Outclassing the Competition

Is it easy for potential owners to choose your service over your competitors? Jason Hellyer takes a look at some of the ways that you can you can create a point of difference in your next listing presentation.

When a landlord interviews potential agents he or she is subconsciously looking for differences between agencies, in order to make a decision about who to choose to manage their property.

Most Property Managers and Business Development Managers (BDMs) will talk about how efficient they are, how they promptly attend to arrears and maintenance, how they perform six-monthly routine inspections, how they diligently chase arrears and how they pride themselves on choosing the best tenants. What they don’t realise, though, is that every agent in town is probably saying the same thing.

In this scenario the landlord can only find one real difference – and that’s fees! The last thing we want landlords to do is to choose their managing agent based on the lowest fee. It’s our job to give them the wow factor, not because of our fees but because of our service and how different we are from our competitors.

Remember this: there’s cheap and then there’s value for money. Teach your Property Management team how to sell ‘value for money’ not ‘cheap service’. Do some role playing with your manager as a landlord and have them ask you, “If I was looking for a Property Manager, what would make you different from the competition?”

When you role play the above scenario, make sure each of the points are written down, and then highlight the ones that your competitors may also say. Once you complete this exercise you may find that you are confusing what makes you different with the normal and expected duties of a Property Management Department.

As a team, brainstorm what genuinely makes you different. Think of what will wow the client when considering your office; what you do that makes you stand out from your competitors, that will ultimately convince the landlord that you’re different and therefore they should entrust the management of their property to you.

Some suggestions that might make you different include:

  1. A professional approach to marketing – We don’t just put your property on the internet, we take the whole approach to marketing one step further by offering
    • Professional photography
    • Property floor plan
    • Feature property listings
    • Targeted mailings
    • Virtual and video tours
    • Office window cards
    • Database email out
    • Multiple website listings
    • Signboards
    • Open homes and property previews
    • SMS alerts to potential clients.
  2. How long your office has been established – for example, 15 years in the area.
  3. Staff experience – for example, Property Manager with over 10 years’ property management experience.
  4. Properties managed to staff ratio – This can be a very good point of difference. For example, if you have 200 properties with four staff working on them your ratio is 1 to 50, thus clients can expect an exceptional level of service.
  5. Constant online access to financial information for landlords and tenants
    (available if you use REST and other variants of management software).
  6. Dedicated leasing consultant who is 100 per cent focused on getting your property let to the best tenant in the fastest time.
  7. Use of two national tenancy databases for careful screening of tenants (most competitors may only use one).
  8. Compulsory monthly training for all members of the property management team, providing landlords with peace of mind in the knowledge that they’ve contracted a competent company that is constantly up to speed on all issues affecting rental properties.
  9. Low staff turnover – for example, the majority of the team have been with us for five years(consistently dealing with the same person can be a rarity).
  10. Landlord workshops– invite them to participate in landlord workshops: regular seminars conducted by your organisation that may provide useful information from third parties such as the ATO, accountants or SMSFs.
  11. Highlight any awards for industry excellence to prove you have both a professional and a successful team.
  12. Highlight references from satisfied landlords and tenants.

These are just a few ideas that may highlight the difference between your Property Management business and others the landlord may be considering.

Above all, you need to know your competition in order to make sure you draw on the items that genuinely make you stand out from the crowd. Once you’ve identified your points of difference, write them down, memorise them, role play them, use them.

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Jason Hellyer

Jason Hellyer is General Manager of Ray White Rural Victoria. Ray White Rural Victoria and our regional Victorian franchise network, specialises in regional and rural property marketing and sales, property management and livestock marketing