“People will remember the way you made them feel,” says Christopher Watkin, who thinks the coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity for letting agents to build strong relationships in their local communities that will put them in a better position when business returns to normal. “We need to be caring and compassionate and go out there and give great advice that’s educational and interesting, which people will remember. They'll start to trust you, and people do business with people they trust."
Watkin, who creates content for agencies to help them attract new landlords, has long advocated that letting agents take a content-based approach to their marketing, sharing information and advice to build up trust and credibility in their local area and, ultimately, win new landlords. During the coronavirus pandemic, the nature of that information and advice might have changed, says Watkin, but the principle remains the same.
“Why don't you create compelling, interesting content that's relevant to your town right now? Things like, how people can deal with working from home, how to homeschool their kids, tell people who they need to talk to if they live in a certain area, find out what organisations groups are in your town and then give them a big shout out. Become the brand or the person who collates all that information,” says Watkin. He says he’s seen many agents taking a “business as usual” approach to their content during the pandemic and he thinks that’s a mistake. “These are not the messages that people need to be seeing at the moment.”
Watkin says social media has made it easier than ever for brands to reach thousands of people and become a trusted, go-to source of information in their community. “Twenty years ago, you wouldn't have dreamed of that.The only way you could talk to thousands of people was by spending thousands of pounds on a newspaper advert - the variable of success was who had the deepest pockets. That barrier to entry has been removed. Now, the variable of success is what kind content you put up.”
He suggests that agents should invest time now in creating helpful content. “If you haven't got a great Facebook page, why don't you start one for your town? Spend an hour a day researching and posting about what's happening in the community and, in six months, all of a sudden, you'll have two, three, 4,000 followers. That’s how you get people's attention, engagement, and trust,” says Watkin. Those agents who are furloughed during this period could take a similar approach and work on developing their personal brands by providing the same helpful content for their communities.
“Agents need to start thinking differently,” says Watkin. “The people of our towns are not there for us. We're there for them.”
Oh Goodlord Limited is an Appointed Representative of Goodlord Protect Limited for general insurance products and credit broking. Goodlord Protect Limited is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 836727. You can check this information on the Financial Services Register by visiting www.fca.org.uk/register or by telephoning 0800 111 6768 (Freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from the UK. The FCA is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services.