How will you be remembered when you’re gone?

I sat down this morning to write an article.

Everything was planned. I knew the message I wanted to make and the call to action I’d deliver at the end.

I intended to share my belief that the words agencies use, whether written or spoken, can have a massive impact on their success, raising profile, building trust and driving instructions.

I was going to shine a light on some of the ludicrous things I see written on estate agency websites and marketing materials.

But then something far more important came up.

And it’s well worth sharing.

How will your kids remember you?

Before getting my head down to write I browsed the BBC News website and my attention was grabbed by an article headlined: How parents can ‘talk’ to their children after death.

It was a long but beautiful article about an amazing lady called Gaby Eirew, who has created a free app called RecordMeNow, so that parents (often suffering with terminal illnesses) can leave messages for their children in future years.

My biggest fear is not being around for my daughter as she grows up. She’s nearly seven and not being there for her scares the shite out of me. As I know it does for most other parents.

The app is designed to help children and young people who have been bereaved to remember their parents when the passing of time erodes precious memories.

It’s about leaving an ‘emotional legacy’ as the article’s author, Dougal Shaw, put it.

Gaby asked more than a hundred people what they would want to know about or hear from a lost loved one.

This brought me back to the profound power of words.

Her studies found the following, and I quote the article: “The single most important thing people said they wanted to hear was that their parent was proud of them, that they loved them and to hear them say that with their name.”

That’s exactly what I told Charlotte this morning as she ate her Weetabix and watched some annoying American kids on YouTube.

The smile in her little eyes was all the evidence I needed that Gaby’s research was spot on.

Next week I’ll write up the article I had planned. It involves bingo and estate agency jargon.

But for now, that feels trivial.

So, give your kids a hug, tell them you love them and remember at the end of the day we’re all just monkeys that got lucky.

Thanks for your time,

Jerry

PS: Here’s the link to the article:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-47334604#


Estate Agency Spot the Difference

Different: not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality.

The above is a dictionary definition of the word different.

I like different.

Being different gets you noticed and remembered.

Last week I received a Google review on my Estate Agent Content site. It read: “Jerry is different (in a good way 🙂 and provides superb content along with clear advice on how to use it alongside existing marketing activity. Recommend.”

I’m guessing the generous reviewer is referring to my approach to marketing and the tone of voice I use in my blogs, emails and communications.

Compared to other marketing and PR companies my tone of voice is intentionally down to earth and unpretentious.

Because at the end of the day I’m just someone who taps words into a machine and hopes those words inspire people to take some sort of action. I’m not a doctor, teacher or some other important person in society.

This ain’t about me – it’s about you

Being different stands out.

Foxtons stood out when they first introduced their cool little Minis to scuttle around over-priced areas of London.

Innocent took a different approach to the words used on labelling their drinks and quickly dominated the smoothie market.

Power Bespoke estate agents in Reigate offer clients a Move Machine. It’s a transit van their customers can use for free on their moving day. That’s different, plus the van is well sign-written so it’s another form of mobile marketing.

I owned a removals and storage company back in the early 2000s in west London and we smashed the market to bits (not literally I hasten to add).

I was warned that there were 100s of removal companies in London. There were. But there were not hundreds of good ones. There was a lot same old same old.

We did a simple thing differently which made the business a runaway success. We were the first removals company to guarantee all quotes would be sent within 24 hours of our visit. It. Worked. Wonders.

I ended up selling the company for a decent profit four years after starting it.

Estate Agency Spot the Difference

In an ultra-competitive world like estate agency, or removal companies in London, being different can be the difference between success and failure.

What do you do differently?

Lots of agencies have branded cars but how many have move machines?

All agencies have databases but how many of you send out birthday cards to landlords?

All agencies, unless your one-person outfits, have staff but how many run employee of the month contests?

All agencies say they care but I only know one who sent staff on a sign language course due to wanting to provide a more inclusive service.

Estate agents are generally viewed by the public as all being the same – unless they do something remarkably different.

Be a little bold

There’s loads of ways to be different.

To stand out.

To get noticed. To be remembered.

You just have to brave enough to try.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry

PS: I highly recommend This is Marketing by Seth Godin. I listen to it during my trips back and forth to London and beyond. This guy knows his stuff and is the Duke of Being Different.


Is this how estate agents can get up and running?

It was Mrs L’s birthday yesterday.

She likes running and one of my goals this year is to run a marathon.

Quite why I want to run 26.2 miles for the first time at 47 years-old I’m not sure.

I guess it’s part of my mid-life crisis. But it’s safer than having an affair with my secretary (ain’t got one) and splashing out on a convertible with a personalised number plate (ain’t got the motivation or money for either).

Anyway, I digress.

Cool Runnings

As part of Mrs L’s birthday present I said I’d take her to have a spend up in a running shop in Hove.
If you haven’t been to Hove it’s a place where everyone tries really, really hard to be ‘edgy’ and cool.

But as my mate Marvin’s Jamaican old man once memorably said: “class doesn’t shout and cool doesn’t try.’ For my money it’s worth reading this blog just for that Caribbean piece of wisdom.

Back to the running shop

The shop is called Run. And it’s run by a guy who knows his stuff when it comes to running.

This guy is an expert. An experienced runner, very friendly and affable.

We told him we both wanted running shoes and he went to work.

An hour and half later and FOUR runs in different trainers around the block we parted with £300 for a pair each.

The thing that dawned on me afterwards was that I didn’t even think twice about the cost as we’d already received a bundle of value from his advice, tips on avoiding injuries and a great story about a 90-year-old customer of his who is still running daily.

Are you really an expert estate agent?

People will pay more to be served by experts.

That’s whether you are selling a pair of trainers or selling your agency to a vendor or landlord. I intentionally didn’t say selling a house because before you sell their house they must buy YOU.

We bought into the running shop owner because he used advice, examples, stories, products and time to show us he was an expert.

I’ve already left him a five-star review on Google. As have nearly 70 others giving the store an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of five.

Another lesson for us all there is a big part of my confidence in him came from being influenced by these reviews during my pre-visit research. What reaction would your Google Reviews get?

For the record mine can be seen by Googling Estate Agent Content. The photo that accompanies it is me getting photobombed by my then five-year-old daughter.

How do you show prospective clients that you are an expert?

What steps do you take to make the fee a secondary consideration after the level of service and expertise the client can expect from you?

And by the way if you’re ever in Hove and see one of the omnipresent hipsters wearing different coloured trainers as he sips his oatmeal latte I did it first – the different coloured trainers thing not the drink.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.


Estate Agents and the Temple of Doom

Hi Jerry

I love boxing.

I admire the boxers’ skills, strength, sportsmanship (including women boxers) and their stories.

I watched an event on Saturday where the headline bout was an English boxer Ted Cheeseman fighting a Spaniard called Sergio Garcia (it wasn’t the golfer moonlighting) for the European Super Welterweight title.

Cheeseman was being billed as a real hot prospect while Garcia looked more like a mild-mannered accounts clerk than an unbeaten continental champion.

From the first bell Cheeseman’s plan was obvious. He would walk through Garcia, who isn’t a concussive puncher, and eventually he’d nail him with his own heavy hands.

By round six it was obvious Plan A wasn’t working. Garcia was jabbing the head off his opponent.

By round ten it should have been stopped as the gutsy Cheeseman was taking a thorough hiding. The bout ended with Cheeseman’s face grotesquely swollen and Garcia winning the judges’ scorecards unanimously.

Cheeseman, as incredibly brave and determined as he was simply had no Plan B when his initial tactics didn’t work out. Now for the estate agent link.

The Estate Agent Marketing Pillars

I see a lot of estate agents who rely on just one or two marketing tactics to win new instructions.

That’s risky. If just one of those tactics fail, let’s take Facebook Ads as an example, that reduces their marketing effectiveness by 50 per cent. Potentially catastrophic.

The best approach to market any business is to have a Temple of Marketing with plenty of pillars holding the roof up. After all, if the pillars crumble the roof comes down and it’s Goodnight Vienna.

These marketing pillars can vary from social media to Google AdWords, from networking to winning awards and plenty of others. Great agencies have loads of pillars supporting their Temple of Marketing.

On the House

I’ve come up with a PDF highlighting 14 marketing pillars which could be used to drive business to your estate agency. The list is not exhaustive and I’m sure you can come up with lots more of your own.

The key is to have more than one plan, more than one way of getting your business noticed and winning the marketing bouts against your local rivals.

If you want a free copy of my Estate Agent Marketing Pillars send me an email with ‘It’s a knockout’ in the subject line.

I’ll even include a blank version where you can list all your marketing methods and see how your agency’s Temple of Marketing is shaping up.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry

PS: March 1st is the date I’ll be launching EA Articles 2019 – a collection of 10 new articles on a range of topics vendors and landlords are interested in. To register early bird interest just email me.

I’ll give you a special preview a week before they are launched and a price so attractive it glistens like an ice-cold drink on a boiling hot day after a 12-hour shift shovelling sh…oal while wearing a wooly onesie.


An example of seriously sh*te estate agency marketing

I wasn’t going to blog this week due to being flat out with copy writing projects and feeling knackered because of our insomniac new puppy.

I’ve been on the night-time duties while Mrs L has been away working in London town.

Picture the scene. It’s 3am in the morning, I’m clapping zeds, I hear the unmistakable whines of a nine-week-old puppy and I rise off the bed, like Tyson Fury in the last round of his brilliant fight against Deontay Wilder. Repeat seven nights running.

Anyway, I’ve been provoked into blogging due to some seriously shit estate agency marketing which I’ve witnessed this afternoon. (Friday 18 January).

I’m working from home and hear the letterbox go. I race there before the puppy gets her teeth into whatever landed but now I wish I hadn’t.

It’s a business card from Fox and Sons. It’s the manager’s business card.

That annoyed me.

But on the back of the card really pissed me off, it read:

A marketing message from us, then in blue pen the handwritten message: Demand is high for homes in this area! (only use exclamation marks if you are shouting or as my old news editor used to say if the front cover says, ‘THE QUEEN IS DEAD!’) ….then it went. Please call us now.

No f***ing chance lads.

You’ve more chance of me calling 118 118 and paying £75 a minute to be told the number I’m looking for doesn’t exist.

I expect no more from this agency in our town because they have a piss poor reputation among people I know.

If this is how they market themselves how the f**K are they going to market your property well?

It’s lazy.

Unimaginative.

Desperate.

It’s cheapskate.

It’s anti-marketing as they would have been better off doing sweet FA then sending the office junior out in the cold to deliver this shite and spew out this interest killer.

Jesus, even the puppy turned her nose up at it.

Anyway, rant over.

There’s nothing wrong about popping marketing messages through your local market’s doors if you know how to do it properly.

Newsletters are good, when done well.

For two examples of how to do it email me, but please do it from your agency accounts as a lot of my competitors like to gather up my thoughts and I’m not in the mood for it today.

Here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry


Is Google giving your estate agency grief or gold?

When can you stop saying Happy New Year?

I think it should be January 2nd but that’s probably because I’m a right grumpy pumpkin at the moment due to our new puppy Lindy keeping me up for the last two nights.

And, yes I know, the name Lindy Lyons, sounds like a stripper rather than a Labradoodle but try to tell a determined six-year-old that her little puppy’s name could be viewed in a different light. It’s an awkward conversation I’m guessing.

Any road, I digress and you’re busy, so I’ll get straight to the point.

Google reviews.

They are becoming increasingly influential in a customer’s buying decisions.

Google a sandwich bar or a hairdresser in your area.

The most prominent thing that’ll be put forward to you is the reviews the business you are looking for has received from customers.

For estate agents these reviews need to be taken as seriously as brown envelope landing on your doormat from the HMRC.

If people are using Google Reviews for making decisions as small as where to buy a cheese and ham sarnie what do you think they’ll think of an estate with a 2-star (out of 5) rating and a list of complaints when it comes to selling or letting their property?

Who is more likely to get called in for a valuation – the agency with 69 reviews, a 4.9-star average and a legion of fans, or the two-bit agency?

Customers are digitally savvy now and the battle to win their instruction starts WAY before that first point of traditional contact.

Google Reviews will bring businesses grief or gold –good news is you can influence them.

But how do you get more Google reviews?

You ask for them.

If you ping me an email saying ‘Google Shmoogle’ I’ll send you a totally free template email to send to people who you want to encourage to give you a review.

It’s well worth doing. Actually, it’s absolutely bleeding’ essential for your agency’s success. I have clients who offer £20 vouchers for each review from a client (these are people they know they’ve done a good job for) and it’s well worth it to incentivise people.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry

PS: How is your blog / news page looking for 2019? I can help sort the entire year in one swoop and for a sensationally good price. Email me your postcode for details as many areas have already gone.


Puppies and deal clinching questions for estate agents

The Brexit shenanigans have got shit all on the negotiations we’ve gone through over the past two and half years in my house.

We’ve had late night meetings, arguments, people storming out, doors slammed, stony silences and stare downs where it felt that the first one to blink would lose.

And my friends I must confess. I. Blinked. First.

I made a concession to my wife and six-year-old daughter who negotiated harder than Daniel Levy of Tottenham Hotspur to achieve their aim.

The result of our agreement has no backstop and only a small transition period.

So, within the next six weeks the patter of tiny paws will be heard in our home.

We’re getting a puppy.

I was originally dead against it, but they systemically wore me down with tidal like consistency and their relentless approach.

But what can estate agents, or for that matter, any business learn from the puppy party lobbyists in my house?

1) They had a clear plan. Mrs L and Charlotte knew what their goal was – Getting Daddy to allow a puppy to join the family. LEARNING: What’s the goal of your latest marketing efforts?

2) Persistence. They kept on at me, and on at me, and on at me. They did not give up when their first round of pleading fell on stone deaf ears. And too often agencies ditch marketing techniques if they don’t generate instant results. LEARNING: It’s consistency and persistence that gets your efforts noticed. An occasional advert or random blog here and there ain’t going to cut it with vendors.

3) Different tactics. The dynamic dog desiring duo employed several different tactics. Mrs L bombarded me with cute puppy pics and articles on how beneficial it was for children to grow up around a pet. Charlotte pointed to every dog we came across on our walks, drives, school runs. ‘Oh look Daddy, they have a dog. And them, and them………..’ LEARNING: Do you have a blog? Do you have a live chat option on your website? Are you involved with community projects? What direct print marketing do you do? Or do you just rely on Rightmove and no other tactics?

4) Still on tactics – they even made me watch a surprisingly good but weepy film about a canine chum called A Dog’s Purpose. LEARNING: On that visual note have you introduced video into your marketing mix? It’s not the next big thing it’s THE big thing right now.

5) And finally. The deal clinching question which left me with no other option to agree to their demands. Around the kitchen table they raised the subject again about the puppy. I was adamant (but to be honest starting to feel weak). No puppy.

Then Charlotte pipes up in a manner which makes me think she’d do a better deal of running this country than the current clowns (on all political sides). “Daddy, it’s a little unfair that you had a dog as kid. And mummy had a dog as a kid. (dramatic pause) And I’m an only child so why can’t I have a dog…..as I’m still a kid?”

Deal done there and then. I cracked and agreed to getting a puppy.

What’s the deal clinching question you ask vendors or landlords? Charlotte got straight to the heart of the matter with that question. Do you have a killer question in your prospecting / marketing armoury?

Throughout their campaign they sold the benefits with very little mention of features. Textbook stuff.

I’m now off to Google ‘How to house train a puppy.’

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry

PS: Do you use regular written content? Be that blogs? Canvassing letters or video scripts? I can help.


What Estate Agents can Learn From Google’s 2019 Plan

Google has a 1000-year plan.

Apple apparently has the same very long term vision laid out in a secret cave.

A lot of dodgy football managers have five years plans but are usually only around 12-18 months to work on them before getting their P45.

Hannibal from the A Team always had a plan. He loved it when it came together.

Jesus, even my six-year-old daughter has a plan (well it’s a well thought out, detailed and expensive Christmas list for Santa / Amazon to get his / their teeth into).

Plans are useful. They give direction, clarity and bring focus to our efforts.

I do a lot of work this time of year helping agents plan their content marketing and PR efforts for the following year.

In fact my late November / early December are filled helping agents with these planning and strategy days.

I’ve just finished a plan for next year with a very switched on agency that’s more comprehensive than Grange Hill.

There’s a reason (actually there are loads) why they are leading their area in terms of instructions won.

Precise planning is one of them.

So what’s your plan?

The thing is I’m often staggered when I have a chat with agents who have NO marketing or content plan.

Even more staggering is when the answer to my question, ‘What’s your marketing and PR budget for the year?’ Is met with a blank look and ‘we’re not actually sure’ or ‘we haven’t worked out a budget.’

(Most agents I work with say around 10 per cent of their annual turnover is spent on marketing and PR).

Now this isn’t a criticism. I’m great at helping agents with their plans but my own probably need a look at to be fair.

But I do have a month by month yearly plan of action.

Why plan for 2019?

From a PR and content marketing perspective having a plan helps you make the most of calendar and seasonal opportunities and is one less thing to think about.

Mapping out the coming year gives you a great idea where and when you can get the most punch for your marketing and PR pound.

It allows you to put in place a way of measuring the response you get and as the businesses gurus always tell ya ‘what you can measure you can manage.’

Planning can seem a bit of a bore. Sitting down, in a room, faced with a spreadsheet with the months of the year laid out in front of you. It can even be daunting.

But just like sitting down to sort out your life / home / car insurance is dull planning where your content, marketing and PR is headed is very, very important.

And it’s time and money well invested and with the right people involved is actually fun and interesting.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your plan for 2019.

Jerry

PS: If you want a sneak peek of a sample content calendar I’ve produced, please email me the postcode you serve and if its licence is not already taken, I’ll send you it.


Abraham Lincoln’s Marketing Message to Estate Agents

Words have power.

So why do many estate agents undervalue them?

Imagine being six years-old and seeing a sign ‘No blacks, No Irish, No dogs’?

I’m guessing you know who said: “I have a dream…….” Or ‘We will fight them on the beaches……’

Closer to home I still feel sad about something my Dad said more than 30 years ago when he told me I ‘just wasn’t good enough to make the grade at football.’

Words carry power.

Just look at how they’ve been used by politicians over the years to divide, terrify, vilify and persecute people.

The flip side of this is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

It was a short speech delivered during the American Civil War.

Its message still echoes today and for many it was a turning point in the Civil War as it moved, motivated and re-energised the Northern states to go on and be victorious.

That speech was just 271 words long – the same length as this article.

The bloke who addressed the crowd before Lincoln spoke for two hours. His name and message forgotten.

Like I said words have power.

The power to create action from the reader, listener or viewer.

If choosing the right words can change history for both good and bad what can they do for your agency?

What would happen if your agency employed a talented copywriter who knows how to turn words into instructions?

Would your blogs be more interesting? Your newsletters more entertaining and your website a tool to win new business rather than just list properties?

I can help.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry


How can Estate Agents Sell Trust?

It’s got cold suddenly.

And it’s been getting dark earlier.

Before you start thinking I’m indulging in National State the Bleeding Obvious Day let me explain where I’m headed.

I was shuffling down the High Street where I live yesterday day freezing my face off as a wind whipped in off the south coast.

It was that horribly dusky 4pm ish time of the day when I was struck by a great piece of marketing.

Not literally I must add, actually the only way I think that could happen is a billboard falling on top of someone.

Or perhaps a well-designed flier catching a gust of wind and whacking you straight in the kisser.

Anyway I digress. The local travel agent had flashing lights in their window spelling out three simple but brilliantly attention-grabbing words which shone like a beacon of hope through the late October afternoon gloom.

“We sell sunshine.”

Bang. Simple but super.

It’s a cracking example of selling the benefits not the features. And why the words you use matter – big time.

All those cold, miserable people scurrying past with their hoods up, scarves on and wrapped up like south coast mummies aren’t thinking ‘I hope that travel agent is organised with lots of shiny brochures’ or ‘I really need 10 per cent off a coach trip to Windsor Castle.’

Nope. Those who are in the market for a holiday this time of year are predominantly looking for winter sun. And the window sign clearly tells them that this agent has exactly that so come on in folks.

As estate agents you sell houses, right?

And as letting agents you find landlords tenants correct?

But before you do any of that you have to sell trust, a good track record and your expertise.

When I’ve instructed agents in the past integrity and honesty were the most important things I needed to feel I would be getting from them. I also wanted good results obviously.

So how do you sell trust, integrity and results? Here are some brief thoughts.

Trust – Promote your track record of testimonials from delighted customers. Whether it’s via getting Google Reviews, writing up case studies or having a jam-packed testimonials page on your website -these all help sell trust. Social proof.

Integrity – Again testimonials help but I think also having a clear tone of voice on your website. Genuine, personable and professional without losing the human touch.

Results – A client of mine researched their local market and came up with a Rightmove graph that showed clearly they had the highest level of sales agreed through to completion in the town. They also attend valuations with a full folder of comparables and case studies.

There are loads more other ways you can build on the above themes but I’m off to the travel agents now to try to buy me and the Lyons’ posse some sun in February.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry

PS: I’m currently selling the last few remaining areas for our weekly ‘way to get your audience to know you, like you and trust you’ offer – Interested? Ping me an email with the postcodes you serve and ‘I want to feel sunny’ in the subject line to Jerry@propertyprexpert.co.uk