5 ways to grow your agency and revenue using your existing contacts [+ free talk track]
The start of the year is a good time to reassess the way you approach your current portfolio of landlords and your contacts to grow your business and revenue. Ella-Jane Coxwell, Senior Customer Success Manager, shares some top tips.
New landlords are hard to come by as we head into 2022. Letting agencies need to think differently to ensure they continue to grow their revenue and portfolios. This means making your current landlords see the value in your proposition, and use them and your existing contacts to find new properties to manage. This can involve asking the right questions at the right time - and you can use this free talk track to help direct those conversations.
Do an equity check on your current landlords to double your portfolio
Our first top tip is from Stephen Brown, Founder Member of Agents Together, in our recent webinar on growing your business using your current customers. Ask your current landlords: have you considered taking money out to buy another buy-to-let property? If they say yes, you'll have opened the door to multiple revenue streams, all from one equity check. That could include financial service leads, conveyancing leads, sales, removals, and surveyor fees, and so on.
To do an equity check is simple - and you can gain an understanding in advance of the conversation with your landlord as to whether they'd have enough equity to invest further - by checking the land registry, and estimating how much that property would now be worth. "If you've got a hundred managed properties already, they know you, they like you, and they trust you already," says Stephen. "The easiest way to get to 200 managed properties is to go and get every single one of those existing landlords to buy one more property."
Ask the right questions to get new contacts
You don't have to stick to relying on your current landlord's investment plans. If you ask the right questions in all your client conversations - for both sales and lettings - you can quickly find new contacts with minimal effort.
Stephen highlights that, for an incoming sales call with someone looking for a new buy-to-let property, the top question to ask is if they are looking for one property, or more. Next, you can ask if they already have a portfolio of properties which you could help manage. Then, ask if they have any friends, family, colleagues, or neighbours that are landlords and, if yes, see if they'd be interested in speaking to your agency.
Even your tenant customers can bring potential new rental properties to your doorstep. If they're currently renting with an agent, cross check the address with your current database to see if that landlord is a potential customer.
Upsell to fully managed to maximise your income
Next, upsell your let-only landlords to a fully managed service. It's often not the price that will stop them from spending more on your services, you simply need to make it difficult for them to say no to the value you're offering. To make it worth their while, you'll have to explain all the work that you'll be taking off their hands and put this in concrete terms, either time that you'll be saving them or examples of the money that you saved other landlords through avoiding fines, for example.
You can also use insights from suppliers or the industry to help you find new ways to demonstrate your services in comparison to the market at large. You could share stats from the Goodlord Rental Index with your landlords using the editable templates, for example, adding in any of your own stats that show your agency in a good light compared to the national averages.
Including extra services in your proposition, such as rent protection, will only increase how attractive it is. If you can demonstrate that you're a one-stop shop for all your landlords' needs, there will be no need for them to look elsewhere for those services. Similarly, think of other ways to make it as easy as possible for them to agree to move to fully managed, such as charging monthly, rather than an annual lump sum.
Offer an extra consultancy service to show your value
Even if your landlords aren't looking to expand, you can use your existing knowledge to advise them on their current portfolio and offer asset management and consultancy services to help them understand how to make the most out of their investment. Think customer success for landlords. We're seeing plenty of agents evaluating their landlords' assets and assessing what in their portfolio is making them the most money - or losing it for them.
From something as simple as remortgaging their property at the right time, you can easily demonstrate your value based on the expertise your agency already has. It will simply cost you an extra conversation with your landlord - and allow you to bump up your fee for the service provided.
Offer add-ons to boost your revenue streams
If your landlord doesn't want to convert to a fully managed service, that's not where the story ends. You should aim to be as flexible as possible, with add-on services that they can pick and choose depending on where they see the value. Rent collection, for example, can help reduce arrears when done in the right way, and you can work with a provider like Goodlord to automate that chasing cycle for you.
Rent protection doesn't have to be restricted to the fully managed package - it can be offered as a standalone extra as well. The same for void management. You can offer this service and use a supplier to support the process. Goodlord's void utility management service helps make sure your landlord doesn't see any unexpected bills without adding admin to your agency's to-do list. Choosing the right supplier to suit your agency can make these add-ons a win for everyone - and, when coupled with extras for tenants where your agency can earn a commission, it all builds up to create a tidy revenue stream.
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