Thursday, 27 February 2014

Need Advice on Landlord Relationship Management?

Don't just woo them - win them over long term!

The first stages of the landlord relationship are kind of like a new romance. We are trying our best to woo the client during our first date with them (the appraisal), showing them all our best features and tricks (during the leasing process) and securing them as yours (negotiating the tenancy).

But what happens once this honeymoon period is over? Does the ongoing relationship burn strong with confidence that they have made the right choice in you?

Or is this the part where attention to that client quickly fades as other tasks take priority, and the client is left wondering why they made the decision to go with you in the first place? Are they thinking “None of those amazing promises they first made are being met!”

Perhaps the problem doesn’t lie in there being other tasks to do (there will always be other tasks to do) but potentially, in the rush to woo the client over: 

1. The needs of those clients hasn’t been effectively listened to, recorded, or passed onto the property management team. How are they best contactable? What level of involvement do they wish to have in the ongoing management? At what stage do they need to be advised about certain issues?

Or 2. That we haven’t done a thorough job in educating our new clients as to exactly how the ongoing management process will move forwards after the initial honeymoon period. Do they know what the property management service includes? How we communicate with them, how is best to contact us, expected response times, how unforeseen issues will be dealt with, when they receive their funds and more.

Of course first impressions are important to establish the relationship with the client - the initial impression can set the tone for the entire customer experience! However it is increasingly more important to spend more time in discussing the needs and requirements of the ongoing relationship, to ensure that you’re passing over the baton smoothly beyond the initial stages of leasing. 

If you are Real+ member, click here to visit Real+TV where you can watch our webinar: Starting the Landlord Relationship Right.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Want to Learn the Secret of Prospecting?

Prospecting is a fact of life for those wanting to be successful in New Business. I’m sure we would all much rather rely on referrals, word of mouth, even sales leads, however in order to get ahead of the curve and generate more leads we have to prospect!

So why is it that even the most experienced of us resist this proven strategy unless we are poked, prodded and pushed by our managers?

Excuses include:
“I don’t like the rejection.”
“I don’t want to come across like I’m desperate for business.”
“I don’t want to sound like a telemarketer.”
“I don’t like interrupting people at work.”

There are few main dynamics that prevent us from embracing cold calling. Cold calling is hard work, no one likes to hear ‘no’ and we all have the need for instant gratification.

The key to busting these excuses and breaking the mould is understanding that it’s all a numbers game. You need to train yourself to recognise that every ‘no’ you hear brings you one call closer to making an appointment or creating a relationship. You also need to condition yourself that eventually you will get a reward for your efforts, there is sadly no magic quick fix or instant result. 

When you learn any new skill (even a hobby, sport, or language) it takes time to just become comfortable. It takes longer to develop a level of consistent proficiency. And, it takes even more time to develop your skill to the point of excellence. The same concept applies to prospecting. You can’t expect to make ten calls and master the skill (or get the results).

The more calls you make, the easier it will get and the more proficient you will become. As your skill improves, so will your ability to generate leads and secure appointments. If you can push through your initial resistance you can develop the ability to postpone your need for instant gratification. And as you do this, your results will improve!

If you are Real+ member, click here to visit Real+TV where you can watch our webinar: New Business Bootcamp Part 7 - Prospecting.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

New Legislation in South Australia is Coming into Effect

We’ve just received word that new legislation surrounding the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 will be coming into effect on 1st March 2014 in South Australia.

This initial phase of legislation amendments intends to increase the security and protection of all parties who sign a private rental lease agreement or a rooming house agreement. A second phase of legislation reform will come into play in the 2014/2015 financial year, dealing predominently with rental bonds and bond procedures.

Landlords and agents will be given a two month grace period from March 1st. This transition time is to ensure that you have the opportunity to make all necessary adjustments to your rental property management practices and procedures.

The Real+ team is currently reviewing all modules and content to ensure our learning platform is completely current. We will advise when the relevant updates have been made in our platform to ensure you can make the most of utilising our program to re-educate yourself.

In the meantime, the Consumer and Business Services has issued a summary of the changes to legislation which you can find by clicking here: 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Are You Demonstrating Value?

A Facebook conversation caught my eye yesterday. There was a quickly developing chain of comments on the back of one friend’s status. The status was regarding her extreme disappointment with her property manager and asking around for an opinion as to whether she should self-manage.
People that I didn’t even know were owners of investment property were suddenly coming out of the woodwork to express their disappointment with their property managers too.
The conversation revealed complaints of lack of customer service, no response or communication, comments around not seeing value in having a property manager (to put it nicely) and comments around it being better to manage their properties themselves.
After 10 years working in property management, these kind of comments really disappoint and concern me. The fact that we are not seen to be the professionals we should be seen as, that people do not see value in what we do, and that there is a notion that property managers are “useless” means that something is not working.
We know how tough and demanding property management can be. We know the flack PMs can cop whilst working long and hard to navigate the complexities between keeping landlords, tenants, and contractors happy, whilst acting within office procedures and the legislation of your state. And we know how hard it can be to get back to everyone in a timely manner.
We are further challenged now than ever before as we are now expected to be experts in so many areas and wear many different ‘hats’ for our now well-educated 'Google generation' of landlords and tenants. Unfortunately now, even 20 years' property management experience sadly doesn’t mean we have all of the skills to deal with the expectations those educated clients of 2014 have of us.
In saying all of this, research shows that this notion of 'useless' being perceived from the outside often comes down to a basic lack of communication.
There is no doubt that ever-mounting inbox can become overwhelming. Top that with the clients phoning to see if you got the email that is sitting in your inbox and it can start to feel like there is a big monkey sitting on your shoulders.
What we need are additional techniques, skills and systems to overcome these challenges, and to fulfil our roles. Ongoing training and continual learning (for both property managers and their managers) is going to be the only way to deal with this.
There are a few (seemingly simple) communication techniques that you can use to better deal with these clients and mirror the level of customer service that they are expecting:
  • Set expectations from the start of the relationship (such as your expected response times to phone/email/texts). Also seek out their preferred method of communication. It's no use waiting on a response to emails if they are a phone person.
  • Set expectations on the whole property management process from the start - i.e. how often routines take place, what is an urgent vs non-urgent issue, how does the invoicing and statement process work
  • Readjusting expectations if external factors mean you cannot deliver a result
  • Have an auto response on your email account that thanks the client for their email, and gives them an expected response time. Also indicate response time on your voicemail (and of course deliver on that expectation)
  • Update your client – even update them before they ask for an update, even update them if there is no update
Of course, all of these tips will only work if you do what you say you will, when you say you will do it. If you are prone to forget, diarise call backs in your outlook calendar at the end of the conversation. Utilise modern technology to assist with 'to do' lists and managing your time. 
Having your time more efficiently managed, (i.e. using blocking techniques) will make sticking to your own communication program easier. If you are unsure of how to implement and manage any of this, seek additional training.
If we start to use tips like these, and ensure we are constantly training and developing ourselves, perhaps we can start to change the notion of property managers being “invaluable” to being worth every cent of management fees. And that next time someone asks if they should self-manage – that the responses might look a lot different.