Recently I needed more water for my home office. I walked across the road to the local IGA supermarket and was confronted by the above scene.
Without further thought, I reached for the blue cask of water, and then took a quick step back. ‘What is going on here?’ I said out loud. I just went for the ‘better looking’ cask of water with no thought that the spring water in the generic brand would be exactly the same! Springwater is spring water- there is no difference! I still bought the blue package water cask and away I went.
Returning with my camera a short time later to record the scene (Interestingly, when I got permission from the store owner to take the photo, he told me that the well-known water brands all take turns to produce the generic one!)
Two Major Factors at Work
When I examined my decision-making processes, two major factors stood out-
1- Perception- because of the nicer packaging, I perceived the blue packaged water cask was better in quality!
2- Price- because I perceived it to be better, I expected to pay more for it than the generic brand at the cash register!
In property management, when it really ‘boils down’, levels of service are basically the same. We all assist in tenant selection, we all do an ingoing inspection, we collect the rent and we vacate the tenant.
The average property investor, they do not perceive that there is much difference between firms. If they all look the same (in marketing materials, information booklets, etc) all that is left to differentiate one agent from another is fee structure and price. They are then more likely to ask for discounts to get some type of differentiation between agents!
Quite frankly, property managers, in general, are poorly trained to negotiate a good fee structure as they do not get training in proper scripts, dialogues, and negotiation skills because the boss tends to just focus on sales. Property Managers usually end up discounting their rates and ‘proudly’ returning back to the office with ‘business’ in hand with no one questioning if the deal just done was in fact profitable!
So how do we turn this around? How do we use the power of perception to have people think we are better than our competitors? How can we ‘package ourselves’ so that clients not only believe we offer a better quality service, and therefore they expect that we will be more expensive leading to a majority of these people being happy to pay a quality fee?
Firstly the absolute importance of property training with scripts, dialogue and technique must not be discarded. Assuming you have this right and your staff are regularly and well trained, let’s take a look at some things you can do:
Using the Newspaper
Everyone loves dealing with an expert! If they perceive you to be the expert of the area, they will most probably enquire with you first. How can we do this?
1- Investor Tips- a bite-size of information of value to property investors is published regularly. Containing no self-promotion, if you can provide valuable information that will benefit them, they will be left a little more educated on the process and also be thinking a little more highly of you. Do it regularly and they will perceive you as the local expert. Topics like ‘Common mistakes Property Investors Make, or ‘Secrets to Renting Your Property Faster’ are sure to be read!
2- Information Brochures- spending time creating information guides and then offering them for free in your advertising no doubt will get enquiries from potential clients. Topics like ‘Powerful Keys to Getting the Right Tenant’ or ‘Getting Property Management Right’ attract attention from the very people you want to be talking to. If the information is of value, they will want to get it, will no doubt read it and perceive you to be an expert There is now also another bonus! You already have their contact details for a follow-up!
3- Publish Testimonials- Do a current client survey and ask for testimonials as part of the survey. Don’t forget a tick box asking for permission to use their comments for promotional purposes. Once you have a supply of testimonials, publish the best parts of the testimonials in short, punchy lines one at a time in your weekly newspaper. ‘What are our clients saying this week’ above your weekly testimonial will get noticed and read over time!
Wow Factor Promotional Tools
Once you have the enquiry from the potential client, now is the time to shine!
Ensure that all your promotional packaging is ‘wow-factor’ and looking great! Let’s now look at some tools to assist you:
Promotional Email Presentation- done in MS Powerpoint or MS Publisher and then PDF’d. Create a short presentation including photos of property managers in their role, generic ‘happy people’ photos, and anything else that looks impressive. Keep your information brief and to the point. This type of tool works well for clients living outside your area or interstate.
Promotional Brochure- This brochure is usually created with the help of a graphic artist. Together with a snappy and brief script, this tool is high on gloss and professional imagery. Could be a tri-fold A4, or folded in half A3 or A4 size promotional brochure.
Pre-Listing Booklet- this is the more detailed information booklet. Just about every agent has them, but usually, they are flooded with text, boring in presentation, and no real thought on its structure. The information may be OK, but ensure there are lots of photos to ‘spruce up’ its look and ensure it is dressed to impress! It should have the ‘wow-factor’ even before you begin to read its contents!
Get this booklet delivered to the client before you meet with them you will take the impress factor to another level and make it really easy to get their business when you do arrive.
Impressive Listing Portfolio- This is the wow-factor presentation folder that contains examples of your work dressed to impress. Usually presented in an ‘expensive looking’ leather folder, this tool remains with you and is not left with the client.
Property Owners Handbook- an ‘exclusive’ operations manual, this in-depth booklet educates the client on what they need to know about how you operate. Used in a listing appraisal and promoted as ‘exclusive to clients’ who sign management with you this booklet dressed the right way is a very powerful tool to get people ‘over the line.
Many of our clients who use such a tool are very impressed with the handbook’s ‘pulling power’ in a listing presentation. Coupled with the fact that you place it in their hand, get them to flick through it, explain how it can benefit them, and then ask for it back- you then tap into a very powerful persuasion rule called the rule of scarcity which is ‘people always want what they can’t have!’
Getting new business is not hard! At the end of the day, it’s not who you are, but what you are perceived to be!
When perception is very much reality in the eyes of the prospective client, it pays to invest in front-end ‘wow-factor’ marketing and tools to ensure you not only get the business the majority of the time, but you also get a profitable fee structure!
All the best!