EPMEPM: First Person

How to consult, prescribe and close as Dr Property Manager: Debbie Palmer

As property managers we wear many hats – debt collector, private investigator, counsellor, lawyer, accountant, negotiator, mediator; the list goes on. But one of Debbie Palmer’s secret success strategies for winning new business is another hat: doctor.

If I were to telephone or visit your agency today and enquire about your services, what would you say? How would you respond to questions like, ‘What do you do for your management fee?’, ‘Why should I choose you?’ or ‘What do you do differently?’

To successfully win new business it is important that you can answer these questions to set yourself apart from your competitors.

It is not a simple focus of talking about your services, such as sourcing a quality tenant, collecting the rent, organising maintenance and accounting to landlords at the end of the month. Yes, this is what we do, but the landlord wants to hear about the benefits to themselves.

In my coaching sessions, I call it ‘the sausage and the sizzle concept’. The sausage is the service that you deliver; the sizzle is the outcome that the landlord wants to achieve – wealth creation, maximised income, optimised capital growth and more money in their back pocket.

When we take an enquiry from a prospective landlord or conduct a listing presentation, we can often fall into the trap of over-talking; telling them what we do, instead of listening.

I believe that the best way to win the business is, firstly, be prompt in following up the enquiry. During my career in property management there were countless times where I would call a prospective landlord back almost immediately for them to say, ‘I can’t believe you’ve returned my call, as I have left messages with three agents and got no response’. The second tip is to be professional (know what to say), be yourself and connect with the landlord. And lastly, and most importantly, put on your doctor’s hat.

We are not going to the landlord to present (tell them all about our services) and close; we are going to consult, prescribe and then close.

I once heard a story of a lady who wanted to buy a television. She walked into the retail shop and a young, newly employed and enthusiastic salesperson approached her. ‘How can I help you today?’ She responded that she was looking to buy a television. He quickly took her to a TV and started to explain the features. ‘This is a 110-inch screen, has 3D, a modern silver colour, a bargain at $1,999…’ and on and on he talked. When he paused for breath the lady responded, ‘But this is not what I’m looking for. I want a white TV. This is out of my budget, I have eye problems and wouldn’t use the 3D aspect, and 110-inch is way too big for our room size.’

When trying to win the business it is important to understand the needs and wants of the landlord. The first five minutes should be about building a relationship connection and not talking business at all. Then you need to take the time to ‘consult’ with them and find out their needs.

Just a few scripts that I have found to be very successful as a lead-in to a presentation:

    • Do you mind if I ask you a few quick questions?
    • Why did you call our agency?
    • What are you looking for in a property manager?
    • Do you have any concerns about renting out your property?
    • Have you spoken with other agents?
    • Ultimately, what is the most important thing about appointing someone to care for your property?

Once you know the needs and concerns of the landlord you can ‘prescribe’ by focusing on the areas of your service that will satisfy their needs and give them peace of mind. More often than not, winning the business is about listening rather than talking.

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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.