Welcome to another episode of The Property Management Show. We’re glad you’re participating and providing us with feedback, because we see a need for quality information that will help you take a bite out of the huge opportunity that’s out there.
As some of you know, 75 percent of the rental properties in the U.S. are self-managed. We want to help property managers tap into this large self-management market, which is absolutely ready to move into professional hands.
As we’ve discussed in the past, tenants have a lot of protection, and it’s harder for landlords to self-manage. There’s also a generational shift. Many of the current landlords are getting a little older, and they don’t want to deal with the day-to-day management.
We’re talking to Steve Rozenberg again. He’s a part-time pilot and a creative business owner. He does a radio show, videos, and a lot of things that no one else does. That’s what identifies his company as a success in the making, and we always get good information from Steve.
Recently, he began talking about his Owner Education Series, which is really exciting.
This may be your opportunity to go after that 75 percent of the self-management market.
Starting an Owner Education Series for Current Clients
Your current clients need to feel special.
When you can give them something that your competitors can’t, you’re guaranteed to retain them and attract a lot of new business. People want to feel like they belong to a club.
People won’t leave your company because of your prices. They leave when they feel like you don’t care. Statistics show that 68 percent of customers leave for that reason. They equate price with value, and if they cannot see the value you’re providing, you’ll lose them.
So, give your current owners a way to feel special. Starting an owner education series is a great way to do that. Many of your owners have questions about their investments, and how to continue investing. You know there’s no rule book when it comes to owning a rental property. Your clients may be interested in buying additional properties (which is great for you), but the Ferris wheel is spinning, and they don’t know how to get on. Your owner education series will help them do more.
Evaluating and Prioritizing Your Current Owners
Steve started this series as a way to add value to his current clients.
He also attaches a grade to each owner, from A to D. The client with a D grade is a bad owner of a bad property. These clients take too much time, and they will be dropped at some point.
The client with a C grade is either a bad owner with a good property or a good owner who has a bad property. These are clients you might still be able to work with, as long as you’re trying to bring them up to the B or A level. It takes work from both you and your client.
The client with a B grade is a good owner who has a good property. There are no problems or dramas with these clients. When you have an issue or their property needs maintenance, they let you get it done. The clients with an A grade are your B clients who refer people.
A-level clients are your raving fans.
As a property management company, you should always grade your clients. Once you have evaluated all the people you’re working with, you should commit to spending 80 percent of your time on those top 20 percent of clients. It’s the top tier that’s making you money.
Invite your A and B clients to your owner education series. Tell them they are valued clients, and you’d like to invite them to this event.
Then, ask them to bring a friend.
Clients who bring a friend will be invited into the VIP section, which will include a front row seat and other perks.
The friends they bring are potential clients, which is great for you.
The existing client is getting something of value and VIP treatment, which is great for them.
Owner Education Series Example: Find It, Fund It, Forget It
One owner education series that Steve and his team found particularly successful was Find It, Fund It, Forget It. Why did this work so well?
A wholesale company was present to talk about finding investment opportunities. They discussed where the good deals were uncovered, and how to quantify opportunities so investors aren’t just buying anything that’s on the market. They explained how it was done.
Then, a lender joined the event and talked about how to fund the investment purchase. This was a hard money lender who discussed how he funds deals for investors.
Finally, Steve talked about how investors could forget their rental home when a property management team like Empire Industries stepped in to leverage their property management services.
Creating Strategic Alliances with Property Management Partners
How do you get started?
To successfully run an owner education series, you need to create strategic alliances with like-minded partners. Make sure they’re worthy of your time and event. Here are some criteria:
- They must have a database of prospects because you want their people to come.
- They have to have a reach that matches yours – a sphere of people you can influence.
This gives you the opportunity to get in front of people you wouldn’t normally get in front of.
When you create alliances with people who compliment your industry but don’t compete directly with you, you’ll have sponsors for your events.
Wholesalers, plumbers, electricians, lenders, real estate agents, title companies, and CPAs; developing relationships and creating strategic alliances with these professionals will easily grow your business and your potential.
Turning Strategic Allies into Event Sponsors
You might start off holding one of these events in your own office, with 10 or 20 people present.
Eventually, however, you’ll grow, and you’ll need someone who can pay for food and drinks. Those professionals in your sphere of influence will be happy to sponsor your events. Give them five minutes to speak to your audience. That’s a standard sponsor activity. Maybe they’ll have a booth or a table where they can collect contact information and hand out literature.
However you set it up, the goal is to have your sponsors pay for food and drinks and if necessary, the venue. The cost to you is zero.
Make sure everything aligns. You don’t want a speaker up there saying investors don’t need a management company! The people you invite and the people who sponsor must be a cohesive group.
Something else that works well is sharing success stories.
Get one of your best owners up there – an A client – who can talk about some of the struggles he or she faced early on, and how those struggles were managed. When other owners and prospective owners hear these stories, you’ll get a lot of credibility. It’s inspiring for someone who wants to be that owner sharing a great success story.
Show your audience what can happen and how it can happen. When other owners speak, potential clients will see that they don’t have to be huge investors with 30 properties to be successful. Owning five or 10 properties while keeping a day job is completely possible.
With these events, you’re creating buzz. You’re welcoming new people into an environment and a culture that’s appealing.
And, this is at no cost to you. Put the event on Facebook so you can live stream it and promote your next one. This is an excellent way to start the conversation with new prospects and continue to strengthen the relationship you have with current clients.
Identify Your Target Client
You need to know exactly who your target client is. It may be someone who doesn’t think property management is needed.
At Empire, Steve looks for a male between the ages of 35 and 55. He earns over $175,000 per year, and has plenty of disposable income. He also understands leverage and the value of real estate.
Once you understand who your target client is, figure out where that person hangs out.
After you’ve done that research, conduct the marketing and advertising that’s necessary to reach him. Maybe he’s on LinkedIn. Maybe he works as a doctor or a dentist, and you need to advertise on the sites and in the things they read.
Perhaps you’ll have a financial planner speak at your events. Why? Because those financial planners have a large database of people with disposable income. There are associations you can join as well, with access to your target clients. Then, you get in front of the friends of your target clients.
Steve is not going to invite the guy with no job and no money who wants to flip houses. Instead, he’s going to focus on the engineer earning $300,000, who doesn’t know real estate but is interested in learning about it.
If you don’t know who your target client is, that person is going to walk by you every day, and you won’t know it. Join forces with the companies who work with your target clients every day.
Setting Yourself Apart from Other Property Management Companies
With your event, you’re creating something.
How can you get more clients? By providing a lot of value for current owners. You’re reinforcing to them that you’re the company they want to do business with. You’re showing a point of difference from anyone else out there.
- Talk to other property management companies and find out what they do for owner education. They probably don’t know what that is, and they don’t do it.
- Decide whether you want to be transactional or have a relationship with your clients. You can help them make smart decisions or just ring the cash register. This can be a huge and important way to set yourself apart.
Be the company that helps investors make smart decisions. Many smart people are self-educating today. But, you can speed up their learning curve with something like an owner education series. Open your owners up to vendors, and have people talk about smart investments.
Sponsors will Add Depth to Your Roster of Speakers
Does having a sponsor make you uncomfortable?
It shouldn’t. It actually adds value and depth.
Maybe you have a plumber sponsoring your event. You give the plumber five minutes to speak, and that plumber is getting a lot of value. He’s in front of people he wouldn’t normally be in front of. So, if he spends $250 sponsoring your event, it will be money well-spent. He can market to the people attending.
You’re also giving value to the people there. If you’re a property investor who needs a plumber – there’s a referral. Finding a construction contractor or a quality tradesperson in today’s market is hard. Investors and property owners will appreciate the introduction.
The sponsors show you have validity. It’s more professional and provides more depth when you have vendors, financial planners, and other professionals who directly impact the people you’ve invited.
Change up your topics and sponsors so people will keep attending. Ask what topics your guests want to hear about.
Current Clients Can Add to Your Portfolio
What you may not understand is that the cheapest client acquisition is your current clients. When you can get your current clients to purchase more properties, you’re increasing your business without any acquisition costs.
Questions to ask your clients might be:
- Are you happy in your investing career?
- Are you where you hoped you’d be with your properties?
- Would you like to purchase more property without doing any extra work?
Open the conversation about additional investing.
Don’t be so focused on getting new clients that you forget to maximize the potential in your current clients. You should always be re-engaging.
Most investors know they won’t achieve their financial dreams with just one door. Maybe their initial goal was to buy 20 properties, but they got lost after buying their first three properties. Your job is to find out what went wrong. Life happens, kids grow up, and circumstances change. But, if your owner still has the money and the desire, you may need to be the one who moves that client in the direction of buying additional properties.
Introducing Prospects into Your Sales Funnel
While you’re focused on getting more out of your current clients, remember that you’re also having those A and B clients bring a friend to your event. That’s an easy consultation; a quick chat. Talk about that prospect’s concerns and goals: what has stopped him or her from investing to this point?
Talk about goals and where the prospect plans to be in 20 years. What does life look like, and what’s the strategy for getting there? Map it out. When you come up with a strategy that makes sense, you’re already providing value to someone who isn’t even a client yet.
No one else is providing this value or this education to that prospect. So, you keep them in your funnel and you re-engage after a year or two. Have the conversation whenever you can. It’s a long game.
Ongoing Success: How to Evaluate Your Owner Education Events
You’re going to come away from each event with leads and contacts. You’re also branding yourself and your company. You’re creating a sphere of influence and an environment that tells your market that you’re the company to go to. It won’t be a one-time-only event, and then you’re done. This is the first phase of a relationship that could be a six-month courting process.
You need a continual presence. You need to show up everywhere. Repetition and reputation are the keys.
Remember that everything goes back to making people feel special; to creating exclusive groups. You can have a client-only investor group on Facebook. There, they might find out about great investment opportunities before anyone else does. Give out incentives. When you post something, you can tell your clients that the first person to share that post gets a free paint job in one of their rental properties.
When you create a tribe or club mentality, you build loyalty and you separate yourself from your pack of competitors. People feel like they’re part of something, and soon your A and B clients are bragging about you.
Providing more value than anyone else is what will earn you more business.
For any questions about how Steve has successfully run these owner education events, contact him on his website empireindustriesllc.com or on Facebook. He loves providing tips and advice because he remembers how many people helped him when Empire Industries was first starting out.
If you have any questions about educating prospects and marketing your management company, contact us at Fourandhalf.