Secret Shopping .... What a Hoot!


(Colleen Sutherland) #1

I finally got around to secret shopping and I didn’t realise what an eye opener it would be.

We often don’t win the business and I needed to know why so I called the competitors who won the business I was vying for and was not surprised at what I got.

Scenario: My son had just bought his first home and was possibly being transferred away for work and may have to rent it out.

I called 25 offices some of them LPMA members. 18 of them gave me their fees and discounted before they even said any thing else.

Out of that 18 only 8 sent me information I asked for.

6 offices either didn’t answer or told me to call back later

2 of the Big Agencies didn’t want to know anything other than an email address and to get me off the phone.

The conversations were stilted. I tried not to use ‘PM speak’ and dumbed down what I was asking and even then I didn’t get a professional and well rounded response.

The information I did get was so ‘in-house’ that was poorly written and everyone said the same thing on how to get the right tenant, how to fix stuff and how big/small their agency was. Very generic.

No one told me:

  1. How to set up a property for rent to maximise tax benefits
  2. What to do to get the property ready for rent.
  3. Why I should chose them.
  4. Asked me what was my biggest concern in renting out a property. Other than a contact name and the property address they didn’t ask me anything.
  5. Value added information on themselves or the property.

They didn’t have a compelling dialogue as to why to chose them.

I didn’t speak to a BDM. I spoke mostly to PM’s who seemed young and inexperienced.

Sutherlands! We have all this and more in our scripts and yet Landlords are fee-focused.

My brochure is perfect. My fee structure is comprehensive. My conversation is professional yet has personality. My focus on their call is engaged and offers valuable information for free.

What. The. Actual … What else can I do to win the business without fee matching?

SIDE NOTE: Having said all that I did come away feeling so good about myself and the service we offer.

(Ashley Giles) #2

Congratulations Colleen, there is a reason you are an award winning office!

What a great story for many reasons. As a business owner, lots of training goes into the BDM’s, but less into the PM’s for new business. Seams like there is a missed opportunity there!

Also, re: fee focussed, its that bloody % of rent… At Wendell’s we try to change the conversation to Nett Income, what makes it into their bank account not what our cost is, if were 10% higher than the competition (actually were about 20% higher) but we achieve a 10% increase in their nett annual income, the owner is better off with us at our full fee.

Bottom line, if you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.

We have found we have to educate the client on what a “Good Property Manager does” have them ask the same questions of the lower priced offering and guaranteed they would start to see the difference.

So interesting, i almost want you to mystery shop my office… but then again your a harsh critic so maybe I don’t! Hahaha…

Great story and thank you for sharing.

(russell Peter) #3

I got your cold call and end up giving you business. thanks for the snap shot tho very helpfull.

(Colleen Sutherland) #4

You’re special though Russell. And I am so grateful to you.

You were the most professional even before you knew who I was.

Still crunching the numbers.

(Marine Funfrock) #5

Maybe it would pay to look into how network marketing guys do it… I’m saying that because I’ve had a few getting me on a call and I found their way of doing this was actually quite perfect. Here it is applied to real estate but you can put a guy that lost 20kgs drinking shakes instead of PM:

  1. the prospect calls the property manager,
  2. the property manager tells them really enthusiastically what is great about their job and how fulfilling it is and especially tells about the results PM gives to clients. PM asks: would you like to know more about what we do? The prospect says yes. PM then set up a call at a time convenient to the prospect for the BDM or GM to call him back.
  3. The PM calls at the day and time given and introduces the prospect to the GM stating the reason of the call in the first place and the GM to the prospect by mentioning how many people they have helped and give back a high return ect.
  4. The GM takes over and PM shuts up but still follows what is going on. GM asks about the pain points for the prospect, the background story, the fears ect, GM then asks what prospects wants to see happening, get them to the dream position, ensure he gets the prospect to say out loud the objectives he wants to reach and how these objectives will affect the prospect’s life.
  5. GM reiterate the results in terms of quality of life the prospect wants to see happen and asks what he has started to set up to get there and how the rental property comes in this picture. Assess how far the prospects has to go to get to his dream position.
  6. GM mentions how they managed to give people exactly that through their services. storytelling time with only results of your clients. How you do it is quite irrelevant, what is happening here is that you are telling stories that counteract any misgivings that person has about using a PM, you go through all the fears you established at the start and you give an example that crush each of them.
  7. GM asks again about the dream he wants and points out that this is definitely achievable then GM goes back to the present coming back to all the pains ect then asks what the person wants to do now?
  8. if they say yes I want to go ahead, that’s when you talk about your fees. the fees don’t matter so much when you have the buy in for results.

Why this technique works is because you start with the pain then go to the dream then back to the pain and the brain will work very hard to avoid pain at all cost. The reason why you need a 3rd person doing most of the work is that we are less likely to doubt the words of a person when you have confirmation from a 3rd person.

Maybe this would help you get through more new business.