None of us want to receive that email or pick up the phone to hear the message that the landlord wants to leave.
Whether it be to self-manage, to another agent, to live in themselves or to sell the property, we can often feel frustrated by the loss, especially if we are trying to grow the rent roll.
Have you stopped to consider that it may not always be convenient for that person to manage their own property? That the other agent may not suit their needs? That they will move out again at some point or purchase another investment in the future? That they may refer other people to us? The likelihood of this happening will depend on how they exit the business.
How do you rate your exiting client process? Is it a smooth event that leaves the client with a warm positive feeling about your business? Or is it a bit of shambles with a lack of care? What will your client be saying to others about their experience when they walk out the door?
If we can handle this process with grace, dignity and detail, we may leave the client with more than just a warm feeling about our business. We may entice them to return one day, or perhaps tell their friends and family about our friendly, professional service.
In order to ensure they leave on a good note, here are some tips to facilitate a smooth departure and leave the door open for a possible return.
- Always call to attempt to save the management in the first instance; consider if a call from the director may help
- Confirm the termination of management in writing, confirming the next steps for what you will do to ensure a smooth departure
- Notify the tenants of the upcoming changes
- Prepare the file for handover if applicable (always keep copies)
- Adjust the system for the departure, record notes of the reasons for departure
- Be aware of funds available and bills/fees still owing
- Redirect rates/levies if you are paying them
- Redirect/cancel landlords insurance, smoke alarms, tax depreciation notice etc.
- Arrange transfer of bond to new agent/landlord if necessary
- Add a diary note to ensure the owner and property are archived promptly as soon as possible to ensure they do not get unnecessary statements or admin charges
- Send a thank-you letter/gift with an acknowledgement of their time as a client
- Send an exiting client survey to see what you can do to improve and consider what can be implemented to minimise future loss. What can you learn from this experience?
- Add a follow-up to touch base with the client in three or six months
Don’t let the ball drop the next time a client leaves you, handle it with care – even if they have frustrated you or things were rocky. You never know what opportunities may develop from just that one client.