How to Hire a BDM

Tara Bradbury explains the qualities you need to look for in hiring a BDM for your property management business.

Choosing the right BDM is essential for any real estate agency that wants to achieve fast and consistent growth in 2015. Before you even advertise for the vacant position, it is important you understand and develop a proper job description. From my experience, principals often overlook the job description and then wonder why the department is going backwards and not growing.

Remember, the energy you put out into the universe for a new BDM is what you will get back in the way of potential applicants. If you put no effort into the job title and description, how can you expect to attract a quality staff member? The roles of the property manager and BDM are very different, and I often see advertising for a BDM position with a property manager’s description.

You need to open and close your BDM advertisement by catching the eye of the best potential candidate with the most suited personality and skill level for the role.
Sample questions for advertisements:

  • Are you an individual who can think outside the box?
  • Are you highly driven and motivated by success?
  • Are you prepared to step outside your comfort zone and go the extra mile to achieve high results?
  • Can you picture yourself as the expert and provide valuable information to investors?

The above questions will get the prospective candidate thinking and wanting to know more, and they will read on. You can then close by saying, ‘If the answer is yes, and you are interested in a career that is going to new levels every day, call now! You are the type of person we want on our growing team!’

Now for the best part: you have promoted your vacant position and had a glowing response receiving 20 resumes. Do you interview all the applicants, or choose a select five and hope one is suitable?

I say neither. I suggest giving each applicant an opportunity, but don’t go to the extreme of interviewing everyone. Be proactive and have a list of direct questions to send the applicants once you have received their resumes. Put an end date for when they need to be returned and, based on the response, you will have plenty of information to start calling the suitable applicants for an interview.

Don’t be afraid to ask another staff member to get involved in the interview process with a few questions. They may see something you don’t, and it gives you a second opinion rather than having to make a decision on your own. It is important that the new BDM works well with the current team environment. It only takes one sour grape to destroy what has been a happy and successful team.

Make sure the applicant is doing all the talking during the interview process and ask open-ended questions. Many times I have seen principals do all the talking during an interview. They think, ‘Gee, that went well!’ and hire the applicant. Then they realise the candidate is unsuitable, but they were never given a chance to speak.

Remember, all the interview questions should be based on job requirements. The recruitment process should give applicants a detailed description of what the job actually involves; otherwise they are likely to leave soon after starting. This is why it is important to have a detailed job description which is clearly explained and acknowledged during the interview process.

Keep in mind that many people will come across as excellent and have the skills you are looking for, but are they willing to go the extra mile? Will they live up to the requirements expected of them, and do they have the salesperson skills needed for the BDM position?

Understand that the person best suited for the position may not bring in high numbers straight away. It takes at least three to six months to build solid relationships with referral networks and sometimes longer, when they already have an established relationship in place with another agency or BDM.

Finally, don’t be afraid to start your new BDM on a probation period, as this gives you the chance to further test the commitment and skills expressed during the interview process. Probation periods can vary in length but are usually around three months.

I’m often asked whether you need to be a property manager before becoming a BDM. I believe the BDM must understand the role of a property manager and be involved with the team. However, he or she does not necessarily need property management experience prior to taking on the position.

I personally have seen many successful BDMs across Australia and New Zealand who had no previous experience in the industry and yet comfortably achieve 10, 20, even 30-plus managements per month.

A BDM should be out of the office 80 per cent of the time networking, building relationships, meeting with new landlords, promoting the office by doing presentations, completing rental appraisal and presenting management agreements. The other 20 per cent should be spent handling paperwork, adding new contacts to the database and following up prospective landlords.

The best way to check that your BDM is on track is to ask them to provide you with a detailed plan. Make sure the tasks and appointments are income-producing activities and follow up with them the next day to see how successful they were.

In 2015, be the principal who is more proactive than reactive when hiring new staff.

Hiring reactively will only create more chaos in your department and make the current team uncomfortable. Consider the importance and future growth of the property management department and plan to staff accordingly. This practice doesn’t necessarily mean that the principal hires before additional growth. However, it does mean that the principal hires strategically, rather than reactively.

The practice of proactive staffing requires a strong discipline; it looks past the current and seemingly more urgent ‘issues’ in favour of a different direction where you can design the future according to your business needs.

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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.