Never before has there been so much pressure to keep in touch and connect with clients; to have a relationship beyond obtaining approval on repairs. The main reason for this relationship is future referral and business growth. Research tells us this is the way your business and client base will grow. So how can you build successful relationships in Property Management that keep you on top of your game? Story by Terry Christianos.
Building and maintaining these relationships can be a job in itself for some larger agencies, however, with some careful planning and time management, any office can be successful in keeping in touch with their clients, with the goal of becoming their first point of contact for advice and referral business. Seven essential tips for staying connected are:
Social Media for Property Management
This differs slightly from the use of social media in residential sales, especially amongst our various markets. Posting properties for lease on a social media site in a tightly held market is probably not necessary to lease the property, however, it will add to the profile and activity of the agency for any new business followers.
The consensus amongst most agents is that social media for Property Management is more about communicating with clients, rather than marketing of properties, which is perfect! Use it for posting news updates, a terrific team performance or an example of legislative change and how it has affected your office, share information on your achievements and collective knowledge or list recently leased properties with detailed descriptions and so on.
To be an effective communication tool, Social Media needs regular attention and must be current, active and engaging. It also needs to be marketed to clients to have a following. It’s not necessary to have a great many ‘followers’ as it is quality of material posted that is paramount. Let your clients know in advance examples of what you are posting, that this will be their point of contact for what is happening around their property and in your office and that they have the opportunity to contribute, ask questions and generally keep in touch with you online. Have a list of topics or ideas in a ‘social media’ file of what you can post so you are never short of an update, and make it every few days at the minimum, so you are always current when someone joins your page.
Social Media can be a marketing tool for your business that will help you be remembered. This is what you want when it comes to referral business and growth. You can include tips or reminders as a post, e.g. annual pool or chimney maintenance, or even tax tips, or funny real estate videos, etc. Think of it as a way of demonstrating your knowledge, professionalism and activity in the market and make sure you devote time in your weekly task planner to keep it current!
Point of Contact (POC) calls
This is something that I have introduced into my consulting program that is certainly hitting the spot with my clients. When you think about the 80/20 rule, (i.e. 80% of your business is generated by 20% of your clients) – it may actually mean that you never actually hear from 80% of your rent roll clients! POC calls should be completed by your Property Manager and included in their KPI’s each week. It is a ‘touching base’ or ‘making sure you are happy with the service’ call. Make the client feel they are important.
Invite to Periodic Inspections
Another great way to keep in touch is to get the landlord out to see their property. This is a really nifty idea if you have ongoing maintenance issues that you cannot resolve; a good opportunity to meet over common ground and use the time to connect and make friends….an essential ingredient in growing your business.
“Meet and greet” for your clients does not always get as many numbers as you would like, but with your team together, away from the office it is bound to be worthwhile. Instead of cocktails in the office or an information night why not try a private viewing of a new release movie, or even a catered family bowls lunch. Getting to know your clients away from the office will help you stay in touch and connected.
There are so many options out there for newsletters now that there’s actually no excuse. If you are not externally sourcing newsletters, have a list of topics and ideas in a folder that you can refer to once a month to publish a newsletter together exclusively for your Property Management clients. You can include things like performer (employee) of the month/quarter and their achievements, feature property for lease/recently leased or for sale/recently sold, a tribunal case study that will help educate your clients and even an example of your Environmentally Sustainable Business Practice (EBSP).
Thank you or Anniversary cards
I suggest these be included on Property Manager’s Key Performance Indicators each week just to ensure that we were making necessary client contact, without excuse. It is once a year, diarised in Outlook or your PM software diary, and is truly a “no brainer” point of contact for your client. Take any opportunity you can to let them know that they are important.
Customer Service Survey
This should be completed at least every 12–24 months. There are free online surveys that you can use that will require a minimal amount of time and no expense at all. You should be able to export all of your clients email addresses to an excel file and merge with an email that asks them to fill out an online survey. It is not only keeping in touch with your client and asking for their opinion; it is also providing you with valuable feedback about the performance of your team.
Terry Christianos is a licensed REA and Certified Trainer, consulting in Residential Property Management. With 18 years in Property Management and after selling her rent roll in 2009, Terry is now educating, improving and growing Property Management Businesses. Visit www.growpm.com.au for further information.