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BD and Referrals – Property Management Round Table: Part 4

As a finale to Transform PM 2016 our four PM Directors were joined by Charles Tarbey, Fiona Blayney, Chris Gray, Richard Bray, Julie Davis and Neil Williams for an industry round table discussion on the future of property management and how to best serve the needs of property investors. The session was facilitated by Alister Maple-Brown of Rockend.

In this fourth video of our 8-part series, we focus on business development and referrals, including strategies to improve competition in your market, and how to seek out opportunities effectively.


Richard Bray: Some of the survey research, I was absolutely blown away with it. Out of the over a thousand landlords that we interviewed, one in three are in multiple investment properties. I bet that question’s hardly ever asked or framed at the start. They just pitch it as if it’s the person’s first. They don’t dig deep enough, because you can treat someone with multiple properties completely different to someone’s who’s doing the first time. They need their hands held. They need more investment advice about growing that asset opposed to someone that’s been in the market for a time.

I guess very little would be done to keep it within the franchise network as well. Many people would be multi-franchise. Maybe they’re just experimenting and trying different agents to see who’s best to maybe move later, but I haven’t been across any agency where they offer something to keep it within the franchise network, a referral or a discount or something.

Chris Gray: So with the Buyer’s Agent’s network then we have people in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth because they are technically competitors, but we’ll have two-way referral arrangements with. Because it’s better give it to a friendly competitor than an unfriendly competitor.

Richard: Absolutely.

Alister Maple-Brown: Who you know is going to do a good job.

Chris: Yeah.

Fiona Blayney: I remember, I’m not sure what happens in Century 21, Charles, but I remember back in the day when I was with First National and when we’re talking about faxing. We would be faxing off referral forms multiple times a day. It was a very big thing to do and it was part of the culture, to identify who an investor was, or a vendor was, or a purchaser was in another location.

Charles Tarbey: It’s that question. We have a facility on my real-time platform so they can launch a referral automatically. That’s not the issue, the issue is asking the questions. There’s plenty of times I’ve been to offices where they tell me they can’t get any business or things are quiet. Within about five minutes of looking over some of their old files or recent contracts and calling the owners and asking the question, business starts to fly again. It’s back to the mentality of the agent, and the greater majority know what they have to do. But in property management, especially, it’s more of an analytical role than it is a sales role. They don’t have that mindset to start with and that’s what causes quite a lot of problems.

Fiona: I wonder if tech and the availability of data has actually minimised that or, I don’t know, taken the innate necessity to work together, if it’s actually reduced it? It was kind of that notion where you were helping that agency and they would help you. It was just the done thing, whereas now…

Charles: Property managers don’t even get invited to the sales meetings, and that’s where the problems start.

Fiona: Yeah, not here in the Transform group though, right?

Trent Shorland: Charles’ point is really good though, you could have a sales sheet where you’ve got down their open inspection and you hand it over to one person and they don’t get a referral out of it. Then you hand it over to someone else and they might get five. I think again, it’s down to the personal training you provide those people.

Charles: It’s an ongoing process to train them, but even then it doesn’t happen. I get called into offices at the last minute where the principal’s had enough, they just can’t make it work. Prior to going to the office, I remember one where I did what we call a DTA, a Desktop Analysis. Because we operate in real time, I can see every office’s performance right to date. I had a look the night before, I recognised a series of market opinions that are marked in a business pipeline that hadn’t had any history to them. When I went to the office that morning, I sat down with the team and the first thing I did was – I’m going to break protocol, not use the agenda – I’m going to pick up the phone and you point to any one of these market opinions, and I’m going to give them a call for you.

The very first one I called was a lady, she said, “I’m listing my home for sale today. We wanted to go with Century 21.” I said, “Mind if I ask why you didn’t?” She said, “Nobody got back to me.” I said to her, “Look, if I can send our top sales person out this afternoon, just to help you make your final decision, would that be okay?” She said, “I wouldn’t have a problem with that.” I listed and sold that property. That’s a problem with the industry, people are always looking for new business when existing business holds so much for you.

Trent: We had an example just like that, while I was on holidays, I had a buyer come through to my email. I wasn’t at work so I forwarded it on to the whole team. One person out of the fourteen sales people rang him. He actually had a million dollar property to sell in the area and he listed it within two days. So those other guys just missed the opportunity of ringing and racking up a call. It’s opportunities and if they don’t pick them up and run with them, there’s no difference in sales or PM, you’ve just got to be looking.

Fiona: It’s like the work that we’ve been doing around uncovering the opportunities within your organisation. We’re talking about what’s the marketing plan, how are we bringing people into our businesses. Then it’s, “Okay, that’s all great, let’s just have a look at what we’ve already got that’s sitting here screaming out to us…”

Trent: Screaming at the door because we haven’t been…

Charles Tarbey: What you were saying earlier, I get in my reporting with the gains and losses. When we lose a management, I have a look at the history and find out why. If there’s no history, I’ll call the owner myself. Often I find the answer is they’re consolidating. I want to know why they’re not consolidating with us.

Fiona Blayney: Yeah, that’s right.

Charles Tarbey: That happens so often, “Oh, they’re consolidating.” Ask the property manager why: they’re consolidating. That’s enough of a response, but it’s not.

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