How to grow your lettings business so other agencies can't compete
James Conway, Director at David Conway & Co, shares top tips on how your estate and letting business can get on the right path to become a leading agency for landlords in your local area.
David Conway has been a bit of a journey in the 30 years we've been operating. We're now one of the largest agencies in our area - yet still an independent, family-run business. Other agents simply can't compete. This growth is in part due to our long-term presence in the area but that, in turn, was only possible thanks to the way we always look for new initiatives to improve our service and boost our visibility, to make us the natural first choice for landlords.
Grow your agency's reach
We're part of an industry recognised network, the Relocation Agent Network. It breeds a bit more confidence when we're on appraisals so it's an instruction winner.
It's a network of several hundred of the best independent agents selected in each area, and you have to be invited to join it - plus, we were even nominated for the 2021 Best Agent Greater London Region Award.
It's good for tenants and it's good for corporate lets. It means that we're part of a bigger group, giving us a more expansive reach and way to advise our corporate clients in particular.
Demonstrate your expertise
We're also an accredited Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) agency. The Regulation of Property Agents is on the horizon, but there's currently no legal requirement for agents to be licensed or gain any particular level of industry qualification to operate.
However, we've found that landlords are happier to sign up to an agency that has proof of its professionalism. With RICS, we're assessed every couple of years so landlords know that we're always operating with the latest information, helping keep their investments more secure and offering the best customer service. It's a key reason landlords choose us over our competitors.
Lean on your good customer service
Some of our growth is therefore organic, based around that strong customer service. We have a good reputation, and we get highly recommended, which encourages a lot of repeat business.
We also get pretty glowing written reviews, which is always nice to see, and, although this can happen naturally, we encourage our customers to leave those reviews. Any agency offering a good service can lean on that to gain new customers through strong customer ratings.
Invest in your marketing activities
We don't simply rely on those free, organic ways to get the word out about us. We invest in our marketing. We've done it for a long time, and we know what works and what lands the best with our customers.
We're always looking to try new things as well. We're in the middle of a rebrand, updating our website to ensure a great user experience from the very first time our potential customers interact with us.
Every time one of the portals offers something new, such as premium or featured properties, we'll jump on board to try it. If it doesn't have an impact, we stop; if it does, we'll ramp up and invest more resources.
We invested in a full marketing platform to help us to generate revenue by communicating with landlords and tenants at the right time and in the best way.
But marketing doesn't need to cost the earth. We try and catch the eye of customers across many different channels, including social media, and offering different products to our landlords, to grab attention.
Rent protection, for example, is a great way to attract landlords who are looking for someone to help them look after their property in the best way, in all scenarios, even one where a tenant doesn't pay rent.
This combination of offering a great and accredited service and communicating well about that service is the key to growing your business to the point where other agencies simply can't compete.