The Property Manager's Sales Course

2. Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Property Management

Don't Leave Sales Success to Chance

Today we're going to do a quick drive-by on the most common mistakes that stunt sales and hold property management companies back. These strategic mis-steps, and how to avoid them, will serve as the backdrop for the rest of this course.


The 7 most common mistakes in property management sales:

  1. Not knowing what a lead is worth
  2. Weak follow up
  3. Inconsistent sales process
  4. Weak marketing collateral
  5. No marketing or sales automation
  6. Guesstimate based reporting
  7. No dedicated sales roles

Estimated Time: This lesson should take approximately 8 minutes.

1. Not Knowing What a Lead is Worth

Assume you just stumbled upon an amazing new lead source with unlimited high quality owner leads that were guaranteed to close at a rate of 25% or better. But there's one catch - the more leads you buy the more you pay for each lead. How many leads would you buy before the ROI stopped making sense?

How can you know how much to spend on a new lead if you don't know how much a lead is worth?

The answer is... you can't.

The good news is that once you figure this out you will have a huge advantage in being able to pick and choose profitable marketing channels with the confidence of knowing in advance where profitability begins and ends.

By defining your average profit per client and your average close rate you can easily back out your highest profitable cost-per-lead. We've reviewed this in more detail in the last lesson, so go back and figure out your target cost-per-lead if you haven't already.

Takeaway Until you take the time to map out what a new contract is worth and establish a target cost-per-lead you're not going to be able to make objective evaluations about how your lead sources are performing.

2. Weak Follow Up

The slight edge phenomenon refers to the idea of "winner takes all" in sales. The company that wins the sale may not necessarily be twice as good as their competitors, but they still came in first even if they only had a slight lead.

Follow up is where the buck stops.

You can do everything else right, but if your follow up is too slow, infrequent, or both, you will always come up short.

It's staggering to see the impact of speed to call and persistence (# of follow up attempts made) have on lead conversion.

Why expend all the work to generate a good lead only to let it wither on the vine because of poor follow up?

Takeaway If it takes you longer than 5 minutes to call prospects back, you've already fallen significantly behind in the race to close the lead.

3. An Undefined Sales Process

If your sales process is as predictable as a spin on the wheel of fortune, your results will be as well.

Your sales process is the backbone of your sales results and if you don't define your target you'll never hit the mark.

From the timing of the first phone call, to the content of the first several emails, the nuance in these small actions, multiplied by the hundreds of times they happen over the course of a year will make or break your sales performance.

Taking the time to think through and set expectations for how each lead should be handled is the first step toward generating consist, high level results.

Takeaway Good process => good outcome. Bad process => bad outcome. No process = bad process

4. Weak Sales and Marketing Collateral

As a consumer, which sales presentation would you rather experience?

No matter how dedicated you or your staff is, there's no one at your company that works 24 hours a day... except for your website.

Day in and day out your website and marketing collateral answer questions and move prospects towards the sale.

That is, IF you've invested in compelling content. The vast majority of management companies don't and it's costing them dearly.

Good sales collateral is the brochure, video testimonial, or free eBook that acts as an ambassador for your brand and pulls prospects deeper into your sales funnel.

In a later lesson we're going to look at some of the best pieces of content put out by property management companies, why they work, and how you can leverage similar content in your own company. Stay tuned.

Takeaway Stop being boring. Stand out by creating value through well packaged, value added content.

5. No Marketing or Sales Automation

If you're doing some weekend yard work, an axe works fine, it may even be ideal. But if you're trying to make a living cutting wood, it's obvious that a modern tool like a chainsaw is the only way to go.

There's absolutely no reason to still be manually entering, distributing and notating leads. Companies that are still operating this way will always be working uphill compared to the companies that are leveraging the power of automation in their business.

Automation IS NOT a silver bullet; it is merely a tool to assist and amplify your existing sales process. That said, it has the power to radically reduce busywork and add a much higher degree of consistency to your sales efforts. Start small and make sure you can walk before you run. We will go in depth here in a future lesson.

Takeaway Automation is leverage. Invest in the infrastructure you need to succeed.

6. Guesstimate Based Reporting

Peter Drucker is a management genius, and I highly recommend his book, "The Effective Executive."

The quote above sums up what's wrong with most property managers' sales efforts. There's no tracking and reporting on what's ACTUALLY happening.

The difference between guessing how well your agents are converting leads or how well a given lead source is performing and KNOWING with certainty is like the difference between having a car dashboard that works and having one that's busted. You can tell yourself that you know your car like the back of your hand so who cares if the gauges are busted, but that kind of dysfunction is asking for disaster and will permanently handicap your growth until you get it fixed.

In the next lesson we're going to be covering how to start tracking and reporting on real sales activities WITHOUT having to do a bunch of fancy work in excel or make you agents jump through a bunch of extra hoops.

Takeaway You can't improve what you can't measure. Don't run your business based on guesswork.

7. No Dedicated Sales Roles

This is probably the most controversial item on this list.

What I'm saying here is that the portfolio style management model is fundamentally sub-optimal when it comes to trying to scale sales.

In smaller companies everyone wears more than one hat, but as your company grows, so should the level of specialization in each department, including sales.

The fastest growing companies are the quickest to work toward establishing a dedicated sales person in the company who fields all inbound leads and either closes them or simply contacts and qualifies them before handing the pre-sold prospects off to a team of leasing agents they oversee.

This kind of a structure is radically more efficient than having leads farmed out directly to leasing agents who are responsible for managing every aspect of the business relationship from making sales calls to signing paper work to placing tenants to ongoing maintenance etc.

For a radical outlook on scaling a modern sales force look no further than, Justin Roff-Marsh's soon to be classic, "The Machine"

Takeaway Find the most qualified person in your company and put them in a dedicated sales role. Everyone wins when the company is able to maximize the value of their leads by putting their closers on the front lines.

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