5 Areas You Should Be Focusing on That You Can Control as a Property Manager
One of the biggest traps new property management business owners face is that of focusing on external problems in the industry that they don’t have a lot of control over. Individually, you don’t have a lot of control over what is happening on the stock market or the day to day fluctuations in the economy. Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, do as achievers do—focus on what you want to produce and cause to happen.
Ask yourself: Where is your focus throughout the day?
Do you spend time thinking, talking, and focusing on things you have little to no control over?
Do you spend time focusing on things you can control?
Instead of listing and talking about the myriad of things you could focus on that you may not be able to control, here are five things that you can spend more time on that you can control in your property management business:
This is everything in property management. The most important areas that you can control are the areas of selling and marketing. Shift your thinking from skills to systems. A system is defined as a set of things, actions, ideas and information that interact with each other, and in so doing, alter other systems. For example, if you do not have a system for selling, you are at the mercy of the property owner’s system for not buying.
Do you have a selling and marketing system for your property management business?
Does each member of your team handle objections from property owners the same way?
Do you each handle all of the situations that come up from tenants in the same way?
If you don’t already have an effective sales and marketing system, Property Management Inc. (PMI) has a great one online on The PMI Way and weekly conducts trainings on how to Close the Door. These training have proven to be an effective selling system for property managers across the country and can help you get better results as well.
Another key productivity area you can focus on is how well you are closing new doors and adding to your portfolio. The key is to evaluate both the successful interactions resulting in a signed contract with owners and those that just didn’t happen (for whatever reason). Find out the commonalities that are causing a sale to happen and the objections or obstacles to why they aren’t. Then, train your team members or yourself (if you are currently running your business solo) to sell better based on your evaluation. You can’t get better at closing doors if you aren’t evaluating why you’re not.
One of the most important things to focus on and manage is your sales performance. Part of this is setting a standard of performance for the job. It is so important to create an expectation and hold yourself or team members accountable to reaching their daily goal. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
Here are some questions you can use to think through how well your interaction with a property owner went. Asking these questions or others like them will make a world of difference in improving your closing ratios.
- How long did I talk with the property owner? Could I have been more effective?
- Did I deliver the most compelling message about why our PMI franchise is the best place to manage their properties that I could? How could I have done this better?
- Did the property owner trust me? Did he or she feel comfortable enough to tell me what he or she really thought of the services we offer to them?
- Would I hire myself to manage my own properties?
- What did the property owner do at the end of our time together? Did I create urgency for them to sign a property management agreement with me now, rather than later?
- If the property owner signed a property management agreement, could I have offered other services to them to make their experience even better?
- What do I think this property manager would say about me, the PMI brand, and the time we spent together?
Then, as you evaluate these questions, look for ways to improve, especially if you didn’t close the sale.
The last productivity area I will mention here is your marketing focus. Here are two questions to ask yourself as you think about your marketing focus:
1) Which of my marketing or sales efforts brought in the bulk of my leads and signed doors when I first started? What percentage of my business comes from this particular effort now? Should I adjust what I am doing?
2) Do I test various aspects of my marketing and selling activities to make sure they’re producing the best and most profitable results?
If a marketing approach isn’t working, stop doing it and look for productive ones that will bring in more leads. You have to inspect what you expect. Always be looking for ways to get more back for what you spend.
Remember, efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. Sales and marketing are productivity areas that you must always be focused on as a property manager.
- Customer Satisfaction
With all of the talk today about the economy, the coronavirus pandemic, and what others encourage you to focus on at any one moment, it can be easy to forget that the most important thing you do is personally interact with and focus on the property owners you meet with and the new tenants you are onboarding into one of the houses you manage. Remember, nothing good comes out of trying to think or do too many things at once.
Steve Chandler in his book 100 Ways to Motivate People makes this observation:
“It’s important that I don’t race around thinking that I’ve got too much to do. Because I don’t have too much to do. The truth is, there is only one thing to do, and that is the one thing I have chosen to do right now.”
He adds: “Doing more than one thing at a time produces fear, adrenaline, and anxiety in the human system and people pick up on that. People are not drawn to that. They keep away from that.”
Think about this in context with those you meet with as a property manager. The only way you can create a great experience is to focus on the individual owner in front of you, not the mountains of work you have waiting for you in your office or any other concern you may be dealing with in your life right now.
Focus on the property owner in front of you. Isn’t he or she the only thing that really matters at the moment you are working with him or her?
Most of the time when you lose a sale and don’t close the door, it is because you are not really focusing on the customer.
Here are three questions to focus on in this area:
1) What are property owners and tenants saying about your business?
2) Are they talking about their great experiences with you?
3) How can you encourage them to talk more about you, help you get referrals, and get more written reviews online where other property owners will see them?
Reflecting on these questions can insure that you get the results you seek from your customer service.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make during challenging times is focusing more on sales than on profits. This may be a quick short-term solution to cash flow shortages, but long-term it can dramatically affect your long-term staying power in the property management business.
Many property managers today are re-evaluating the entire way they have been doing business and looking at offering more revenue streams instead of relying on management fees and one or two other revenue options such as late fees and renewal fees. Such services and revenue streams can be promoted as you meet with owners and tenants by allowing them to see which options will be most helpful for them. Carefully analyze your P&L statements to help you make decisions about where you can cut back and how you can increase your profitability in future months.
Here are three questions to ask yourself as you focus on your business profitability:
1) What are our most profitable revenue streams?
2) Are we focusing on offering these services over other options?
3) What are the things that contribute most to our bottom line?
As you consider your responses to these questions, re-commit to focus on the profitability of your business.
- Your systems and the quality of experience your property owners and tenants have when they interact with you.
After every interaction / transaction at your property management business, a tenant or owner is one of three things:
- Disappointed – they got less than they expected
- Satisfied – they got only what they expected
- Delighted – they got more than what they expected
Which one of the three are the majority of your customers?
The goal to delight each property owner you work with is a noble and a challenging goal. It is something all property management companies can strive for. We can all be better at going beyond just aiming to satisfy our customers. It requires that you have excellent systems in place in your business.
The first six words of the business classic Good to Great state, “The enemy of great is good.” Every PMI franchisee should never be satisfied with just good customer service. We should all strive to be exceptional throughout every interaction with those we serve.
Because in the end, if we only do what average property managers do, we’ll never be better than they are. We have to aim higher.
At Property Management Inc., we partner with franchisees who provide exceptional management services that help owners and tenants reach their goals. Every customer should leave an interaction with you feeling better than they did when they first approached you. Give responsive service and personalized advice, be seen as a trusted advisor for each property you manage, and be known in your market area as the property manager that cares.
Here are some questions to focus on as you consider the experience your customers are having with you:
1) How does your customer service measure up? Does it beat the pants off your competitors? As the old saying goes: “When there is not much difference between your product and that of your competitors, there had better be a big difference in the way you deal with your customers.”
2) Do you delight and dazzle tenants and owners in their interactions with you, or are they disappointed and discouraged when they leave or when they come to you with legitimate concerns and problems?
3) How are your property owners and tenants treated when they deal with you?
4) Where do you rate in the marketplace in terms of quality?
These are critically important questions for you to evaluate and consider about your business.
When you consider any type of innovation, consider the Law of Three – in order to be innovative, you need to be better in at least three areas. For example, 7-Eleven or Walgreen’s competitive advantage is convenience. They build stores that are close to you so you don’t have to drive very far to get medicine or basic needs items. Domino’s and McDonald’s have built their businesses around the competitive advantage of speed. Domino’s became popular by offering free pizzas in 30 minutes or they were free. What three areas are you better in than other property managers?
Here are some questions for you to consider as you focus on being more innovative in your market as a property manager:
1) Ask: What is your competitive advantage in your area in your market and in your pillar of focus (residential, commercial, association, or short-term)? What makes you better? Are there things that you could change to be even better?
2) What ways are you superior to your competition?
3) In what way does your business excel? You can’t say you give quality and service because everyone says that. When everyone says something, it doesn’t mean very much at all. It is expected. An important part of concentrating on what you do best is to specialize. The natural tendency is to generalize and try to be good at everything. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that we end up being exceptional at nothing. Focus on being exceptional in one pillar before you focus on adding another.
4) Ask yourself: What services do I offer today? What will it be tomorrow the way things are going? What could it be? What should it be? Stay on top of what is going on in the marketplace – ask yourself – What are property owners and tenants requesting and why?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Shallow people believe in luck. Wise and strong people believe in cause and effect.” Focus on the causes that will create the effects you want to accomplish in your business. You are in control. You determine what happens. Work on the areas that you can control. Focus on the critical success factors that will lead to the results you desire and you will be successful even in these uncertain and complicated times.