When an owner decides to leave, whether through selling, reoccupying, self-managing or transferring the management to another agent, what happens to that client? Is it good riddance to them, never to be seen again? Even worse, do we bungle up the exit as we don’t care so much what happens to them now that they are considered lost?
Next time a client walks out the door, instead of saying goodbye, why can’t we say, see you again soon. Why can’t we simply move them into a category of what Real Plus likes to call an “inactive client” and push them back into the prospecting pool. We may be cutting off future new business opportunities if we don’t better manage this process.
Whist their current circumstances may be that they no longer need or desire our services, we need to remember that people’s circumstances change and there may come a time when they wish to rent, lease out, buy or sell a property in the future, and who would be like them to chose as their agent? I assume we would like them to refer people to us if they may know someone who needs one of our services, so we really do not want to be severing this relationship for good.
I have been able to retrieve several managements over the years that owners have decided to self manage, move to another agent and even move into. When the first home buyer grant rush happened I kept in contact with a lot of those purchasers who were owner occupiers and was able to recover many of them as managements down the track by simply keeping in contact and keeping them educated.
Be sure to allocate and diarise follow up calls to these inactive clients in the future to keep the relationship with the agency alive and burning, long after the property has departed, in the hope that one day they, or someone they know, will again become an active client.
It will also be important to learn the exact reasons this client is exiting so that your internal procedures and systems can be improved to minimise risk of future avoidable loss – feedback can be a very powerful tool for improvement. The exiting client should always be contacted by management to discuss the real reasons they are leaving. Imagine a few weeks later the exiting landlord receiving an update that a whole new procedure had been put in place to overcome the issue they had.
Of course there will be some disgruntled clients who are leaving( for whatever reason), but I also encourage you not to give up on repairing the relationship and leaving things on a good note, even if they chose not to stay with you at the end of the day.
Another idea may be to offer the disgruntled client a choice of new property manager or contact point. Sometimes a management can be saved for the agency if it was managed by another person in the office. Sometimes however, we may be better off without the client all together of course, in which case we will be divorcing that client – still remembering to keep face for the agency’s public image.
In order to ensure an exiting client is dealt with effectively and ensure the best possible chance for either them to return to us, or perhaps someone they know to be referred to us, we use an exiting landlord checklist which is commenced as soon as an owner gives notice.