EPMEPM: BD & Growth

Grow it Alone

Do you rely too much on the sales department for new rental managements? It should not be your only source of leads, says BDM Academy founder Tara Bradbury.

ALL BDMS understand that in order to generate more business you need to allocate prospecting and promotion time. I used to be the prospecting excuse expert. I would say to my principal ‘I don’t feel comfortable’ or ‘I don’t know what to say.’

To be successful at prospecting you must be consistent. If you don’t implement prospecting time into your ideal week, it will never happen. Your prospecting will only be effective if you promote your brand, build relationships and target the areas from which you want to receive referrals. Many agencies seem to expect 50 per cent of the growth to come from the sales team, but in my experience only 10 per cent of our growth comes from sales! To me, sales referrals are the icing on the cake; they are great to have but shouldn’t be the only focus area for the BDM.

In this article I am going to cover three areas of new management prospecting that you can implement yourself, no sales interaction required!

In the real estate world, we need to focus on expanding our network of contacts every day. Networking is about obtaining information and making contacts that will help grow the property management department. It’s an essential tool to build a good reputation, so when you speak about your agency you will be considered the expert in your field.

A person who attends networking events and fails to follow up a lead is wasting their time. You need to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and take a chance. The contact may say no, or they may not be ready yet; but if you don’t keep in touch who will they call when they are ready? Who will they recommend to their friends or family when they need help?

Points to remember when building relationships:

  • Make contact and record your conversation.
  • Ensure you ask for all contact information and don’t be afraid to ask how to spell their name. Sending an email or letter with their name spelled incorrectly could potentially lose you the business.
  • Set a date to contact them again and record what you speak about next.
  • Keep good notes on the conversations to which you can refer back, for example if they recently got married, or mention of a baby, a holiday or a birthday.
  • Always provide value-added information to prospective clients.

I believe the old saying ‘time is money’ is very true when you are relationship-building. If you don’t complete the above steps and don’t follow up your potential clients, you are wasting your time.

Do you have a follow-up system in place for your existing clients? The current landlords, tenants and tradespeople of an agency are, unfortunately, often overlooked. However, it is important that they are happy with your service so that you can get future business from them.

Don’t be scared to ask for feedback from your clients and communicate with them to ensure they are happy with their property manager. During your conversation, take time to ask them if they have any other investment properties in your area. You will be surprised how many have properties that are with other agents or are privately managed.

Start by making five phone calls a day and go through a short survey with them to get as much information as you can. Make sure you limit each call to five minutes where possible, and provide all feedback to your team members at the next meeting. Congratulate those who are doing a great job and have received positive feedback from the landlords. If you receive negative feedback, make sure your principal is aware of it and share it with the property manager. Discuss the problem and allow property management to come up with a solution first, then make sure you follow up both parties to ensure that the issue has been resolved. Make sure you ask if they have property that you don’t currently manage, or whether they have ever considered starting an investment portfolio.

Remember, the main reason why communication fails and clients get frustrated is because they are left hanging. In a lot of cases we listen and pass their concern on to the staff member involved, but we don’t follow up. If you want strong communication in the property management department, it starts with you. As a BDM you are a leader, and you need to ensure your level of communication is replicated through your team members. It doesn’t matter what you say; it only matters what the other person hears.

What does your Facebook profile say about you?

With Facebook evolving rapidly in such a short space of time, it’s not easy for users to grasp the unspoken rules of acceptable social interaction. However, there is an understanding and generally agreed courtesy and etiquette for online communication.

Based on recent Facebook experiences, I must stress my opinion and approach to this subject is purely focused around suggestions to help you enhance your interactions and success with this very powerful online network.

My recommendations:
Take the time to comment on different posts throughout your newsfeed and respond to all comments posted on your profile, page and group.

Before posting your comments ask yourself, ‘Is this post appropriate to share with my friends and professional network?’

Take time to consider the ramifications of what you are posting prior to updating your status.  General statements may seem harmless to you, but others may read them in a different light.

Communicating on Facebook is mostly textual and you need to be aware of your tone. Remember, the wealth is in the words; since the person viewing your comments is unable to read your body language, you really need to consider what you are about to say before you click the ‘post’ button. It is very easy for someone to think you are being sarcastic when you are not, or misunderstand your tone.

Be sensitive of who you might be tagging in photos, especially those shots which are unpleasant and inappropriate.

Even if you have the most stringent privacy settings, there’s still a risk that what you post can reach people you wouldn’t want it to reach. So just play safe and leave your venting for somewhere private.

It’s entirely up to you how you promote yourself through this very powerful network. For anyone in the real estate industry it’s important to find a happy medium between being fun and being sensitive to everyone you connect with. When you find that right balance you’ll not only increase your online profile, but also strengthen your agency’s branding in a positive and professional way.

The big question you need to ask yourself is: are you taking full advantage of all the opportunities available while allocating time for prospecting and promotion?

The overall goal for all BDMs is to increase the value of the property management department. There are hundreds of ways to achieve that. With the right mix of activities, you can identify and focus on the most effective prospecting techniques.

It’s important to have a clear plan with an outline of how you will reach your ideal referrals. Then, by effectively implementing the strategies that work for your agency, you will start to see the reward.

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Tara Bradbury

Tara Bradbury is the Director of the BDM Academy sharing her business development ideas and strategies with property management BDM’s and Principals. For more information visit bdmacademy.com.au.