Sharpen your Leasing Toolkit

As we enter the final quarter of the year and head into the spring season, we can often find that it is a strong time for leasing in many markets. There are, however, some markets in which leasing has slowed. So, as they say, there is no time like the present to review your systems and ensure that they are up to speed in helping you achieve the best results for your office, no matter what your market outlook appears to be.

More than ever, it is important to remember that you don’t always know who may be a potential tenant walking through the door. First impressions last, so it is important to think about the consumers experience on first encountering your business.

Some areas that you might like to take a look at when it comes to your leasing systems are:

  • Professional photography for every property as a minimum and ensure that the property has professional looking photos and a floorplan. We are in a time where most people are generally time poor and someone may or may not choose to look at your property depending on the photos that you have online.
  • Virtual reality is here and a video walk through can add a point of difference when it comes to options to view the property.
  • Include a detailed description with all the features and benefits of the property, as well as the area features, school catchment zones and location.
  • Return all phone calls and emails or implement an automatic system. Nothing will frustrate someone more than if their enquiry is ignored.
  • Presentation is key – from the way you are dressed, to the way the property looks, something to keep in mind that it is not just the property, but your office on show and how you and the property present will be a reflection of that in public perception.
  • Show them through the property and sell it. Don’t just open the door and stand at the front waiting for them to come out. You will be surprised how much information someone can give up about themselves in ten minutes if you engage in conversation.
  • Find out feedback from the prospective tenant including any flaws or reasons they weren’t interested, which in turn will provide great feedback for your Owner, especially if the feedback is due to the condition or price.
  • Keep your Owners updated throughout the whole process. You are at your highest risk of losing a property when it is vacant, so this is the time that it is important that you are giving the Owner the best service of their life. If you do need to go to them with a price reduction, make sure that you are well armed with comparables. Homework can give you a great advantage.

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Don’t tell me – Show me!

Sternly telling my 18 month-old son to put down my iPhone, it occurred to me that at his age, it is increasingly ‘monkey see, monkey do’. I have also seen him recently attempt to brush his near nonexistent hair with my hair brush and on a separate occasion apply dry shampoo – thankfully it has a lid on.

This got me thinking – these are certainly not skills he was born with or things I have set out to teach him. He has observed my actions.

On a day-to-day basis, our actions speak about our brand and they are consistently observed by others – our clients, potential clients, employees, employers and even our competition. It is important that we live by what we say.

There is no sense in spending all our time and energy telling people that we are the best – we must show them.

Think about the current point of benefit you use to differentiate your business from your competition. Do you demonstrate this in everything you do?

Think about these as typical scenarios:

  • Your agency claims to offer an efficient service – yet you turn up late to appointments.
  • You pride yourself on communication – yet you are not prompt at returning calls.
  • You are the best agent for increasing an investor’s return – yet you are slow at turning around rental applications.

All these examples show a clear misalignment between ‘saying’ and ‘showing’.

Every action you take is observed by your clients and potential clients.

Don’t tell them you’re the best – show them.

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Walk a Mile in My shoes

“Walk a mile in my shoes. See what I see. Hear what I hear. Feel what I feel. Then maybe you will understand why I do what I do, till then don’t judge me.”

When it comes to understanding our landlords and tenants, their behaviours, their actions and their reactions, there is perhaps no better way to appreciate their position than to simply walk a mile in their shoes. Of course in reality is it highly improbable, so the best thing we can do is empathise.

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Showing empathy doesn’t mean you agree with the person’s position, it doesn’t mean you would react in the same way, what it does mean is you do your absolute best to understand them.

I know as I age in both time on the planet and time in the CEO chair I have had to work pretty hard at maintaining my empathy, especially when I would rather replace it with a roar. Remembering that my perspective is but that, a perspective, two parties are right in their own mind and for a common approach to be reached we must first understand each other’s vantage point.

Paul McGee in his book SUMO speaks of two people looking at a beach ball, each seeing different colours, but yet looking at the same thing, just from a different perspective. All it takes is for the ball to be spun for the two to see clearly they were both right in their colour descriptions. Imagine how different your daily interactions would be with your clients, customers and team if you but stopped to empathise. Would what you do change? Would how you behave differ? I’d suggest for most of us the answer would be yes.

I really could write about empathy all day long, but for now I’ll just ask you to ask yourself, do you come at conversations from a place of understanding or judgement? Which one do you think would bring a better result? If you want to develop empathy towards your landlords, I cannot recommend our webinar this week, “walking in the shoes of your landlord”, it’s one of our most favoured sessions. It will probably even show you that you really do need to go without that smashed avocado to buy a home…. Bring on the baked beans.

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The Pursuit of Knowledge

As Property Managers, you’ll understand when I say that investing in your growth is just something that must be done to keep the knowledge growing and, therefore, producing.

So what exactly does that mean? In this context, I am referring to training and development.

In the wise words of Brandon Travis Ciaccio “The pursuit of knowledge is never-ending. The day you stop seeking knowledge is the day you stop growing”

Both professional and personal development is something that needs to be a priority.  In fact, let’s take away “professional” and “personal” because really, it’s one and the same isn’t it?  More than ever before, our personal and professional lives have collided and it’s now just our world; there is no differentiation.  The point I am making is that whether we are doing something for the benefit of ourselves or professionally, at the end of the day it’s going to benefit us as a whole..

Maybe when you think of training, you think of having to spend an entire day away from the office, locked inside a room, listening to someone rambling on, not telling you anything you didn’t already know.  No wonder it’s so unappealing to some!

It doesn’t need to be like that.  In fact, it’s actually not like that anymore. Training and development is now so attainable, accessible and worthwhile.

We have so many resources at our fingertips. Think; webinars, online training, mentoring and coaching, networking – even something as small as signing up to one of the many industry-related publications. These are all really accessible and worthwhile resources that are very time effective with maximum return.

In addition to the above things you can be doing on a daily/weekly/monthly basis as part of your development routine, you have amazing events such as AREC and ARPM.  Not only do these events provide a platform where you can be inspired and empowered by some of the thought leaders of our industry, you are given the opportunity to connect with people in your industry.  These events are all about learning.  And you can learn something from just about anyone.

The benefit to you will be phenomenal.  When you are constantly  increasing your knowledge and putting the learned skills into practice, you will surely notice the improvement.

I’ll finish with a quote by Christopher Morley – “There are three ingredients to the good life; Learning, earning and yearning”.

Leaning will lead to earning which in turn, will create a yearning to learn more, so you can earn more! (makes sense to me!).

Happy learning!

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Are You Friends with Your Sales Team?

The traditional spring selling season, for most real estate agents, means increased competition for buying and selling. Why should you care? As a New Business Manager, this can only mean one thing – more potential landlords for you to create more connections with.

Tapping into your sales team’s contacts is not always easy, but it is oh-so-important. Why?  They have access to buyers, which means access to your potential clients. Not every buyer will be ready to buy an investment now. However, connecting with them in the early stages of their investment search means you can continue to help them until they are ready to buy that investment and, in that time, you’ll become their go-to PM expert.

So how can you become friends with your sales team, and increase the opportunity to connect with more leads?

  • Help them understand what you do and why you want to talk to their clients. Ensure they are clear on your value, how their client will benefit and exactly what you will be saying to their clients.
  • What’s in it for them? Selfish, perhaps, but they want to know how they too will benefit. Make them understand that you are babysitting their pipeline and any properties referred to you automatically go back to them when their clients are ready to sell. You’ll care for their clients as much as they do.
  • Attend sales meetings and educate them on what’s happening in the rental market. Give them stats and facts. They need to trust your ability and knowledge.
  • Ask to help at their open homes, so you can get face-to-face with potential landlords and build your own network. If there are 100 open home attendees every weekend, and 50% of them are thinking of investing now or in the future, that’s 50 contacts you can add to your database.
  • And, of course, keep them updated on existing referrals.

Your new friends have a goldmine of potential opportunities for you, but it’s about building and maintaining trust with them to ensure these opportunities reach you. You want to be the first person your sales team think of when they hear the words “investment” or “property management”.

The most important thing to remember: If they don’t trust you they won’t refer you!

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