We spend a lot of time analysing our points of difference, trying to separate ourselves from the rest of the flock. The need to differentiate becomes even stronger when we try to avoid basing that distinction on fees alone. So how do we work out our true value to clients?
There is a range of performance factors – the type of things included in your service offering to clients. What range of services do you offer (is it just rent collection, or do you conduct a particular number of routine inspections, service of notices, handle all repairs and maintenance, pay accounts of behalf of clients, attend tribunal hearings, continuous market monitoring in the form of rent reviews, sales market appraisals etc.)? Also included in this are your client service “standards” – accuracy of documentation, ease of contact, response to emergencies etc.
Then there are the more elusive perception factors such as our professionalism, whether they like and trust us, size of the business and the degree of specialisation (sometimes the same factor can be a positive and negative depending on who is viewing it), reputation and the quality of our team overall.
Our real value will be a combination of what the client pays for the service and all of the factors above. Parts of the service offering that we are proudest of may actually mean the least to our clients. I hear some businesses claim that they perform the maximum number of routine inspections allowed or that they can disburse funds to clients any day of the week. These factors may have swayed a few clients in their decision-making but may also be costing your business a lot to deliver.
Every single time we win a new management, we need to ask the question, "Why did you decide to engage us to manage your asset?” At least annually, we need to ask our property management clients, “Why do you continue to entrust management of your asset to our business?”
It is only by understanding, from the client's perspective, what is of value in our service that we can ensure that we meet that expectation each and every time. Work out where your value lies and deliver it. Any inconsistencies between your performance and perception will undermine your message.