What does it take to become a successful BDM? If you asked me two years ago, when I was a rookie in the industry, I would have told you to send out bulk flyers and letters, and pray that someone calls.
I hate to admit it, but my first three or four months as BDM of our family-owned and operated boutique agency did, sadly, consist of just this. The BDM position didn’t exist before I started at the agency so I was figuring the process out as I went along. I would spend hours preparing letters and DL flyers, chopping them, folding them and sending them to prospective clients.
I learned hard and fast that this passive method of prospecting wasn’t going to get me the results I made a career change for. There was very little growth occurring in our department and I knew I had to focus my energy on something more productive if I wanted to be a great BDM, so I decided to focus on four key things:
1. Professional development;
2. The health of our current rent roll;
3. Create your own strategic and unique selling point so that you can outperform your competition; and
4. Build relationships with industry affiliates.
Immerse yourself in real estate sales training, be it conferences, podcasts, books, Facebook pages, newsletters – anything that is going to help you develop as a sales agent, because a great BDM is a highly skilled sales agent for the property management department. Envision the type of agent you want to be and practice being that killer agent every day.
The health of our current rent roll
Focus on nurturing the clients you have. There is absolutely no point in growing the rent roll if the one you have is being neglected. Give your current owners a call just to say ‘hey’, find out what their personal and professional goals are, ask how their kids or pets are going, or chat about their favourite sporting team.
Building strong lines of communication builds trust, and trust builds business. You can’t expect your current clients to want to give you more business if you aren’t interacting with them and staying front of mind. Be their friend, take them out to coffee, send them flowers when they have a new baby or get promoted at work and I assure you, they will very willingly list their second, third and fourth investment with you and your team. If you are building a rent roll from scratch or working with a small rent roll initially, this strategy is crucial to your success.
Creating your own strategic and unique selling point (USP) so that you can outperform your competition
While mystery shopping your market might seem daunting, it is 100 per cent necessary. More than likely, your prospective landlord is going to interview at least one other agent before making a decision. When going to any listing appointment, be as confident and prepared as possible by knowing exactly what that other agent is going to offer the client, and then beat it, not by reducing your management fee.
Beat them by having a unique selling point that is so good, your prospective clients don’t even question your fee. Our agency management fee is 1-3 per cent higher than all of our local competition, yet we are organically growing fast than any of them. How? By focusing on our unique selling point. Be confident about it, sell it and review it often.
Build relationships with industry affiliates
As mentioned, my rent roll was relatively small when I started. I also had just two sales agents (our directors) to gain inside sales referrals from so I knew I needed to find another referral stream. I became affiliated with an extremely active investor buyers advocate who fast became my best friend. We both realised that what we had to offer each other was essential to the success of our businesses. He referred me to his clients because he trusted the service I was going to provide and I over-delivered on service, which was a great reflection on him. I have replicated this relationship with a number of other industry affiliates and it has without doubt been the key source of our growth over the past two years.
By focusing on these key areas of business, I have organically grown our department by almost 70 per cent in just over two years and there is no sign of it slowing down. My presence and reputation in our key areas of business is consistently growing and in February I was honoured with the Real Estate Training Group’s award for Queensland Property Manager and BDM of the year at the Celebrate Success Conference in Brisbane.