1. Contact home sellers
Ask if they would be interested in renting their home instead of selling it outright. This gives you the chance to catch homeowners at a critical decision point: You know they’re planning on exiting their home–it’s just a matter of finding a seller who’s not counting on the proceeds from the home sale. (This probably won’t make you very popular with local real estate agents.)
2. Offer a referral incentive to current clients
For example, you can give a free month or two of property management services for a referral that turns into a one-year property management contract or more. Remember, property investors and landlords talk to each other.
3. Join your local real estate investment club
Volunteer to host clinics on how to be a successful residential landlord. Don’t go to solicit business–be an effective leader and a great teacher now, and they’ll come to you later.
4. Connect with local real estate agents
For example, you could compensate them for referring their unsuccessful buyers to you: People who are not ready or able to buy at the moment, or people on temporary assignments that could turn permanent.
5. Go to networking events
The best networking groups, in our experience, are ones that you pay to join, since they attract a more serious group of professionals. The chances are good that you’ll make a useful connection or learn valuable information.
6. Have a content strategy
You’re not the only one who turns to the internet for advice and information on real estate investment and other topics. It’s always a good move to establish yourself as a subject matter expert within your market by publishing informative articles and blog posts on your website.
7. Target a few important keywords and own them
When it comes to your online content, the more specific keywords that you can target, the better. It’s tough for a small property manager to dominate keyword searches for huge cities and popular topics. However, a small business can be competitive in local keyword searches for a specific suburb, development, or niche topic.
8. Schedule time each week for marketing and prospecting
It’s easy to get caught in the weeds and minutiae of managing a busy property every day. However, if you don’t take time to seek out new business, your practice will stagnate–potentially drying up as natural turnover takes its toll. If you find that you just can’t break free from managing properties to sell your services to new customers, it’s probably time to hire some additional staff members.
9. Set sales activity goals
You can’t control how many people sign on with you–but you sure can control your sales activity. Set manageable goals and track them. For example, your monthly activity goals can look like this:
- Make 200 phone calls to potential property investors or clients
- Attend 3 or more investment clubs or networking meetings
- Set 3 appointments with property investors to discuss managing their properties
- Ask at least one qualified property owner to sign a contract with you
10. Cold call For Rent By Owner listings (FRBOs)
Many times, if a do-it-yourself landlord has been trying to rent his or her property for few weeks with no takers, they’ll be ready to hire a property manager just to take the problem off of their plate. They don’t want to be spending a lot of time answering phones or showing the place to unqualified buyers and tire-kickers.
11. Publish your own newsletter
Even if you have just two clients, publish a short newsletter. Keep up with real estate news and trends–the more local, the better. This is a great way to add value for your clients and further cement their loyalty to you. Make it easy for them to share your articles with their friends and associates, who may well be real estate investors, too.
12. Invest in a first-rate website
For any business, property management firms included, your website is a potential customer’s first impression of you. Many real estate websites are still stuck in the ’90s. Get a designer with good taste and an up-to-date portfolio. They’ll cost a bit more, but the business that a well-designed website brings in will make the investment well worth it.
You should also consider building an owner’s portal into your site so that owners can log on and see their account statements, reserves, rental status of each unit, etc. right on the site, 24/7. It will take a bit of work to keep it updated; that’s a good assignment for a staffer. Just have the web designer build a good back-end management program. You can also invest in property management software that includes these capabilities. In 2017, it’s often the manager with the best technology who wins the bid.
13. Be active on social media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are proven social media platforms that can help you to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. Be active on local real estate topics. Join or start Facebook and LinkedIn groups for local real estate professionals and investors. Become a go-to source for expertise, perspective, and analysis–and show potential customers what working with you would be like.
14. Start a Meetup group
Go to Meetup.com and open an account. Start or join a real estate investment Meetup group in the area that you want to target. Promote it via social media, newsletter announcements, and direct mail. Try to keep the non-investor vendors to one per industry, so you don’t have 12 real estate agents trying to gang up on your poor, beleaguered investors.