What is ‘Landlord Farming’ and how it can help you get more landlords for your letting agency? [7 min video]

Written by Christopher Watkin on - Letting Agent Talk -

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

Hundreds of 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.

A technique called ‘ Landlord Farming’ … and works – but with one proviso (see the PS bit at the end of the article)

More detail ….

Most lettings agents will say, “Just get a landlord sat in front of me, let me talk to them and I will get their business”. Well if you want a landlord to talk to you, the first hurdle is to find those landlords, but nobody walks around with a badge that says ‘I’m a landlord’ and the only landlords that do walk through the door of your lettings agency are those who have had their rental property on the market for 6 weeks, the tenant moved out at week 4 and they have an overpriced void property that 3 agents in the town have already tried to let.

But the challenge gets even worse. When was the last time a landlord of yours swapped agents whilst there was a tenant in the property? Precisely … not many. As there is a tenant in the property 95% of the time, the landlord is unable (without incurring withdrawal fees and hassle) to swap agents 95% of the time. The only time a landlord can swap agents, without incurring those withdrawal fees or hassle, is when the tenant hands in their notice. But how many landlords at your agency, when you informed them the tenant had handed in their notice, said to you, ‘Don’t put my rental property back on the market for a few days, I am going to see if there is any new / better letting agents in town’. Again, not many.

The problem is, unless the landlord has really fallen out with their agent, 99% of the time the rental property goes straight back on the market. The landlord has better things to do with their life than take time off work to see if there are any new or better letting agents in town.. and anyway .. all you letting agents are the same, aren’t you?

You see I believe the relationship that most landlords have with their letting agent is the same sort of relationship that people have with their own bank. People don’t love their bank, in fact most people don’t even like their bank, it’s just they can’t be bothered to swap banks, be it apathy, too much hassle etc. I believe most landlords feel the same about their letting agent – you are all the same and it’s too much hassle to swap anyway.

However, what if I could show you a way that made a landlord want to come and talk to you, want to come and speak to you not when their tenant handed in their notice, as that is almost too late; but come and speak to you before the tenant handed in their notice?

Also, if you believe lettings is a ‘people business’ and ‘people buy people’, then over those months, between them meeting you and the tenant handing in their notice, you built a relationship with that landlord, never asking for the business, always interested in them as a person but more importantly, you as the letting agent were one of the most interesting people in the eyes of the landlord, there would come a point where that landlord would say, to themselves, ‘Do you know I really like that guy called Bob, he is always very helpful .. next time my tenant hands in their notice, I’Il will try him ‘’

You will never get a landlord’s interest until you get their attention and you will never get a landlord to take action until they make a decision So how do you do get a landlord to decide they want to come and talk you before their tenant hands in their notice? Getting the attention of the landlord is easy, but it’s the obtaining and keeping of the landlords interest that’s the make or break issue here.

Letting agencies seem preoccupied with the next new entrant in to the agency market place or which portal they should use?Landlords couldn’t give a monkeys about that. They have two hot buttons …

  1. How well is my current property doing? … and2. Where is the next one I want to buy?

… it’s a simple as that.

There is nothing more interesting to a landlord than if you talk about the local property market …… remember, a landlord in Uxbridge only cares about Uxbridge property, a landlord in Bournemouth only cares about the Bournemouth property market. eg Why have yields in Bournemouth gone up to 5.5% whilst in next door Poole they have dropped to 4%? Why have property values increased by 32% in Uxbridge over the last 5 years whilst property values in neighbouring Hayes have only increased by 21%?

So how do you that and why does it work?

What you need do to is create value for your prospective landlord. Many people don’t understand the concept of creating value. Well it’s quite simple, just think about ‘being of service to a potential client (the landlord)’. If you, Mr/ Letting Agent, can create something FOR THE LANDLORD, which is designed and embedded with specific ways of serving the LANDLORD, through that service, value is created.

All of you create value with your existing clients by letting their property. But just like the chicken vs egg scenario, how can you create value if you don’t have the property in the first place but you need create value to get the property? But what if I said it was much easier to create value to a potential landlord/vendor client than an existing one? All you have to do is simply ‘be of service to your potential client’.

But how can you be of service to someone you don’t know? Finding potential landlords is easy – 60% of them are live within 5/10 miles of their rental property, aged 40 to 70 years old, hold down middle class jobs and live in the nicer parts of your town. They are obsessed about the local property market, obsessed about the value of their property(s). But how do you find them? Well, in fact , on my courses, I teach agents how to get all the email and contact details of these people – it’s like a gold mine!

Remember, something has value as long as it is able to serve. In this sense, value you must create is the potential to serve. When you build your marketing around serving your potential clients goals, aspirations and interest’s, you can’t help but create value. It really is that simple – just talk about something that is of interest to the potential landlord / potential vendor … and everything else will follow.

So, can I ask if you think these things would be of interest to a landlord?

Tenants or buyers waiting
No sale no fee / no let no fee
Tailored Services
10 / 20 years experience in agency
Part of a Nationwide Company
Open 8am to 8pm
Landlords wanted
Free Valuations

No of course not .. you might be interested and probably your mum – but no body else

Why do you agents keep chucking this stuff out with such messages in your promotional material? You might be interested, but the punters aren’t. What if a local solicitors practice put in their leaflets stuff like “At ‘SoandSo Solictors’, we offer over 45 years of experience in law, with three partners, all trained in the latest aspects of law, being open from 7am to 9pm at night, our no win no fee guarantee means we are always looking for new clients.” Boring isn’t it? Yep! Interesting? Hell no! But that is what all you agents chuck out ..isnt it?

You guys are in a profession, an industry, that the British are obsessed about .. property – and all you talk about is yourselves, your company and your services. No one cares .. but they do care about their property, they are interested in what is happening to property prices in their town .. not nationally, not regionally, what is happen to the value of THEIR property.

You might not be interested in the Tunbridge Wells property market, but the property owners (landlords and homeowners) of Tunbridge Wells are. Have a look at this newsletter .. https://goo.gl/JmuUb8 see how everything is focused solely on Tunbridge Wells property market. Just imagine if you had a newsletter about YOUR town?

Talk about something (the local property market) to the local property owners .. and you will have their attention and interest. Drip feed hard copies to every prospective landlord on your books (both ones you have and from the technique of getting email addresses mentioned above), using social media to get PDF copies out there, delivering hard copies to all the post areas of the town .. drip drip drip …

Deliver this sort of information in front of people who are more likely to be the local landlords, tell a story, make it interesting and those people who are landlords will beat a path to your door. Does it work? Well in the offices I helped last year who adopted my methods, they more than doubled (some almost tripled) rental market appraisals within nine months …. from a consistent 6 rental appraisals per month to a consistent 15 to 18 market appraisals per month at one office, and another office, which went from a consistent 4 appraisals per month to consistent 14 per month.

Want to read more?

I am the Author of the Landlord Farming Blog – the blog that shows letting agents how to get landlords to swap agents with over 560 articles, going back to 2013 on this subject – Getting more landlords http://how-to-grow-your-lettings-agency.blogspot.co.uk

Kind regards

Christopher Watkin

PS There is a down side to landlord farming .. it takes a lot of time and the results take 9 to 12 months to start to come through… so only start if you are in this for the long game .. here are many agents talking about landlord farming Letting Agent Testimonials on Landlord Farming

 

Author: 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
[email protected]

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