My thoughts on timewaster Landlords

Start a Lettings Agency

Time wasters .. don’t you just love them. They call them tyre kickers in the car industry. When I was in agency, I used to call viewers who had no intention of buying .. carpet treaders .. wasting your time when you had better things to do with your life!

One thing I have learnt since being self employed is that my time is limited, and I bet yours is too! As an agent, you need to put everything into the things where you can make an impact and where you can produce results. This requires you to be extraordinarily efficient and uber-disciplined with the way you devote the most short-lived resource you have available to you .. time .. YOUR TIME.

Wooing landlords is all about building relationships, so isn’t it great when you pick up the phone to a Gumtree landlord, or one you have found through the Land Reg, and they agree at a drop of hat to meet up with you? You meet up, a number of times, and it’s great answering questions at every meeting, looking at potential investment properties to buy, going to Starbucks for a coffee and a sticky bun, with the potential landlord continually asking you endless questions, squeezing out every ounce of knowledge…. this is the way to hoover them landlords .. isn’t it?

Er’m .. might not be .. it might be an ambush!

Having a potential landlord who is open to exploring an opportunity to work together is great, in fact it is a requirement to any business relationship. However, just because this landlord has a heightened level of responsiveness, that on its own isn’t enough.

Why? Just because you are spending time with what you think is a dream landlord, doesn’t make them a dream landlord. Let’s be honest, it does feel great to have a person interested in looking into opportunities to work together, asking you all the right questions ..and then you spend even more time with this prospective landlord .. that prospective landlord sucks you in, because you think, I have invested alot of time with this person .. if I stay a little bit longer, i will get them over the line .. but it could be a trap, an ambush!

The ambush works because it feels like you are slowly but surely, reeling in the landlord, like a mighty fish on the end of a fishing rod; the things you do look and feel the same as when you are calling on a dream landlord. But sometimes, the supposed dream landlord is simply a tyre kicker, bored and lonely, chuffed someone of importance (you) is taking an interest in them as a person.

Just because a landlord is responsive to your overtones, doesn’t make them the dream landlord. That responsiveness can’t be the only way you judge whether someone is worth spending time on.

You know that makes me think of one of my little hobbies, Bonsai trees. I had three die on me this spring – not a happy bunny. I kept watering them throughout the Spring, looked on the internet, spent loads of time encouraging them to grow but nothing. I was disappointed as I had lost my trees, but also disappointed by the time I had wasted, watering, feeding and tending to them.

You see, you can’t cultivate something that isn’t ever going to grow, you can’t expect to bring in the harvest, the fruits of your labour, if the thing you are nurturing will never germinate and grow. Just because a landlord is responsive, doesn’t mean you can confuse them for a dream landlord. All you will end up doing is deluding yourself with the idea that what you are doing is going to lead to you getting the business .. when in reality its a bit of a jolly for the landlord

In the long run, you are better off either spending your time nurturing the dream landlords that will take a long time to develop and eventually produce something great than jump at meeting Mr ‘Sad-an-lonely’ Landlord, just wanting a chat and a sticky bun.

This is where I want to share some thoughts and advice, but first I have you a question

Are you planning to be an agent in a month from now?

I hope if you reading this,, the answer is yes.

Ok, what about a year’s time? Two years time? Five years time? Ten? Twenty?

Let’s assume you said one of the later time frames (well I hope so!).

It’s hard work getting new landlords, isn’t it? Really hard work. I have been there, stood in your shoes. But one day back in 2012, I read an article on Linkedin. It was titled, ‘Are you a hunter or a farmer?’ It blew my mind. It made me think, most agents hunt landlords when if you cultivated them, farmed them, it would be so much easier.

I did some more homework and came across a topic called ‘Content Marketing’. After reading lots about this content marketing, many authors on this topic said you needed to cultivate prospective clients, by writing compelling and engaging content, for which they will naturally be attracted to you .. it was a light bulb moment … content marketing for letting agents .. but I thought that was a rather large mouthful, so I came up with the phrase landlord farming. ‘Landlord Farming’ is ‘Content Market for Letting Agents’ … and the best work, it ALWAYS works if you do it right.

So surely, it’s better to live through the pain of a six to nine bad months to build a solid pipeline of landlords using this proven technique, than to constantly tread-water, going month to month, hand to mouth -trying to battle to the end of every month, like the month before that and the month before that .. doing your landlords wanted leaflets, cheap fee deals etc etc …like a letting agents version of GroundHog day?

For those of you in Lettings, especially if you run your own lettings agency, surely it’s better to trade six to nine month of meaningless activity for six to nine months of solid hard work, becoming the local Property Guru, the local property expert, the go to person about property, so landlords are naturally attracted to you?

… because you have a choice .. carry on living hand to mouth, month to month, quarter to quarter, year to year for the next year, two years, five years, ten years, fifteen years, twenty years as Groundhog Day as a Letting Agent.. or you can go through the pain and change .. but only if you want to, only if you want to change.

It’s been proved to work this way of being the local Property Expert, the local Guru …. landlords come to you and there is no need to worry about time wasters. You need a huge tanker lorry of patience though, because it takes six to nine months before you see one piece of business, one landlord …. it requires commitment, consistency, patience and again our friend … shed loads of TIME.

The Choice is Yours .. I can help you, I will be with you, I will help you become the local property guru. I can ghost write the weekly articles that make you that guru .. all you need to do is deliver them in newsletters, newspapers, blogs and social media ..

Your call!

Kind regards

Christopher

PS If you like this article and want to read more stuff like this, please visit the landlord farming blog, a blog designed for letting (and estate) agents with 290 blog posts, going back to 2013, on the subject of getting more landlords (and vendors) to use your agency … www.landlordfarming.com

PPS If you wanted a chat about the writing of these articles, drop me a line on christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk or pick up the phone on 07950 147 572

PPPS … one of the Bonsai trees that “died”, sprung back to life after a couple of months .. just shows .. you that you can’t always judge everyone as time waster 😉

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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