WHEN DID WE STOP BEING COURTEOUS?

Customer service is a term, widely used, to greet someone who approaches your business.  “Hello, good morning, how may I help you?”  This is a common response to greet someone who has phoned/visited your business.  I know you all get trained in how to greet clients that could potentially be buyers, sellers, landlords, or tenants, but what if someone is selling your agency something?

I instantly notice a shift in demeanour.  All of a sudden, the person is not helpful and you will notice, if you are in front of them, that their shoulders lower, jaw drops slightly, and even on worse occasions a possible eye roll, and they very quickly cut you off and tell you to ”just leave your business card/flyer” with them.  Over the phone you can hear it in their voice, or they will just leave you leave on hold and never come back.

We all joke about doing this to telemarketers calling from foreign countries, however the same is still done to industry people that could be extremely advantageous to your business.  Let me ask you…who are you to judge which trained professional can assist you in growing your business, or how do you on the reception desk know that a different software package wouldn’t make your life easier?

I personally hear these complaints daily from other industry professionals and, naturally, due to our temporary recruitment side of the business, our Recruitment Manager mentions the rudeness she encounters on a daily basis from Principals/Department heads hearing the word “recruitment “and will literally hang up the phone on her.  When all she is trying to say is: we offer TEMP recruitment only, until you can place a permanent staff member yourself.  Can I also mention, that on countless occasions these particular agencies will eventually call us to enquire about our services (that we tried to explain weeks ago).  We do secretly love those calls!

People specialise in industries for a reason, and most are not trying to sell you a non-marketable nor helpful package, they are simply offering you what may or may not be the solution you need.

I think by far the best conversation with a Principal earlier this month was “Hi I was just wondering if you received our email following up on our services that we offer you” to be replied with “oh yeah for sure that was in my delete pile this morning” …. and hung up the phone in our ear.

Now, why is this necessary? A simple “yes I did get it, thank you very much, but at this stage we do not need your assistance “.  How difficult is that?

  • It is courteous, and respectful.
  • Gives the person the same respect that you would expect be given back to you.

The former just teaches the younger generation who you are generally working with, or are walking past you in the street, how NOT to treat people.

Personally, I get offers also, at least 5 times a week, of people trying to sell me something that at this stage does not interest me – I reply with “thanks for thinking of me, but we are not in a position right now, but feel free to follow me up” or “no, that won’t suit our business mould, but thanks anyway”.

This puts a stop to them contacting you day in and day out for an answer, and in 6 months’ time when they call back, you may be in a better position to meet with them, or you can keep their information on file so you do not have to run back to them in a few months with your tail between your legs.

Some of you may find this article very blunt, or you may be one of these people. However, I have never been one to keep my thoughts to myself, and am a big believer in doing everything possible for humanity, and to bring our younger generations up right so they, in turn, can pass on what we teach them to make the world a happier place because it is truly becoming sad and inhumane.

From the words of My Idol – Ellen Degeneres…. Be kind to one another

Lauren Kropp – Director Real Strategix

 


15 years ago, there was no such title as “Business Development Manager or Business Development Officer”, and really – what is the difference between those 2 titles anyway?  Another one I like is Client Services Officer, or New Business Consultant.  These titles are simply that – titles.  In most instances, you can choose which you feel is more appropriate.  However, the role is the same and the end goal is identical: to get new listings for the Property Management department.

Each agency will have different techniques, systems, documents, and procedures for you to follow. But, the best way of advertising your services are often missed and not included in these areas mentioned.  It is free, and adds far more punch to any letter or email.  What is it?

Social media.

The BEST form of adverting and interacting with your audience.  You may think – “yes, I do this, I post on Facebook”, but what you are forgetting is ‘so does everyone else’.  A few tips and tricks for you to follow, to stand out:

  • You MUST think outside the box and be entertaining. A picture of a house and a caption saying “just listed $350 per week perfect for family“is simply not enough these days to catch someone’s eye.  Why not add a picture of a person screaming in joy and jumping in the background with a caption “OMG I found my next home” – the OMG must be eye catching, to make the audience stop and read the post.  Posts like these will take extra time to create but you will generally get 25% more audience attention, and more likes.
  • More likes – Just this week I posted one entertaining item, that wasn’t even about real estate, that had 67 post views. All it took was for 1 person to tag a friend in that post (as she found it funny) and it immediately jumped to 364 views and one of those new viewers also tagged one person and the post had 843 views.  From this post, instantly we had 8 more people “like” our page.  8/843 is not a lot you may think; however it is 8 more than yesterday.
  • Genuine likes – Having grandma and your aunty like your page is fantastic support but ‘are they really your target audience’, you may think. In the Real Estate world – everyone is your target audience, everyone needs a home whether it be to buy or rent, live in or as an investment, holiday home or for a friend – all likes in this industry are genuine.  For BDM’s and salespeople don’t forget to include “agency tenants” as your target audience. These tenants will hopefully eventually buy a home and if you treat them well it will be with you.
  • One person – that is all it takes to generate more audience interaction. Why not ask your staff members to also “like”, share or tag people in your posts?  Remember that Facebook, Instagram, and Linked In all work the same way that any audience interaction takes that particular post to the top of the news feed so if you spread this out throughout the day your post will keep being put to the top of the news feed.
  • Finding people to like your page – This is time consuming, but social media pages have a “search” filter where you can search not only for a person’s name but their email address and mobile phone number. When consulting we advise people to outsource this task, or have a receptionist spend 1 hour per day adding tenants and contacts from their CRM to the social media pages.  In most instances, the person has to accept your request, so if you find someone on a page remember this does not necessarily mean they will accept your offer, but you have at least touched base with them and made them aware that you would like them to keep up to date on agency activity.

Real Strategix have more tips and tricks in relation to social media and gaining new business interaction, plus we also offer assistance in creating your social media images and a complimentary marketing plan if you do not have the time to create them yourself.

Lauren Kropp

Director

Real Strategix

 

#glenntwiddle

Real Strategix was fortunate enough to have a one on one (well until Jeff Fenech butted in) interview with Glenn Twiddle.  We have asked the questions you may or may not WANT to know the answers to – even the secret questions with Naomi that Glenn did not know about are at the end!

 

 

  1. Are you a boxer shorts, long john or nude sleeper? All of the above depending on availability or lack thereof!
  2. How old were you when you had your first kiss ? – mmmmm I think about 15.
  3. Was it a girl or boy ?  laughing, such a modern question, not something a boy of 15 even thought about in the 80’s in Ipswich, but yes, it was a girl.
  4. What was your first pet – Cindy a dog. What kind of dog? Urm Fluffy, I was 6 or 7 I don’t think I ever asked my Mum what Cindy was.
  5. Who was your first poster of? – Arnie of course, and you know what, I still have those posters now, and on the wall, but now they are signed! I still find it unbelievable that I now socialise with him, work with him, I’ve been to his house! Just seems like my Mum will wake me up and I’ll be back in that childhood room and just have dreamed it all.
  6. If your house was on fire would you save Naomi or the Arnie poster first? Naomi of course, she is amazing, I might have had these mad business ideas but shes the one that executes it all and makes it happen. So like that saying, behind every great man is a great woman? In her case the opposite, she makes it all happen
  7. Do you have siblings? Yes, one of each and I’m the oldest. Ahhh, so did you bully your brother then? (Laughs), of course, he is only two years younger, so as kids he was old enough to want to compete with me with at everything, but too young to beat me at anything. How about now? My brother is so happy, he has a simple uncomplicated life, he teases me now as I am always on the go and never stop!
  8. If you had hair how would you style it? When flat tops first came out that was all I wanted, I was obsessed with them, in fact my Mum gave me my first flat top and that was the longest ever day at school and my first visit to a barber to do it properly straight after! You should tag my Mum, she’ll remember that!
  9. When you went to Cabo, Mexico do you remember any of it and what was your drink of choice? That was on my own, Naomi and I have lots of holidays and what I do remember of it…. Sammy Hay from Van Halen has this club there… Cabo Wavo and they serve this cocktail called a Wavorita… and the service is amazing, they just bring them to you, over and over, even if you are in the mosh pit dancing! Anyway, I remember up to lunch time. I have never ever blacked out from alcohol except that one time… I woke up the next day with no recollection but wearing a Hulk Hogan t-shirt signed by Sammy Hay!  I’m a big fan, I am really hoping to get back there for his big birthday bash but I can tell you, Caucasian brains should not touch tequila based cocktails, and I won’t be touching them again!
  10. Who would win in a fight Arnie or Jeff Fenech? Well firstly they are both the sweetest guys on the planet so it wouldn’t ever happen…. but… well Jeff is really in shape and a great boxer, although Arnold was telling me once about when he met Mohammed Ali and they would try to push eachother over…( Jeff in ear shot yells “I’d win!)”.… Ohhhhhh Arnold teases me about getting into shape, and I saw him in the gym a while back and Arnold is still so strong and in shape!
  11. It must be amazing being around someone so famous? As I said, I still pinch myself, and I think if this d1#%head from Ipswich can do it, then anyone with the drive and dedication can do it, it’s like bloody hell, its a a one in a million thing, and I am that one..and it’s also about getting the most out of events and the speakers that inspired me, following the advice with determination and really hard work and look where it got me! The opportunity to work with people like Arnold or Richard Branson, people I admired as a kid and then read more on as an adult. But you know what, it’s also testament to those people, they are famous, but they are human, they are gracious in the way they treat their fans.
  12. You must be so busy preparing for Sydney? I am so excited, I think it will be the best one I’ve ever done, especially with the amazing speakers we have!

From Naomi (by secret spy Lauren)

Naomi believes his first pet was actually his Arnie poster which is actually STILL in their bedroom ABOVE the bed – except it is now signed.

His first kiss was with his high school sweetheart , Sharon

His middle name is James

His favourite holiday destination is actually the Maldives – but he doesn’t know it yet…..

 

CHECK IT OUT EVERYONE!  http://www.totalsuccess.com.au/

Rebecca Hill – Real Strategix

 

 


Three years ago, you were employed by your agency to run a portfolio of 150 properties and had the title “Property Manager” on your business card.  Many people were looking to change this title to “asset manager”, “people manager”, “counselor” but we still referred to it as Property Manager.

As times have changed, many agencies have resorted to outsourcing their administration tasks.

These tasks include the following:

  • Lease renewals
  • Arrears
  • Application processing
  • Reference checks
  • Scheduling of inspections and sending appropriate forms
  • Entering and arranging maintenance
  • Compliance (smoke alarms, pool management)
  • Arranging open homes including uploading to websites.
  • Sending lease documents and welcome packs
  • Email liaising
  • Client marketing
  • Social media posts
  • Trust accounting

What is left for the “Property Manager” to do?  The only true gap that I see is routine inspections, leasing or viewings and tenant and landlord signups for those who prefer face to face.

If an office was to hire a routine inspection officer or outsource one and a Business Development Manager who could in fact, perform the signups and viewings, this would make the role of the Property Manager obsolete.

I hear a lot of Property Managers complain that they do not get paid enough for the highly stressful job and I concur.

However, if an agency appoints the outsource team and a BDM what will happen to the current annual salary of a Property Manager?

If this were to happen, a Principal has every right to greatly reduce the role and salary of a Property Manager or make them redundant.

Outsourcing is like religion – everyone has an opinion. As the Managing Director of an outsourcing business specialising in trust accounting and temporary recruitment, I have spent a lot of time especially of late writing a “pros and cons” list.

A Principal will LOVE outsourcing if they do not have a strong relationship with their team and sees them purely as an expense.  That may sound harsh but not all employers respect the employee and value the face- to- face concept of their input in the business.

By contracting the services of an offshore Virtual Assistant, they only pay $7 per hour to perform the above tasks compared to $25 per hour for a regular employee.

In some instances, they do not have to pay GST to the contracted worker as the company is owned and operated overseas.  They also do not have to pay super or work cover to the VA.

However, they must make sure their Professional Indemnity Insurance covers the VA. Based on a 38-hour work week, this is a cost savings of $684 in wages plus $65 in super.  This is almost a savings of $39,000 annually!

In a portfolio of 150 properties the Property Manager will generally have an assistant or a routine inspection officer to assist them. Therefore in the above instance, the Property Manager would be made redundant, the routine inspection officer would keep their job and the business would be better off by $39k but what happens to customer service?

The Principal that likes good old fashion customer service, face- to- face conversations and walk- ins will NOT like outsourcing.  But they can see the benefit of paying an additional $39K in wages because they have built a brand and a reputation. Therefore the business should be making up for that $39K and more with new management and growth.

One final negative in offshore outsourcing is the language barrier. The time spent initially outlining and training the VA in procedures and tasks is consuming.

But I can tell you from firsthand experience that if you are fortunate to have a VA that fits your business mould, the initial training is worth it.  We use a VA for our administration tasks but she is restricted from calling our clients due to the language barrier.

Property Managers however will LOVE outsourcing if it makes their life easier and they keep their job.  Therefore, the type of outsourcing suitable for this is a routine inspection officer and/or a trust account specialist.

If the idea of a VA interests you but you are worried about the language barrier, it is possible to outsource to Australian companies.  However, you will pay more than $7 per hour due to Australian minimum clerical award but this will assist the smaller offices who may only want a part time employee to work from home. The training will also be much easier.

I have the best of both worlds. I have a VA in the Philippines for our admin and at Real Strategix, we outsource Australian staff to perform inspections, provide in office temporary recruitment and trust account outsourcing.

Therefore my view as presented above is completely impartial.

Lauren Kropp

Managing Director – Real Strategix

 


When I began Real Strategix 3 years ago, as a first-time business owner I was overwhelmed by the amount of preparation and setup that I had to do.  As most of you know, it was a very stressful time and there was no way I could think about Social Media.

I didn’t know exactly how social media could help my business.  I knew that I needed a business Facebook page and then I would ask all my “friends” to like it.  YAY!  Within a week I had 100 likes on Facebook.

And then it all stopped.

How on earth could I get more “likes” on Facebook?

It was great that my aunty, mother- in- law and the neighbour down the road liked my business page. But in showing me support, does that mean they need Temporary Property Managers or Consulting?  What exactly is the point of liking my page outside showing their unconditional support?

I found Facebook groups where if you join, tag your business and like their page, they would like your page as well. EXCELLENT! Now I had 200 “likes” from all over the world. However, I still had dubious likes from people who would not be interested in our services.

It was then that I was advised by a contact to set up a “Personal Business Profile”. This way, people I knew in the real estate industry would friend me and we could like each other’s page. WOW – another 50 likes; this time GENUINE in nature.

I cannot tell you the amount of assignments we have been given due to the power of social media.  Just last week, I was personally tagged 7 times in one post for someone needing assistance in our area of expertise.  This was extremely humbling and to be honest, darn right satisfying. To top it off, we were awarded the assignment by the client!

I would much prefer to have a smaller number of genuine likes on our Facebook page than have a large number of followers that would have eventually blocked our posts.  Wouldn’t you?

Lauren Kropp – Director


I am going to touch on a subject that relates to everyone on a daily basis.

As business owners, do we name and shame customers that cost us money? 

I don’t care what business you operate.  I guarantee all of you have at least one customer who believes they are better than you and everyone else. That one customer will simply refuse to pay for services/products rendered.

We have quite a few!

It is very hard to sit back and watch while they keep trading with their big franchise name knowing that the smaller operators cannot afford the legal fees or resources to fight them.  It is unfortunate, but this is the way the world works.

We all have that account code in our accounting package called “bad debt”; but my question is why can’t we name and shame them?

It is not deformation if your facts are true and you have appropriate evidence and documentation.  You have surely been told before to “rise above” and they will get what is coming to them.

But how will they get what is coming to them if no-one speaks up?

Ethics is defined in the dictionary as “moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity”.  Every business course that you study generally has the topic of Business Ethics which touch on exactly this: How do I become a good business operator and be fair in your dealings with others?

What it doesn’t touch on is: How to deal with the emotions you feel when certain businesses believe they simply don’t have to pay you because they are the big dogs.

There is a real problem with the economy for small business and this is what lets us down.  This is why the big dog will always remain the big dog and small businesses will always remain that – small.  Unfortunately, the steps required to chase a bad debt are very costly and not to mention time-consuming.

  • Numerous phone calls and emails which are ALWAYS ignored.
  • Letter of Demand – generally not acknowledged
  • Solicitor letter (costly)
  • Local magistrates court application – time consuming, costly and will take a while for a hearing date
  • Hearing – This could go either way depending on the JP/Magistrate if the other party has justified evidence.

Not to mention the emotional strain and sometimes physical strain that is put on you and ultimately your family.

Personally, I am yet to find a good outcome on bad debts.  It seems that these particular egotistical customers pride themselves on their BIG branding and rely on the fact that the little people will simply “give up”.  I urge you not to.

If we want to set a good example for our generations to come, the one thing I want to teach my children is if you believe in something and feel you deserve to be paid….Fight.  Fight for what is yours.

Perhaps by naming and shaming, we can transfer the balance of power back to small business.  It may reduce the big dog’s bark to a whimper.

Lauren Kropp

Director – Real Strategix.