Each country is different, but where offices have sales and property management together, sadly, they mostly don't work together cooperatively.
When they do, it can be a gold mine. In a previous blog (Redefining ‘landlords’ and ‘property managers’), I discussed working with property investors/landlords to sell them a new property roughly every two years. Sales departments make the sales and property management manages the property afterwards – everyone wins.
An office in New Zealand had a great idea to get their teams working together: they put signs all around the office saying 'courtesy is catching'.
Then they printed a whole bunch of $20,000 notes and distributed them evenly throughout the office.
Then they announced a fun staff auction event in several weeks’ time where everyone could bid for a number of products they had acquired from local businesses – everything from white goods, TVs and DVD players to pampering products and meal vouchers for two.
The secret was this – every time everyone in the office did something helpful for someone else, particularly in another department, that person had to give them one of their $20,000 notes.
So in an instant, guess where everyone's focus was – not on themselves, but on how they could help anyone else.
By doing so, they had to get to know each other better and understand each other's jobs better (some even job-swapped).
In no time at all, the atmosphere was electric and there was a sense of total cooperation throughout the office with sales and property management able to work together cohesively and effectively.
This is just one simple idea that worked very powerfully and emphasised the point that it is vital to get your internal customer service right first, before looking at your external customer service for existing and potential paying customers.
A colleague of mine, Jo-Anne Oliveri, who is doing property management and systems training in the US, related an event that illustrated the benefits of sales and property management working together.
A property on the river in Brisbane had just sold, with the new owners not taking possession for six months. Working with a US relocation company, she was aware of an executive who needed a residence for two years with a budget of $2,000 per week.
Working with sales, she approached the buyer and asked if they would accept $2,000 per week for two years and take possession then. They accepted, she got them $2,000 per week – everybody was happy – and something created out of mutual cooperation.
From a sales perspective, another great bonus is that once you are working with your ‘landlords’ (now correctly titled ‘property investors’) to build their property investment portfolios, you have now built a bank of buyers, which are great for preview VIP open houses on a new property that has just been listed before the advertising starts properly.
And there are many more examples like that.