I want you to imagine this one person, sitting in the room, at every meeting you have, listening intently and watching your every action. They are the customer, and they can’t believe how poorly the industry is serving them.
There’s a massive upgrade required to thrive in this business, and it starts with workflow – you to your next customer. In your business you already have a subscription model for revenue – it’s called property management.
It’s consistent, produces amazing income, and looks after one of the most valuable customers – the recurring customer – the landlord.
Here are the challenges the landlord faces:
• Growing their portfolio.
• Knowing what to do with their portfolio to ensure it performs (asset maximisation).
• Knowing what equity they have across their portfolio, including their principal place of residence, so they know when to buy next.
• The regular life events in their personal life that force them to sell and buy a new principal place of residence.
The current thinking is not to let the sales team near the landlords as they’ll try to sell the investment properties, which will reduce the size of the portfolio. Financially reward the salesperson for property management leads, but don’t reward the property management team for sales leads. In fact, don’t discuss workflow at all and completely under-serve the customer.
Let’s take what we’ve always done and the way we currently serve the customer. What would happen if there was a better, new and exciting way to help the customer and produce tangible value for all involved?
You can do that. Hold a workflow meeting, just like they do at Amazon. When a customer orders a book online they expect it to turn up; they don’t care about the departments or whose job it is, they just want the book delivered. Our customers are no different. We bring the whole team, sales and property management together, to talk about customer problems and how we can solve them together.
Every time your agency lists a property, you could speak with your business development manager or the property manager to get them to search their system for landlords living nearby. Alternatively, they may find an investment property they manage nearby so they can call the client to advise them of the listing, invite them to the open, advise them of the sale, and see what impact it has on their portfolio.
You could also opt your landlords into a landlords-first program where you advise them of new investment properties that are coming to market. A closed loop that prevents the leakage to first home buyers, and instead offers our existing property management to our current landlords first.
Landlords could access their newfound equity to grow their portfolio. It’s a simple idea, increasing the size and frequency of spend from one of our most important customer types.
You could also give your landlords an idea about how much their personal property is worth. How many landlords live in the area you service? And how many have had a market appraisal on the home they live in?
The size of the opportunity is so great, it’s worth the pain of making changes. Play to your strengths. If you could have your team working together, pulling in the same direction, with a clear strategy, measurement and coaching to adjust, you might win the race to achieve even better fees and dominate the markets you already serve rather than continually having to chase new one-off customers.