How to attract more landlords to your letting agency
This morning I was listening to a panel of lettings experts chatting on an ICG webinar about their best ideas for attracting landlords in the current PRS. Firstly, in case you have been out of the lettings loop for a while, the private rental sector is currently experiencing a little blip in the market, due to a number of factors (such as higher interest rates, less advantageous tax benefits for landlords, and more legislation with even more on the horizon) so letting agents are scrabbling for smaller pickings than over the past decade.
It is, therefore, really important to ensure that your letting agency is not only mastering the basics well – but is also embracing many other methods that are available, in order to retain current landlords and to attract those who are new to the PRS but also those who are in the market and may be ready for a change of letting agent. I am going to pick out some of the points I felt were exceptionally important from today’s webinar, and I am happy to book a chat if you would like my views on any of these topics!
- BUILD A TEAM AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN YOU
- KNOW YOUR CURRENT LANDLORDS
- EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA BUT MAKE IT EFFECTIVE
- USE SEARCH ENGINE MAGIC WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT
BUILD A TEAM AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN YOU
I have been in the property industry since 1986 and I still remain in love with it. From 2002 onwards I became the lettings expert in my local area – Watford, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood – and as an examiner for Propertymark’s Level 4 Certificate in Residential Lettings & Property Management, I feel I still retain my lettings crown. However, from the day I opened the doors of my former letting agency Sewell & Gardner, it became my mission to serve anyone in the Private Rental Sector and to build a team around me who could also call themselves experts in the field. I am proud, oh so proud, that so many of those people still work in the industry and are still fantastic at what they do and what they know. So my number one tip is to share your knowledge and don’t pigeonhole people into only one role. You will gain far more from having all-rounders, those who can turn their skills to the current market and can all pull together to ride the waves when they come.
Try to be flexible with your job roles, you may well find that someone who is in one role is exceptionally good at another job, but may never have considered it. Why not have a job swap day or week in the office, or train someone to cover holiday absence in a different role to what they currently do, and see how they enjoy it? Remember that different people bring different skill sets to the team and unless all of your teams remain static, you may find that when one team member moves on it shifts the entire dynamic. The more fluid you can be, the easier and quicker it is to reassess and regroup.
KNOW YOUR CURRENT LANDLORDS
How well do you really know your landlords? Did you meet them once at the start of your journey together and never again? Or are you keeping in touch regularly, talking about their rental property or rental portfolio, what their challenges are, what their plans are, or eventual goals from their rental property? Your current landlords will be one of the best sources of new business, so if you do not take the time and make the effort to keep in touch and become their ‘property-speed-dial’ person, then you could find that someone else takes your place! Here are some of the ideas I always adopted: 1. The VIP Landlord Club: loads of offers and information, ideas, stats and fun landlord trivia. 2. The Rental Investor Tour: our mini-bus tours, with a bus full of landlord investors we took them around the best buy-to-let properties available and talked them through everything they needed to know, with lunch thrown in. 3. Landlord Events: get them together, a few talks from relevant people on legislation, improvement ideas, Q&As and some drinks and canapes to top it off. It is usually pretty easy to get some of your contractors to put their stands up and sponsor the event.
Never forget the 4-dimensional customers, so treat your tenants well – they may well become landlords too – so consider a rewards program, but at the very least, treat them with the duty of care that they deserve! By becoming a well-known part of your local community you will become the familiar face for property questions and you could easily find new landlords in the local coffee shop!
EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA BUT MAKE IT EFFECTIVE
When I think back to the 80s and 90s, even the 2000s, and think about the humongous cost of advertising my properties every week in the local newspaper, it astounds me! Now estate and letting agents can have a FREE Facebook Page and advertise their properties for absolutely nothing. Not only Facebook, but there are endless social media options available to businesses (Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, and Google Business Profile), and yet so many are not using all of these or adopting them correctly.
The main thing to remember is that each platform is entirely different, you should not post across multiple platforms without tweaking the content for the relevant algorithms of each. If I had been writing this blog even 2 years ago, I would have been saying to stay away from filling up your social newsfeed with property, but that has all changed: Now you need to embrace amazing photography and, wherever possible, short-form video content. So each instruction should have a “sneak peek” reel on Facebook, this can also go onto Instagram but you cannot add a link to the property details on Instagram so you need to add the correct #hashtags for the property.
Once you have a full video walk-through, this can go onto TikTok (which allows longer than 60-second video) and YouTube. If I am perfectly honest with you, I would outsource all of your social media marketing to an expert (me, for instance :-)) and concentrate on the above 2 points! See our social media packages here: OR if you want your team to learn how to do short-form video content well, I have a training course available! Finally, please do not forget LINKED:IN. This was one of my main sources of new business when I ran my lettings agency, I always connected professionally with potential landlords before heading out to meet them on a valuation, and then I was able to share my blog content and knowledge easily.
Of course, you need a social media strategy to ensure that people know to follow you. Many of our clients send out a QR code with their social media links to absolutely everyone who registers with them. Give people a reason to follow you “We showcase our new instructions on social media before they go onto the property portals” or “See our properties on social media first” then sit back and watch your followers increase. Of course, you will see a churn – if someone finds the home of their dream elsewhere, they may unfollow you – unless you are mixing up your content with other engaging posts that could be relevant – best local coffee shop – our favourite nail salon – our review of the new Indian in Church Street (make it a good one and tag them). You get the drift!
USE SEARCH ENGINE MAGIC WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT
My final point today – as I do not want to bombard you with way too much info for you to take in – is to understand the absolute importance of GOOGLE and Search Engine Results. If you are great at writing informative blog content, but find that hardly anyone reads it, then do some keyword research and ensure that you are explaining clearly to Google and other search engines what your content is about and who they should show it to. It is likely that you want landlords or landlord investors who are buying or renting a property that is on your patch. You probably know the best areas, roads, and developments to point those landlord clients towards, and the landmarks that matter to prospective tenants – train station, school, business park, motorway – so these should all be forming part of your keyword research. Let’s give you an example, how many times do I read estate agents blog content where it says “We cover XYZ and the local villages” – well if I was Google would I know who to show that content to? How about “Our letting agency covers rental property in XYZ, ABC, and IJK too”. It really is common sense, and while I am on that, make sure you tag your photos too – let the search engines know where your photos are taken and what they are all about, it really is worth its weight in gold! Learn how to tag your photos HERE.
You can watch my update of the webinar on TikTok – give me a follow and I will follow back!
@janepaulagardner Part 1: Attracting landlords to your letting agency #lettingagencyuk #socialmediamarketing #blogcontent #greatteamwork @lettingsinanutshell #estateagentsuk #lettingagentsuk ♬ original sound – Jane Paula Gardner
@janepaulagardner How to attract landlords to your letting agency part 2. #landlordinvestortour #knowyourlandlords #keepintouch #writeoriginalblogcontent #lettingagentsuk #lettingagents @Social Angels ♬ original sound – Jane Paula Gardner
Let me give a shout-out to the participants who were on the ICG panel:
Host: Christopher Watkin
Spencer Lawrence from Paramount Properties
Megan Eighteen from Location Location
Iain White from ICG & Crux Careers
Ben Sellers from Starberry
Luke St Clair from Knightsbridge Estate Agents
Get in touch with me here: