Is Estate Agency Going to the Blogs? Or the Vlogs?

I was asked an interesting question this week.

Is it better to write a blog, or film a vlog?

My thoughts are in the vlog below.

Thanks for watching,

Jerry

PS: Tomorrow’s budget is blog / vlog fodder BIG time. Are you ready to get in front of our audience / database? I’ll be syndicating an article after the budget for non competing agents. To register your interest simply ping me an email and I’ll do send you the article for review tomorrow afternoon.


Only five per cent of estate agents do this

I’ve carried out a survey you might be interested in as it shines a light on something 95 per cent of agents ain’t doing folks.

I haven’t splashed out thousands on getting a ‘game changing’ (I hate that phrase) team of hip ‘industry disrupting’ (that phrase too) surveyors to carry out the research.

I used a website called Upwork, found a freelance researcher in Bangladesh called Amzad (I’ve used him before – he’s really good and great value) and asked him to look at 100 random UK estate agency websites.

Now good old Amzad wasn’t simply tasked to have a gander for the sake of it.

His mission, which he accepted, was to see which agents posted a news article or blog following the Chancellor’s Spring Budget announcement back in March this year.

And he found that only five agents did. That meant 95 per cent of agents couldn’t be arsed (or at least that’s how the public might see it given their general perception of agents).

I was genuinely surprised and even spot checked the spreadsheet he sent me – but Amzad was right.

The budget is always worth an article or a response from any agency wanting to be seen as on the ball by prospective clients.

And next week’s budget promises to be even more interesting as there are calls for stamp duty to be cut and even possibly removed for first time buyers, elderly people and those aged under 40 years-old.

There’s even talk the lettings fee ban could be brought forward quicker than expected.

I’ve shared a link to a Financial Times article at the bottom of this blog that covers the possibilities in more detail.

But why should you be on the budget ball and be ready to respond to whatever the Chancellor announces next Wednesday?

1) If your rivals respond and you don’t, they have captured people’s attention and you haven’t. Simple.

2) If you use email marketing or social media to promote your agency’s expertise a budget response allows you to position yourselves as experts with their fingers firmly on the market’s pulse.

3) If any major property related announcements are made in the budget people will be keen to read about them. It will be a hot topic for 48 hours so why not take advantage of that interest.

4) Based on Amzad’s analysis you’ll put yourself in the top five per cent of agencies simply by reacting to the budget.

I understand you guys are busy selling and letting properties and might not have the time to write up a response.

That’s why next week I’m offering a 400-word, white label, pre-written post budget reaction article to non-competing agents– which is easily edited so that you can send it or share it with your database and followers within hours of any budget announcement.

If you are interested, please let me know so I can see if your postcode area is still available.

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

Jerry

PS: The link to the FT article is below.

https://www.ft.com/content/f5cd702e-c878-11e7-8536-d321d0d897a3


Old Irish Wisdom for Estate Agents

As regular readers of my articles might recall I had an Uncle called Tighe.

And today would’ve been his 87th birthday had he not made the journey up to the big pub in the sky back in 1992.

He was a native of Cork who came over here as a bright eyed, confident teenager in search of a better life, more craic and ‘pretty women’ (his words not mine).

Good old Uncle T was a popular, light hearted, funny and generous soul. My dad, more serious and hot tempered, often said he wished he could be more like his older, wiser brother.

One of my favourite Uncle T lines summed up his philosophy to life. ‘To share is to enjoy twice.’

Wise words, although my mum was convinced he’d nicked the saying from one of those tea towels which featured Irish quotes – you know the ‘may the road rise to meet you’ kind of thing.

This best tribute I can give to my favourite Uncle is to share some stuff and contacts you guys might find useful.

For the record I don’t get kickbacks, finders fees, commissions etc but I do get something more valuable – goodwill and deposits in the Bank of Favour.

So, here’s to Uncle T.

Video editing and Podcasts: More and more of my clients and forward-thinking agents are using videos in their marketing.

I use a great bloke called James Ede who edits and polishes up several of my clients’ videos and is very reasonably priced. He specialises in podcast production, but we’ve only used him so far for the videos and we’re very pleased.

His website is: www.beheard.org.uk/

Facebook Marketing: I’ve not used this chap before, but a client has and speaks highly of him and the success his agency has had because of it. His name is Nick Thompson, I’ve had a chat with him, seems a very nice bloke and has some really interesting ideas on how estate agents can use Facebook to get ahead in the battle for instructions.

His website is: Www.mrnickthompson.com

Graphic Design: My go to guy for a long time has been Adam Jennings. I have worked with Adam on dozens of projects for clients and he’s always professional, creative and realises good marketing design is about selling something rather than making something that looks pretty or edgy.

His website is: www.madebycontour.com

The Land and New Homes Network: Kevin and Ian who run the network are clients of mine. And really know their stuff. If I was an estate agent I’d be seriously considering getting involved in the land and new home sector as it’s a growing opportunity and doesn’t seem to involve racing to the bottom on price.

Their website is: www.lnhnetwork.co.uk

Working with people I like is as important to me as sharing was to Uncle Tighe.

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

Jerry

PS: The food bank idea has been well received by a lot of you. From Brighton to Newcastle, Leeds to Leicester, estate agencies are helping to collect items for their local food banks this Christmas. In case you missed it a link to a blog about it is below.

Foodbanks, Estate Agents and an Idea


Foodbanks, Estate Agents and an Idea

I want to give you lovely people some food for thought. Literally.

This week I spent a morning with an estate agency visiting a foodbank.

Times are hard out there folks but thankfully me and my agent amigo were looking to give rather than receive.
Seriously though the experience was an eye opener.

In a society where we have never been richer (don’t believe the ‘it’s so hard nowadays’ bollocks – try living in Post War Britain or modern-day Mogadishu) people in our communities are having to rely on food handouts to survive.

The lady who showed us around the foodbank was charm, kindness and generosity personified.

She told us that for many single people the foodbank’s weekly help gave them a lifeline and in some cases meant families could ensure their kids had a decent meal.

And the number of people seeking out their service has rocketed in the past two years.

Through the kindness of strangers’ donating to the foodbanks across the UK some of the most impoverished people are being given help, a glimmer of hope and perhaps most importantly, a sense that someone out there cares about their situation.

It was one of the most inspiring and humbling mornings I’ve spent for years.

So, I’m now putting away my violin and putting my estate agency marketing and PR head on. (Like an Anglo Irish Worzel Gummidge but with slightly better hair).

The reason my client and I visited was to do with a campaign idea I had to support a local charity in the run up to Christmas.

Supporting a local foodbank ticks many boxes.

By offering to be a collection point for donations you’ll drive footfall and goodwill to your office.

You’ll build new connections in your community (while we were there my client was asked to do a valuation by one of the volunteers, who lives in the best road in town by the way).

You’ll have a chance to promote your agency through a news release, social media posts and yours, and I’m guessing in some cases, the foodbank’s website. It’s good PR folks.

And you’ll be ultimately doing a little bit of good in a World where there’s a lot of bad.

To support any agency who is keen to get involved and support a local foodbank I’ve produced a FREE news release template and some guide notes that are easily edited if you did get involved with something like this in your neck of the woods.

My past and existing clients get first option on this.

But if the postcodes your agency serves are not already taken I’ll happily and without obligation send the stuff to you whether your one of my gang or not.

It’s all about #Doingsomethingkind

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

Jerry

PS: Just email me your postcodes at Jerry@propertyprexpert.co.uk and I’ll send the news release and guide notes if the area is still available.


What little things can your agency learn from the Premier League?

We took our five-year-old daughter to a football match for the first time yesterday.

It was Brighton & Hove Albion versus Everton.

Although we live a half hour drive from Brighton’s Amex Stadium and I’m an Arsenal fan we ended up in the Everton end due to a friend who is a Toffees’ fan sorting the tickets out.

He even bought my daughter an Everton top complete with her name and age on the back.

He’s trying his best to influence her team of choice obviously (even though she just likes any team which wears blue).

The game itself was boring and we left with 20 minutes to go as queuing up for an hour for a packed train with a hungry little girl isn’t much fun. (We missed both goals that were scored).

But although the game was drawn, in my family’s little mind Brighton were the clear winners.

They did so many little things really well.

I loved the little A4 signs dotted about in the away concourse thanking the Everton fans for their ‘500’ or so miles journey complete with imagery from the city of Liverpool.

But the best part of our Amex experience was the staff. I’ve been to football grounds all over the country during my 30 years following Arsenal and I’ve never met such nice, friendly and approachable stadium staff.

After buying a couple of drinks I was even told by the smiling young man serving me to ‘enjoy the game’, a simple, short message, but for me it spoke volumes about the ethos they obviously have at the club.

As we were leaving one of the stewards clocked my daughter’s Everton top and wished us a ‘safe journey home’. Again, a little touch and it was representative of our positive experience.

And it all makes perfect business sense.

Because my daughter now wants to come back and watch the blue and white striped team and see the big seagull again (their mascot which did the rounds at half-time). A new Brighton fan in the making it would seem – if that happens imagine the lifetime earnings the club will make.

My wife, not a football fan at all, said we should return as a family because everyone was friendly, and me, I’m just glad that such a positive, community minded club is my local team to pop down to when I fancy a 90-minute fix.

And there’s something all agencies, indeed businesses can learn from this. Do the little things well.

Such as the thank you note simply for being invited out to provide a valuation.

The gift to vendors AND buyers at the successful completion point of a sale.

The moving guide aimed at kids (I’ve seen a removals company do it brilliantly well with a colouring book and activity pack.)

These are just three examples out of a potentially endless list of little things that can make a big difference into how your business is perceived and thought of.

I’d be really interested in hearing about what little things your agency does to stand out.

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

Jerry

PS: If you are involved in lettings and haven’t seen my Letting Agent Articles offer then get in touch and I’ll reveal all.


Estate Agency Marketing Myths and How to Banish Them

One of The Oxford Dictionary’s definitions of a myth is: “A widely held but false belief or idea.”

And on that basis, it’s fair to say that there a loads of things people believe in the estate agency world that are wrong.

So, here are five I could think of think of and my ways of banishing them.

1) All estate agents are dodgy. A lot of people still think that. And while you may not strictly think it’s a marketing point – it is because if you saw everything you did as marketing (which it is) you’d realise that’s the most important agency myth to shatter.

Sure, it isn’t the Wild West of the early 1990s but many people still perceive agents as having an allergy to the truth.

Show them your personality, show them your testimonials, show them the people behind the business. Put the faces of your people on everything you do – email signatures, business cards, articles in newsletters.

2) Video marketing is very technical and expensive – Wrong. I work with agents who have set up a regular video blog and spent no more than £50 on equipment doing it.

All you need is a small clip-on microphone, smart phone, selfie stick and / or tripod. The technical side of it can be farmed out with editing from just £25 per video (I have a contact) and captioning done by people like: www.rev.com – It’s the biggest growth area in business marketing full stop.

3) Search engine optimisation is THE most important thing your agency can be spending money on. I disagree.

If your local audience only knows about your agency through a Google search then you’re not being proactive enough. You’re not getting in front of them consistently whether that be through print advertising, direct mail, community sponsorships and by becoming a bit of a face in the local community.

4) Print is dead. The most repeated shite I hear mainly from 20 somethings trying to charge £600 a day for search engine optimisation work.

They are wrong about this. I have dozens of clients doing really well from printed newsletters and regular columns in magazines. The key is too approach it from a different angle – be sharers of local news and expert advice rather than floggers of properties.

5) Google punishes duplicate content. It was this point which inspired this blog.

I write and sell content for non-competing agents across the UK. They are bundled up in individual volumes of 30 different articles.

I’ve lost count of the times agents have said to me that ‘yeah sounds great but Google punishes duplicate content.’ They don’t. And here is a link to an article from an SEO leading light covering it in more detail.

The myth of the duplicate content penalty

6) And a bonus myth buster. There is no Loch Ness Monster. But somewhere in the local economy up there lies (literally) a master marketer and story teller who has created a multi-million-pound boost for the local economy by creating a myth. Bravo.

Thanks for your time and if you want more information about anything mentioned above feel free to email me.

Here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry


95 per cent of estate agents didn’t even know about this

If I asked you why the 25th May 2018 will affect your agency’s business what would you say?

If like 95 per cent of the 25 agents I’ve asked that question to you’ll more than likely respond with a puzzled look a bit like that hungover looking furry cat doing the rounds on YouTube.

Well my estate agency amigos the date is super significant because that’s when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR for short) comes into full, fine giving out effect.

It sounds boring, and certainly isn’t exciting but it’s essential businesses prepare for it because otherwise your agency could get hammered like an Anthony Joshua jab with heavy fines.

The majority of Estate agents are not alone in being ignorant of GDPR. Many businesses across the UK fall into two camps – 1) Have never heard of it. Or 2) Have heard of it but think that due to it being an EU ruling and because of Brexit we won’t be affected in the UK. Wrong.

GDPR affects any business in the World that deals with data on an EU subject.

It covers all activities involved in the collection, storage, use and / or other processing of that personal data.

So, for example all those details of people on your database, all those people registered with you and even your staff.

The definition of personal data starts at simply having a person’s name and email address.

The key thing that the GDPR wants to see is how your agency is taking appropriate measures to protect that data.

There’s many other aspects to it but it will make businesses have to think a lot more carefully about they access and handle personal data.

The existing data protection laws were created in 1998 – and it’s fair to say the world has changed enormously since then.

Data is a HUGE part of today’s world especially for estate agents who need to hold a lot of information to run their businesses successfully.

A lot of what the GDPR wants businesses to do is simply good practice anyway.

I’m ever the opportunist and see these changes as yet another way for good estate agents to stand out.

Once you’ve got everything in place to comply with GDPR – make it a point of dazzling difference and share with your market the lengths you go to respect and protect their data.

Bad agents will be too lazy or complacent to get GDPR right and that’ll put their reputation and certainly their bank balances at risk. Don’t put off learning about GDPR until it’s too late.

For more information on the GDPR visit: www.ico.org.uk – there’s a handy ‘Preparing for GDPR’ guide on there.
Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.

Jerry

PS: Estate agents up and down the UK are getting involved in a big bundle – to find out more simply email: “bundallllllll!!!”


Successful Estate Agencies Leave Clues

A quick one this week folks as I’m knackered after being a detective for the past couple of days (hopefully more Columbo than Inspector Clouseau).

Last Friday saw the EA Masters awards take place.

Three of my clients did very well at them.

Now, I know these awards and the way they were awarded weren’t everyone’s cup of tea but the three agencies I work with all deserve whatever success comes their ways. (The forum warriors who whinge and whine about awards and life in general would be a lot better off spending that time away from their PCs trying to win some more instructions.)

And success leaves clues as I’ve discovered while researching a future article on what makes some agencies do a lot better than others.

The three clients I’ve featured here are all at different levels in terms of size.

One is a single office agency, another has three offices following a rapid expansion, and the final agency has 15 offices spanning four counties and several property disciplines.

They all have very good market shares in their patches, which let’s face it is a lot more important than awards.

And they all do quite a lot of things better, or at least differently from their rivals.

Small examples include:

Single office agency – The first agency I saw using personalised email signatures with a smiling, approachable looking photo of the staff member. And great social media use.

Three office agency – Have a mantra of ‘How will this benefit our clients? The owner is obsessed by learning about anything which can propel his agency forward. And that’s rubbed off on his well-motivated team.

15 office agency – Invest thousands in staff training, getting involved in local community events and never missing a trick to get their brand out there.

And although the above examples are different, and the agencies individual, they are all united by three things.

1) They all have some sort of newsletter or regular method of staying in touch with precious (not a typo, work it out) clients who they have served in the past.

2) They pay their bills on time. (I can usually gauge an agency’s attitude to clients by how they treat suppliers).

3) The heads of all three companies are very decent, hardworking and honest people. Making a mockery of misconceptions about ‘dodgy agents’ which in my experience is a load of old bollocks anyway.

There are loads more things they do that make them great agencies but I’ve got to go now and solve the case of the missing bagel from my office (I really fancied it for lunch and some Herbert has nicked it).

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

Jerry

PS: The Earlybird offer on my new Letting Agent Articles (31 great articles to win some landlord love) ends tomorrow at 5pm. To find out more simply ping me your postcode so I can see if your area is still available and I’ll reply with the deal


Why Mickey Flanagan is right about estate agency

In couple of weeks’ time I’m off with Mrs L to see our favourite comedian Mickey Flanagan performing in Brighton.

There’s three main reasons I like him.

1) Like me he doesn’t speak propah but doesn’t give a monkey’s.

2) His comic descriptions of growing up in a working-class London family are scarily accurate. His line ‘My dad thought he was helping out around the house if he closed a cupboard door,’ could’ve been talking about my old man.

3) He understands the importance of the ‘long run up.’

And my estate agent amigos here’s the ‘fing’.

Mickey talks about taking the long run up approach to getting his wife’s permission for a lads’ night out.

He’s implying (rightly in my experience) that you can’t simply go ‘alright my lovely, I’m off out with the boys tonight.’

He highlights how you need to take your time, turn on the charm over a course of weeks / months, go out of your way to be helpful and then when the timing is right raise the subject.

It’s the same with estate agency marketing.

Asking for an instruction in your first blog / email campaign / newspaper advert is mental.

Expecting one is even crazier.

A massive decision like selling a home takes time to reach, so your approach should be that of the ‘long run up’.
Marketing isn’t an event it’s a regular process.

Turn on the charm, consistently with helpful blogs, original and interesting adverts and getting noticed locally for the right reasons.

And hopefully when the time is right you’ll be in the running when valuations are being requested and instructions up for grabs.

It’s at that point a long run up proves worth the wait.

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

Jerry

PS: And another fing – My Letting Agent Articles are being released on general sale for £349+VAT on October 2nd.

To get a sneak preview of all 31 articles, written to win the hearts and minds of landlords, ping me an email with your postcode and if that area hasn’t already been snapped up I will send you samples (no obligation to buy) and a special early bird price.


Estate Agents – It’s Time to Get Personal

The kids are back to school.

The heating is getting switched on again.

My flip flops are in the cupboard. My bike is in the garage.

This can only mean one thing – Christmas will be here before you can say: ‘Ropey Sir Cliff Richard tunes being piped through the local shopping centre.’

If you are going to make the most of the Season of Goodwill. Start planning now.

I had a client meeting on Monday and top of our agenda was a review of the summer marketing and then plans for Christmas.

I’ve asked for my client’s permission to share the following and he’s cool with it. He said something really interesting: ‘knowing something doesn’t mean you’ll actually do something, just look at gym memberships.’
Here’s the four-point plan we put together.

1) Tiered gifts. By that, and it might sound harsh but it’s true, some clients, contacts and suppliers are more valuable than others. So, we have three tiers of person / organisations we are going to give something to this Christmas – ranging from a card to a hamper to a donation to a charity of their choice.

2) Charity Donation. Sounds corny but it’s a tradition with this agency and they get good press from it and a heck of a lot of local goodwill. £500 has been allocated and the search for the most deserving charity is currently taking place.

3) A Christmas window display – A trick a lot of agents miss. A bit of Lidl tinsel wonkily blu-tacked to your window doesn’t qualify as a window display. This agent (ahem, with my advice) has plans in place to create a Disney themed window this year – because as any wise marketer will tell you – ‘when you get the kids’ attention, you’ll get the parents.’ (and in this case grandparents).

4) Make it Personal – If you are in the practice of getting cards printed up with your branding, great. If you then get each office member to sign them, super.

BUT if you’re not taking the 15 seconds it takes to write the recipient’s name and a little message then quite frankly you’re an example of bad PR.

People like the sound of their own name, they like seeing it in cards. Could you imagine getting a birthday card from someone who didn’t write your name in it? What would you think of that person?

The point is this. We live in an age of personalisation. So, putting a name on a card is the bare minimum you should be doing. It’s piss easy.

The best bit of Christmas marketing I ever did started in 2015 when I sent out more than 50 personalised calendars to key contact, clients and prospects.

It worked like a dream. Lots of conversations, a few new clients and a lot of good will gained.

Why did the calendars work?

Well as mentioned people like stuff with their name on. When that stuff is on their desk 365 days of the year with your branding subtly featured you’re getting personal with them on a very sub conscious level.

There are other options out there, loads, the key thing is to take the time to make it personal.

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

Jerry

PS: If you want the name of the company I used for the personalised calendars I mentioned ping me an email and I’ll send it to you.

PPS: My new Volume of 30 articles for letting agents and departments is being released on October 3rd. It’s called Letting Agent Articles and is aimed at getting landlords (as well as a few tenant themed articles) to love your agency. It’s a sure-fire winner.

It will be sold on a strictly postcode exclusive basis as usual, and is first come first served, so if you want a non- committal first look at them 48 hours before they are released (my usual try before you buy) let me know and I will put you on the list.