When it comes to building, creating and maintaining a successful property management service there are many factors at play – and one of the most important, but underrated, is the cultivation of client relationships.
In such a ‘noisy’ society (we’re talking real estate and beyond), it’s never been more important for property managers to cut through and provide clients with meaningful, relevant and succinct communication that adds value and helps to make their lives as tenants or landlords easier. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well, it’s something that often gets lost; forfeited along the way in favour of tech updates and streamlined workflows.
Here’s how—and why—you should be focusing on building and maintaining positive client relationships within the property management space.
So while we might win first prize for stating the obvious, we think it’s well-worth iterating: ultimately, people are just people (yup, #MicDrop.)
When building relationships with your clients, it’s so important to remember personal points that make them, well, them. Where do they love to go on holiday? How many children do they have? Cats? Dogs? Hamsters? What do they do for a living? Getting to know your tenants, landlords and potentials of either on a personal and professional level will pay dividends in making them feel validated and supported to meet their goals.
Becoming a trusted and credible advisor for clients and shifting the perception of property agents as ‘always selling’ should be a key goal of property managers.
The focus should be on educating clients—we need to be providing helpful information in an uncertain market, safe in the knowledge that a sale, lease or other business goal will be achieved once trust and credibility has been established.
Here at Gill & Hooper, our focus is on updating clients as regularly as possible and at all critical touchpoints throughout their journey. For example, if you’re leasing a property, commit to providing updates to the landlord when it’s advertised, when there’s been enquiries and then when there’s been an application (and at other points as required). This commitment to communication ultimately provides more opportunities to build trust and a strong relationship with your client; reinforcing your presence as a helpful one that helps them to meet their goals.
(Pandemic permitting, of course.)
Meeting a client in person is, in our opinion, essential to establishing that initial relationship upon which you can build over time. Introducing yourself over email completely eliminates that personal element we discussed above and sets the balance of communication off on the wrong foot.
If face to face meetings aren’t possible; picking up the phone is an absolutely crucial—and again, underrated—activity in property management. There is so much value in checking in with clients, tenants and of course potential clients to see if there are ways you can assist them. The security that clients will feel in being continuously reminded that their needs are on your radar will make the simple phone call well worth it.
That being said, we’re all for consistency over intensity—so however you’re communicating with your clients, make sure you’re doing so consistently. This will reinforce the trust and sense of support you’re working hard to build.
In the Gill & Hooper utopia, a key function of property managers is building wealth among clients. For this to become a reality, a focus on cultivating relationships is essential due to a pervasive pressure on property management fees and the need to, ultimately, ensure that the industry is a profitable one.
This objective of adding value and creating wealth means providing informed and educated suggestions to clients to ultimately save them or earn them money. Rather than simply reacting, the industry has to become more proactive in the provision of advice. This could look like having more holistic conversations around how we can add value for clients and create wealth—which will serve to alleviate pressure on property management fees; serving the client, the business and the industry. Triple whammy!
When it comes to client relationships with landlords, tenants (and basically any relationship in your life—you’re welcome), empathy is a key ingredient. The first thing you should do when a client comes to you with an issue is put yourself in their shoes. The power of this is twofold; it enables you to shape your response having considered the impact beyond your personal business lens, and the client will feel listened to and empowered to tackle the problem with your help.
As a parting note, at Gill & Hooper, we like to use the phrase “two ears, one mouth” to inform our communication style. This means that ultimately, we should be listening more than we’re speaking. Doing so will help clients to feel properly listened to and supported, with plenty of space for them to air any grievances or problems in a respectful and trusting space.