As a realtor and partner in my father’s property management company, I hear about the almighty sales lead from our agents every day.
There is a well-established network in real estate for generating these types of leads. We work with big names such as Trulia and Zillow to bring leads in for our real estate agents. However, I wasn’t seeing a well-established network for rental owner leads. In fact, I’m wasn’t seeing anything.
I do know this, though: As in everything else I blog about, we’re going to need a plan that we execute, believe in, and stay with. With that said, we needed a starting point for finding rental owner leads, and we think we found it with a recent discussion on NARPM’s LinkedIn page (you need to request membership to see the content). I’ve attempted to capture the best practices NARPM members identified, and then add some of my own insight.
- Targeted mail campaign to property owners. This is typically an inexpensive way to get your message in front of owners. However, you must plan (there’s that word again) to have it on a calendar and have a consistent mailing schedule while keeping the message simple and the graphics catchy but not flashy.
- Speak at local business or club lunches such as the Rotary. Many times these clubs need a speaker with little notice to replace a scheduled speaker that cancelled. Let these groups know that your are available with very little notice. These can be fun and a great source of contacts.
- Internet marketing can be very successful as well. However, it has a variety of cost levels. Industry veterans recommend using a professional to launch this campaign. You may want to consider a budget of around 25% of revenue and make a six-month commitment to really see results.
- You can go old school and run ads in the local paper classified section. Yup, believe it or not, these industry pros say it still works. Now, they also report that it only makes up a a third of their advertising budget, with the remaining dollars going to on-line advertising and social media.
- Another form of lead generation is through lead websites. These are resources where you would pay a monthly fee to receive leads or you would have to bid on the lead. Our property management veterans warn that you will often only get leads from property owners fishing for the low-cost leader, and the “bidding” type lead service has no loyalty to the property manager, only selling his lead to the highest bidder.
These are just the top five, and I only touched on the highlights. What I took away from all this is that no matter what part of the business you are focused on (sales, operations, marketing, or accounting), you need a plan.
If you look at these as best practices, you can adopt a portion of each and have a successful lead generation program, as long as you avoid the pitfalls of each.
The following may be the beginning of a well-rounded lead generation plan:
- A targeted mailing to absentee property owners with information about your company and services that highlights your value proposition. This will require the purchase of a mailing list and possibly a direct mail service.
- Engaging local HOAs and social clubs to speak at meetings to discuss the rental industry and the benefits of a professional property management company. This is a great way to get in front of a lot of people with no out-of-pocket cost, and you may get a free lunch out of it, along with some great leads.
- Look into online companies that market to property investors and advertise with them, and promote your online presence.
- Network with your maintenance vendors and explore an opportunity of having them refer you to owners that are managing their own properties. This is also a great time to share your value proposition with the vendor and make sure he has a complete understanding of it. Again, this is a great use of an existing resource with no extra cost to you.
- I do like the old-school advertising in print media. Many communities have newsletters. This is a great way to support the community and get the word out.
If you were to put a 20% of your total lead generation time into each of these five activities for a few months, you’ll begin to see which gets legs, and which stalls on you. Then ask those all-important business questions:
- What should I stop doing?
- What should I continue doing?
- What should I start doing?
Within a few months you should be looking at a pretty solid lead generation plan that is cultivating you some nice growth. We are experimenting with a variety of lead generation activities, and I look forward to sharing them with you in future blog posts.Read more on Marketing