Property management has become an incredibly competitive industry, and it can be hard for Agency Principals and their property managers to compete and find ways for their agency to stand out. All too often, the fall back has been to drop fees, but competing on price can very quickly become a race to the bottom.
So how can you compete without becoming a ‘cut-price’ operator? How can you get customers to look beyond 3 months of free management or $0 letting fees, and instead be seen by your current landlords and prospective customers as value-for-money? As the Agency Principal, the value of your business lies solely in the value of your rent roll, so ensuring your team are delivering value is incredibly personal.
Here are 5 tips to help Principal Agents add value to your property management services.
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS
A good place to start is by understanding your customers better. There are many different types of landlords, so who are your customers? Are they a first-time landlord, or did they inherit a family estate? Do they have a robust property portfolio with multiple investments? Or are they professional landlords?
By having a basic understanding of your customers’ preferences, priorities and motivations, you can work more efficiently to tailor your relationships and communications with them. You can personalise your services to their needs, and provide them with the value they need.
For example, any landlords on your rent roll that are full time property investors will want to know how their properties are performing in market, so you could send them a tailored quarterly report on the recent sales in their suburb and neighbouring suburbs so they can see how their property stacks up in the market.
2. UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET
Understanding your property market is essential to providing a tailored service to your customers. It will allow you to be proactive and spot opportunities in the market on their behalf and it will allow you to understand your landlord’s’ position in the market. Knowledge is power, and understanding your property market will help you go that little step further for your landlords. Keep up-to-date with the latest market news by signing up to updates, and read them over your morning coffee.
3. DEVELOP A USP
A USP is a unique selling proposition – something that makes you different to all of the other property agencies out there. Your USP could be based on your service – maybe your website has a Landlord or Tenant portal, so you are “open” 24-7. Or, have an educational approach to your services. Maybe you use technology software that allows you to offer additional capabilities that your competitors don’t have – such as our Console Pay service that allows you to set up direct debits with your tenants and give your landlord more confidence knowing that you are in control of their tenant’s rent payments.
Whatever your USP is, weave it into your brand and into your marketing collateral. If your clients understand your unique selling proposition and the value-added service you provide them, they are more likely to be happy paying a higher fee.
4. FIND EFFICIENCIES, SAVE MONEY
There are other areas and ways by which you can help save money for your landlords rather than just your fee. For example, you can help them save money on property maintenance through your network of tradies by negotiating a discounted bulk-rate for any work contracted through your agency.
Instead of discounting your fee, you can offer value-adds to your services, such as free professional photos of property listings, offer staging services for your properties or host events whereby you can teach landlords about property investment and management.
There are also many real estate software programs that can help you streamline your business, create efficiencies for your clients and help you increase your rent roll. All of this means more time for your property managers to spend personalising their services and making their clients happy.
5. OFFER AN EXPERIENCE, NOT JUST A SERVICE
By being customer experience focused, you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and view the services you offer from beginning to end. This will help you to see areas of opportunity and improvement, identify questions and areas of concern, and then offer solutions.
These solutions could take the form of educational videos that you create and share online, customised reports and tailored emails as part of your communication strategy, or even flowers sent to a customer on their birthday. It’s about nurturing relationships and showing you care.
By understanding your customers and your market, creating efficiencies and developing value-adds for your agency, Agency Principals and Property Managers can be valuable on more than just price. You don’t need to compete through low fees and unsustainable offers. You can make your agency stand out based on value and service. And Console products can help you achieve this.