EPMEPM: Leadership

21 Tips to Thrive

Would you like to improve your PM business this year? We asked Debbie Palmer, Property Management advocate and Managing Director of the PPM Group, to provide us with her top tips for building a thriving property management department.

  1. Hire a BDM. I am quite surprised that the role of a BDM has been a buzz word for almost 10 years, yet the industry as a whole has not embraced the concept. If you want to grow your business it is critical to have a team member within your organisation who is focused on this core activity.
  2. Ensure that you have email addresses of all landlords, tenants, trades people, prospective investors, prospective tenants, past landlords and past tenants. Manage these contact details in a database that is capable of filtering these contacts into categories to generate separate marketing emails. Have a focus on entering as many prospective investor details as possible to this database.
  3. Develop eye catching and well-worded marketing material that will generate enquiry. For example: the marketing flyer could say on the front ‘We have found someone to pay the rent if your tenants won’t’.
  4. Send regular emails with a focus on generating new business. The information needs to be interesting and value added for it to be read.
    – Overview of sale properties of the month
    – Overview of what properties are selling for and renting for
    – How an investor can generate greater profits in owning a property
    – Incentives for transferring the management of other properties to your agency (I.e. First three months management complimentary and you will manage the transfer for them)
    – Incentives for referrals, such as, $50 for every signed up management received
    – Incentives for tenants to purchase properties through your agency (I.e. Last months’ rent free)
  5. Regularly telephone your current landlords and tenants (they are often potential buyers or landlords) to conduct service surveys. The ultimate purpose of this call is to generate more business while sending a message that you are dedicated to client satisfaction. Ask every tenant and landlord if they own another investment, are they looking to buy or are they looking to sell.
  6. Reward your team (including sales staff) for new managements. (From past experience offering sales team members cash payments (still taxable) for new managements, instead of directly to their bank account can motivate them to be a little more aggressive in securing this business for you).
  7. Ensure that all of your sales team have marketing material to promote the property management department to their clients.
  8. Ensure that you have a property management representative at each sales auction. Dedicate a table to promoting the property management department to auction attendees.
  9. Ensure that your sales team displays the property management marketing material at every open house on the tabletop or kitchen bench.
  10. Ensure that you have a system, procedure, or form where every ‘investment’ sale enquiry is recorded with contact details. In many agencies, the focus is often just on connecting with the successful purchaser to manage the property. In any given week, you could have 10, 20, 50, or 100 property investors contact your office. This list of investors should be followed up by your BDM to introduce themselves and your service. The BDM should also offer an appraisal and free advice line service to these investors during their property search process. Even if they purchase through another agency the contact from your BDM may secure the business.
  11. Revise your open house register contact details form and ensure that you ask if they are a home occupier or an investor. This will allow the BDM to follow up every investor that visits your open houses.
  12. Offer every team member (including administration staff) in your agency incentives for referring business – purchasers, vendors, and new landlords.
  13. Allocate time for the Property Management BDM to introduce themselves to the local business owners and keep in constant contact with them. One contact can generate a multitude of referral business without you having to do anything.
  14. Establish a database of referring clients (i.e. accountants, solicitors, bank lending officers and financial advisors, etc.) so that you can keep in touch with them on a regular basis.
  15. Establish an incentive program for referral business. For every successful management send them flowers, a chocolate basket, lunch voucher, pamper pack, or movie tickets, etc. How would you feel if all you had to do was hand out a marketing flyer and each week you received gifts in return?
  16. Always include and promote the property management department on all sales marketing material. (I.e. Sales letterbox drops, newspaper advertising, yellow pages advertising, etc.)
  17. Always include and promote the property management department when advertising properties for rent. Often private landlords will review classifieds and the Internet to see what is available. (For example, we rented 20 properties last month, is yours still vacant?)
  18. Establish market dominance in your area. Place rental lists and marketing material everywhere in your local community. (I.e. local kindergartens, shopping centres, churches, sports clubs, libraries, local professional offices, etc.) And don’t forget the businesses where people have to wait such as doctor and dental surgeries. When people have to wait, they will read anything.
  19. Write editorials on the property management department in your local newspaper.
  20. Include promotional and marketing statements on all your office stationery as well as general correspondence (letters and emails) that are sent to tenants and landlords. Display an image of a gift card and promote that you pay for referrals. Gift cards are tax deductible and paying $50 – $100 for a successful referral is far more profitable for your business than buying a property at $1000 – $3000.
  21. Increase your sales by connecting with your tenants. Nine times out of 10, a tenant will not purchase through your office for two reasons. They don’t want you to know they are looking to move out and you have not developed a relationship with them that you are there to help with their property search. When a tenant moves in add to one of your tenant information sheets a question: Are you or do you know of someone who is looking to purchase property in the near future. In the present market the properties are easy to find, it is the buyers that are few and far between. Many of our members are dramatically increasing their sales by connecting with their tenants.

Other than these marketing and growth strategies, the best advice I can give a property management department to thrive and win new business is to truly CARE – Clients Are Really Everything; and follow up every inquiry immediately with professionalism and passion. Building a thriving property management business does take planning, time, persistence, effort, and a call to action. If you commit to these principles, I guarantee that you will see results!

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Debbie Palmer

Debbie Palmer is the Managing Director of the PPM Group (a national company specialising in property management workflow systems, training and coaching). Debbie is a multi-award winner for property management excellence and is well respected for facilitating in the process of creating high performing, productive and profitable teams. For more information visit ppmgroup.com.au.