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.


Six Websites and Apps Estate Agents Should Check Out

I was asked the other day to recommend a few websites which estate agents might find useful.

It was a good question as it got me thinking about what makes for a useful website or as you’ll see below app.
So, here are six of the best (in my humble opinion) and why I think they’re worth a look.

Rev.com
If you’re not putting video into your estate agency’s marketing mix you’re missing a trick. An ever-increasing number of people are accessing information via videos.
And a very large chunk of these people are watching these videos when they’re somewhere that broadcasting to the World what they are looking at might not be appropriate (having a doss at work, being on a train, bus, waiting room etc).
Rev provide a value for money captioning service which does a good job of overlaying subtitles on your videos.

Pixabay.com and Unsplash.com

Don’t nick images off the internet. Taking photos off the net which you don’t have permission to use can land you with a costly bill. Rather than run that risk (plus, it’s not good form) simply look at Pixabay and / or Unsplash for a massive array of photos and images which you can use commercially for free with no copyright issues.
There’s an option to credit the photographer which I always aim to do but is not compulsory.

Scanner Pro
A nice app which turns your mobile phone into a scanner. Decent enough quality and is useful when out and about and needing to scan something quickly.

Headspace
What’s a meditation app doing on this list to help estate agents? Well, if you are good at what you do you’ll be so busy you’ll have countless thoughts racing around your head like kids at an indoor play centre after downing loads of sugar!

We live in an age where we are bombarded by messages, information, requests, demands etc.

And this app acts as a counter balance to that with guided meditations ranging from 60 seconds to 20 minutes. I use it first thing in the morning to give me a little more clarity and purpose about the day ahead.

Think about it. What’s the biggest asset you have?

For me, there’s absolutely no doubt it’s your health, both mental and physical.

Followed by time. Which leads me to the last website.

OneYearNoBeer.com

Yes, this is a left field one. But I know from a few chats I have had with agents / friends this is a site a lot of people can benefit from. I know I have.

Back in January I took on the One Year No Beer 365 Day challenge- that’s right a whole year with no alcohol.
They also offer 28 and 90-day challenges and support people via daily emails, forums, podcasts and Facebook posts.

For me the past six alcohol free months have seen my energy rocket, my mindset improve enormously, seven kilos in weight dropped and hundreds of extra pounds gained in my business account. And loads more time to do stuff.

Even the best ideas / techniques in the World get drowned out by the fog of a lingering hangover.

And as bonus site worth checking out if you’re struggling to find the time to create your own written content for your agency check out my other site – www.estateagentcontent.co.uk

Thanks for reading and I’d love to know which websites and apps you find useful for your agency and personally.

Jerry


Do Estate Agents Take Themselves too Seriously?

Is yours the best job in the World?

Do you bounce out of bed in the morning like Zebedee on Crystal Meth?

Do you absolutely love what you do?

I don’t.

Well at least I thought I didn’t until a video I posted on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago went viral (ish).
If you haven’t seen it a link to it is at the bottom of this article.

But stop right there please, as I have a serious point to make about the subject of estate agents taking themselves too seriously.

Certain professions take their roles in the World way too seriously.

Think of actors. Basically, they are people who pretend to be other people then think that entitles them to often be super pretentious.

And what is it with shop assistants who work in designer stores? The ‘I’m so grand’ attitude just seeps out of them, ‘I work in Gucci, therefore I must be taken seriously.’ Good luck with that, and the minimum wage they are most likely on.

I’ve met plenty of estate agents who also take themselves way too seriously. God forbid they showed a human side, a bit of humour or a glimpse of vulnerability.

At the end of the day you are salespeople. Just like the Gucci guys and gals but hopefully on a better take home.

And I’m just someone who taps words into a machine and hope it comes out half readable.

Doctors and nurses are important.

Especially on an emergency on a plane. Never in the history of people being in the skies has a stewardess urgently asked: “Is there an actor / estate agent / stuck up sales person on board. An overweight American in seats 32a ….and b and c is having a bad turn.”

My New Love

The video I made was just me and a mate mucking about basically and having fun. Guess what? It’s been viewed nearly 10,000 times, has led to two contracts to write scripts for estate agency videos and has shown me a side of my work that I love.

And where there is love there is energy and a desire to do better.

Anyway, enough of my council house philosophising.

My action point here is for agents to think about where they could inject some humour and personality into their marketing. Maybe a light-hearted video look at the stereotype of estate agents, or a Meet the Team that brought a smile to people’s faces.

It’s said that the shortest distance between people is laughter.

And maybe taking a lighter hearted look at how you market your agency might bridge the gap between yourselves and potential vendors and landlords.

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

Jerry

PS: Here’s the link to the video

PPS: Volume 4 of my Estate Agent Articles is out now. To find out more and see if your area has been taken just ping me an email.


Introducing the ‘Secret’ Estate Agency Marketing Tool

We all know about blogging.

More and more estate agents are also vlogging.

Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates, direct mail, newsletters and community sponsorships are all staples of estate agency marketing to some degree.

But there’s is a seriously underused, almost to the point of it being a secret, marketing tool for agents and that is podcasting.

For those of you who don’t know (marketing rule #1 – Never Assume People Know What You’re Talking About) here’s a brief guide to podcasting.

Podcast: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

People are on the move more than ever. Driving around in their cars, commuting on transporting, exercising, running and 101 other modes of getting about.

We’ve forgotten what it’s like to bored. Because our phones and tablets have opened a world of never ending entertainment and information.

And podcast provides an answer to capture the ears, literally, of potential clients and people in your local patch.

I love listening to podcasts – BBC5 Live Boxing, Sky Sports Toe to Toe, One Year No Beer (an alcohol-free challenge I’m on) and several personal development ones. They are brilliant for car journeys to clients or when I’m out running or pretending to do stuff in the garden.

Producing them is as simple as having a smart phone and a decent microphone (not expensive).

Here are four ideas I’ve had for agents to podcast about.

1) Monthly property marketing update for your patch.

2) Invite a local solicitor / mortgage broker in to discuss conveyancing / mortgages. This can be broadened out to include chats with local builders, interior designers, garden landscapers etc.

3) If you have the licences to my Estate Agent Articles you can use them as a springboard for your podcast material.

4) Create a fortnightly round up of local area news, share what’s been happening in your office but aim to make it personable, interesting and entertaining for your listeners.

James Ede, of Be Heard, is a podcasting expert and a good bloke. He has sent me several links to some useful information on why podcasts are brilliant marketing tools, how to set up a podcast (it’s a lot simpler than you think) and statistics that show huge growth in the popularity of podcasts.

If you want to look at what he’s sent send me an email saying for ‘Pod’s Sake’ and I’ll forward them to you.
Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry

PS: Volume 4 of my Estate Agent Articles launches on May 26th. They are my best work yet and include improvements to the SEO, free images and you can even turn them into vlogging scripts and Podcast material. Existing clients get first refusal and I’ll be letting you know more about this in the next fortnight. If you want to be first in line for a no obligation look ping me an email. Thanks.


Why are estate agents scared of being different?

Very quick blog this week as I’m double busy on a rake of projects.

My question is why are so many estate agents scared of being different?

So many agents I speak to are stuck in traditional ways of thinking about their marketing and content generation that they are not just standing still – they are falling off the back of the chasing pack.

And here’s why, by being unafraid to stand out from the crowd works in business, especially in estate agency.

Richard Reed, formerly the marketing genius behind Innocent (he is an Einstein when it comes to building an outstanding brand) and Seth Godin (a leading marketing thinker and massive advocate of standing out from the crowd) both bang the being different drums until the purple cows come home.

Their level of operator invented it.

Think of it like this.

Six estate agents are stuck in a room trying to catch the attention of a vendor who is standing on a stage looking down on them.

Five agents are jumping up and down saying ‘pick me’ ‘pick me’ all in the same style and tone of voice.

Then agent six waits for a gap in the noise and sings, Pavarotti like, ‘Piiiiiiiiiiiccccccccckkkkkkkkk Meeeeeeeeeeeeee.’

He’s saying the same thing (I want your business) but in a different, above the white noise, way. He gets noticed at the very least. And if he has a good follow up he / she will get instructed.

Below is an example of how using a new voice to sing an old tune turned a £60 spend into a £4500 fee within a fortnight.

I’ve written a three-phase canvassing letter bundle. Nothing new there. But the tone of voice and style of how they are written are as stand out as getting good service from BT (an unusual and rare experience).

An agent in Essex spent the £60 (plus vodka and tonic) to buy the letters and below is an email he kindly sent me.

“I wanted to drop you a line to say a massive thank you for your canvassing letters.

I sent the first batch out three weeks ago, I got a valuation that week, listed and sold it the week later at a fee of £4500. The seller said if I was that keen to promote my business why wouldn’t he want me to sell his house for him. I would totally recommend you to other agents.”

As with all my products I’m happy to share the content upfront (which is a different tactic) so that you can make an informed choice whether you want them or not – if your postcodes are still up for grabs.

If you want to have a look simply ping me an email with your postcodes and agency website address.

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

Jerry

PS: I’d love to know what your agency is doing differently from your rivals. Or perhaps even more importantly doing stuff differently to that which you did last month or year.


The marketing platform most estate agents are rubbish at

I read an interesting article last week.
It contained a main message I have believed for ages.
It’s to do with a marketing myth.
Print marketing for estate agents is dead, apparently.
But this article by a chap called Oli Luke made a very good case that its death has been grossly exaggerated.
Every bright 20 something will tell you the only way is digital. If you want to get in front of more prospective vendors, you must be on Facebook.
And you must spend a wad on Google Ads, Pay Per Click and if you’re not down with Proptech you ain’t cool.
I have a problem with this.
I agree having a good presence on Facebook is very worthwhile for estate agents.
And at the very least you should have a good looking, updated Google My Business page.
And there’s little doubt that you’ll get left behind if you’re a totally Luddite (Google it if needs be).
But. And this is the point the article’s write makes.
What happens if Facebook does face a user backlash in the wake of the Cambridge Analytics data storm? (I think it’s unlikely, but you never know).
Or if Google changes it’s magical and mysterious algorithm and your agency somehow gets bumped down, off, kicked to the kerb?
The article made a great point about how printed marketing gives you more control. If you use the Royal Mail or a reputable distribution company your messages will get through the door (aside from the occasional angry Yorkshire Terriers with small dog syndrome ripping it to shreds).
Here are four simple tips to give your printed marketing efforts a better chance of being responded to.
These are based on my experience with clients using a range of 4 -16-page newsletters (not fliers!).
1) Localise. People are interested in what is happening in their town or neighbourhood. As a former local journalist, I was always genuinely taken aback by the level of interest people had in what was happening in their own neck of the woods. Keep it local and you’ll keep ‘em interested.
2) Avoid. Selling your agency’s services. The content of your newsletter should be 80 per cent about your local market and 20 per cent about your agency. Even then make the agency related content about people in your team, your community efforts or a delighted client’s story.
3) Content. Think about what interests you and your family. Local days out, events, success stories, garden advice, property maintenance tips, photos of well know local places and ideally people. And of course, this is an opportunity for a local property market update.
4) Repeat. There’s no point doing a print run of 5000 – 10000 newsletters once and then forgetting about. Quarterly seems to be the best in giving a good return over the year.
5) Track. It’s easy to gauge a response from printed marketing. Use a tracking telephone number and a dedicated email address for enquiries.
I must say I don’t think print marketing works in all areas, central London or big cities for example.
But if you are an agent serving a small town it is in my experience a good way of generating leads and raising profile.
Print isn’t dead but half-hearted fliers bragging about your agency are.
Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.
Jerry
PS: If you have any questions whatsoever please feel free to pick my brains at: Jerry@propertyprexpert.co.uk