Excelling in the property management business requires building, growing, and nurturing rock solid relationships. Unlike real estate sales, where there is an open and closed deal, property management success depends upon ongoing relationships with owners, tenants, vendors, and more. The “deal” is just the beginning! Expressing appreciation is key to building loyalty and earning long-term business and referrals.
Here are a few simple ways you can express appreciation to the owners, tenants, and vendors you serve.
Just Say Thank You
A simple, genuine thank-you goes a very long way. It acknowledges that the person you serve has options, and that they made a choice to do business with you. Being specific makes the thank-you even more personal and memorable. When an owner signs or renews their management agreement or a tenant signs or renews a lease, they are giving you an opportunity to continue working for them.
Write Personal Thank-You Notes
The art of writing a heartfelt thank-you note is slowly fading away. When I was growing up, we ALWAYS wrote thank-you notes after receiving a gift (and I made my girls do the same). But, today’s convenient technologies make it easier and easier to reduce the personal connection by sending quick thank-you notes by email, e-card, Facebook/Twitter posts, or automatically generated cards. These are great time-savers and appropriate at times (I certainly use them myself…), however taking the time to hand write a note is a stand-out way to show thoughtfulness and sincere appreciation.
In a 140 character world, it can be easy to forget how to be eloquent. I love this little book that provides some suggestions…101 Ways to Say Thank You. It might help you and your team find the words you need.
People love recognition when they’ve done something remarkable. Offer public praise and celebration of the achievements you see. Showing appreciation through recognition can also influence positive behaviors in others. Praise owner/investors who complete an especially impactful renovation or repair project. Praise tenants who have never missed a beat on their rent payment or who are braving a new technology (like online rent payment). Praise vendors who achieve outstanding satisfaction ratings for their service. Recognize your clients and partners for their community service and leadership. Show the people you do business with that your appreciation goes beyond the revenue you earn from their business.
Create Professional Systems
Do you ever think about the business systems you create as a means of appreciating your clients? Well, they are. The property management systems you implement will clarify expectations; provide specific reference points for owners and tenants; help your property managers and support staff work well together; and more. It certainly takes some time to create organized systems like this, but it shows you appreciate your clients enough to run a professional operation. It shows you are dedicated to serving their needs and making it easier for them to do business with you.
Listen & Care
These days, we are all on the run. Our cell phones ring, buzz, and beep to tell us when we have new email, an incoming call, a voicemail, or just a Facebook (or if you’re like me, Words With Friends) notification. Life is demanding and busy; as we scurry from one task to another it is easy to tune out the real needs of the people we encounter and serve. Sometimes it is tough to stop and focus on the person we are interacting with at the moment. If you want your clients to sense your appreciation every time you interact with them, reduce or eliminate the distractions that keep you from completely engaging with them. When they call with a request or concern, purposefully tune out everything else and make yourself focus on the conversation at hand.
You signed up to be a property manager, not a teacher, right? Educating your clients may feel like it extends beyond the boundaries of the service you provide. Maybe it does. But, it is an excellent way of giving something back to your clients and expressing appreciation for entrusting you with the management of a rental property or caring for the one they live in. In most cases, it costs very little to use education to show appreciation. You could do something as simple as a monthly or quarterly newsletter, or something as grand as periodic seminars on specific topics. Remember, you don’t have to provide all of the educational content, you can purchase it and/or tap into the expert knowledge of the specialists you work with.
Give Unexpected Surprises
Allocate some of your property management operations budget to little surprises so you can delight the people you serve. The surprise could be planned, like a small gift to mark a business relationship milestone (like a 5 year client anniversary), or it could be completely spontaneous (like flowers delivered to someone who is in the hospital). Empower your team to look for unexpected opportunities to amaze and tickle the people you serve whenever they get a chance. Give each team member a monthly “budget” to spend on an owner, tenant, or vendor however they see fit. Share the experiences at your team meetings to energize and ignite your staff and remind yourselves of why you love working in an industry built on relationships.
As you plan your appreciation “strategy,” it is important to remember that expressing gratitude is so much more than marketing gimmick. It must be sincere, appropriate to the situation, and consistently expressed throughout the year and by every member of your property management team. It is not just a tactic, it is a transformation.
Is your property management company a whiz at showing your owners, tenants, and vendors gratitude? We’d love to hear what you are doing and how it has changed the relationships you have with your clients.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.