Tara Milzewski is a highly motivated property management professional with a strong passion for business development. In 2012 Tara won an all-expenses paid trip to Hamilton, New Zealand and spoke on a BDM panel at the REINZ National Conference. Here she shares with us her top 5 habits of successful Business Development Managers.
1. Create an Ideal Day
Have you ever dreamed of planning out your perfect day, where every minute is spent in a productive manner?
I hear so many BDMs say, ‘I wish I just had more time’ and ‘If only I just had an extra couple of hours in my day I would achieve so much more’. However, we all know we are unable to change time, and if we could, would it really solve our problems?
No matter how organised we are, there are only ever going to be 24 hours in a day. This is why it is so important to make sure we have a plan in place to manage what we do with our time, because many of us seem to have an addiction to being timewasters and tend to procrastinate during our daily routines.
Do you find yourself spending time on activities that are meaningless to the outcome you are hoping to achieve at the end of the day? Have you ever considered keeping a daily record of the activities you completed? A great example is emails. I find that they can control our day if we allow them to. A lot of us have a five-minute send/receive alarm set up in our email account. Imagine how productive your day would be if you only checked your emails when you arrived in the morning, at lunchtime and just before you go home.
I encourage all BDMs to set up their ideal day and give it a really good go. You will be surprised at where you spend your time, and how much time you do waste.
You can either start tomorrow morning on-purpose, according to an ideal day you’ve set, or you can play the role as BDM in your office by accident, reacting to the demands of new clients, landlords and your team members in the department. You should understand you must firstly take a proactive approach and not have a reactive approach to your day. It takes 21 days to create a new habit, so get started and implement your ideal day first-up tomorrow morning.
2. Embrace the salesperson’s mindset
BDMs with a salesperson’s mindset have the ability to create instant trust with new landlords. It should always be your primary goal to create trust first with the landlord, and not focus on closing straight away. Creating genuine trust is the essence of building long-lasting relationships, and these relationships can turn into more new managements. Once you start to see the landlord has this trust, you will notice a change in their body language and conversation. This is when you start with your closing questions and test the water to see if they are ready.
While I want you to think like a salesperson, you must remember to change your language away from ‘sales speak’ to natural language that connects with people. If you use phrases like ‘Would you be open to…?’ instead of ‘Would you be interested in…?’ you immediately set yourself apart from your competition as a BDM who is patient, open-minded and willing to listen.
Incorporate role play in your weekly team meeting and practice your listing presentations with one of your team members. Take time to prepare a list of responses in case a tricky question comes up during the appraisal, like ‘If we have to negotiate on our rent will you negotiate on your commission?’ or ‘Can you guarantee the property manager I will be assigned to will give me the level of service we have discussed today?’ Live by the old saying ‘practice makes perfect’, and practice, practice, practice!
Property management has become a dynamic and fast-paced world. Now it’s more important than ever to have an extra edge that continues your ongoing referrals. By incorporating prospecting into your daily routine you will see an increase in your database contacts and in no time turn them into qualified prospects.
The best way to start prospecting is to set targets for the number of calls you will make and the amount of doors you will knock on each day. It is very important you don’t get distracted and catch the procrastination virus. Just stay focused, start pumping out the calls and get knocking. No excuses!
Be prepared, have your list of questions written down in front of you and practice. Prospecting is the key to your success as a BDM. Your achievements today are a result of the prospecting you did six months ago.
BDMs must be problem-solvers for their clients, and knowing how to solve those problems is paramount. Whether you are on the phone or face to face, make sure you listen and take in everything the prospect is saying. An incorrectly worded response or observation is the difference between getting a meeting and joining the pile of discarded business cards. Make your targets high but also achievable, and get prospecting!
4. Knowledge is Power
At the start of my real estate career I made the decision that I wanted to commit myself to becoming the expert in my area. I quickly realised that in order for me to become an expert, I needed to be treating education as a priority and believing that knowledge is power.
In today’s environment we have no excuses for lack of knowledge, as the online world provides everyone with so much free and valuable information. No matter what industry you are in, you can find information on You Tube, Google and even connect with like-minded people through Facebook, Linked In and Twitter to share ideas.
To set yourself apart from the competition and be seen as the expert, you must have a strong understanding of the market and your area. It is not good enough to know an ‘approximate’ vacancy rate. You must know the exact figure; for example, 1.6 per cent. By simply stating exact vacancy rates, or median rents or any other statistics, you will already look more intelligent and knowledgeable than your competitors.
A highly successful BDM will also have a strong understanding of what service their competitors are offering and what fees they charge. It is important to get all the information from your competitors that they would give to prospective landlords. A good way to do this is to ask a friend to pose as a prospective landlord, and pay them if you have to. You will also need to be aware of what events are happening in the local area, both for your benefit and for your potential landlord. Know where the bus stops are and about schools in the area, along with anything else that is up and coming. By demonstrating this knowledge, your prospective landlords will see you as the expert in your area and have confidence in your abilities to perform.
Use your Outlook and block times during the week for education appointments. You may be wondering why I have called it an appointment; my reason is because in the role of a BDM a new listing appointment is taken seriously and is very important to us. We know it will bring in extra income and increase our numbers for the month. For some reason we forget that being educated will assist with securing the new business. During your education appointment watch successful salespeople on You Tube and read articles, magazines and your local newspaper.
5. Face your Fears and let go of your mistakes
When I first started out as a BDM I was afraid of rejection, and as a result I couldn’t sell our services. After meeting other like-minded BDMs and attending a conference, I realised highly successful BDMs also hate rejection. However, instead of hiding from it and falling into the procrastination trap, they go out each and every day and tackle their fears head-on. Having the ability to face your fears as a BDM makes you stand out from your competition and increases your monthly targets.
The highly successful BDMs of today were the failures of yesterday. They’ve tasted disappointment, but instead of quitting as many others would, they used their failures as a stepping-stone to reach their goals.
If you have a fear of failure, you might be uncomfortable setting targets. However, having monthly targets in place helps you define where you want to go with your career. With goals, we have clear paths to success. Be the BDM that stares fear in the face; start setting your monthly targets and face them head-on. It’s important to realise that in everything we do there’s always a chance that we’ll fail. Facing the fear and embracing it is not only courageous, but it also gives us a fuller, more rewarding career.
Some BDMs have many years of experience and have collected a great amount of knowledge over time. Unfortunately many of them consistently underperform, and in a lot of cases the problem is caused by the fact that the BDM doesn’t feel any need to expand their skills or learn anything new. This not only leads to complacency; it also leads to the real possibility that the BDM will be passed by other BDMs who are constantly upgrading their skills and leveraging on new technologies.
Overall the key to becoming a highly successful BDM is to focus, each and every day, on what you can do to improve!
Tara Milzewski is the founder and mentor at BDM Academy, for more information visit bdmacademy.com.au.