In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, which is having such an impact on all parts of life, including the property industry, steps are being taken across all sectors to mitigate Covid-19’s impact. Here, in an open letter, Craig Vile – director of The ValPal Network – outlines how agents can cope even during these difficult, unprecedented times.
We are writing to you during this crisis with a positive and proactive message of hope. As a result of the government’s support, agents have the opportunity to mothball their businesses and ride out the crisis with the least financial damage and in some cases no damage at all.
The big question, though, is this: apart from admin and support functions, what can agents do during this time to ensure they get out the blocks fast and ahead of their competition when normality resumes?
The answer is lead generation, which means acquiring as many new seller and landlord leads as possible, opening up a dialogue and building a relationship with them. By doing this, you and your teams will be prepared to hit the ground running when the lockdown is over.
Here at The ValPal Network, we have already proven we are the holy grail of lead generation. Not only do we have the most sophisticated and developed valuation tool, we can also help our agents to use and promote it to its full potential.
We also now have the ARO (the Advanced Rent Option), which is a unique and innovative rent in advance option that has been developed and proven by Choices Estate Agents and is now in the pilot stage with a few dozen ValPal Network member agents.
Agents are already using ARO to attract new landlords and, alongside this, we have given them the marketing assets to do so more effectively. You can take a look at the bottom of this page to see what agents are saying about the ARO on the Agent Rainmaker group on Facebook.
As part of the ARO, we have developed an online calculator - which acts much like ValPal and allows potential landlords to find out instantly how much upfront rent they could get after charges.
ARO is already proving to be a game-changer, and before the crisis we were intending to roll it out slowly and in stages to all our members in return for an increase in their subscription.
However, in view of the crisis, we are bringing forward our plans. As of today, many more of our ValPal members will be given access to the ARO at no additional cost during the crisis.
Members using the ARO will get the marketing assets we have developed for you to use, as well as a copy of the pilot appointment letter which sets out the basis of the offer. Please read it carefully. It doesn’t commit you to anything, but it does give some helpful guidance about the rules of the scheme.
The only thing we can’t give you for free at this stage, purely through limited resources, is the online calculator. Here is a link to our test page to see how it would look on your site – the page will be brought on brand for each agent, of course. If you would like the calculator, let us know and we can discuss a reduced subscription deal for early adopters.
We appreciate that it’s a very difficult time for our agents, and we are doing everything we can to help with our top 19 coronavirus tips and our 15 top tips on furloughing. It’s also reassuring for our members to see the action taken by the government to limit the impact of Covid-19, with estate and letting agents exempt from paying business rates in 2020-21, a government aid package for self-employed agents, and measures such as the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, VAT payment deferrals and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
As always, we are here to serve and enhance your business by being your number one provider of valuable seller and landlord leads. We believe there are great opportunities for agents and others at this time of crisis. This is one of them. We all just need to stay positive, support one another and seize the day!
Here is the link to the Agent Rainmaker Facebook Group. Beware it's a private group, but open to all letting agents who want to grow and develop.
*Craig Vile is the Director of The ValPal Network