Here are my five low cost tips for marketing your property management business.
1. Ask for business
Start with your current client, prospective client (and key contact) database. Find out where most of your business comes from. The 80/20 rule says that 80 per cent of your business usually derives from 20 per cent of clients.
So find out who those 20 per cent are. They are likely to be your best opportunities for new business.
2. Ask your best clients for a referral
Who better to sprout words of praise and spread the word than a happy client? Your best clients are the ones who come to you time and time again and give you lots of business. They are your champions and your best marketing vehicles. Simply ask for a referral and make sure you thank them with a small token of your appreciation.
3. Get in touch with previous clients
If there are clients who you have not managed for a while, pick up the phone and ask them how they are going. You will be surprised that some may have been meaning to call you about a problem they need solved and have been putting it off for lack of time.
Communication is key to growing client relationships. One of the most common reasons that clients leave is because they feel ignored.
4. Follow up lost business
It is good sales practice to follow up after a month or so, to see how things are going with the managing agent they have chosen.
Ask if they are happy with the level of service but do tread lightly on this issue. The last thing you want is to be seen as a nuisance and imply that they have made the wrong decision – nobody wants to be told that.
Keep it friendly, brief, telling them you will be improving your service and would be happy to submit a proposal if they are considering a change of agent in the future. It shows initiative and willingness to do business.
5. Attend a local business event and work the room
Networking is a good way of generating new business. When attending an event, here are helpful tips for working the room.
• Always bring plenty of business cards.
• Set a goal to meet 1 person every 10-15 minutes. You are there to meet people so don't just stick to one person or with a colleague the whole night.
• Try to make a connection with others by asking questions before you launch into a big spiel about you or your business. This is the best way to spot business opportunities and determine the other's decision-making role.
• Whenever possible, give a potential contact something before you ask for something. It can be as simple as offering to send them an article you've read that may be of interest or putting them in touch with a contact. It is simply not okay to ask a complete stranger for business or a referral without offering anything first.
• Always follow up. Don't let those business cards collect dust. Send them an email the next day saying it was nice to meet them and refer to something you discussed. If you promised some information, be sure to follow up with this promptly.
Networking is all about making new contacts – not about making an immediate deal. It is a long-term investment that requires some effort on both sides to build mutually beneficial relationships.
This is also the perfect time to review the business, generate new ideas and start new marketing projects.
Here are ideas to keep the house in order.
Survey your clients
This is a good way to gauge how clients are feeling about you, the level of service you offer. You can gain some valuable insights, which can be used to help improve the business. A survey is also an opportunity to get in touch with clients so make sure you include a general comment or feedback question in the survey.
Keep an eye out for complaints and common issues or problems raised as they are another opportunity to delight the client.
Clean your database
It is arguably one of your most valuable business assets so make sure your database is clean and up to date. Depending on your level of involvement with clients and the size of your database, it is a good idea to keep this activity in-house rather than outsourcing to a third party.
Every contact is a business opportunity so turn your database cleansing exercise into a lead generation activity.
Update your website
This may also be a good time to rethink how your website can work better for you. If it was developed more than three years ago with no further enhancements since, chances are, the website is not likely to be search-engine friendly and the look and feel is likely to need an update.
The recommended option is to go with a website package that offers content management allowing you full control and ability to edit web content (text and images) quickly and easily, straight from your desktop.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob is one of Australia’s leading authorities on residential property management. In 2005, Bob launched a property management procedural system called “The Bob Walters Property Management System”, a 1,200+ page “property management business in a box”. This System has been purchased by more than 400 agencies across Australia and New Zealand. He is also Australia’s largest selling author of property management audio/visual training products.