Having and being able to communicate your Value Proposition is supposed to set you apart from the competition and to convince Landlords to trust you with their most valued asset, their Rental Property Portfolio.
I don’t think agencies understand how important it is for their agents to be able to verbalise and communicate your value proposition. It is time to think out of the box because everyone out there claims to provide more or less the same suite of services. So, if your value proposition is equal to the list of services provided, that it not going to be good enough to set you apart from the competition.
In our company we have decided that we want to be most Trusted Advisors to our partners and clients when it comes utilising technology to improve their business efficiency. This is part of the value that we bring which is much more than just a list of services. It speaks to the fact that we have put in the effort to earn the right to be a trusted and respected advisor. It also means that we know what we know and we also know what will work and what won’t because we have seen it work or fail to work many times.
So, think about this… If you want to be a Trusted Advisor to your Landlords, you will have to ask yourself what value you can add based on experience that the landlord can’t possibly have himself. Think about the issues that a Landlord might need consultation on, even if he / she does not even realise it initially. When you get sick, you go to the doctor, but it is nice to have a family GP that you know and trust. The same principle applies to Rental Property. The following is a non conclusive list of issues that you can use to become a Trusted Advisor rather than just another service provider.
Compliance with the relevant Laws and Regulations.
The Rental Industry is a highly regulated industry and it is almost impossible for Landlords not dealing with the legislation on a daily basis to keep up and ensure that they stay compliant in their dealings with Tenants. We have found that is has become so specialised that many lawyers are not even up to date. Training your agents to ensure that they understand and can explain the relevant legislation in layman’s terms will go a long way to set you apart from the competition. I am talking here about one level deeper knowledge than just knowing about the existence of a law or tribunal.
Finding the “Best” Tenant
All agencies provide a Tenant Procurement Service, but very few know what it means and will commit to find the best tenant. The best tenant is not necessarily the tenant with the best credit score or the tenant with the highest income or the tenant that is prepared to accept all the conditions that the Landlord are putting on the table. The best Tenant is the best fit Tenant for the current prevailing set of circumstances. This might mean more effort to understand the Landlord’s objectives and reasoning better and it might mean that there are more parameters to work with. The question is, are you prepared to walk that extra mile.
Dealing with Defaults and Disputes
Once again, the procedures in dealing with Defaults and Disputes are very important and related to some of the laws and regulation. Getting the sequence of activities wrong or not being proactive can easily cause a two to three months delay and if you have a non paying tenant that can cause serious stress for the Landlord. The question is, can your organisation be trusted to eliminate this risk for a Landlord.
Objective Investment advice and Market Related Price Evaluation
It is easy to have a look at some of the marketing portals to find out what a three of four bedroom property in a certain neighbourhood are renting for, but it requires more experience and research to fine tune pricing based on aspects such as location, access routes, security, finishes and so on. Do you have someone in your organisation that have experience and really understand this? If the answer is yes, you have another aspect covered of being a trusted advisor to a Landlord. Ideally, you want your Landlords to do a Fit for Rent evaluation before they invest and buy a Rental Property. If your organisation do Sales and Rentals, you might find yourself conflicted here in order to be objective.
If your organisation has to run everything by the landlord, it is probably fair to say that you’re not a trusted representative and you need to ask yourself why is that and what can be done to change that perception and obvious mistrust. Maybe it has to do with due diligence. How easy do you make it for your Landlord to do a due diligence on your organisation before doing business with you and how and are you prepared to guarantee the outcome and accept responsibility when things go south. If you really want to set yourself apart, start working on becoming a trusted representative today. Note that you can never become a trusted representative if your are not regarded as a trusted advisor because the landlord will not trust you to make the right decisions on his behalf.
Access to Expertise
A trusted advisor is also someone who knows the limits of what he knows, but have access to a network of other experts who can be trusted advisors on specialised subject matter. You do not necessarily need to have all the knowhow in-house, but need to know what you don’t know and have relationships with other reputable Trusted Advisors. Having access to these resources is very valuable to a Landlord.
Reputable Contractor Network
Anyone that knows anything about rentals will know how much hiring and firing it takes to build a reputable network of contractors who can deal with anything including Electricity, Plumbing, Leaking Roofs, Gardens, Pools, Locks, Handyman Stuff, Rubble Removal, etc. If you are prepared to bet on your Contractor network to the extent that you will accept responsibility for come backs, then it has serious value. This puts you in a position where you can confidently advise a landlord on maintenance issues.
Some last thoughts
Another aspect of being a Trusted Advisor is that you are supposed to know how things work and need to act like you know. How can a trusted advisor just accept anything a Landlord wants to do even if he knows that the Landlord is wrong. Being a Trusted Advisor therefor is also about knowing how to say NO to a landlord.
If you are just going to give every Landlord exactly what they want and think they need, you are on your way to becoming your Landlord’s slave and it will not be long before your value is being questioned because slaves do as they are told, they are not supposed to think for themselves.
Last point. You might also realise during the initial discussions that you are not required and will not be valued by the Landlord. A true trusted advisor will not take on an assignment just for the sake of making money. Would you be prepared to walk away and do you know how to walk away without offending the prospective Landlord.