Client retention is one of the best ways to unlock a sustainable income stream in your property management business. What follows are 13 proven strategies from Jo Oliveri that will help you retain your clients and take you closer to the ultimate end goal: financial freedom.
- CLIENT INDUCTION: CONSISTENT AND ONGOING
Just like you induct new members of your team, you must give your clients an induction too. Property owners, tenants, maintenance contractors – and, in fact, any affiliate service you deal with – must be inducted into your way of doing business, because your way of doing business is what makes you different. The best way to induct your clients is to communicate your policies, procedures and practices before and during your relationship with them. Put simply, you cannot expect your property owners, tenants, and contractors to cooperate with your practices if they don’t know what they are.
- CONSISTENCY OF SERVICE AND CULTURE: THINK MCDONALD’S
When you visit a McDonald’s anywhere in the world you know what to expect – that’s called consistency of service and culture. Do you offer the same consistency of service and culture to your clients? To achieve consistency you must invest in processes, resources and training for your business; all three elements must co-exist in order for consistency of service and culture to be achieved.
- REPORTING: CONSISTENT AND PROFESSIONAL
Reports are the window to your business, so make them consistent and professional. Consistent and professional reporting means all reports have the same layout, design and wording, align with your brand and reputation, contain relevant and meaningful information your property owners require to make informed decisions and are in line with previous reports.
- CONSISTENCY OF MAINTENANCE: SET CONTRACTORS
Property owners are often frustrated by the fact that multiple tradespeople from various companies carry out maintenance and repairs on the same issue. You, as the business owner, must decide which contractors best align with your business’ values, service standards, brand and culture, and you must then ensure your property managers use these chosen contractors each and every time.
- MARKET KNOWLEDGE: AREA SPECIALISTS
It’s no secret that property owners are becoming savvier and want property management agencies that are considered ‘market area specialists’. Property owners want their agents to provide professional advice about their properties and their respective market areas to help them make informed decisions. To become a market area specialist your team must undertake ongoing and in-depth analysis of your market area and provide stockbroker-like advice to your clients.
- TRAINED TEAM: UPHOLD YOUR BRAND AND REPUTATION
Training your team so they represent your brand and uphold your reputation ensures consistency and helps retain your clients. Each team member should receive planned, consistent and ongoing training so they understand your way of doing business and what makes you different from your competitors. Only place your team members in front of your clients once they understand and can uphold what makes your business unique.
- PROFESSIONAL SERVICE AND ADVICE: PROPERTY OWNERS ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR IT
The bottom line is that property owners want a professional service and professional advice from the property management agency they engage, and they are willing to pay for it! Investment properties are probably their most expensive assets so they want service and advice that protects, nurtures and grows their nest eggs. To provide this professional service and advice your agency must become a market area specialist.
- HONESTY AND INTEGRITY: MAINTAIN YOUR STANDARDS
Property owners want to deal with property management agencies that are consistently honest and ethical. You can maintain these high standards by implementing proper systems and processes that ensure compliance and consistency. This ensures you deliver on your promises each and every time, regardless of which team member your clients deal with, so you gain and maintain their trust.
- COMMUNICATION: REGULAR, PURPOSEFUL, CONSISTENT
Property owners, tenants and even prospective clients want regular, purposeful and consistent communication from their property managers. They want to hear from you via phone calls, emails, letters and SMS. They also want communication about when things go right, not just when things go wrong. With the range of automated programs available such communication is now easy to set up and manage.
- PROPERTY MANAGERS: ACT LIKE SALES CONSULTANTS
Property managers must also be good sales consultants. As the business owner it is your job to ensure that your property managers act, think and work like real estate sales consultants. To do this your property management team must be trained to have the same listing, negotiating, marketing and selling skills as your sales team to ensure they are able to match the right client to the right property and at the right price.
- FEEDBACK: KEEP IT HONEST AND FACTUAL
Your property managers must keep communication and feedback honest and factual so property owners can make the best-informed decisions about their investment properties. Your clients need the cold hard facts, not lies. Lies lead to misinformed decisions which potentially lose your property owners money and lose your business clients.
- MANAGEMENT STYLE: MAKE IT PROACTIVE
Sometimes it may feel like your business is dealing with one crisis after another. This is the sign of a reactive management style. Being reactive results in lost clients and managements, brand and reputation damage, and other associated risks. To implement a proactive management style you must put in place proper policies and procedures that measure, monitor and manage your business and keep potentially damaging crises at bay.
- LOYALTY PROGRAM: REWARD YOUR CLIENTS
Your clients want to feel rewarded for their loyalty to your business. Implementing a loyalty program can make your clients feel special and ensure they have a long-term relationship with you. Rewarding your clients does not mean giving away your services for free (for example, offering free management fees) but instead put in place a planned program that results in win-win for both you and your clients – mutual loyalty.
Using these 13 proven strategies will help you achieve client retention in your property management business and unlock a sustainable income stream that takes you closer to financial freedom.