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The Sunday Sermon – A Two-Minute Read

Remember Chesney Hawkes?

I’m guessing most people do.

He is the poster boy of the one-hit-wonder phenomenon.

His record – I am the One and Only – topped the charts in 1991. Then he vanished so suddenly it was almost a case for New Scotland Yard’s missing person’s department.  I was half expecting him to turn up with a beard in that weird American show Lost.

Let me be clear though party people I’m not slagging Chesney off. He achieved much more than most.

But what does Chesney’s 15 minutes of fame teach estate agents about the number one lesson in how to do content marketing successfully?

Well, last week I was reminded of something which made me think of Chezzer.

I received a blog from a property professional which was brilliantly written, interesting and funny but had one fatal flaw.

I visited his blog page and found that this article was one of only two he’d published in 18 months.

He was pretty much the equivalent of Chesney and his one-hit-wonder.

The key to content marketing nirvana is consistently getting in front of your community.

That applies to blogs, newsletters, canvassing letters (I’ve got some belters) fliers, vlogs, you name it.

It needs to be useful and interesting information you’re sharing but note that I haven’t said it needs to be brilliant. Often, it’s about being seen rather than being superb.

Why do you think Coke, Nike and McDonalds, never stop advertising (and all have content marketing strategies)?

They’re huge, everyone knows them, but they’re also smart enough to realise people forget you very quickly if you cease to be seen or heard.

It’s the same in the agency, albeit with much smaller budgets.

Why do you think that the agencies and individuals that do great content marketing like Knightsbridge Estates, Sean Newman, Chris Watkin, Cooper Adams, Oliver James, Perry Power, John Paul, Matt Giggs, Rob Brady and several others are now go-to people in their areas and realms of expertise?

They are consistently out there, putting their heads above the pulpit and proof that content marketing works.

And if you don’t believe that ask Chesney. If you can find him. If you do tell him, I said ‘hello’.

Amen.

Father Jerry

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A 3-minute read.

The word legend is bandied around nowadays as freely as copies of the morning Metro being slung into dreary eyed, pre-caffeinated commuters’ hands at a train station.

But for some legendary status is beyond question.

Sir Bobby Charlton is one of those. A bona fide, 100 per-cent, without a dash of doubt, proper legend and a gentleman, as I found out many years ago.

Please let me share a story with you that could help your agency win the most important thing in establishing a relationship with your communities – TRUST.

Here goes.

Back in 2005, as a reporter for the Harrow Observer, I got to meet and ask Sir Bobby a few questions while he was accompanying members of the International Olympic Committee around an exhibition in Wembley.  This was in the schmoozing stage of the London bid for the 2012 Olympics.

He was showing the very important IOC’s decision-makers what the ‘new’ Wembley Stadium would look like as it was still very much a work in progress.

As I asked him questions, a school steel band was playing in the background. They were local kids, and I asked Sir Bobby what he thought of the music. ‘Smashing.’

He genuinely seemed to enjoy it having already made time to chat with the kids and then he added; ‘If we win the Olympic bid, I’ve promised them a visit to Old Trafford on a match day.’

I thought no more of it. Went away wrote up my piece on his visit and included his comment about the local kids going up to Manchester if the bid was successful.

A couple of months or so later it was announced London was to host the 2012 Olympics.

Sir Bobby sprung to mind. I remembered his promise. Keen to get a feel-good follow-up story, I rang his office and left a message with his secretary (back then it was surprisingly easy to do).

The next morning my colleague Ben who had zero interest in football put a call through to me saying ‘it’s some bloke called Bobby Carlton or something like that.’

It was Sir Bobby. I nervously reminded him of the Wembley visit and what he said about getting the local musicians up to Old Trafford if the Olympic bid was successful. I’ll always remember his reply.

“Well I made the young uns a promise, and I’ll keep it. Just get the school to contact my secretary, and we’ll get it all arranged.”

And they did. The kids got to visit Manchester and watch a game. The man is pure class.

Sir Bobby kept his promise, and I came across a great bit of content marketing from an agent recently who clearly outlines his agency’s promises to clients. He’s a member of the Estate Agent Content Club.

He concisely set out what his company would do for the people they worked for and what clients can expect from his agency.

I’ve seen this kind of thing before, and I have worked with him and other agencies to create theirs. Tom Panos spoke about a similar thing, this time in the form of a guarantee. It featured in his recent and excellent podcast around 11 Practical Ideas to Get More Listings.

Whether it’s a guarantee, customer charter, promise or pledge I’m always surprised how few agencies, or indeed businesses, encapsulate what a client can expect from them as a minimum standard.

It could be responding to all calls within 24 hours, accompanying all viewings, providing feedback on the same day, producing a weekly progress report. It’s also a cracking piece of content.

I’d be interested to know what you lovely agency people promise your clients.

It’s one thing to make a promise, but another thing to keep it, as Sir Bobby showed with all the style, class and grace, he displayed throughout his stellar playing career.

By keeping your agency’s promises, you go a long way to building a good reputation in your community and establishing the T-word.

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

Father Lyons

The Church of estateagentcontent.co.uk – it’s not a proper church, more like a little cult run by an eejit.

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Hi folks, I’m up earlier on a Sunday than a priest, so I thought I’d share this with y’all.

What do estate really agents sell?

A 3-minute read

It’s been cold recently.

And it’s been getting dark earlier.

And across the UK it has been, to use a meteorological phrase, absolutely pissing down for what feels like months.

Before you start thinking I’m indulging in National State the Bleeding Obvious Day let me explain where I’m headed.

I was shuffling down the High Street where I live the other day cold, wet and miserable.

It was that dusky 4 pm-ish time of the day when a great piece of marketing struck me.

Not literally I must add, actually the only way I think that could happen is a billboard falling on top of someone. Or perhaps a well-designed flier catching a gust of wind and whacking you straight in the mush.

Anyway I digress. The local travel agent had in flashing lights in their window three simple but brilliantly attention-grabbing words shining out of the early November afternoon gloom.

“WE SELL SUNSHINE.”

Bang. Simple but super.

It’s a cracking example of selling the benefits, not the features.

All those cold, miserable people scurrying past with their umbrellas up, scarves on and wrapped up like south coast mummies aren’t thinking ‘I hope that travel agent is organised with lots of shiny brochures’ or ‘I really need 10 per cent off a coach trip to Windsor Castle.’

Or ‘isn’t it great they have the biggest market share in my town.’

Nope. Those who are in the market for a holiday this time of year are predominantly looking for winter sun or some sunnier times to look forward to next year.

And the window sign tells them that this travel agent has exactly that, so come on in folks.

What are you selling?

As estate agents, you sell houses. And as letting agents you find landlords tenants correct?

But before you do any of that, surely you have to sell trust. Then a good track record along with your expertise.

When I’ve instructed agents in the past integrity and honesty were the most important things I needed to feel I would be getting from them. I also wanted good results, obviously.

Whoever I do business with trust is my number one must-have. You could have the best doctor in the world giving you advice but if you didn’t trust his or her motives…..think about it people.

But how do you sell trust, integrity and results as an estate agent? Here are some brief thoughts, but I’m sure you have some of your own, and I’d be interested to hear everyone’s ideas.

Trust – Promote your track record of testimonials from delighted customers. Whether it’s via getting Google Reviews, writing up case studies or having a jam-packed testimonials page on your website -these all help sell trust. Social proof in the house.

Integrity – Again testimonials help but I think also having a clear tone of voice on your website. Genuine, personable and professional without losing the human touch. Do you sound like someone people can trust? Does your website or marketing clearly outline the promises you make to your clients?

Results – A client of mine researched their local market and came up with a Rightmove graph that showed clearly, they had the highest level of sales agreed through to completion in the town (not the biggest market share or instructions agreed). They also attend valuations with a full folder of comparables and case studies. And testimonials. They ain’t just telling they are showing they get results.

There are loads more other ways you can build on the above themes and add expertise, local knowledge etc.

I’m off to the travel agents later after a Remembrance Sunday event to try to buy me and the Lyons’ posse some sun in February. My pale Irish skin needs it.

Hallelujah.

Father Jerry Lyons

The Church of estateagentcontent.co.uk

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Anytime there was a knock on our door on a Sunday morning my mum would always shout to us from her position at the kitchen table ‘Don’t answer it if they are Jehovahs.’

This always made me ask myself two questions.

These being, how on earth does a ten-year-old know without opening the door if the people on the other side are ‘Jehovahs’, and what on earth is a ‘Jehovah’?

My natural curiosity meant I often opened the door anyway.

I discovered dear old mum meant Jehovah Witnesses, who rightly or wrongly, were seen as the scourge of a working-class Sunday morning.

Fast forward 36 years and swap a council house in a rough north-west London estate for a sleepy ish train station on a beautiful part of the south coast of England.

These places are vastly different but have one thing in common – Jehovah Witnesses.

But here’s the intelligent thing. The JW’s have moved with the time – even to the point where some of their promotional copy is branded JW.

They’ve realised no one was answering their doors to them, or that modern lifestyles are busier than what they used to be.

And they changed tactics – now they don’t come to you – you go to them, sort of.

I regularly see them pitched up giving out their magazines at the train station, makes sense as it’s the busiest place in town. And they also have captured the High Street corner with the most footfall. Smart move.

They have moved with the times in a bid to get their brand out there to the biggest possible audience.

It’s something a lot of estate agents could learn from.

When was the last time your agency tried a new tactic such as Facebook adverts?

Or gave producing and delivering a regular newsletter a try?

Or embraced video marketing?

Or tried a different tone of voice for your marketing copy and articles?

And if you say tried all those they don’t work then quite frankly you haven’t done them right as loads of successful agents have and are reaping the instructions.

The times they are a-changing folks. And it’s up to you if your agency changes with them or gets left behind.

I’ve got to go now as there’s a knock at the door.

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

Jerry

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A 70-second read.

I had a lightbulb moment yesterday.

I was listening to a podcast, Leadership Revealed, hosted by well-known industry figure John Paul.

It’s full of sensible advice, and he’s got an excellent track record in business, so he obviously practices what he preaches.

He said something along the lines of imagining being on your death bed and reliving your life. The things you did for your family, the friends you made, your highs and lows.

But one phrase stood out for me. He spoke of thinking about how we had used our lives to ‘serve our community.’

Community is a word not enough estate agents pay attention to.

Too much focus is on the ‘target market’ or the ‘intended audience’. So, from here on, I suggest we ban the words market and audience and replace it with – community.

Market suggests buying or selling. And if you are treating people like commodities don’t have a whinge up when they start returning the favour and basing their decisions on price alone.

But when you serve the community, genuinely and generously, you start standing out from other agents who care only for the market.

I’ve always thought that a lot of agencies are focusing on market share at the expense of customer/community care.

Chris Watkin’s video methods for estate agents are all about getting out there and meeting and showcasing their community.

The best Facebook pages have a sense of community rather than commerce.

I think we’re in an age where we need to share much, much more than we sell.

Whether we’re estate agents, content writers, mechanics, fitness trainers or anyone else in business for that matter when we share with our community, we show we care for it.

And that spirit of generosity usually finds its way back to us.

Thanks for reading.

Jerry

PS: In the spirit of sharing, I wanted to give you the heads up about Perry Power’s upcoming two-day course for estate agents looking to grow their business. Like John and Chris, Perry’s one of the estate agency community’s givers. The link for more info is below:

https://www.roystonguest.com/events/built-grow-power-bespoke/?fbclid=IwAR0jZwgfkP9igW2JSM7ICiSzCtCMtfX1U71XSm6Sy99zG1cvvr405e-qCzc

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We will fight them on the beaches. I have a dream. Just do it. The real thing. Make America great again. Local property experts? Words have power. So why do so many estate agents undervalue them? Just look at how they’ve been used by leaders and businesses over the years to divide, terrify, inspire, unite and motivate people. A great example of this is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It was a short speech delivered during the American Civil War. Its message still echoes today and for many it was a turning point in the Civil War as it moved, motivated and re-energised the Northern states to go on and be victorious. That speech was just 271 words long – the same length as this article. The bloke who addressed the crowd before Lincoln spoke for two hours. His name and message forgotten. Gerald Ratner showed us why we need to be very careful with our choice of words. The marketing genius behind the smoothie giants Innocent highlighted how they can make your brand stand out from the crowd. Some company slogans are etched into society’s subconscious. Like I said words have power. The power to create all sorts of action from the reader, listener or viewer. If used correctly and thoughtfully. If choosing the right words can change history for both good and bad what can they do for your agency business? What would happen if your agency had the right tone of voice, turn of phrase and consistent messages that caught your audience’s attention? Would your blogs be more interesting? Your newsletters more entertaining? Your website a tool to win new business, rather than just list properties? Your vlogs better scripted – you marketing materials more than instant recycling fodder? And if finding the right words seems an Everest in blizzard season type challenge make your lives easier and seek out good content writers who know the industry. I hope that gives you some food for thought. Thanks for reading. Jerry PS: Check out Episode 49 of The Estate Agents Podcast where I join the panel of the award-winning trainer Stephen Brown, Luke St Clair and Andrew Overman to discuss how agencies can use content to grab and keep their community’s attention.  
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I listened to an interesting podcast last night.
And as most people on my database are estate agents I think you’d be interested in it too.
It’s called the Estate Agents Podcast and hosted by three of the industry’s good guys.
Los tres amigos are, successful agency owner Luke St Clair, award winning industry veteran Andy Overman and top sales trainer Stephen Brown.
To date they have recorded 46 shows featuring interviews with leading industry figures from around the world, sales and marketing experts and fellow agents.
The emphasis seems to be on sharing best practice, introducing new ideas and educating agents (and is turned out also teaching a PR and copywriter something he hadn’t thought of).
The episode I listened to features an interview with Jeb Blount, an American author and public speaker who is recognised as one of the top sales and prospecting experts.
Like many people I hate prospecting, the thought of cold calling someone makes my heart sink, my shoulders slump and my procrastination skills leap into action. ‘Oh look there’s a squirrel.’
But Blount breaks prospecting down into seemingly manageable chunks.
His section on motivating your staff, and indeed yourself, to pick up the phone and how to deal with the inevitable levels of rejection is the highlight of his half hour.
Blount also names the number one tool in an agent’s sales armoury.
I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t included it on my estate agency marketing pillars document which I thought (incorrectly), covered most of the techniques and methods agents could use to attract new instructions.
That little bit of learning alone made the podcast and previous and future episodes of it worth checking out because I’m a big believer in the saying ‘the more you learn, the more you can earn.’
You can subscribe to the Estate Agents Podcast via the usual channels and it’s well worth checking out.
Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.
Jerry
PS: If you want a free copy of my Estate Agent Marketing pillars which covers nearly all the tools and techniques just ping me an email saying, ‘For pod’s sake.’ And if you can spot my glaring, and soon to be rectified mission, let me know.
PPS: My Estate Agent Content Club launches in just 15 days. Is your area still available? To find out why so many agents have already joined drop me an email.
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estate_agent_content

There’s a new type of con man and woman in town.

And thankfully this emerging breed of con artists has zero to do with being smart talking, shiny suited charlatans tricking decent people out of their money.

For con people in 2018 replace confidence (as in con man / woman) with content.

Because folks if you’re in the estate agency business and not sharing content with your local market you will end up losing market share to a rival who is – if you haven’t already.

Here’s a personal example of why sharing content across all your marketing platforms is really important.

The Lyons clan is currently looking to book our summer family holiday.

The hotels / travel agents on our shortlist all have websites and social media which feature a professionally produced video, a blog section about life at the hotel and holiday advice in their region – what to do, where to eat, what to bring, that kind of thing.

These companies are already showing they are happy to help, that they know their stuff and they are all distinguishing themselves from cheaper rivals (and some more expensive ones).

So, if people like me are finding good content a deal maker with a decision like booking a holiday what do you think people in your area will think of an agency sharing useful content about the biggest buying decision they’ll make in their lifetime?

It’ll give them a sense of confidence and trust in your agency.

Some estate agents are already brilliant con people. These are the agents who consistently share useful content across all marketing platforms.

By content I’m talking about blogs that solve problems, videos that showcase why choosing experience over expense pays homeowners handsomely and being much more about the genuine tell than the hard sell.

Google loves fresh content on your website. Your email marketing is naked without problem solving content and your social media nothing more than a stream of listed properties.

I’ve come up with this 2 question, 10 second test below, which will highlight where you are a ‘good’ con man / woman in the agency world.

Do you have content you share?

Simple question. Yes or no? If it’s yes, please proceed to the PIE test below. If it’s a no, seriously? It’s 2018. If you are the expert in your field start proving it by sharing your experience, expertise and personality.

Does the content you share pass the PIE test?

The PIE test is something I’ve come up with that’s simple and doesn’t involving baking.

If you’ve produced or bought content that you’re sharing which isn’t Personable, Informative and Entertaining then it’s the equivalent of my last baking effort – a catastrophe of a Victoria sponge that was as flat as an old flip-flop and tasted only marginally better.

Yes – I’ve a vested interest in this subject because I’m now more of a content producer than PR man.

But that last statement alone is proof enough that sharing useful content is now more important than column inches in the local paper. Content is the new King and Queen.

The times have changed. And just like ‘gin’ the association attached to con men and women is changing for the better.

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

Jerry

 

 

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estate_agent_content

Believe it or not some people aren’t on Facebook.

This rare breed of Homo Sapiens is probably feeling smug now as their personal data hasn’t been half-inched by a bunch of techie Arthur Daly’s intent on swaying elections.

But seriously, some people are only just joining Facebook. An estate agent client of mine has just joined the World’s biggest social media network.

He asked me a question which really got me thinking.

“Who should I be following on Facebook to improve my estate agency?”

I created a list of five people for him and he’s happy for me to share it below.

My pet hate with Facebook isn’t the selfie brigade, or the passive aggressive posse – it’s the business gurus.

There’s hundreds of them promising the earth and almost universally have about as much substance as a Made in Chelsea / Only Way is Essex character.

However, the people on the list below offer value and, in my opinion, are good people to follow if you want to improve your estate agency. Whether that relates to your marketing, sales, systems or software.

In no particular order.

  1. Perry Power of Power Bespoke.
    When I first became aware of Perry I made a snap judgement. Turns out it was wrong. His page uses video really well, he’s passionate about his business and indeed the estate agency business. And he gets that we’re now living in the sharing society when it comes to social media.
  2. Mathew Wood of Orchard Estates.
    He is a client of mine but that has nothing to do with me putting him on the Famous Five list. A hugely likable, honest chap his agency’s page features Ask the Experts videos, live updates from open houses and loads more. And by the way his agency was crowned Best Estate Agent in the UK at last year’s Best Estate Agents Guide event supported by Rightmove and the Property Academy. So, he knows his stuff.
  3. Tom Panos.
    An Australian trainer for the property industry. He comes across brash, a little forceful even. But hey he’s an Aussie but unlike some of his countrymen he doesn’t seem the type to tamper with your balls. I like his stuff, especially the short clips he posts that are insightful, interesting and he comes across as genuine. He’s got some excellent motivational videos on YouTube and interviews a lot of Oz’ leading agency owners.
  4. Matt Giggs of Giggs and Co.
    Again, scores highly in the likeability league table. And he’s got a really good story behind his successful brand. Aside from his agency’s page he also has the Matt Giggs Personal Power Group, which aside from the slightly ‘Awesome, be the best you’ sponsored by Anthony Robbins Inc sounding name is a very useful page for estate agents to build up their bank of knowledge. Uses video well, has a personality and shares behind the scenes at his agency.
  5. Chris Kyriacou
    Runs the SMART Strategies for Estate Agents Facebook Group. While I’m not sure Chris is still an estate agent he certainly has experience. And this is probably my favourite page for agents to air their concerns, ask for help, share useful tips and sometimes have a moan up.

All five are united by three things that are important for business success and good karma in the social media age we find ourselves in.

  1. They all produce a ton of content, especially video – but not just shite content or Egos on Tour. It’s mostly useful content you can learn from and beats being pitched to by a guru promising easy millions by simply downloading his bundle of bollocks for $299 (with instalment options as f’ing standard).
  2. They show enough of their personality for you to buy them as people. I can’t do business with people I don’t like and imagine this is the case with a lot of (not all may I add) people.
  3. They are generous. Gone are the days when we guard little things that improve our businesses. Sure, I get why KFC guards the Colonel’ Secret Recipe, but the sharing economy is here, and the world is all the better for it, most of the time. By sharing their knowledge, their story and experience these five pages / people are positioning themselves as experts and building their own personal brand which will benefit their agencies or respective businesses.

Notable others who are worth a look are Michelle Gallagher from JDG Estate Agents, Shaun Adams of Cooper Adams, Chris Watkin, Sam Ashdown and the guys at the Property Academy.

This is just my honest opinion and I know there are lots of other pages and groups out there worth a look.

And finally, in true Facebook fashion if you like this article please share it like it’s a video of a cat in a hat playing a guitar while being pulled along the street in a go kart by two cute little puppies to the Curb Your Enthusiasm soundtrack.

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

Jerry

 

 

 

 

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estate_agent_content

I spent most of yesterday up in Milton Keynes – the home of a hundred roundabouts.

My day was spent at a marketing conference held at the MK Dons Football Stadium.

Some of the great and good of marketing were there, proper experts (and a boring bloke who delivered one of the dullest presentations I’ve endured in ages).

As with all these events I go seeking one new thing.

My rule of thumb is if I go away with just one thing that I can implement in my business and share with the readers of my blogs and articles I’ll be happy.

I got that one thing I was after.

Ironically it was something I’ve known for a long time, and have shared with clients and readers, but yesterday it was put to me in a very succinct way.

It’s so relevant for good estate agents that it could’ve been written as a mantra by good estate agents.

The gist of it is this.

Consumer trust in business is at an all-time low.

That’s a real issue for agents who often start pretty lowdown in the public’s trustometer (undeservedly in my opinion).

One of the experts presenting yesterday nailed it right back on the kisser.

Familiarity breeds ………………TRUST.

Worth saying again – Familiarity breeds trust.

That’s why we trust Amazon to deliver.

That’s why we trust John Lewis’s stuff to be quality.

That’s why we trust Ant and Dec (Do we still trust them after Ant’s recent problems? I do.)

We’re familiar with them, because we see them so frequently with the same consistent message.

We deliver properly. We only sell quality. We are decent down to earth lads.

So, the questions for estate agents who care are these.

What are you doing to be seen frequently by your local market?

What’s that consistent message you’re sending out to potential vendors and landlords?

How are you maintaining rapport with people on your patch?

Think about it. Even if it’s the one thing you consider about your PR and marketing this week.

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

Jerry

PS: I’m currently working like an eager beaver on speed, on something secret that will be launched soon to really help estate agents get all of the above sorted. Watch this space folks.

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