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Exceptional business development managers

By Rachel Atkin
04 September 2015 | 10 minute read

Increasing revenue, driving business growth and securing market share is always a hot topic within the real estate industry.

Competition between local agents is fierce and, as a result, exceptional business development managers are in high demand.

But what is it that makes a business development manager exceptional? This is a subject very close to my heart. As a former BDM with more than 10 years’ industry experience, allow me to share my thoughts with you…

A BDM is not a property manager

In no way is that expressed in derogatory terms. It is, however, a common mistake made by business owners when recruiting a BDM. The skill set of a BDM is vastly different to that of a PM and is completely aligned with that of a sales person. It is important that business owners follow the same recruitment and selection process for a BDM, as they would for a sales consultant. They must be:

  • target driven and results focused
  • champions at regular prospecting
  • able to set the appointment
  • effective users of scripts and dialogues
  • convert the appraisal into a listing
  • able to maintain relationships with existing clients, while developing and extending their database of clients

A hot tip: Savvy BDMs are those with strong business and developer contacts; particularly when they have established themselves as a trusted adviser within their referral networks.

A BDM is essentially a salesperson who just happens to work for the rental department. They will perform at their peak when they are solely focused on: prospecting, nurturing and converting. BDMs must always be ‘client ready’ in terms of their responsiveness to new business enquiries. It is a definite game changer to have quick turnaround times, from a prospective landlord’s point of view, when comparing with other local agents. As such, I am a huge advocate for the BDM listing the property, then immediately handing over to a leasing consultant or a property manager. This must be treated with care and transparency from the outset, with exceptional communication between all parties, for the warm transfer to be successful. Ultimately, the landlord should feel supported by more than one contact point within the business – rather than the old ‘list and flick’ (I shudder at the thought!).

Longer term, exceptional BDMs will execute a solid business plan to grow their team/department and may even run EBUs with support staff such as: PAs, administration and marketing assistants, leasing consultants, etc. This is where the big business kicks in and the rent roll gains solid and consistent growth momentum. Happy listing!


Rachel Atkin

Rachel Atkin

Rachel has over ten years’ experience in real estate and maintains a genuine passion for the industry. She has been employed as a Senior Property Manager, Rental Department Manager and Senior Business Development Manager. A successful and well respected professional within her own right, Rachel is considered to be an expert in her field and is highly regarded for consistently achieving new business growth targets.

Now working with the team at Real+, she is responsible for building relationships with property management businesses around the country, consulting with them identify their weaknesses and gaps, as well as helping them achieve their goals through training, coaching and team development.

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