All BDMs understand that in order to generate more business you need to allocate prospecting and promotion time. In the beginning, I was the prospecting excuse expert and would say to my Principal ‘I don’t feel comfortable’ or’ ‘I don’t know what to say’. To be successful at prospecting you must be consistent. There are many ways to prospect, but if you don’t implement prospecting time into your Ideal Week, it will never happen. Your prospecting will only be effective if you promote your brand, build relationships and target the areas from which you want to receive referrals. Many of agencies seem to expect 50% of the growth to come from the sales team and from my personal experience only 10% of our growth come from sales! To me sales referrals are icing on the cake for the agency and they are great to have but shouldn’t be the only focus area for the BDM.
In the real estate world, we need to focus on expanding our network of contacts every day. Networking is about obtaining information and making contacts that will help grow the Property Management Department. It's an essential tool to build a good reputation and when you have the opportunity to speak about you agency you will be the expert in your field.
A person who attends networking events where they are given a lead which they do not follow up is wasting their time. You need to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and take a chance. Yes, you may make the call and they may say no, or they may not be ready yet, but if you don’t keep in contact with them, who will they call when they are ready? Who will they recommend to their friends or family when they need help?
Things to remember when relationship building:
- Make contact and record your conversation.
- Ensure you ask for all contact information and don’t be afraid to ask how to spell their name. It would be very embarrassing if you sent them an email or letter with their name spelled incorrectly. You could potentially loose the business!
- Then, set a date for when you will contact them again and record what you will speak to them about next.
- Keep good notes on the conversations to which you can refer back, e.g. if they have had a baby, are recently married, have just returned from a holiday or even had a birthday.
- Always provide value added information to prospective clients.
I believe that the old saying ‘time is money’ is very true when you are relationship building. If you don’t complete the above steps, and don’t follow up your potential clients, you are wasting your time.
Open Communication with Current Contacts
Do you have a follow-up system in place for your current clients?
The current landlords, tenants and tradespeople of the agency are, unfortunately, often overlooked. However, it is important that they are happy with your service so that you can continue to get future business from them. Don’t be scared to ask for feedback from your clients and communicate with them to ensure they are happy with their property manager. During your conversation, take the time to ask them if they have any other investment properties in your area. You will be very surprised how many do have properties that are with other agents or a privately managed.
All you need to do is start by making five phone calls a day and go through a short survey with them to get as much information as you can. Make sure you limit each call to 5 minutes where possible, and provide all feedback to your team members during the next meeting. Congratulate those who are doing a great job and have received positive feedback from the landlords. If you receive negative feedback, make sure your principal is aware of it and share it with the property manager. Discuss the problem and allow property management to come up with a solution first, then make sure you follow up both parties to ensure that the issue has been resolved. Make sure you ask if they have property that you don’t currently manage or if they are they have ever considered starting an investment portfolio?
Remember, the main reason communication generally fails and the clients get frustrated is because they are left hanging. In a lot of cases we listen and pass the concern onto the staff member who is involved but we don’t follow up. If you want strong communication in the property management department then it starts with you. As a BDM, you are a leader and need to ensure your level of communication is replicated through your team members. It doesn’t matter what you say, it only matters what the other person hears.
What does your Facebook profile say about you?
With Facebook evolving rapidly in such a short space of time, it’s not easy for users to grasp the unspoken rules of acceptable social interaction. However I still believe, there is an understanding and general agreed courtesy and etiquette for online communication.
Based on recent Facebook experiences I have had throughout the year I must emphasize my opinion and approach to this subject is purely focused around suggestions to help you enhance our interactions and experience with this very powerful online network.
- Take the time to comment on different posts throughout your newsfeed and respond to all comments posted on your profile, page and group.
- Prior to posting your comments ask yourself is this post appropriate to share with my friends and professional network?
- Take the time to consider ramifications of what you are posting prior to updating your status. It is important to understand general statements may seem harmless to you, but others may read it in a different light.
- Communicating on Facebook is mostly textual and you need to be aware of your tone. Remember the wealth is in the words and since the person reading your comments is unable to read your body language you really need to consider what you are about to say before you click the post button. It is very easy for someone to think you are being sarcastic when you are not, or misunderstand.
- Be sensitive of who you might be tagging in photos, especially those shots which are unpleasant and inappropriate
- Even if you have the most stringent privacy settings, there’s still a risk that what you post can reach people you wouldn’t want it to reach. So, just play safe and leave your venting to somewhere private.
At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you as to the way you promote yourself through this very powerful network. For anyone in the Real Estate Industry it is important to find a happy medium between being fun and sensitive to everyone you connect with. When you find that right balance you’ll not only increase your online profile, but also help strength your agencies branding in a positive and professional way.
The big question you need to ask yourself is are you taking full advantage of all the opportunities available and do you have time allocated for prospecting and promotion? The overall goal for all BDMs is to increase the value of the Property Management Department. There are hundreds of ways you can increase the value of your most important asset. With the right mix of activities, you can identify and focus on the most effective prospecting techniques. It is important to have a clear plan with an outline of how you will reach your ideal referrals. Then, by effectively implementing the strategies that work for your agency, you will start to see the reward.