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How to create a point of difference

22 June 2017

By Suzie Hamilton-Flanagan, Head of Property Management at BresicWhitney

How many property managers can honestly say they have a great relationship with their landlords and tenants?

A relationship with your stakeholders is as fragile as any personal relationship. If you do not give them the attention they deserve, they will look elsewhere. 

What makes you so different?

If it was just about managing properties it would be easy, however it’s not. You’re competing with other property management groups who provide a similar service. 

So why do your landlords and tenants deal with you? If the only reason is low fees, you’re in trouble because there is no loyalty in being ‘cheap’.

The best way to create a point of difference rests in the relationship with your landlord and tenant, plus your brand, service and people.

Creating the point of difference

A fundamental philosophy for me rests in doing things differently from the industry norm and providing the unexpected. However, this is not something you can create overnight because it needs to be part of your culture.

This means the correct structure and team need to be in place to deliver on service and establish the relationship. More importantly it is imperative you understand the expectations of the landlords and have the right brand persona to attract the best tenants.

The point of difference will come from your team who need to identify what you will deliver differently and take ownership of the plan to make sure it succeeds.

By creating the relationship with your clients and understanding the issues, it will turn any negative into a positive whilst creating that point of difference.

Demand for your service will increase as the level of trust grows and the landlords see you deliver on your promise.

This does not happen by accident

If you have no idea of the bond you have with the landlords, or the systems and processes to support the relationship and help provide the service, you will overpromise and under deliver. 

We had the biggest month on record in May 2017 which we had been working towards for 18 months. Prior to this we focused on our leadership structure to provide mentoring and made sure through training that we had the most-skilled team members headed by the most-skilled team leaders.

Communication plan for landlords and tenants

We have a plan of how we communicate with our landlords and tenants. This includes:

  • Respond to emails and calls on the same day, unless they have been received after 1pm then it’s within 24 hours
  • Focus on ‘phone conversations. We find the best way to build a relationship with our clients is through verbal communication as it is direct and you get the full picture of their needs
  • Email communication. Email can be an efficient communication method, especially when you can’t easily speak to someone on the ‘phone. But if there have been three email responses on an issue then we always pick up the phone and have a conversation with our client to help resolve the problem faster and more efficiently
  • New business executives - all new business appraisal requests are responded to within two hours
  • Leasing team. The Leasing team must call a landlord after every open for inspection, and every landlord receives a weekly report outlining the activity for the week.

Whilst it takes quite a bit of effort to meet this plan, the rewards are certainly worth it. Good communications = good relationships = long-term clients.