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


Why Jehovah Witnesses are Smarter than Most Estate Agents

Anytime there was a knock on our door on a Sunday morning my mum would always shout to us from her position at the kitchen table ‘Don’t answer it if they are Jehovahs.’

This always made me ask myself two questions.

These being, how on earth does a ten-year-old know without opening the door if the people on the other side are ‘Jehovahs’, and what on earth is a ‘Jehovah’ anyway.

My natural curiosity meant I often opened the door anyway.

I discovered dear old mum meant Jehovah Witnesses, who rightly or wrongly, were seen as the scourge of a working-class Sunday morning.

Fast forward 36 years and swap a council house in a rough north west London estate for a sleepy ish train station on a nice part of the south coast of England.

These places are vastly different but have one thing in common – Jehovah Witnesses.

But here’s the clever thing. The JW’s have moved with the time – even to the point where some of their promotional copy is branded JW.

They’ve realised no one was answering their doors to them, or that modern lifestyles are busier than what they used to be.

And they changed tactics – now they don’t come to you – you come to them, sort of.

I regularly see them pitched up giving out their magazines at the train station, makes sense as it’s the busiest place in town. And they also have nabbed the High Street corner with the most footfall. Smart move.

They have moved with the times in a bid to get their brand out there to the biggest possible audience.

It’s something a lot of estate agents could learn from.

When was the last time your agency tried a new tactic such as Facebook adverts?

Or gave producing and delivering a regular newsletter a try?

Or embraced video marketing?

Or simply tried a different tone of voice for your marketing copy and articles?

And if you simply say tried all those they don’t work then quite frankly you haven’t done them right as loads of successful agents have and are reaping the instructions.

The times they are a changing folks. And it’s up to you if your agency changes with them or gets left behind.

I’ve got to go now as there’s a knock at the door.

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

Jerry

PS: If you are not content marketing yet let me know your postcode as I may be able to help


What agents can learn from a tax dodging Irishman

When I was growing up my Uncle Tighe knew a fella who was in the building game just like he was.
This chap was a fellow Irishman who had a rather loose grasp of the tax laws- basically he thought it was optional.
A cash is king approach.
He was nicknamed Frank the Bank due to his lavish lifestyle, permanent bundle of cash in an elastic band and that he changed his car every six months.
The locals in the pub used to call his wife Judith. Her real name was Mary.
The nickname was due to her perma-tan and love of going on holiday every other month, like her nickname sake Judith Chalmers of Wish You Were Here TV fame.
Frank the Bank was rough and ready, and that was putting it kindly.
He had all the charm of a hungry shark and the table manners to match.
I’ll never forget him pulling up outside the social club our family was in one evening in a spanking new top of the range Jaguar. It was so new it glowed. It was beautiful.
And in typically Frank fashion he had whacked a bumper sticker on it.
I swear to god, not just any old bumper sticker but the following: “Don’t get too close – I might fart”.
A case of class clashing with crass and crass scoring a knockout. An expensive car totally spoiled by what was stuck on it.
The VAT man eventually caught up with Frank and he scarpered to Ireland. I don’t know what happened to Judith – perhaps she was left high and dry in Kos or is now working for Trip Adviser?
The story of Frank the Bank teaches agents two lessons.
1) Pay your taxes.
2) And don’t spoil something you’ve spent lots of money on by sticking rubbish on it. In the case of agents, I get called in to rewrite the content for lots of websites. They are often all singing, dancing and expensive but the content, the actual words on the site, is an afterthought and lets the whole project down – big time. The equivalent of the sticker on the Jag.
Anyway, thanks for sharing a trip down memory lane with me and here’s to your next instruction.
Jerry
PS: If the last article on your news / blog page is older than a month it aint news it’s olds. I can help with a special deal on my Estate Agent Volumes 1 – 4. For more info simply email me with ‘Frank the Bank’ in the subject line.


Why Estate Agents NEED to be Con Men and Women

There’s a new type of con man and woman in town.

And thankfully this emerging breed of con artists has zero to do with being smart talking, shiny suited charlatans tricking decent people out of their money.

For con people in 2018 replace confidence (as in con man / woman) with content.

Because folks if you’re in the estate agency business and not sharing content with your local market you will end up losing market share to a rival who is – if you haven’t already.

Here’s a personal example of why sharing content across all your marketing platforms is really important.
The Lyons clan is currently looking to book our summer family holiday.

The hotels / travel agents on our shortlist all have websites and social media which feature a professionally produced video, a blog section about life at the hotel and holiday advice in their region – what to do, where to eat, what to bring, that kind of thing.

These companies are already showing they are happy to help, that they know their stuff and they are all distinguishing themselves from cheaper rivals (and some more expensive ones).

So, if people like me are finding good content a deal maker with a decision like booking a holiday what do you think people in your area will think of an agency sharing useful content about the biggest buying decision they’ll make in their lifetime?

It’ll give them a sense of confidence and trust in your agency.

Some estate agents are already brilliant con people. These are the agents who consistently share useful content across all marketing platforms.

By content I’m talking about blogs that solve problems, videos that showcase why choosing experience over expense pays homeowners handsomely and being much more about the genuine tell than the hard sell.

Google loves fresh content on your website. Your email marketing is naked without problem solving content and your social media nothing more than a stream of listed properties.

I’ve come up with this 2 question, 10 second test below, which will highlight where you are a ‘good’ con man / woman in the agency world.

Do you have content you share?

Simple question. Yes or no? If it’s yes, please proceed to the PIE test below. If it’s a no, seriously? It’s 2018. If you are the expert in your field start proving it by sharing your experience, expertise and personality.
Does the content you share pass the PIE test?

The PIE test is something I’ve come up with that’s simple and doesn’t involving baking.

If you’ve produced or bought content that you’re sharing which isn’t Personable, Informative and Entertaining then it’s the equivalent of my last baking effort – a catastrophe of a Victoria sponge that was as flat as an old flip-flop and tasted only marginally better.

Yes – I’ve a vested interest in this subject because I’m now more of a content producer than PR man.

But that last statement alone is proof enough that sharing useful content is now more important than column inches in the local paper. Content is the new King and Queen.

The times have changed. And just like ‘gin’ the association attached to con men and women is changing for the better.

Jerry


How Estate Agents Can Create Instruction Winning Profile Photos

In this short video we show how estate agents, and indeed any business people with a face, can create memorable profile photos and LinkedIn head shots. Turn your face into an instruction winning machine in four scientifical steps. Enjoy folks.