To flip the tarnished image of the real estate industry, property managers need to develop attributes seen in more trusted professions, says a real estate marketing strategist.
Josh Cobb, founder of real estate marketing firm Stepps, said when he first started in real estate, a senior colleague told him: “If you want to be successful in property management, young man, you’ll need a top drawer full of chocolate and a loyalty card to the local bottle shop."
“[I wondered] what I was getting myself into!” said Josh.
“Roy Morgan’s 'Image of Trusted Professions Survey 2014' found that real estate professionals were ranked 28, down three per cent from the previous year.
“That’s third last and only slightly better than car salesmen, but worse than politicians. So, whether we like it or not, our industry is not the flavour of the month in the public eye, even if there are a few bad apples ruining it for the rest.”
Mr Cobb said if you flip the survey, at the top of the list is nurses, doctors and pharmacists.
“There are three attributes they possess that I believe we’ve had fundamentally wrong in property management – these are the three attributes of someone we call ‘The Social Property Manager’,” he said.
Mr Cobb said the first attribute PMs should strive towards is being a friend to your clients.
“Property managers have long been taught that to be successful, they need to be seen as an authority figure by their landlords and tenants and not to get too friendly,” he said.
“However, what if that wasn’t the case? What if, in order to get landlords speaking with you instead of yelling at you, all you had to do was speak to them as if they were one of your friends, and they saw you as one of theirs?”
Embracing transparency is another attribute PMs should master.
“We originally called this attribute ‘be transparent’, but the reality is that the further we move along in the age of social media, the less chance we all have of being transparent ... In this age of information overload, embracing a mindset of proactive transparency is the only way companies will cut through the noise and get people to notice them," he said.
“A great example of proactive transparency might be to send out a weekly landlord update, merged from your trust account software to your clients, with a short status report on their property with everything from tenant names, rent paid-to date, bond balance and so on.”
Lastly, Mr Cobb said it is important to ‘be human’.
“We get this one wrong all the time – quoting sections of legislation to try and win battles with landlords or tenants is never going to end as a mutually enjoyable conversation,” he said.
“Understanding legislation is very important in property management, but try and use it for the decisions you take, rather than the conversations you make. You’ll be amazed at the difference that this attribute, alone, can make.”