Letting agents – Sack your Marketing Dept

What do think the Head Honcho of large agency (40 offices plus) said to me, when I said to him, in front of a decent group of other senior people of the organisation and office managers, (and I said it respectfully and reverently), that the stuff his marketing department were producing was rubbish and the same as every other agents ‘pink glup marketing sausage machine’. Silence, then he raised his head and agreed with me.

Have a long hard look at what your marketing department give to you to entice landlords to your lettings agency. Newspaper advertising and your leaflet marketing are selling in print. There should be no primary difference between the message in your newsletters, brochures, adverts, website and press releases, and what you tell your potential landlords face to face. If there is a difference, it’s usually because your marketing department has asked some groovy marketing agency in the city to write something that looks good, whilst the guys on the front line, the Lettings Valuer’s and Area Managers ignored requests for input on the marketing message in order to hit their monthly targets.

If your newspaper and leaflet advertising, in fact your web advertising doesn’t communicate to the potential landlord in a personal way and asking them to do something. It’s always measurable, and real letting agents always measure it. Therefore it’s really the only kind of marketing that’s rigorous and scientific. It truly separates the men from the boys.

You see, where the vast majority of marketing departments of letting agents go wrong is that letting agent marketing can be done to a formula. It doesn’t need City based groovy ad agency’s. Most letting agency bosses think that advertising people have some mysterious formula for captivating landlords as they flip through the pages of a newspaper or read the hundredth landlord wanted leaflet as it drops on the door mat at home. You may imagine that they have some supernatural, thoughtful insight about the landlord’s brain. Agents just assume that most advertising must somehow, mysteriously, make landlords swap agents … come on let’s get real here!

How can your marketing departments even consider knowing what goes through a landlords mind if they haven’t been a landlord. Ooo, that’s harsh Chris. Ok, it is, but let’s try this one, how often does your marketing department get landlords of other agents round a table and ask them what makes them tick, what they think to your messages and the messages of competitors. The primary reason for this is that most of them have never, ever had to sell for a living. They’ve never been in a situation where if they don’t get those ten properties on the market or exchanged or let and moved in this month, they’ll be buying their groceries on the overdraft and I have been there in the past believe me.

If you want advertising that works, it nearly always follows tested formulas that work again and again. Ever heard of the phrase easy come, easy go? You really have to ‘f’ things up for a landlord to swap mid way through a tenancy .. don’t you Mr(s) letting agent? So if a landlord isn’t easy go, how can you expect them to be easy come? You have to play the long game in lettings. The landlord farming technique is very system based and easily learned by letting agents who have technical and business backgrounds. Creating a marketing message that is well understood, and getting that message to cut through the clutter and noise of the marketplace is a lot less mystical than you may think. Once you understand the landlord farming formula, most of which have been used by very successful companies for a decade or more, and once you understand why those formulas continue to work, you will have mastered the most difficult elements of the sales process.

Your website, sales letter, or brochure has to interact with the landlord’s emotional hot buttons and inner motivations and persuade him or her to take action. Marketing isn’t voodoo magic or about your company’s image or branding. It is about telling your own unique sales story in a way that matches the wants, needs, loves, hates, truths and fears of YOUR potential landlords. What are those loves, hates, wants, needs, truths and fears of landlords? How much is my house worth? Is it getting the right sort of rent? Is it on par with other similar properties and here is the big one for portfolio landlords, where is next BTL property I want to buy?

For more articles like this, please visit Christopher’s blog on http://how-to-grow-your-lettings-agency.blogspot.co.uk/

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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