Recently I have been at various events or speaking with colleagues, friends and family and one topic that often comes up, as it does when you mention that you are in Real Estate is this automatic urge for them to feel like they need to unload their frustrated Real Estate story baggage right into your lap.
It still surprises me that given the technology and the training out there, that I still more frequently than I would like to, hear nightmare stories of potential tenants and even potential investors vent their frustrations about their hunt for a property or to find the right Property Manager.
You are probably going to guess what the one main complaint is that they all come to me with before I even mention it. If you haven’t, let me enlighten you: “I have sent several email and phone enquiries and I cannot get anyone to return my call or email”.
Really? In this age of modern technology and all of the systems that are at our fingertips, is it still even possible that we still can’t quite get the simple art of returning an enquiry right?
Now I know I will get a myriad of excuses ranging from, “I just don’t have time”, to the even more amazing attitude of “urgh, they are just tenants”. But, let me ask you, if the shoe is on the other foot and it were you desperately looking for somewhere to move home to and no one even bothered the courtesy to return your enquiry, how would that make you feel, remembering that as a species humans are social creatures believe it or not.
Something even further to contemplate, do you know who that enquiry is from? Where it is coming from and how much potential business you have just turned away? Because let’s face it, today’s investor is very different from the one in days of old and the enquiry that you just snubbed could be an investor who has 3 other properties right down the road from your office.
With all of this in mind, have a think about your enquiry strategy. Do you have a strategy and system in place to deal with your tenant enquiries? With vacancy rates varying all over the country, we hear stories of properties leasing in the space of a week to those that are still struggling to find tenants six months later after a multitude of advertising changes and rent reductions.
It is good practice to have a system in place to ensure you are getting back to potential tenants. Where possible, arrange your property opens and inspections at the beginning of the week.
This way, anyone that sends through an enquiry can be informed of a time once they enquire. If your department has a leasing consultant, the task of tackling enquiries should be their priority, even if it means sending through an email to say we have your enquiry and will let you know as soon as an inspection time is available.
In smaller offices, this may be a task for the receptionist and in this instance, provide times and a script so that the receptionist knows what is expected and keep it simple so that she can give the information and move on to the next call on a busy switch.
Don’t forget that there is also software out there to assist and help to take the headaches out of this process, however like all software if you implement, you must use it to get the full benefit!
One of the best agencies I have dealt with added me to their mailing list and while I didn’t end up renting through them, over twelve months later I still receive updates and properties that may interest me. Now while I am not interested in moving, they are now cemented into my mind as an agency who manages enquiries well.
There is an old saying about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes which I am sure you are familiar with. Have a think about your enquiry process, and put yourself in the shoes of potential clients that enquire through your office.
Do you respond or do you let them fall away into the ether because they are too much “work”. Even try secret shopping your office. When you take a look, you might be surprised at what you find.