Cutting Through the Techno White Noise

Every day Property Management teams are inundated with an abundance of new software programs and apps that promise the earth to make their lives easier, and for the most part they will, provided you don’t try to bite off more than you can chew.

It can be very easy to get excited and jump on the bandwagon of something new, but we need to be cautious that it doesn’t become like the shiny new toy on your desk and then forgotten in seconds for something that may seem more important.

We are facing a constantly evolving space when it comes to the needs of the consumer who want everything now at the touch of a button. At times it can seem overwhelming with demands, however the basic property management tasks for the most part, have not changed. We need to be cautious not to overcomplicate these tasks until we find that those tasks are controlling us and not the other way around.

Most property management teams are not using the software that is currently in their office to its full potential and in some cases may only be utilising 20% of its capabilities. Before jumping onto the next big thing, ask yourself a few questions;

  • Is it going to save time and reduce my stress levels?
  • Can we integrate it with the current systems in my office?
  • Do we already have something that will do this task well or will something else do it better?
  • Will it help so that we can increase growth and profit?
  • What is the purpose of implementing this technology and the outcomes for the business?

Make sure that you are weighing up all the options and find the best fit for your office. What works for one team, may not suit another and it is never as simple as a one size fits all approach. Above all, enjoy those shiny new toys and make sure you get the most out of them. Don’t get too caught up in hype, and make it work for you.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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What is your New Business Marketing Pitch?

Further to a new business marketing webinar I ran this week, we discussed many marketing techniques but also touched on how to pitch and angle yourself to win more business.
It is important to learn how to sell your services by selling the benefits of what you do, not relying on just reeling off service features. We need a marketing pitch or angle to jazz up what we show clients, communicate and market to them to show what we do is different and why they should choose us.

I cannot tell you how many ‘unique selling points’ and ‘points of difference’ I hear that are, well, mostly the same as others … but let’s save that topic for another day.
I thought I would today start to give some tips on developing your marketing pitch for new business so you can start to think of selling a little differently! So, how do you develop your marketing pitch and key points of difference, and then sell them? The key elements lie within problem, value, credibility, difference and action – and starting to think about things in a slightly different way.

What problem does your product or service solve? What pain is your ideal customer experiencing? Perhaps bad service with other agents, rent not paid on time, bad tenants, high vacancy, wants more return on investment, highest rent etc.

How does your product or service deliver value (results in terms of dollars, time or quality)? How does your service solve their problems or meet their needs? In even simpler terms, how do you help people or businesses? For instance, our marketing means wider exposure to tenants, to get your property leased faster. Our rent management system ensures 98 per cent of our tenants pay rent on time, giving you peace of mine.

What can you say that will demonstrate your ability to deliver value? How can you support your claims? What evidence and stats do you have? How have you delivered value to others? Case studies can be useful as social proof, for example ‘Our days on market is 3 compared to the industry average of 12’. ‘We’ve had zero tenancies go to tribunal in the last 12 months’.

How is your business, your product or your service different? How is it better than the potential alternatives? What’s your unique selling proposition? What is the benefit of the service or features? (Hint – it can’t be the same thing your competitors promise. You need to be the only one to have this, or sell it in a unique way). i.e Our tenant booking system not only allows flexibility to show tenants at times that suit them, getting your property leased faster, but it also means we have a pool of qualified tenants waiting to hear from us about your property. Our routine inspection reports with photos allow you to look into your property regularly to rest assure your tenant is taking good care of the property.

Our marketing pitch (whether on paper or in person) requires us to give a call to action. If in person, this can include asking if they agree that what you have told them would be the best option for them, asking for the business, outlining the next steps. Or if a marketing piece is asking them to take a specific action to call you, transfer a management to you or refer someone to you. Action is the key to the success for any marketing pitch.

Stay tuned for more new business and  Real Estate marketing tips soon. 

Hermione Gardiner

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Managing Social Media

If like many Real Estate agencies you have a team of younger employees, you will be well aware of the constant barrage of sites flooding their computer screens and phones such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. How we deal with this intrusion can either make or break our team culture and productivity levels.

With a generation in our workplaces who are more tech savvy and hungry for anything that may be technologically and socially related, we have very quickly seen the rise of sites such as these, which provide a daily distraction. So how do we control it?

In many industries, sites these are completely banned, no access from any employee is permitted. While this is a quick and easy option, it does leave gaps as most of the younger generation may find ways to get around these blocks or filters as well as the availability of smartphones. Another option could be only permitting employees to use these sites during their breaks.

It is important to implement a social media policy and ensure that all employees are aware of their obligations and have them sign off on it so that you have it in writing. You can find an example of a social media policy on the platform.

Also, educate employees about the consequences of disclosing or misusing the company’s confidential information or intellectual property in the social media context.

While it can be a distraction for many, these sites can also be a great marketing tool that can assist in business growth and one which shouldn’t be taken for granted. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, even Pinterest can help raise your brand awareness and gain you popularity in the market place. Many agents are now utilising these sites for landlord and tenant information, inviting them to follow their office pages and keeping them up to date with the latest news and events that are happening within their agencies and the community.

It’s a given that the social media in some form is here to stay and is constantly evolving. How we react to this daily intrusion in our working lives can help us thrive or just survive. Find a solution that works well for your office and run with it.

Hermione Gardiner

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Stop & Regroup

Today’s blog comes off the back of an interesting month. In recent weeks I have been reminded, by the new clients we have worked with as well as through a few scenarios in my own office, about the juggle that is the income producing Director. Perhaps you may agree, and I know it comes in waves, but right now it feels for many that there is an increased pressure for time. There is an increased pull in many directions of where time is required, and the challenge of prioritising where you can allow it to be used, or you may say consumed.

As an income producing Director there is a never ending juggle between working on the business and working in it and I am often asked what the magic formula is.

Whilst there are of course many different suggested percentages in a myriad of business books by business legends, from this mere Business Consultant, I think the answer is up there in the cloud, right next to the magic number of properties a property manager can manage. In short I don’t think there is a magic anything, there is a, what works for you.

Each person’s driver for having their business, their vision, and their weekly / monthly / yearly expectations are dramatically different, even for the super offices with which we work. Every Director has a different set of personal responsibilities and desires, from their significant other, kids, friends, family and other life responsibilities. It’s about identifying what your own personal goal and balance is and working towards that!

I heard Ita Buttrose speak at a conference and these words resonated, “you can have it all, just not at the same time”.

Right now I am giving myself an advice boomerang, Stop and regroup. Right at that moment in time when you feel like you cannot afford to stop, is quite often the time when you need to do it the most. Get to that third space where you can clam your mind, think and review your plan.

If you are like me, running hard at life in every area, you must do this every quarter to ensure you are keeping on track to keep the world in balance.  It’s easy to tell you what to do, how to do it, you can plan it out in high detail, but ultimately it needs to be done, and action is the most challenging part.

Right now… I am off to plan my pause button… it’s time to STOP and regroup!

Fiona Blayney

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How Smooth is Your Tribunal Process?

Attendance at Tribunal can be stressful to even the hardest property manager. It is important to ensure that you are well prepared, with as much information as possible so that you know what you are heading into whilst attempting to achieve the best possible outcome for your client.

A great quote from Alexander Graham Bell that rings true when looking at this process is“before anything else, preparation is the key to success”. So, how prepared are you when it comes to Tribunal and are you ready to tackle any challenge?
Let’s look at a few key steps to preparedness.

Applying and Responding

  • Always have landlord’s approval and determine  what their ideal outcome may be and pre agree under what conditions you may withdraw application
  • Check that the Court has the jurisdiction for orders you are making and ensure you apply against correct individual/s or business. Carefully specify which orders you request and give factual reasons
  • Always keep a copy of your application and prepare your documentation straight away

Termination Notices

  • Make sure the notice was in writing and states the full address of the rented premises and the full names of all parties
  • Ensure that the grounds & details of breaches are explained  and it is signed and dated by the Landlord or agent
  • Refer to MAA & RTA for required information, check service dates and check the rent arrears

Preparing for the Hearing

  • Prepare a chronology of events and write down all issues relating to the case
  • Gather your evidence with updated copies of ledgers/status and any information and know what you want to say
  • Practice your case, remember practice makes perfect! If you need help don’t forget to refer to the fact sheets and online videos
  • Prepare your hearing notes for the member before the hearing and take a calculator, phone, pen, pad
  • Ensure your Landlord is on standby

Above all remain calm, be thorough with your information and if you are ever at all unsure about the person you are up against, take someone with you for backup and good luck!

Heidi Walkinshaw

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