BEYOND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
THE ROLE Of Business Development Manager (BDM) today is an absolutely vital part of property management business, focusing attention on revenue and rent roll growth. As a BDM Hannah’s list of achievements to date is very impressive. She maintains a 99.3 per cent appraisal-to-listing ratio (not including multiple listings where more than one property is pursued at the same meeting), manages 12 direct staff, handles the marketing side of the property management business and is continually looking to improve repeat and referral business strategies. The management fee she achieves on average is around one per cent higher than the ACT average, maximising both agency and landlord cash flows. She is a licensed real estate agent, the agency’s youngest shareholder, and will complete a management and leadership diploma this year, as well as being enrolled in the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ course.
When I met Hannah it was easy to see why prospective clients are drawn to her; she has a great energy and an easy going, down to earth manner at the same time.
I start by asking her a bit more about IPM and how the business operates. She answers, “Independent is quite unique. We are a one-stop-shop, basically. We’ve got everything from PM, strata, sales. We’ve got projects, town planning, marketing, HR, finance. Everything you need for property transaction, we can offer. We have seven sales offices and one property management office.”
The team of 12 that Hannah manages is made up of other BDMs, leasing consultants, admin and a graphic designer/ photographer. I note that having a designer on staff is quite unique to property management. Hannah responds, “We used to have the PMs take their own photos, and in our marketplace that was the norm. Then we employed a person who has a graphic design degree, but has also done photography. So the overhead is minimal because it’s just salary. But with professional photography, we can obviously provide a whole different level of service for our clients.”
As it happens, this salary is cleverly taken care of by another key part of IPMs marketing strategy, a professionally designed and printed magazine called Move. This magazine is also unique to the Canberra market and replaces the standard rental list. I ask Hannah how this came about.
“The inspiration for the magazine came from a Melbourne agency who were doing something similar,” says Hannah. “I was looking again at the standard of our brand and what we want to be providing for our clients. The standard rental list is three or four A4 pages roughly stapled together; I just don’t think that cuts it any more. These days we are talking ‘tech everything’! If we’re going to be doing paper publications, let’s make it the best it can be. We do average anywhere from 150 to 200 properties available at any given time, so we’ve always got the stock to be able to produce the magazine, and it’s evolved from there.”
The magazine is available through the seven sales offices and at sponsor shop fronts, local restaurants, cafes and businesses. “The way we’ve achieved this to the standard we have is that we charge our owners – obviously it’s marketing and advertising. We charge them for the costs involved per listing. Then we also have a number of our suppliers and tradespeople companies advertising in there. As a result, we’re looking at roughly $91,000 of profit in a 12-month period.”
Apart from the magazine, what other