In the world of property management the most important relationship a manager has (besides the relationship they have with themselves and their family) is with the person who hires them to manage their property.
It’s not easy to acquire a new owner-client, but once they’ve hired you it can be tempting to take that relationship for granted or to assume that your clients will always be loyal to you. Here are some suggestions and ideas that I’ve gleaned from my own personal experience and from interviewing a number of property managers on this critically important topic.
- Build trust and then reinforce it. Your happiest clients are those who trust you and believe you’re looking after their best interests. These clients are also your best sources for referrals and recommendations. So be sure to regularly let your clients know how trustworthy you truly are. Whenever you save them money or go out of your way to serve their needs find a subtle way to let them know, even if it’s a quick phone call or a brief email message.
- Use a quarterly or semi-annual mailing with a personal cover letter to remind your client-owners of how hard you’re working for them. Let them know about how you’re providing “exceptional service and results” on their behalf. Tell them you appreciate them and invite their feedback and questions. Keep them up-to-date on your ongoing efforts to employ the latest methods and technologies that help you keep their rental properties filled with satisfied, quality residents. Give specific examples of your expertise, your above-and-beyond management style, and any conferences, classes or association meetings you’ve attended on their behalf.
- Know your owner-clients well and know what’s important to them. Remember their birthdays, anniversaries and the names of their children and grandchildren. In other words, make them feel as important to you and they really are. This coincides with the “Rule #1 for Protecting Your Owner-Client Relationship”; never, ever take that relationship for granted. Know enough about their wants, needs and feelings so you can effectively let them know on a regular basis that you value your relationship with them and that you care about them.
- Study how your competition takes care of and manages relationships with their owner-clients. If your competition is as successful as or more successful than you, find out specifically what they are doing and how they are doing “it” in order to achieve and sustain that level of success.
- Network with the “gatekeepers” in your community and area. Join local business networks and community service organizations so you can meet others who can spread the word about you and your property management business. Meet some of the most reputable accountants, attorneys, and financial professionals in your locale. Ask them what you can do to direct more clients their direction, and perhaps they’ll return the favor. Develop a reputation for being an ethical, helpful and competent property manager and your reputation will both precede you and follow you. Eventually word will get back to your current clients that they are fortunate to have retained your services.
Little things mean a lot in the property management business. Maintaining a strong rapport with your owner-clients derives from focusing on those “little things” and attending to the details that forge lasting loyalty and satisfied clients.