The Advanced Guide to Brand Awareness for Letting and Estate Agents

Letting Agents and estate Agents are considered to be professionals, on a similar footing to accountants, solicitors, architects, financial advisors.

Now lets just imagine one of them decided they wanted more business, so they decided to increase marketing. Thiis what they might do ….

They might have a full page ad in the local rag each week, they might deliver thousands of leaflets around town, you know those leaflets that say, ‘ We have just helped someone legally in your Street, would you like legal help?’ or ‘ We have just planning permission for someone in your street, would like some?, they might say, ‘Did you know we have six partners in that practice, yeah, six partners’.

They might ask in their advertising if you knew they have just won a regional award for being the best (leave space for type of profession) practice in the County? Their clients love them as well, in fact they are really proud that on the solicitors portal, LeftMove, they have the highest number of new ‘lostings’ this month. You might think what is a ‘lostings’, especially new ones, but by all accounts a ‘new lostings’ is simply the best thing you can have .. by all accounts its some form of virility symbol .. they even got a fab graph to prove it and posted it, they even screen dump the LeftMove page and post to all their mates. One of the partners (of whatever profession) even posted on Twitter that they had smashed their target this month .. he was sooooo proud.

Another partner in the firm said they were really really dead busy on Twitter/Farcebook etc, so busy, they were offering half price fees .. yes, not content with beating off their existing client database and burning the midnight oil, they wanted even more clients .. and they would do it half price .. such charity .. such generosity .. best the best bit was their new website with their new logo, oh it was lovely with a page and pages talking about them and their services …. a thing of beauty.

Can I ask you a question now? Do you care about anything I said about those firms?

Of course not .. so would do you expect people to care about your agency and your brand when you say such things?

All letting (and estate) agents believe they have different problems and challenges. I have to disagree – all of you are in the same boat. It’s hard work being a letting agent or estate agent. Not only do you have to manage the staff, manage the budgets, managing the existing clients but you have attract new ones – its really hard work .. yet all of you are in the same boat.

Do you want to know the secret to getting more people to use your agency?

I warn, its rather harsh, but here it is …

Your clients don’t care about you, they don’t care what you do or have done, they don’t care about your website, whether you have (or haven’t) hit your targets on new listings (or is it lostngs??), they don’t care about your services … people just care about themselves.

Harsh but true yet it’s a fact of life that you have to accept. Be honest, how many of you care about the local solicitors practice, or the local accountancy firm or the local architects. Not many .. we care about ourselves. Before we go any further in your journey to getting the clients you deserve, you have to accept this truth as the first step. Most agents believe they have something amazing, unique and world-shatteringly revolutionary to offer landlords (and vendors) … but if you are honest, we are glorified rent collectors (letting agents) or car salesmen selling bricks and mortar (estate agents).

I know these are harsh words, and I don’t wish to offend, but its true, you know it is. All agents are the same, all of us have websites that look identical (name at the top with a series of tabs including (and take your pick) … Home / landlords / tenants / about us, search for property / click here for a freeval etc etc. All of us have either a Rightmove / Zoop-de-loops / On the Merkat portal accounts, all of us do brochures, all of us do viewings …. the only thing that is different is us .. the people.

It is as people, we turn the rent collector/ car sales man into profession that cares, that can look the landlord in the eye and say, ‘Mr landlord, i will care for your property as if it were the only property I had on my books, like you were the only landlord I had to think about, because, I will care for your property as if it were my own and you can ring me 24/7, anytime, if you have an issue’ … and a similar thing could be said on the estate agency side

So if we are in the people business, not the property business and you believe the things I say, how do we get landlords and vendors to pay attention to us, trust us to ultimately use our agency ?

Brand awareness is the answer, isn’t it?

Ok, let me ask another question, how many brands are you aware of that you don’t choose to buy?

Exactly. Brand awareness is near as damm it …. worthless. .. a bit strong, but stay with me on this my friends …

Most agents really do, deep down, recognise that brand awareness on its own wont get you the business, but you need awareness before anything business can take place …. from awareness you want your brand of agency to be the agency brand of choice, in fact you want people to prefer your brand over and above the competition … again, all sounds nice, but sorry I never heard of brand preference, have you? Its not exactly setting my world on fire .. I prefer PG Tips, but if the local CoOp didn’t have any PG Tips, I wouldn’t jump in the car to the other side of town to the local Tescos to buy PG Tips, I would just buy Tetley Teabags from the CoOp . I can always substitute one brand I prefer for a similar brand I also prefer. Brand preferences can be interchangeable.

What you need is for landlords (and vendors) to insist on your agency and it’s brand . Brand insistence means the landlord / vendor will accept no substitutes. Its you or nothing .. sounds great doesn’t ? But it is possible if you remember all the landlords/vendors want is someone who goes the extra mile, gives a world class performance that makes people want more of you and what your agency offers.

But it’s not all about being exceptional ..  it is all about being distinctive in a way that potential clients (landlords or vendors) truly value.  You need to reinvent yourself, yes your daytime job is an agent, but a night, you need to become your towns super hero Property Guru …

I have talked in many previous articles an how you can become your town’s local Property Guru

Today though, I want to share with you how to become that Property Guru. There is branch of marketing, its pretty new type of marketing, as its only been around since the late 1890’s/ early 1900’s … the name of this marketing is ….

CONTENT MARKETING ..

Here is Wiki’s definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_marketing   .. some marketing chap called Jeff Cannon wrote in 1999,

“In content marketing, content is created to provide consumers with the information they seek.”[

People don’t seek out what services you offer, how good your brand is , what you have sold or let .. but what they do crave is, especially home owners and landlords (your potential clients) is stuff that interests them … like talking about how much THEIR house is worth .. not what is happening to anyone else’s property, and certainly not in another part of the UK.

By becoming your town’s Property Guru, creating and delivering awesome content about your local property market like these …

In Royal Tunbridge Wells https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0d59TaH3c33Tjd4MTllTGRhT1U/view?usp=sharing

In Tooting https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0d59TaH3c33X0JCX1lxd201bGc/view?usp=sharing

Or Kingston upon Thames https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0d59TaH3c33MWVEMjdZQllzZ1k/view

..and you will have, not brand awareness, nor brand preference but an insistence that landlords amd vendors use you.

You see I set out three years to solve this issue of growing a lettings agency. I have walked in your shoes, and it’s really hard work being a letting agent (and yes, its even hardwork to be an estate agent.) However, whilst i cant sort your non paying tenants, moaning landlords, your staff, paying the bills and juggling so many plates you should be on Britain’s Got talent, what I can help you with is growing your lettings agency. Together, we will grow your lettings agency ….. christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk

Here is a video (2mins) of a few agents who adopt the principles .. see what it does for them

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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