Tiffany Bowtell: Tenants a prime source for business leads

Real estate business efficiency expert Tiffany Bowtell explains how personalising your communications with rental clients can deliver the leads that set up your office for growth.

In property management, just as in property sales, you have to focus on looking after your customers.

That equals more satisfied customers, more repeat business, a growing base of clients and a sound future for your company.

There are numerous touchpoints in the real estate cycle for tenants, many more than for buyers and sellers in their property cycle.  

Every one of those contact points provides a platform for a real estate business to target their communications and deliver a positive message about the value of their services.

What’s more, tenants can be the best source of new business leads for a real estate office, whether that is for property management or connection to new buyers and vendors.

These are some of the key milestones in the tenant experience with a property manager during the renting cycle:

  • Application approved
  • First contact after moving in
  • After first maintenance reported
  • After first routine inspection
  • Quarterly review call
  • Lease renewal discussion
  • After lease renewal signed

Those are all opportunities to be creative in your messaging, to reinforce your values as a business, to generate more online reviews and testimonials for your website and more referrals for business development.

Property management is a people business. You need to take care of people if you are going to have a business. And people know other people, the future clients you need if the business is to prosper.

Most property managers are time poor which is the reason why they are contented with templated messages and don’t have time to touch base or do customer service activities.

At our company, Property Management Virtual Assistant, we review business processes and systems as new clients come on board, ensuring their offices are efficient and set up to grow.

And how many of the businesses that come on board do we find already maximising the potential of those touchpoints with renters? Very few.

What we find is that most of our new clients have been using the generic communications template their software provides.

For example, the program tells the property manager if the tenant is late paying their rent. It asks if they would like to send a reminder message. They select from the template of generic messages and hit send.

That might be a box ticked but it is an opportunity missed too.

That message should be tailored, not just to improve customer relationships, but to establish the values of your company as well.

One of our company values at PMVA is, “We do what we say we will do”. If that is one of the values at your workplace too – and of course it should be – we recommend that it becomes part of your messaging.

Instead of a generic message that says your rent is late, pay now please, the message could be: “At our company we do what we promise to do but we need you to keep to your side of the bargain too”.

Another core value could be a guarantee of open and honest communication. Your message could say: “We value open and honest communication with our customers. This is a difficult conversation to have but we need to have it. If you are having difficulties paying your rent on time you need to let us know in advance”.

You need to define your company values so that they aren’t some vague promise but written down and clearly stated so your customers understand those values and what is expected from them in return.

They need to know what they are signing up for and the level of service they will receive from you in that exchange.

At PMVA we provide our clients with a blueprint for a more efficient office with better customer relationships.

One simple step they can take is to customise those messages to clients beyond the generic responses of the software they have been using.

We see it all the time: once you are more flexible and creative in your communications with customers, it brings more positive responses, improves customer satisfaction and increases referrals from them.

You can customise your messaging to improve the experience for everyone in those milestones for your tenants and your owners as well.

The messaging needs to be consistent throughout the cycle, whether it is in automated messages, on the phone or face-to-face.

Whatever the method of contact, everyone enjoys a more personalised experience.  That also  means you can make the most of all these touchpoints and your customers become a valuable resource providing contacts, leads and referrals.

Don’t underestimate the power of a positive review. That’s how most people make their choices these days, whether it is going to a restaurant, buying a car or choosing a property manager.

Positive reviews establish the authority of an agent in your area. They tell people about the level of service that you provide. If you are a landlord looking for a property manager and they see 100 great reviews from tenants and rental owners, where will you take your business?

Focus on customer service is an easy thing to aspire to but in reality it’s difficult to maintain without planning. The question from property managers is often, “How do I find the hours in the day to provide that level of service?”

That begins with planning. It’s the blueprint that can deliver a seamless experience for your valuable customers while increasing the number of leads to develop your business.

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Tiffany Bowtell

Tiffany Bowtell is the Founder and CEO of Property Management Virtual Assistant.

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