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  • #969074
    YoungNomad
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    Hey everyone!

    I’ve been sitting here in Thailand for a little over a month now – invited the key people in my business over here for the last week as a “getaway” and planning session. Came up with some brilliant ideas for the systems, processes and a few marketing ideas.

    One of these ideas was to use the collective brainpower of this forum – I know (from contributing and reading this forum for awhile), that there are quite a few innovative people on board.

    So I’ve got a little proposition (sounds dirty, but hear me out people!) …

    As most of you are aware, I run a successful, boutique real estate agency (currently manage a touch over 500 residential properties), and a sales section which turns over around 10 sales per month. We employ 6 staff (not including ourselves).

    Our USP is extremely high quality marketing and management, for a fee lower than our competitors (they charge 10%, we charge 8%). For that you get professional photos, video tour, a service guarantee (if the client is not happy, at any point, we will refund all management fee’s). Over 4 years we have only had 4 clients leave us (and they were extremely hard work, so happy they left).

    In short, it’s a very successful business, which has grown greatly over the years.

    We want to really push the property management part of the business, and with all things, “blue cow” marketing is key to generate interest and secure new business.

    Here’s the proposition – if you have an idea, no matter how outside of the box it is, to attract new clients, post it on here. The marketing budget I’m setting aside for this project is $15,000.

    The idea that I find most interesting (whether we use it or not), will win a bottle of Cuvee Precieuse Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru (valued at $110), and I will also make myself available in kind for marketing ideas to that person.

    I think if something like this works, it could be a very interesting concept within this forum.

    MODS : I don’t think this is against policy – in effect I’m offering payment for a service. But I understand if you want to remove this topic.

    Cheers

    Erik

    #1036756
    Sir Movealot
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    Hey Erik,

    I have an idea.

    Go and approach local transport, removalists, courier etc type industries that service your area. Offer to pay them an amount of money to be allowed to sign write the back of their vehicle/s.

    The sign could be something like this:

    “Sick of always ‘moving’ your property management from agent to agent?” (or something that “pains” your potential clients) on one door and logo, phone, tagline or USP etc on the other door.

    The concept behind this idea is say you have to pay the company whose vehicle you are using ~$1,000 (you might have to pay this yearly) and signwriting costs you $500 (last 5-7 years). This gives you 10 trucks (based on your budget) that are constantly seen around your area giving you a top-of-mind position without the billboard price tag. How many people would always see your signs? This would likely cover all areas that are local to you and may even bring in some interest from extended areas.

    I know if someone approached me with this proposal I’d be happy to discuss this.

    Maybe with a removalist you could avoid paying the $1000 and say you would do a strategic alliance and only recommend there company to all your clients.

    Just an idea.

    Cheers

    #1036757
    jasonm
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    • Total posts: 180
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    Well my first thought as a local is whether you can somehow leverage the fairly poor ‘property management’ of the 4 slum houses that have been shut down.

    Seriously though, what if you were to make an open offer to landlords that if they are having trouble getting issues resolved by their current management, they can give you a call and you can sort it out for them, no charge. Not sure how best to target the information to landlords and perhaps a little high risk, but this could be mitigated by testing the waters in a small area first.

    I’d expect you might find a lot of potential clients coming from a small group of managers that just aren’t doing their job.

    #1036758
    JohnSheppard
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    Give me $15 grand. That enough outside the box for ya? :)

    Your market is high end property right? First thing you wanna do is make your customers feel like they’re missing out. Make them feel REALLY bad…Yes…none of this lovey dovey care for your fellow human being stuff….this is WAR….and in war people get killed….

    In order to do this at maximum effect, it is easy, you tell them that you make lots of money, and you made it on property. You then tell them that they are suckers for working all their life (oohhh man what idiots). You then drive around and do burn outs on their front lawn in your farrarri (paint it red if it isnt already). Do wheelies in their front yard….

    Yes…this will make them angry…but that’s ok though because they will still wanna be you.

    Don’t forget to get one of those magnetic signs that sticks onto the side of your car. Both sides (in case one falls off). :)

    Well, ok ok, Im not gonna win this competition, and I hope you can tell this is toungue in cheek…..but at least I could make a good tv commercial :)

    #1036759
    mexham
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    Hey great concept for developing ideas, I’m sure you’ll get some great ones.

    Great suggestion Sir Movealot. I’ve know tradesman over here to sometimes do similar deals with suppliers. Such as a plumber I knew got his van all tinted by one of his suppliers in exchange for them advertising their product on his back window. Nice little win win solution.

    #1036760
    marketingweb
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    • Total posts: 625
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    Hi Erik,

    Not sure if any of these would suit, but here are a few basic ideas. They aren’t all out of the box (some are pretty basic good practice for your industry), but there might be something of use and they aren’t all too boring!

    1) Not outside the box and i’m sure it’s something you do already, but every time you close a sale, give a nice gift to the purchaser, a welcome pack as it were, with some nice items and a few subtlety branded with your logo. This way if the items are useful within the home, products with your logo will remain after the “hamper” items are eaten.

    2) Both happy vendors and happy purchasers are your best assets – maybe there is a way you can offer almost like a “spotters fee” – say perhaps a bottle of Cuvee Precieuse Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru – to anyone who refers a new client to you. Make sure you do this in a subtle way so as not to appear desperate or tacky.

    3) Lot of people treat renters badly, and I know you already break that trend and treat both tenants and landlords right by finding quality tenants – however you could take this a step further and provide a very small gift to good tenants each year. Lets them know they are valued, they will tell others (hopefully friends in a similar good socio-economic background), and will also come to you when they are looking to buy.

    4) Offer to write a regular real estate column in a local newspaper – ie a community style one. If you can get someone to agree to this, you can position yourself and your company as the experts so become more familiar to people in the community.

    5) Send past clients with families a Christmas gift of a nicely wrapped box of batteries – use the slogan “the real estate agents with more energy”. And everyone needs batteries for kids toys at Christmas, making you very memorable.

    Hope some of these are of interest.

    Talk to you soon,
    Matt

    #1036761
    Beanie
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    Hey Erik

    This screams Social Media to me and this is how I would go about it.

    I would use the following tools I will give a quick description of how I would use each one.

    Twitter
    Blogs
    Youtube
    Facebook Fan pages

    The way I see it you have two types of customer.
    Your landlords
    Your Tennants

    So you would need to split all of these social media mediums, to specifically target each group. As their needs and wants are going to be vastly different.

    Firstly I would survey as many of the current clients you currently have. This will give us some great idea’s of what to blog about, although your blog is going to be predominately about your business we need to add some other interest to keep people engaged and coming back.

    The blog’s could be used as a chance to help promote local bands,artist and events. Which is a great way of giving to your community as well.Blogs are the hub of your business online, and are the place that all of your social media profiles are going to feed back too.
    Twitter.
    Twitter is a real time interaction tool, and the pulse of your community when you use it this way. Again we want to build two twitter profiles and tweet information specific to the two different target markets.

    Youtube again two separate channels with video testimonials of satisfied customers, local places to visit etc.

    Facebook fan pages with this one I would direct it specifically to the area you live in. Again content can be generated by letting local groups, charities bands artists etc promote themselves
    via your fan page

    As part of all of this I would have a referral program running. Quality attracts quality and by getting referrals form the quality tenants/landlords that you already have the chances of getting more quality customers increase dramatically.

    Cheers Adam

    #1036762
    The Profit Frog
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    I’ll do you a deal…

    If you like my idea, buy me a dozen bottles of good Aussie wine for the cuvee price tag…

    and if you like my idea, rather than buy me a dozen wines, perhaps we could negotiate a more desirable deal… :-)

    I’m not overly sure your USP is singing out to me.

    I didn’t read anything in your post that screamed “UNIQUE!!!”

    Our USP is extremely high quality marketing and management, for a fee lower than our competitors (they charge 10%, we charge 8%). For that you get professional photos, video tour, a service guarantee (if the client is not happy, at any point, we will refund all management fee’s).

    I don’t see how anything in this claim differentiates you from other agencies.
    I’d suggest looking for the “pain” or the “desire” for the landlord.
    I would also suggest asking why a lower fee matters?
    If your target clients are more financially positioned, then the fee won’t be the bother.
    What they want is a full reassurance that the quality of the tenant who moves into their investment is sooo high quality that they treat the home as if it were their own.

    (I am a renter, and my landlord LOVES me… and here’s why: the house is in better condition than before I moved in… I have restored the damaged lawn, I have cleaned the kitchen more thoroughly than it probably ever saw, I always ask permission from the agency to do anything in the home ie I don’t just hammer in nails to hang pictures, I ask if this is okay. If anything is damaged due to storms I report it immediately so that no further damage can be done. I offer to repair things myself if something goes wrong as a matter courtesy ie tap washers, broken tiles… simple things.)

    In short I have made my presence in the house a relief to the landlord – he never has to worry that his investment is going to be trashed.

    Next; I would caution against anything gimmicky… you’re seeking property investors to come to your agency to do business, yes?

    Consider buying a list from a list management company (try http://www.lgco.com.au) and have a direct mail letter sent to the list – the list would be property investors in your selected geographic area.
    Your direct mail piece would be a respectful letter highlighting a hot button issue that your agency addresses. No hard sell and no over hype.

    One of the key ideas you would address is customer service and implement a VIP attitude toward your landlords.
    Yes, treat the tenants well too – I have had my share of agencies act disrespectfully toward me and it is not appropriate given I do look after the landlord’s property (and the agency doesn’t know if I may become a home buyer, so they need to keep that in mind… )

    I could go on… but the keys to my suggestion is:
    Where’s your UNIQUE selling point?
    Obtain a list and write a direct mail piece to them – identify the real issues that landlords are affected by (tenants who trash houses, rental arrears) and demonstrate how you will manage these matters above and beyond any other agency; adopt VIP customer service policies for landlord and tenant.

    Follow up is key too.
    A simple phone call once a month to a landlord, “Hello Mr/s Jones. It’s Joe from ABC agency. How are you? Is there anything I can do for you today regarding your rental property? Do you have any specific needs to address? Is there any information I can provide to you today? Do you have any questions? Please do not hesitate to contact me, I would be very happy to assist you as one of our VIP landlords. Have a lovely day, and I’ll contact you again in approximately 4 weeks, and do call in between if you need to ask any questions.”
    You don’t just “do” this as part of your customer service – you TELL your landlord and have it in writing that you will make a courtesy call to them every four weeks to make sure everything is to their satisfaction.
    Implement the same service for the tenants.
    As part of the tenancy agreement advise them that you will make a courtesy call to them each 4 weeks to check that everything is going well – and make that call as courteous and respectful as possible.

    Now, I don’t really care if you select my suggestions NOR do I really worry if you hand me a bottle of bubbly.
    Look, the idea is nice but I would rather hear that my suggestions worked and that you endorse me to your network of service providers – ie accountants, financial planners, solicitors… any that do business with businesses.

    Cheers.
    (No pun intended)

    Terri Mitchell
    The Profit Frog
    http://www.theprofitfrog.com
    Growing Business Revenue Without Expensive Advertising

    #1036763
    Hugh Thyer
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    Hey there Erik,

    Just wanted to throw my suggestions in, just in case you throw in the towel (I’ve seen your threads on your bad customer service experience).

    Anyway, I’ll confirm what we already know.

    Your strategy appears to be lower fees and higher service. This means your target audience must be high end rentals, because you wouldn’t be able to have the margin otherwise. It also means you can afford to offer a higher, more proactive service.

    This being the case, you are best to develop a list of all investment property owners who own properties in expensive suburbs. This is difficult, and the only way might be to get a list of people who live in these suburbs and own investment properties, working on the (perhaps flawed) assumption that they may own property close by. Or at least, assuming that people without much money can’t afford these types of investment properties.

    I do get mail at times from a real estate agent who wants to manage a specific property of mine, so maybe you know a way to get this info.

    Then write them a letter offering them something of value. I suggest a Suburb Report on that suburb, or something on managing the challenges that come with being the landlord of a very large house. The report would be a sales letter of sorts to sell your services. Or it could be a checklist on how to make sure your tenants don’t ruin your investment. It plays to the fear angle of the tenant from hell, but this language wouldn’t work int his market.

    Once they respond, start sending them things on a regular basis, particularly anything from the media that might be relevant. I’d keep an eye on anything to do with high end rentals, bad tenants in high end properties or even structural problems with larger and older houses. Send them audio interviews that you do (with transcripts), personal letters, even stories from your own clients.

    Another approach might be an audit of their rental property. Go through everything from the correct rent to be charging, and all the things most property managers miss on high end properties (like dumb waiters for example, the management systems for large pools or the operational status of their security system etc). These challenges are unique to large properties. It is worth testing whether you should charge for this to make sure you’re targeting serious players only but I suspect not.

    Present the report in a nice format. NOT EMAIL. Bound in an expensive folder, and include a gift of some sort with it. Include in it your offer, and a sales letter merged in with the audit results so you can promote why you are the best company to deal with these types of issues. You could also do a deal with a building inspector who understands the value of doing an inspection for free if there’s a good chance they get some work from it.

    The biggest challenge is finding the information about the owners.

    Hugh

    #1036764
    BB
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    My understanding is that you have TWO types of clients – Landlords and Tenants.

    So – Q: What do tenants want? A: A nice place to live.
    Q: What do Landlords want? A: Nice tenants.

    First off – I’d find some nice tenants who would be suitable for the properties that you wish to place them in. I’d make sure all the necessary checks had been done, and then using only pictures and information, I’d collate the info into a ‘current’ folder. (no names)

    Then – I would go to the people who have properties that you wish to manage, show them the folder of ‘current’ tenants who have been given the seal of approval by your agency and ask these landlords if they have a vacancy for any of these people.

    It’s just like selling property – you find a buyer, then you find a property for them. Sellers love to see people who will love their homes as much as they do – Landlords are no different.

    Keep your folder of ‘approved tenants’ updated and current at all times, keep talking to the landlords you want and once the word is out that you have good quality tenants waiting – Landlords will begin to seek you out.

    In my opinion – ‘showing’ them that you have what they want is far better than ‘telling’ them.

    B.B.

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