Achieving perfection can be a challenge. With the help of industry experts, Residential Property Manager has uncovered the top tips that will help you create a faultless listing presentation and set you on the road to excellence
Whether you are a business development manager (BDM) or a property manager, knowing how to get a listing presentation over the line is of paramount importance.
And whilst winning the business is what every principal is after, a great listing presentation can do much more than just that.
Richardson&Wrench Caboolture’s property management director Karen George says a listing meeting can do wonders for your brand.
“Winning the business is the primary goal, but we view listing presentations as opportunities to share our knowledge and present our company in the best possible light,” she tells Residential Property Manager. “Not only does it reinforce our credentials as property experts, but if we miss out on the listing this time, we have laid the groundwork for possible future opportunities.”
Amy Sanderson, head of property management at LJ Hooker National, warns that a listing presentation should be all about a landlord.
“A listing presentation is there to get an understanding of what the potential client’s wants and needs are for a property manager, and then to weave this into what your company can do to meet and exceed these requirements,” she says.
With those points in mind, Residential Property Manager has devised the steps you need to follow to ensure you increase your chance of winning new business.
1. Location! Location!
OUR EXPERTS are unanimous when they say the best place to conduct a listing presentation is at the property.
“The property to be rented is always the best place to conduct a listing presentation,” Ms George says. “Face-to-face with the client, where the condition of the property is clearly evident, gives me the opportunity to decide whether we want the business or not. It also means that important issues in relation to the property can be communicated instantly.”
A property manager and potential client can build a stronger relationship from the outset if the listing presentation is conducted at the property.
“They are sharing what they want and expect in terms of pricing and, as a property manager, I can then discuss our value proposition in relevant terms while we are all still excited about the relationship,” says Ms Sanderson.
However, the experts warn, never conduct a listing presentation at a crowded public place because there are too many distractions.
2. Be aware of mistakes
ACCORDING TO our experts, there are three common mistakes property managers and BDMs make in listing presentations.
Lisa Indge, managing director of Let’s Rent, says her pet hate is property managers instantly dropping their rate at the first sign of questioning from the landlord.
“We are professionals and as an industry we need to build our worth,” she says.
Meanwhile, Ms George says appearing to be too self-confident can be the downfall of some property managers.
“A common mistake before and during the presentation is to appear too self-confident, taking over the conversation and never listening,” she says.
Darren Hunter, director at Leading Property Managers of Australia (LPMA), emphasises that you only get one chance at a first impression.
“You need to understand the power is in the first impression,” he says. “Make sure you look professional, arrive on time and greet them in a warm, friendly manner.”
3. Be prepared!
WHEN IT comes to securing business at a listing presentation, this is the single most important step – ensure you are prepared!
Knowing the property, the market and all the factors surrounding a property portrays you as ‘an expert’, which in turn builds trust.
“Going online to property search portals and knowing what is also for rent in the area, at what price and how long the properties have been vacant allows you to advise the right rental rate,” Mr Hunter says.
“Going in unprepared could be the very factor that didn’t impress the client, and lost the business.”
Ms Sanderson agrees: “Be prepared with information on areas that prospective clients are likely to enquire on, like vacancy rates, days on market and sources of tenants through marketing,” she says.
4. Match in progress
“THE PROPERTY manager who wins the trust of the prospective client first, is the one who will win the business,” Ms Sanderson says.
According to Ms Indge, this can be achieved by asking the right questions.
“Ask relevant questions. The more you can encourage the vendor to discuss the property and their needs, the more likely you will be able to target your responses,” she says.
But be sure not to go on and on: “Don’t waffle on about how great you are. Listen and respond appropriately.”
During the presentation, it is important to establish an equal level of communication.
“Allow the owner to state their needs and requirements, and then the property manager should communicate their experience and knowledge,” Ms George says.
She also warns against going overboard with technical jargon.
“While it is important to demonstrate an understanding of the relevant sections of the Residential Tenancy Act, you should always speak in plain English,” she says.
5. Body language
IN ALL aspects of business, the right body language is paramount. But nowhere is it more important than in a listing presentation.
“We believe these things are of extreme importance. We’ve all heard that someone makes their mind up about you within three to seven seconds, and this is true of a listing presentation,” says Ms Indge.
Your presentation begins from the moment you knock on the door, so ensure your body language and actions are always professional. Begin with offering to take your shoes off before you go inside, suggests Ms Calnan.
“Don’t fidget; don’t play with your pen or hair; sit still and listen,” she says. “Show the client that you want to be there with them and you are not just going through the motions.”
According to Mr Hunter, your client’s body language will be key to telling you when the right moment is to ask for their business.
“Their body language should indicate whether you have addressed their needs with a solution,” he says.
“If they are not responding, appear cold, switched off, uninterested or otherwise, this means you cannot progress. You may not have built trust and connection, or maybe there is another issue they have that hasn’t been addressed. Whatever it is, you will find it difficult winning the business if it isn’t overcome.”
6. Using technology
INDUSTRY EXPERTS find themselves divided when it comes to using technology in a listing presentation.
Ms Indge says she never uses technology in a presentation because it distracts from creating a relationship with the client.
“Research suggests that a PowerPoint or similar presentation is distracting,” she says. “Every presentation is different for me, as the responses to questions asked of the vendor direct how the ‘conversation’ progresses.”
In contrast, Mr Hunter says technology can really engage a potential client.
“An iPad-loaded Power Point to display examples of your work is a great idea. However, not everyone is impressed with technology,” he says.
Ms Sanderson sums it up nicely: “The issue with technology is the loss of interaction during the presentation.
iPad’s aren’t as bad as laptops, but they’re still not wonderful. Use them sparingly, perhaps to demonstrate your website or investor portal,” she advises.
AT SOME stage in the listing presentation you may be inclined to speak about your competition, but our experts warn against doing this – especially if what you’ve got to say is negative.
“I never put down our competition,” Ms George says simply. “If any owner has had a bad experience, I generally say that I am unaware of how the other office runs their business and cannot really comment.”
An owner who brings up your competition, gives you a great opportunity to explain your point of difference, she says.
“I will swing the conversation around to let them know what our office does or does not do by comparison,” says Ms George.
8. Disinterested landlord
NO MATTER how good you are at listing presentations, there will be a time in your career – perhaps frequently – that you are just not connecting with a potential landlord.
Don’t be deterred, says Ms Sanderson, the business is not lost yet.
“You need to adjust your attitude to win and ask them questions about what they want and expect,” she says. “Ask them what they liked and did not like about other agents they have interviewed and how you can do it differently.
“Remember, it is about them, what they want and how you can best deliver it.”
Ms George says that often a landlord may appear disinterested but ends up coming back to you, so stay on track with your professional presentation.
“They may be uninterested now, but if the other agent does not perform, they still may come back to me,” she says.
Ms Indge reminds us that “not every piece of business is worth wining, so don’t feel disappointed if this person is not for your agency.”
9. What comes next?
YOU’VE IMPRESSED the potential landlord with a seamless listing presentation, but just before you shake hands to say goodbye, make sure you set a deadline with your landlord.
“If you don’t secure an authority in the first meeting, clarify with the prospective client when they want to make a decision. Ask them if it is OK for you contact them within a certain amount of time,” Ms Sanderson suggests.
“Also, find out if they are interviewing anyone else, and ask if you could give them a list of questions to ask the other property manager in an attempt to control the direction of the other meeting.”
The next step is easy: “Follow up – most property managers never follow up,” says Mr Hunter. “People stall their decision for all sorts of reasons. The person who follows up a few days later is likely to get the business.”
However, you must ensure your follow-up call is relevant. “Make sure the follow-up is relevant and doesn’t just say ‘Give me a call’, or ‘Did you get my message’. Perhaps let them know about a new listing you have that is similar to the property they are looking to lease,” says Ms Indge.
And if you don’t secure the listing, then don’t be afraid to ask why.
“What can you lose?” she says. “Set a reminder to touch base with them in three, six, nine months’ time to see how things are going. You just never know what the future can bring.”
Experts reveal their top tips:
QUESTION: What is your one trick to achieve the ‘perfect’ listing presentation?
“DON’T BE afraid to ask for the business. If you don’t ask, you definitely won’t get it. If you do ask, the worst-case scenario is you find out why not and then overcome it.”
Head of property management
LJ Hooker National
“SHARING RECENTLY rented comparison properties with the owner means they gain a more realistic view of market conditions and my opinion is supported by evidence. This will show proof of service as well.”
Property management director
“HAVE YOUR office’s top salesperson listen to your presentation. Ask if they will spend 60 minutes with you, and make sure they are honest with you about the good parts as well as the bad parts.”
Metro Property Management
“THE MORE you listen, the more you will connect and create a perfect presentation, suited entirely to the prospective client needs and concerns.”
Leading Property Managers of Australia
“BE PREPARED in every way, and listen, listen, listen!”
GET THE MUSIC FLOWING!
Metro Property Management’s Leah Calnan shares her conversation starter questions…
• What features are you looking for in your prospective tenants?
• Have you been a tenant before? If so, what did/didn’t you like about your property manager?
• What type of service would you like to receive from people in the customer service industry?
• What frustrates you about the service industry nowadays?
• Why are you choosing to lease out the property? What are your plans for the property in the future?