In September, I wrote an article about identifying the “perfect client” for your property management business. This is a critical first step toward developing a strong lifecycle marketing plan. It helps you become more intentional when communicating about your company and choosing how you position your services.
When you understand the characteristics of your perfect client, you can map out a more effective marketing strategy to attract those “kind” of prospects and convert more of them to clients. As you devise your plan use the following relationship stages to provide context and help you stay focused on the proper business goals.
Think about a busy freeway with thousands of drivers, each with a destination in mind. These travelers often have a problem to solve, a need to fulfill, or a purpose to accomplish. They are searching for the most convenient, trustworthy, and economical solution.
For you, “traffic” includes all of the anonymous people looking for property management services in your area. You don’t necessarily know who they are, but it is safe to assume you are a potential solution. This “traffic” can be made up of people surfing the Internet, perusing the yellow pages, or asking their contacts for a referral.
The business goal for traffic is to attract attention. You need to stand out from other property management companies in your area and earn the interest of potential clients. You might attract attention through social media, print advertising, direct mail, blogging, networking, online videos, and more.
Think back to those busy drivers on the highway. One of them takes an exit, pulls into the parking lot of a store, and walks in. At this point, they transition from a nameless, faceless person in need of a particular service to an interested lead. A lead is someone who has expressed tentative interest in your business.
The transition from traffic to lead for a property management business happens when a potential client requests information through a call, email, web form, or personal visit to your office. At this point the person is showing an interest in YOUR company.
The business goal for your leads is to earn trust. This trust can be gained through personal interaction, especially if the lead is ready to make a decision quickly. However, it is good to have a follow up strategy in place to nurture those who aren’t ready to sign a management agreement right away. Your nurture strategy should take the lead down a path of useful information that generates trust, highlights your expertise, and makes it easy for the lead to contact you when they are ready.
Let’s go back to our traveler. After entering the store, they start browsing and find something of interest. At this point, they ask questions and engage in conversation with the sales associate about their potential purchase. This is a transition from lead to prospect. A prospect is someone who is ready to discuss his or her needs in more detail and make a decision.
In your case, prospects are the property owners who want to compare pricing and specific services. They are willing to meet with you for a consultation or market analysis. At this point, you are also evaluating them to see how they measure up to your “perfect client” criteria.
The business goal for prospects is to arrive at a decision point as efficiently as possible. In an ideal situation, the prospect will decide to hire you. However, it is also important to quickly recognize when the prospect is not a good fit for your company so you can move on and invest more time with qualified prospects.
After getting the answers to their questions, our traveler turned shopper feels confident about making a purchase. They trust the product and the company enough to make a financial investment. At this point, they become a client. Of course, this is the easiest relationship stage to recognize because there is some kind of monetary (and in some cases a contractual) transaction.
In a property management business, this transition happens when the prospect signs a management agreement. And, in your case, the transaction is not a simple one-time interaction, it is the beginning of an ongoing service relationship.
The business goal for new clients is to inspire confidence and set the stage for a fruitful future. Good communication is a big part of accomplishing this goal. New clients can be uneasy and may have lots of questions about what to expect and when to expect it. Make sure your new client process is welcoming, friendly, responsive, and reliable.
Our traveler returns home, happy with their purchase. In fact, they had such a good experience, that they sign up for the company newsletter and make additional purchases (when the need arises). They become a loyalist.
For a property management business, a loyalist is an owner who renews their management agreement every year, uses your sales team when purchasing additional investments, and is the first to try (and provide feedback about) your value added services.
The business goal for loyalists is to maintain a high level of satisfaction. This is accomplished through a combination of pro-active communication, strong service ethics, a knowledgeable staff, and a history of “walking the walk.”
“Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” – Ken Blanchard, author of Raving Fans
If my example traveler/shopper/customer only gets their needs and expectations met, they may never make the transition from loyalist to fan. It means the store must do more than deliver a quality product – they must create an experience that is worth talking about.
The shift from loyalist to fan is tough to make. A fan is someone who can’t stop talking about your property management company. They rave about interactions with you; they post positive online reviews (often without prompting or reward); they seize every opportunity to send you a referral.
The business goal for fans is to generate referrals and bring on more “perfect clients.” To do so, you must exceed expectations by providing delightful unexpected surprises (like a client dinner, a thank-you gift, a hand-written card) and excel at turning negative situations into positive experiences. When you do these things, your clients will naturally talk about you – and the referrals will come.
It’s easy to become consumed by the day-to-day demands of running a business, spending all of your time reacting to situations and problems as they occur.
- Do you have a system in place for each of these relationship stages?
- Are they focused on your “perfect client”?
- Are they accomplishing the right business goals?
- Are there areas you need to improve or innovate?
The end of the year is a great time to step back and re-evaluate your marketing strategy and business goals.
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.