Posted under Lead generation Prospecting Estate Agents Lettings
What would you say is the number one function of any business? Getting more customers? Exactly. A case of stating the obvious? Perhaps … and yet, in the world of property, we letting agents are as guilty as any other business sector of neglecting this function. What should be our number one business priority we often leave at the bottom of our in-tray.
In today’s article, we’re going to help you to kick-start this most vital of business activities. We’ve come up with, not one, but 40 different ways for you to find landlord leads, and we’ve separated those activities into eight distinct categories:
Make your shop stand out
Estate Agents and Letting Agents often find themselves on the same street. So there’s every reason why yours needs to be the one that stands out loud and proud from the rest. Make yourself irresistible.
- Keep your shopfront fresh with regular changes of theme. Make it seasonal, and people soon get to notice your shop and look forward to the next new display.
- Try a shop window competition – again along seasonal lines. Make the competition child-friendly – egg painting, name the Teddy Bear, a summer holiday colouring competition. Hold a Christmas tree drawing competition.
- Be people (and dog) friendly – have a cup of tea and a biscuit for all two-legged visitors and leave a bowl of water outside for your four-legged ones.
- Shopping Centre units – With so many empty units available in shopping centres, take one on for a few consecutive Saturdays. Make sure the unit’s branding is clean and smart, and be ready to give away plenty of leaflets.
- Shopping Centre stands – Set up a professionally branded stand in your local shopping centre for a few days – make sure you include a Saturday. Again – make sure you have plenty of leaflets to give away. Maybe sweets too.
Join the Community
Your reputation is everything. There are few better ways to build that reputation by you and your team becoming active members of that community. Become a local face that people recognise and feel warmly towards.
- Join in local events - School fetes, village events, pub quizzes. Anything where people gather for fun and entertainment – be a part of it.
- Charities - Get involved with a local charity. Buy tickets for, or even better, sponsor, events. Go to the dinners and balls. Host a table for your favourite landlords and their partners. Give up your time to support these charities. You’ll soon build a reputation as someone who’s a giver and who’s trustworthy.
Become a networker
Networking (online or face-to-face) – it’s low-cost, and it’s fun. It can be a slow burn, so be consistent – keep turning up. Become known as someone who’s not always on the take but is interested in helping and supporting others. Be a farmer, not a hunter.
- Join a business networking group and give it time to work for you. Your fellow networkers need to get to know you and like you before they start referring you to their own connections. Don’t ‘sell’ to your fellow networkers. Instead, show an interest in them and their businesses. You’ll soon get a reputation for being a nice person to know. Remember – people buy from people.
- Consider joining Rotary or the Round Table. These are a kind of mixture of charitable organisations and business networks. Just as important, they both tend to attract plenty of landlord ‘types’.
- Develop your own local business network. Simply get out and about and get yourself known to the local business community. Make sure they all know what you do and what a good, helpful person you are. After all, people like to refer and do business with people they know and like.
- Professional Affiliations - Arrange to meet up for a coffee with relevant professionals - IFAs, Mortgage Brokers, Solicitors, and non-letting estate agents. Do what you can to introduce them to your customers, and they’ll soon be doing the same for you.
Where would any letting agency be without the world of Social Media? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok … and others. They can all play a part in your lead generation efforts. Consider getting expert professional support to get you started with a coherent social media strategy.
- Set up a Youtube or Facebook channel and use it to interview other local business people. They’ll appreciate the opportunity for free local publicity.
- Social Media Ads –Take advice from an expert first, and these can prove to be a real lead generation winner. You can easily monitor and manage your ROI on your advertising spend. Use your ads in conjunction with an online funnel system.
- LinkedIn – Is your profile up-to-date? Does it accurately reflect what you do and how you do it? Have you been asking for recommendations? Are you connecting with the right people – landlords, property experts and related professionals, such as investment groups? Most important – do you join in positively with online conversations. ‘Liking’ alone won’t do. Chip in with your own helpful comments.
- Facebook for Business - Set up a Facebook page for your business (as opposed to your personal Facebook profile). Make sure the page is properly branded. Invite all your Facebook ‘friends’ to ‘like’ your page. WARNING! Be very careful with your personal Facebook profile. Keep it ‘clean’. Avoid silly, tasteless, or controversial posts.
Make the most of technology
There are dozens of time and money-saving tools available to support your lead generation efforts. Make the most of them.
- Valuation Tool Funnel – Promote your valuation tool funnel on your website via Facebook ads, YouTube ads, or Google ads. Be sure that the data you get goes into a strong CRM system so that you own the data and can nurture the leads.
- Contact Database – this really should be an integral part of your CRM system. Start building a list of every landlord you call, meet or speak to. Create your own comprehensive contact database. Before long, you should have a list of every landlord in your area. Keep in touch with them. Don’t be too salesy. Just a call a couple of times a year for a friendly chat.
- Sales Funnels – Build and maintain proven online lead generation systems to capture and nurture leads. Be sure that you apply the right process for converting these leads into paying clients. Create a guide for landlords with plenty of property letting tips. Use this to capture details of potential landlords. Then, follow up and offer a valuation.
There are so many ways to use the power of the internet to generate leads.
- Write blogs that show off your property expertise. Don’t just do them for your website but write them also for websites of other related professions. Invite them to write blogs for your site in return. Remember also to re-purpose your blogs and post them on LinkedIn as articles.
- Run a Google PPC Campaign – These can be really effective as you can target them, making sure that the right people see your ads. Track their success. Use Google Analytics to make sure your investment is being spent wisely. When you first start, take professional advice. Google Ads can work well, but you need to keep a close eye on the cost. Check out our article on how to target landlords with Google Ads.
- Check out your Google My Business Listing – Is it up-to-date and on-brand? Are your photos current? Are the reviews good? Have you replied positively to each one? These factors can really make a difference.
- Video Testimonials - Ask for these from your happiest clients. Use them on social media and on your website.
- Webinars – Host a regular online webinar on property issues as a means of building your brand and growing your contacts list.
- Google Places - Register your business on Google Places. Populate the page with photos, descriptions, and team details. Then, ask for reviews.
- Make use of free listing sites – Search on Google for ‘Letting agent reviews in your town’ and check out the results. Make sure you’re properly listed on all these sites. Your target should be that, when someone searches your name online, your business occupies the first two pages.
- Videos - Create videos on landlord issues on YouTube. Start by practicing in one of the groups with various industry, local, or property focused videos and start to populate a YouTube channel.
- Property Videos - Create a video for each of your properties that you receive an instruction on and promote online. This will work wonders by creating a great impression of your professionalism.
Hustling means selling to cold leads – either by phoning or writing letters. For those phone calls, you have to be bold, bloody and resolute … but it really does work – and you can have a lot of fun along the way.
- Set aside a Hustle Hour. For one hour a day, each of your team goes into sales mode. Remember, ‘When there’s Hush, you Hustle’. Have fun setting targets and warming up your target landlords. Don’t just aim for new customers. Current or past landlords will be impressed that you called them for a chat.
- Cold Calling – Be brave! Get your prospects from Gumtree adverts, as well as newspaper and online landlord ads.
- Void Letters - Send a fixed number each week – not generic letters, but go to the effort to make them specific to each property. Making the letters personal and individual will give you a much greater chance of success. Stress the high calibre of the tenants you have available, and be sure to quote the reference ID number for your tenants.
- Start a Keep Warm Campaign – This needs to be a 12-month plan. 12 months’ worth of high gloss, high brand, smart, nice-to-keep postcards to go to your target market. Make them relevant to the seasons - New Year, Valentines in February, Easter, etc.
- Develop a referral strategy – Call all your current landlords. Do they know anyone who’s also a landlord with property to let? Offer a £50 referral fee. Don’t just leave it there. Tell them you’ll call back a month later to see how you’ve got on. Then – make sure you do phone them back.
- Empty Properties – Identify any properties that have been on the market for a long time or have dropped in price, or even been taken off the market. Then send a personalised void letter, as in strategy no. 25. Include with your letter a copy of how their property appears on Rightmove. Send also one of your smart, professional brochures to demonstrate how much of a better job you could make of letting their property.
- When you successfully LET a property – send leaflets to other homes in the vicinity, saying ‘Just LET’ and ‘More properties in this area needed’.
- Contact your competitors’ landlords. Check out your competition. What are they doing wrong? Where are their weak spots? Are their fees too high? Can you find out about their staff turnover? Is it higher than it should be? What about their reviews? Are there any negative ones? How about their presence on Rightmove? Are the photos and descriptions below par. Try targeting their landlords. They may well be keen to speak with you.
- Landlord References – When you receive an application from a tenant for references for a new landlord, the current landlord probably won’t know their tenants are on the move. So, when you call the landlord for a reference, use the opportunity to find out if they need help looking for a new tenant.
… and the rest
Let’s end with a clutch of lead generation ideas that belong to no particular category but which are still worthy exercises in their own right.
- To Let Boards – Make sure your landlords and vendors display your boards prominently. Remember - boards breed boards.
- Host a series of seminars – an event where some of the professionals you’ve got to know through your networking strategies field questions from your guests. Do a couple of practice runs first, perhaps with team members or family and friends. Once you’re ready to ‘go live’, promote the seminars in your shop, online and on social media.
- Reinforce your Review Strategy – Make sure your team ALWAYS ask for reviews from your happy customers. Also, make sure that positive reviews should always form part of your bonus structure.
- Set Targets - Plan your quarterly missions or goals. Set up imaginative rewards for your teams. Create fun posters so people can track how they’re doing. Most important of all … make sure everything you do is fun!
And there you have it. Forty tried and tested ideas to help you fulfil that most fundamental of business functions – getting more customers.
Don’t go for all 40 at once. Your team could decide, for example, to try eight activities at a time – perhaps one from each category. Don’t be too rigid. Some activities deserve more time than others to see if they’ll work for you. But give each idea at least a couple of months to see if it works for you.
Set yourself a target of how many new leads you’re going to aim for each month. Those that work for you – rinse and repeat. Those that don’t, forget them and try a different set of ideas. There are enough activities here to keep you going for a couple of years. Work your way through them strategically. Be ruthless about constantly measuring, tracking and refining guarantee and … lead generation success will surely come your way.
So – no more excuses. Let’s get to work!