact I think most just barely tolerate them. They probably say to themselves they really should swap agents, but I will give them one last chance to sort it out. (just like you don’t love your bank and you know all your mates who bank with First Direct say it’s the best bank in the world, but still you don’t swap).

What is missing is the landlords’ engagement in the process of changing agents. Without this engagement, you aren’t looking at an opportunity Mr(s) Letting Agent … you are looking at a lead.

These landlords have a chronic case of ‘dormant dissatisfaction’.

It’s difficult to create opportunities without a reason to change.

Your prospective landlords have plenty to be frustrated about, yet they may not yet be aware of how much better you managing their properties could or even should be (in terms of rent achieved, void periods, better class of tenant, receiving rent etc etc).

So this is how 99% of letting agents market themselves. They say in their marketing to landlords they can help them with their problems and worries. It makes sense to create that awareness and insight of being to help a landlords because when the potential landlord gets into the quicksand, saying these things (we can help you, does your agent do this, worried about your rent etc) it creates an opportunity and it sets you apart from the other agents.

However, why doesn’t this type of marketing work? Most landlords are indifferent towards their agent and many are already dissatisfied. Providing insights as to how you can help landlords, telling them how good you are compared their current agent (again I refer to the second paragraph with all your virtues) may seem the logic thing to do to get those landlords to swap .. but still those agents who spout such messages are not beating new landlords off with sticks.

Just like you know you need to swap your bank, you know how to swap banks and you know what you want from a bank, landlords know what they need to do to change agents to improve their property portfolio investment , they know why they need to change agents to improve things, and they know what they want from a letting agent. … they just can’t be bothered with the hassle.

Stop telling landlords what you are going to do for them and start to work with them. Work with them as a team, work with them in partnership. .. but I know what you are all saying at this point .. I don’t know who the landlords are. How the hell can I work with them if I don’t know who or where they are?

Letting Agents – Instead of trying to help landlords with their problems, hoping to ignite their ‘pi$$ed –off-gene’, thinking you can kick start their ’dormant dissatisfaction’ in their agent, so they come to you; you should create an opportunity by working together with these prospective landlords and by helping them with a solution.

Instead of trying to teach prospective landlords how wonderful YOU are, how good YOU are, how many landlord use YOU, how many ESTA’s YOU have won, how many properties YOU have let this week, what you should be doing is teach them something that DIRECTLY helps THEM get what THEY want.

How do you do that? Well that’s the easy bit.

Firstly you need to find out what the landlords of rental properties on your patch are interested in? Well it isn’t you, your agency or improving your brand awareness or the services you offer (only you and your Mum are interested in those things)…. and if you don’t believe me .. do you care about any of the local solicitors or accountants in your town? Do you care about their brand awareness? Do you care they have been operating 25 years and are ISO9001? Do you care they won some tinpot award at Society of Accountants? Do you care they have satisfied clients with shed loads of great reviews? Do you care they have 5 partners that can appy 34 different types of law? No of course not … and nobody cares about your agency … stop wasting your money, time and effort with this dire marketing. Try teaching landlords something that direct teaches THEM, helps them, inspires them and interests them.

So what interests a landlord? ….. Simple .. the value of their property.

They want to know what is happening to their local property market. .. and the key word is local. If you live in Hertfordshire or the North West, reports on the London or UK property market are irrelevant …. you want to know what’s happening to values in your street, your area/estate, your town .. not what is happening 10 miles, let alone 100 miles away.

You need to write newsletters like these (you can download these by clicking on the Thumbnail’s

  • … because Tooting landlords/vendors are only interested in the Tooting property market

Tooting Thumb

  • … because Northampton landlords/vendors are only interested in the Northampton property marketNorthampton Thumb
  • … because Clacton landlords/vendors are only interested in the Clacton property market  .. (Download by clcking on the picture)Clacton Thumb

… and distribute them to all the local business people in your town, email them to all the movers and shakers in your town (getting those email addresses’ is easy – I show you how to get them). .. and if you are really keen, if you trawl the Land Registry .. send them in the post to all the landlords home addresses you found.

.. because that is where every agent goes wrong with trawling the land registry for landlords. They see a rental property and either cold call them (if they can find the telephone number on BT Directory) or send a letter saying ‘Dear landlord .. see your house is on the market with $hity agent and I am sooooooo ace you need to use me’ .. don’t work well do they? Maybe 1 in 20 you might bag .. but that isn’t that great is it? So why doesn’t it work ?

Just because you send the letter or make the phone call, doesn’t mean the landlord has to listen to what you have to say. The Estate Agents Act 1979 doesnt give you the right Mr Estate Agent or Mrs Letting Agent to be listened to and doesn’t give you the right to be heard.

Everyone has the ability to be heard… it’s called social media… but do you have the right to be heard. Before social media it used to be impossible to talk to thousands of people unless you had huge budgets for newspaper advertising. Now of course Mr(s) Agent, you have the right to speak, but what does it take to be listened to?

Landlords don’t have an obligation to listen to what every letting agent tells them. You have to earn the right to be heard. How do you earn that right? Again, let me tell you … You have know what you are talking about, you need to be rational, you need a method to get lots of people to listen to what you have to say ( eg social media or for those who like a more direct method to heard – use the land reg details you have scrapped and use a good old fashioned stamp and envelope), you shouldn’t be a person who annoys or criticises others in order to provoke them into action, you should have proof of your knowledge, you need to be a person not a brand, and here is the most important thing …you need to be so interesting to those landlords that by them investing their time and effort into LISTENING to what YOU have to say – means the landlord EARNS something of VALUE…

So does it work?

Most agents don’t have the time to write such monthly newsletters, so I ghost write them for them. We have a facebook group called LANDLORD FARMING CLUB where all my clients swap ideas on how to get more landlords with the info and teachings I have given them … One of Clients who had sent out a monthly newsletter each month said last week on the Facebook group ..

“Evening Farmers. I have been working with Chris over the last six months nearly. I have taken his advice through the processes, as well as this I branded a service to attract these ‘hidden’ landlords who rarely move agents. However, I have found success through marketing and along with the blogs, newsletters and mail outs….. ”

He then went on to say he offered a switching service. I won’t mention the name of the switching service here as his competitors might be reading this (he mentions the name of it in the FB group as we have a non-competition membership ie No competitor in your town can be a member of the FB group) You will also see he is happy to share the details of the service, the letters, the pro-forma – the works to the fellow members of the FB group. He then continued ..

“We can deliver much better results than most agents in our area (proven) in managing properties effectively. Landlords don’t want any hassle, this service takes the hassle away from them! We approach their current agent and request documentation to transfer the management over- in return for this business we do not charge any fees for Three months and also do not charge admin for the privilege! In the last FOUR months – 30 properties have switched to my agency under this service… And ‘YES’ it is landlords with more than one property. hoorah!! Happy to help other farmers with this if requested I have prepared structure with paperwork etc”

The reason this worked was he sent out three newsletters to his Lan Reg database to warm them up, so when he hit them with next newsletter, they were looking forward to receiving it .. the newsletter is a Trojan horse .. it opens the landlords mind to you and what you have to say … they are prepared to listen ..and from it, got £30,000/year of new business (even if he had to do it for three months for free)

If you want more proof, well if we connected on Linkedin (and I am connected to thousands of agents), scroll down past the Summary page at the top to Experience section where the jobs are listed and you will see over 40 Recommendations or you can download them here

If you want to talk to me about ghost writing for your agency .. let us have a chat on 07950 147 572 or email on




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

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