Tara Bradbury reveals how rivalry between agency departments could be stopping you from turning local opportunities into a strong pipeline.
I STILL REMEMBER my first year in real estate; it was a big eye-opener for me. Properties were selling for as low as $50,000 at one point, and I remember thinking I should really save a deposit and buy my first home.
Then in no time prices exploded up to $150,000, $200,000 and $300,000, causing a massive buying frenzy. Sales consultants were working flat out and some properties were being sold three or even four times within a 12-month period.
I also remember having to walk down to the bank each day to hand over a black leather bag with anywhere up to $10,000 of trust money in cash. Looking back now, I’m surprised I wasn’t robbed, considering I left at the same time every afternoon, strutting down the street in my stunning high heels with not a care in the world.
The connection between the property management and sales departments was pretty much non-existent at this time. Sales consultants saw the property management team as support staff, and they were expected to be the first to pick up any incoming call. The property managers also had preconceived ideas about the sales consultants, saying they were overpaid and lazy.
Initially, as a 17-year-old falling into the real estate industry straight out of high school, earning $300 per week was fantastic! Many of my friends went to university in the city, but instead I chose to live at home, paid cash for my first car and believed I was truly living the dream.
But after a while I started realising I wanted more; I felt that the real estate industry might not be the right fit for me and started considering other options. I was working in a very negative environment with agents who had been in the industry for over 20 years, embracing change was very difficult for them. Then at the age of 21 I was offered a position with another local real estate agency; I jumped ship and never looked back. For those of you who have followed my journey, my BDM career was with a local company, Wide Bay Prestige Properties, and as a mentor myself I now see how lucky I was to work with such a fantastic organisation.
I now have the pleasure of working one on one with agencies across Australasia, sharing with them different rent roll growth strategies to help improve their most valuable asset in the agency. It still amazes me how many offices are missing the connection between the property management and sales departments. I see so many in-house opportunities leaking through the cracks and going to competitors every day, all because the property management and sales departments refuse to communicate with each other.
So how do we improve the communication between departments and get the benefit of these opportunities sitting right under our noses? Let me share with you my six-step process.
Step One: Implement weekly meetings for sales and property management together. If you have a full-time BDM they should attend both meetings.
Step Two: Discuss possible referrals that can be passed between both departments from conversations with clients over the previous week.
Step Three: Provide appraisals between both departments to ensure our clients see us a one-stop shop for all real estate needs.
Step Four: Share changes and market updates between the departments to ensure the agency is seen as the investment property specialist in the marketplace.
Step Five: Set up a partnership arrangement or some form of incentive for any business passed between the property management and sales departments.
Step Six: The director or principal creates a competition around referrals passed and business secured. Those who are competitive and money-driven will get right into the challenge.
Many sales agents are reluctant to pass on the client to a property manager because they don’t have the confidence the property will be looked after. In fact, I know many sales agents who don’t have confidence in the property management team; instead they have external relationships with direct competitors and are letting the business down to protect the relationship they have created.
From my own experience I can guarantee that the following opportunities are not being followed up in your agency 100 per cent effectively.
- Current landlords
- Current tenants
- Current tradespeople
- Past landlords
- Past tenants
- Contacts on tenant application forms
- Open home attendees list
- Auction attendees list
- Buyer leads through website or advertising
- Past buyers
- Past sellers
- Database follow-up – hot, warm and cold leads.
It is vital that as an agency you form stronger relationships with your clients, answer all their questions and address their concerns. You should always build long-term and trusted relationships with your clients; they are entrusting you with their property, which is very important to their future. So if the relationship between the property management and sales departments is non-existent in the agency, how do you think that will reflect in the marketplace?
I encourage you to take the time to look at how each and every member of your agency communicates with others. Are you working in a positive and productive environment? Or are you in a team that has a reactive approach to change and struggles to connect?
Don’t let poor communication in your agency damage your brand in the marketplace.