"You live and die by your reputation,” says Matt Dilkes of Christopher Shaw in Bournemouth. “We rely almost purely on organic growth by word of mouth, which we feel is the best and most solid way to grow your business. There's nothing better than a referral from a friend.”
In fact, 83% of customers worldwide trust the recommendations of friends and family more than any other advertising source. Capitalise on the network of your current customer base by offering a referral program that incentivises them to refer other landlords to your agency. Make sure all of your landlords are aware that you offer a referral programme, by including your offer on your website, social media channels and even in your email signature.
“If a landlord wants to bring on someone, we like to reward that kind of goodwill,” says Dilkes. “We might discount their management fees for a few months, give them a voucher for Marks & Spencer, or treat them to an experience. That is the main way we've grown over the last 10 years.”
But don’t be afraid to ask your landlords directly for referrals, either. “Ask your current landlords who they know,” suggests Ian Crampton of Ferndown Estates in Birmingham. “Typically a landlord has between five or six properties, so if you have a good relationship with your current landlord, see if they know others.”
He also suggests hosting informational seminars that not only provide your existing landlords with extra value, but also provide an opportunity to meet new landlords, by asking your current landlords to bring others when you invite them to the event. “We’re having one this year where we expect to get around 150 landlords,” he says.
Your tenants could also be an untapped source for new landlords. Identify the tenants who have left you a great review on Google or AllAgents after a wonderful move-in experience, send them a thank you note, and ask them whether they would be willing to introduce you to their previous landlord or any other landlords they know. Tenants, too, might be more motivated to provide you with reviews or refer you if offered incentives, such as vouchers or experiences. All it takes is a quick email - you never know what it could bring.
Want to learn more about winning more landlords? Download our free e-book How to win more landlords.