Tara Bradbury on Sales Strategies from the Founder of BDM Academy
Today, on the Profitable Property Management Podcast, I’m talking with Tara Bradbury, the director of the BDM Academy, a one-stop shop for coaching and training resources for property management business development managers.
Within one calendar year, Tara has closed over 260 contracts working as the BDM for a property management company. In our chat, she shares everything you need to know about how to build an effective outbound prospecting system so you can drive similar results in your business.
If you’ve thought about bringing on a BDM, but you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve already done that but aren’t getting the results you’re looking for, then this is the episode for you.
- (01:46) – Background Leading up to Today
- (01:49) – Tara explains how she first got into the property management business.
- (03:00) – First role as a BDM.
- (04:35) – Tara details what attracted her to coaching, training and consulting.
- (01:49) – Tara explains how she first got into the property management business.
- (06:55) – BDM Function
- (07:11) – Key responsibilities and expectations.
- (07:11) – The focus should be on outbound marketing efforts.
- (07:42) – Networking, connecting over the phone, setting higher benchmarks and targets of calls that they want to achieve each day.
- (08:08) – Creating meetings.
- (10:05) – Tara explains how a business owner can bridge the gap of expecting of someone else what they were not able to do themselves.
- (10:05) – Involvement, KPIs, and setting goals for the BDM.
- (10:23) – Why accountability is so important.
- (11:21) – Discussing the specifics of on-boarding timeframes.
- ( 11:57) – Tara touches on her accelerated six-week program.
- (15:01) – Setting expectations for a BDM for lead nurturing timeframes.
- (15:06) – The differences between cold, warm and hot leads.
- (15:16) – Tara’s example of successfully nurturing a cold lead.
- (17:18) – Warm and hot leads.
- (18:00) – The types of communication used to nurture a cold lead over a 12 month time period.
- (18:33) – Finding the balance is vital to achieve the best results.
- (18:54) – Why knowing your client’s preferences is so important.
- (19:47) – Video based thank you notes.
- (20:46) – Nurturing your role as advisor and consultant.
- (15:06) – The differences between cold, warm and hot leads.
- (07:11) – Key responsibilities and expectations.
- (24:22) – Working with BDMs
- (24:54) – The kind of temperament and character traits that make up an ideal BDM.
- (24:54) – Sales mindset focused.
- (26:23) – Someone who is prepared to have strong KPIs in place and to stick to them.
- (27:02) – Communication based person who is going to have a passion for the agency and be able to sell the property management team.
- (27:27) – Some of the recurring mistakes Tara sees in working with BDMs.
- (27:58) – Accountability.
- (28:29) – The problems with a BDM spending too much time on inbound activities.
- (28:53) – Business owners failing to set clear KPIs, a clear job description, clear expectations, and a weekly touch point.
- (29:13) – How to properly review your new BDM.
- (30:13) – Failing to acquire a second opinion during the interview process.
- (24:54) – The kind of temperament and character traits that make up an ideal BDM.
- (31:45) – Commercial Break
- (33:20) – Working with BDMs (cont.)
- (33:35) – Tara discusses how much leeway a business owner should give their BDM in regards to negotiating fees.
- (34:32) – Alternative to reducing fees.
- (36:38) – Specific example to this alternative and how it worked.
- (34:32) – Alternative to reducing fees.
- (39:51) – How Tara handled objections to high fee rates.
- (40:17) – Transparent discussion with clients regarding business costs and margins.
- (42:26) – How confidence made this a winning strategy for Tara.
- (40:17) – Transparent discussion with clients regarding business costs and margins.
- (33:35) – Tara discusses how much leeway a business owner should give their BDM in regards to negotiating fees.
- (47:02) – Tying it Together
- (47:33) – The one piece of advice Tara would give to business owners considering hiring a BDM.
- (47:33) – Do your research first.
- (47:51) – Be firm with your interview process.
- (47:33) – The one piece of advice Tara would give to business owners considering hiring a BDM.
- (49:06) – Who do you learn from?
- (50:23) – What books have impacted you the most?
- (51:56) – What do you wish was different about the industry?
- (54:10) – Are entrepreneurs born or bred?
- PM Grow Summit (31:45) – The premier property management conference.
- Anthony Robbins (49:50) – Learning resource recommended by Tara.
- Richard Branson (49:55) – Learning resource recommended by Tara.
- Emma Isaacs (50:03) – Learning resource recommended by Tara.
- Who Moved My Cheese, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson (50:36) – Recommended reading from Tara.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (50:36) – Recommended reading from Tara.
- Zig Ziglar (51:40) – Learning resource recommended by Tara.
Where to learn more:
If you would like to learn more about Tara and the BDM Academy, you can find all the information you need at BDMAcademy.com.au. You can also find them on their Facebook page and Tara’s personal page here.
Jordan: 0:00:00.0 Welcome closers today we have another episode of the profitable property management Podcast coming at you. This is season two on sales. I’m your host, Jordan Muela, and every week I share actionable insights from world class property management entrepreneurs and industry experts to help you grow you property management empire. Whether you manage 100 units or 1000, this broadcast is designed to help you see the big picture and give you the tools and tactics that you need to get to the next level.
Today, I’m talking with Tara Bradbury, the director of the BDM Academy, which as it sounds, is a one-stop shop for coaching and training resources for business development managers, specifically in the property management industry.
0:00:48.8 We’re going to talk about how to build an effective outbound prospecting system and this is something that Tara can speak about from experience, because she’s actually done it.
Within one calendar year, she’s closed over 260 management contracts. 0:01:03.7 [Tweet] That’s one person brining in 260 management contracts in one calendar year. Ask yourself if this would have an impact on your business.
0:01:12.5 And she did this specifically working as the BDM for a property management company. So if you’ve thought about bringing on a BDM, but you’re not sure where to begin, or if you have done that and it failed, or if it’s kind of sort of working, but you want to optimize it, this is the episode for you. 0:01:29.0 Welcome to the show Tara.
Tara: 0:01:31.2 Ah thank you so much for having me Jordan, I’m really excited to be able to chat with your group and looking forward to sharing different ideas.
Jordan: 0:01:41.1 Absolutely. Well, I want to start here. I want to start with just getting some context for how you got into the industry. 0:01:46.6 So how was it that you got into the property management industry?
Tara: 0:01:49.9 I actually finished school, and one of my clients, she worked for a company, it was a training organization company, so I did work experience with her.
0:02:02.7 And as part of that, she introduced me to the first real estate business that I worked in, and put my name forward as the receptionist.
0:02:09.4 So I started in the reception role, and then had the opportunity to get an understanding of what was involved in property management. 0:02:18.4 At the time, I was on a traineeship, apprenticeship, which is a training-based setup that they have in many businesses here in Australia, First. First is being in a full-time, committed role.
0:02:31.8 Did that and really enjoyed it and then was offered the opportunity to become a property manager. I found out very, very quickly, Jordan, that my strengths weren’t as much in the role of property manager. More so in BDM.
0:02:46.7 And I can – I tend to joke around a bit saying I was a terrible property manager, which you know, I’m quite honest about that in the sense of my skill sets and strengths are certainly sales based.
0:03:00.2 So I found myself being really comfortable with the role of BDM and was offered that amazing opportunity after about probably being involved in the property management role for about three years.
And then stepping into the fourth and fifth year, I actually changed companies and the company that I moved into offered me the opportunity to become a BDM because I was also looking at the chance of becoming a realtor as well, and selling property.
0:03:27.2 But went down that path of being a BDM and have absolutely loved it. My business owner at the time that I worked for made the decision to sell her magnificent asset and over the time that I was the BDM, within her business, we were able to triple the size of the number of units that we had there, and as you mentioned earlier, absolutely my largest year of units that were signed was 268 over a 12 month period.
And I was able to achieve my goal in signing 30 units in one month. Which was an awesome achievement, I think for any BDM in the industry and one that certainly didn’t happen overnight.
Jordan: 0:04:09.6 Well that’s a true sales person right there. She noticed that I shorted her 8 management contracts when I threw out that stat of 260 earlier. I appreciate you pointing that out. Point taken. Noted.
0:04:22.6 So, you made it work, you were successful, and then you pivoted and started the BDM Academy. What made you want to get into coaching, training, consulting? What was attractive about that for you?
Tara: 0:04:35.3 Absolutely. So I was in a role with one of our franchise groups here within Australia where I had the opportunity to take on a maternally ((?)) 0:04:44.8 position, which was about a four, four and a half contract. And work as a trainer within that franchise.
So that was my opportunity to be able to test the industry and see if it was something that I was comfortable with pursuing.
0:04:57.0 I’d gone to many conference events and had a lot of people that had shared with me that they felt the numbers were fantastic and outstanding and what did I do. And I was on a few panels and did get the opportunity to speak at conference events prior to starting the academy.
0:05:11.5 So after that time within that role, I then decided to not hold back and put together my business plan. Saw that BDM Academy was available as a company entity name online. Secured that. This happened in February about four years ago now. 2013. And launched the BDM academy.
0:05:33.4 So I was very, very fortunate that I was first to market across Australia and New Zealand doing pure business development, training and coaching.
0:05:42.2 Wrote The A-Z of Real Estate Development so that I had a product there that I could share with the industry as to the ‘what you need to do’, and the steps that you can take to be not just a BDM, but to be able to also grow the number of units in your property management business. And just didn’t hold back.
Took the opportunity to make calls with different companies across both countries, people that I had met in conference events and started to share my direction and vision of what I was hoping to achieve.
0:06:10.9 And as we come into February next year, when you’re holding your fantastic conference in the US there, we will actually have five years of being in the industry and sharing business development training here in Australia and New Zealand.
Jordan: 0:06:23.6 That’s fantastic. So let’s talk a little bit about the actual nuts and bolts of what you do. When somebody comes to you and says that they’re interested in hiring a BDM – I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page about what this person is doing.
Because obviously, even though property management at its core is the same service on both sides of the pond, there’s a little bit of a variety and the flavour, specifically around the types of activities and whether or not they are primarily inbound versus primarily outbound.
0:06:55.0 So, what do you expect a successful – or just in general, what do you expect a BDM to do on a day to day basis? What are those key responsibilities?
Tara: 0:07:11.9 Absolutely. So a BDM should be predominantly focusing their time on the outbound prospecting. You will find that some BDMs within Australia, New Zealand will do part of inbound prospecting, but predominantly, their core focus needs to be on the outbound side.
0:07:30.9 And if you find that you have a BDM in your business sitting there and twiddling their thumbs, maybe looking – you know, doing quite a few emails and they’re not actually really doing the role that they should be – it’s a very heavy communication based role.
0:07:42.9 They need to be out at networking events and connecting with people, connecting over the phone, setting higher benchmarks and targets of calls that they want to achieve each day. 0:07:50.5 And the number of new doors that they’re wanting to sign as well.
So, I found that my success for myself personally and certainly many others that are involved in the BDM role that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last four and a half years, has been around heavy levels of communication.
0:08:08.3 That being creating meetings, whether it be with a what I call a professional service contact – so that can be an accountant, a solicitor, a financial planner. People that are within similar business industries that will have contacts that have similar interests as well. 0:08:24.4 And a lot of those will also attend networking events.
I found being in an agency that had a more predominantly property management only business, it then allowed me to create referral opportunities with realtors than sales people that were in businesses that were just selling only versus doing the property management.
0:08:45.2 So they are key areas that I highly recommend for a BDM to be focusing on. And to make sure that you are getting the best out of your BDM, at least 80% of their time needs to be heavily focused on the outbound prospecting element. 0:09:00.1
Jordan: 0:09:00.1 You know, all that sounds good and it makes a lot of sense. I think people just kind of intuiting hear, hiring this person, they’re hitting the pavement, they’re bringing in new contracts, it sounds great, but I want to articulate the recurring problem that I see with a lot of my clients that try and execute on that strategy.
0:09:21.4 And the problem is this: Because the client is a non-discriminating consumer, meaning because they do not have a deep sales DNA themselves, they got to 100, 150, 200 doors with a little mix of referrals, but it was over a long period of time.
So, the point being that when they hire this new person, they’re expecting them to perform at a rate of three, four, five times the kind of growth performance that they themselves were capable of achieving.
How does an owner bridge that gap of expecting of someone else what they were not able to do themselves?
Tara: 0:10:05.7 Involvement is definitely the first area I would highly recommend. So, setting up the key performance indicators, the KPIs, the goals and targets that you want the BDM to achieve. And checking in with them. Not just monthly, but more often as such weekly.
0:10:23.6 Because that’s going to allow you to see the performance and where they’re spending their time and the results that they’re getting. 0:10:28.6 I 100% agree. If you’re already getting in, as you mentioned, up to that 100 units, you want to make sure that the BDM that is coming to the business is doing at least twice, three times that amount.
Because the company is generating that – leads themselves and you need the BDM to be more focused on what we could call ‘organic leads’ and that’s obviously that outbound prospecting that we touched on. 0:10:54.4 And keeping them accountable for that.
So when you’re doing your actual check in with them each week, you actually go through where they have spent their time, the number of people they have spoken to, maybe also taking the time to run through some of the conversations that they’ve had with those individuals to make sure they’re getting premium results from those contacts and those prospects and talking through to them what they can do to encourage them to become a new door opportunity for the business.
Jordan: 0:11:21.9 Alright, let’s talk specifically about the on-boarding timeframe. How long does it take to ramp up a BDM and how should you relate to what’s going on when presumably, the performance is going to be lacklustre.
If it’s not working, you could justify extending out basically sustained failure over twelve months. 0:11:44.6 And you don’t want to do that. At the same time you want to have realistic expectations while they’re ramping up. You’ve got to have some training. Can you just walk me through that onboard – that key on-boarding phase of hiring a new BDM.
Tara: 0:11:57.2 Absolutely. So one thing that we really like to do is have an accelerated six-week program which allows them to create those foundations. And I would really encourage that for certainly any of the business owners that are listening to this podcast today.
0:12:13.1 You need to set a time frame of when those foundations are going to be created for that new individual, because while they may sign up quite a few new doors quite quickly and they might have a few wins in areas where they have had great implementation, it’s not always going to be the case.
0:12:29.1 And we do find that those that are top performing and successful BDMs will have high benchmark targets that they set, but it’s not necessarily that they can achieve that within the first month. Sometimes it can take at least the first three months to create those foundations and potentially anywhere up to six months to start to gain some traction from those referral contacts that they’re putting together and that prospecting pipeline that they’re building.
0:12:55.9 We want them to be able to have regularity in their follow up calls, but also in their core connections as well. And as you’ve kind of touched on their, it definitely does take some time, Jordan. It’s not necessary 0:13:07.3 [Inaudible] to happen over night.
And to give you an example, 0:13:10.1 the year that I talked about, or signed the 268 managements in 12 months, that was my third year as a BDM. So we were creating those foundations and building up those referral partners and then it started to really roll in and take shape.
0:13:27.6 And my role there was predominantly around focusing on those outbound prospecting opportunities – being the referral partners and the networking and keeping that pipeline running to continue to have those opportunities coming in to the agency.
Jordan: 0:13:42.4 So you have two lagging factors here. You have the interaction with a given prospect when you first contact them, it’s going to take awhile before they’re actually ready to work with you. And you also have the ongoing nurturing of the referral source – the person who is going to send you leads and eventually that relationship will kind of expand and blossom.
0:14:04.4 So specifically for a prospect, let’s say you get somebody on the phone, they own a rental property, so you know that they are qualified. They may or may not be purchasing more, but they’re not necessarily ready to hand you their management contract today.
In your mind, what kind of a time frame should someone expect from working kind of a lukewarm lead like that? Now I want to frame that against what it’s like the States.
In the States, for myself, having run a pay-per-leads service, the expectation is that if a lead doesn’t convert in the first few weeks, it’s more or less dead and it was a tire kicker.
0:14:45.6 In some cases, if that lead doesn’t convert off of the first one or two phone calls. And that may or may not be the case over in Australia, but I know that there tends to be very little patience for leads that take awhile to convert.
0:15:01.9 So what kind of expectations would you set for a BDM for how long it takes to nurture a lead?
Tara: 0:15:06.6 I’m probably going to categorize them if that’s ok, into cold, warm and hot leads. That’s the way that I tend to visually look at it and certainly encourage my BDMs too.
0:15:16.6 And to give you a bit of an example of that, I had a personal cold lead myself that I was working on when I was active in the industry as a BDM and it took me 12 months to convert them across and they actually had ten units that they were wanting to bring over into the business.
0:15:32.2 And I found that by doing a contact with them every month in the lead up, actually really encouraged them to continue to think about myself and the agency that I was working for and to actually make that decision to switch over. They were with another business and they weren’t happy, but they knew that we were higher in our fees that we were charging, so it took a little bit of time to encourage them of why it was important to think of us, and to be prepared that bit more to get the higher level of service.
0:16:02.7 So as an example of that one. Again, it was a cold lead and probably one, as you’ve shared, that you’d probably go, “It’s just not going to work out.” 0:16:11.8 But while it took me at least 12 months to get them across the line, there was that monthly contact there and that created the opportunity to sign them up eventually after that 12 month period, and have a great month.
0:16:23.6 Because it was a contributor to my month when I signed the 30. That I was able to have those ten included as part of that. That was a huge win for me and if – I guess, to go back to where you were touching on as to the amount of time frame that you leave – always leave your meeting knowing when your next point of contact is going to be. Whether that be a conversation that you’re having over the phone or face to face.
And I found that sometimes, it’s saying that to them was of huge benefit. So for that particular investor, his name was Leo, and at the end of each month I’d say to him, “Are you happy for me to touch base and have that conversation with you next month. Just to see how everything is progressing with your properties, as I know you’re still having conversations with your current property manager and there are some areas you are going through. I would love to be able to continue to assist and provide advice where I can.” And he was very much open to that. 0:17:16.4 But again, he was quite a cold lead.
0:17:18.9 If you have a warm lead, you’re probably going to be focusing on them – for myself mentally, every couple of weeks, and a hot lead it’s every couple of days. Because they are pretty much ready to go.
So, it could very much be the next day straight after you’ve had that conversation, or you might have discussed with them that they’re talking with their partner about making that decision to sign the agreement and you know that that person is going to be available to speak with them in two days time so then you would set your task then to have that conversation with them in two days time.
0:17:51.5 And probably send an email update of some interesting information that is relevant to their situation and a text message to check in and see how they’re going.
Jordan: 0:18:00.8 Wow. I love it. Really clear answer. Getting into the weeds a little bit about the communication. Can you walk me through, just dive a little deeper on the types of communications that would take place over a 12 month period?
Because I feel like a lot of people might feel like that they’re being an annoyance by following up for 12 months. Did you make those – were those always personalized? Did you have a standard formula? Was it drip automated type emails? Walk me kind of through that.
Tara: 0:18:33.9 Absolutely. I think the biggest fear for everyone, Jordan, is we don’t want to drown our contacts, but we also don’t want to starve them either. 0:18:41.5 So, trying to find that happy medium and balance is vital to make sure that you can get the best result.
And also, the way of communication with your contacts as well is very valuable to know. 0:18:54.8 Some people prefer to have all of their communication via email because then they can obviously respond and engage in that conversation at a time when they know that they can fully engage in making sure that they’ve answered all your questions and passed on all the information they need to.
There are other people that are really happy and appreciate the phone communication as well. 0:19:16.3 So do find out what is their best form of communication and try and master that with them each time you have that touch point.
0:19:24.4 I always found that when – if I was at the property, for example, and I’d just gone through with them all of our expectations as an agency and what they would need to do as a client of our business, I would then send them a thank you card for the opportunity.
I would send them a follow up text message to say, “Thank you so much and really appreciate the opportunity to come through your home with you today.”
0:19:47.9 A lot of BDMs now, will also, not just doing that text based, but you can do that video based as well and personalize that, so that allows them to feel that little bit special and something that is a little bit different. You know, it helps stand out from other property managers and other BDMs, I should say, that will be going on to the property to have that meeting.
0:20:07.9 I’ve also found that even just the small things of creating a different environment by going – if you find that the client likes to drink coffee, that’s certainly a big thing here in Australia, we’ve got a lot of coffee drinkers – you might ask them prior to the meeting what type of coffee they drink, and then take that with you to the meeting so that you can sit down and share that hot drink together and have that conversation – and just by personalizing that with them, allows, I guess, them to feel as though you’ve actually listened, you’re really genuinely wanting to build a relationship with them and it will allow them to feel a bit more comfortable about making the decision to choose you as the property manager as well.
0:20:46.6 If you’re finding that you don’t get the opportunity to sign that agreement on the spot, which sometimes that can be the case and they’ve got to have some time to make that decision or talk to other people that are involved with that property as well, then absolutely, a touch point, whether it be via phone, via text message – finding out if there are areas that they need supporting information-wise, so have plenty of industry articles saved that you can send them – updates, personalized to them, about what they need to consider.
0:21:20.2 They might be looking at doing some renovations to the bathroom prior to actually putting the property on the market for rent, so then you could share some examples of what they could do there.
0:21:30.9 You could send through some recommendations of people that are a part of your referral partners that they could speak to to get that advice and some support as well. 0:21:39.2 I found that to be very valuable.
0:21:41.7 And also, acknowledging time of year as well. I still would send my prospects Christmas cards when it comes to Christmas time. And Easter updates and just doing all those little in between stuff gives you to have a chance to have a touch point to relationship build, but to also value-add by giving quality content around things that they really need to think about to ensure that they’re getting the highest possible return for their property and that they’re also maintaining it and doing everything that they need to to secure the best tenant.
Jordan: 0:22:15.6 A lot of what I’m hearing you say surrounds – centers around consultative selling. Justifying the sales interaction as a by-product of trying to serve the customer. Advising them on a whole host of issues.
Which obviously requires a couple of different things. It requires that you have the knowledge and the expertise to answer those questions and it requires that you actually care enough to provide that and not view that expenditure of effort as being a cost-center, but rather a precursor to actually having a relationship with them.
0:22:53.3 And I think attitudinally, that that’s really the key difference. Is that consultative mindset. Is that fair to say?
Tara: 0:23:03.1 Absolutely. And I would highly recommend for those how are listening today to take the opportunity after this podcast to write down ten things that are fears and concerns for your clients that you work with as a property manager.
0:23:16.8 And if you can master your response to those ten things and then share them through the information that you provide as regular follow-up, you’re going to find that they will see you as an advisor.
They will see you as an expert in your field and want to do business with you and also want to recommend you to people that they know that have properties as well.
Jordan: 0:23:38.7 Hmm. I really like that. I’m always interested in understanding why certain elements of the industry in one country shape up different than another.
One of my understandings as to why property management is so prolific in Australia, is that it’s a by-product of the additional regulation burden, and when that comes into place, the property manager is genuinely acting as more of a fiduciary because of all the laws that are involved. 0:24:08.8 As opposed to in a less regulated environment, it simply isn’t required.
So maybe that kind of relates in to there being this really consultative mindset, but regardless that makes a ton of sense.
0:24:22.4 You did talk a little bit about how your temperament simply was not suited to be a great property manager, but you did have the temperament to be a great BDM.
So, what does that actually mean? What are the key character traits? When somebody is thinking about making this hire and they obviously – they don’t want to overpay, they don’t want to break the bank – how should somebody be thinking about both the temperament and the compensation model? It’s all kind of tied up together, but walk me through that.
Tara: 0:24:54.8 Absolutely. So the temperament of the person needs to be heavy sales mindset focus. They’re going to have many knocks throughout the day where people just won’t answer the phone, people will hang up on them.
It is a role that has quite highs and lows. You will feel like you’re on a roller coaster all the time. You need to be prepared that it’s not your standard 9-5 role, that it is a position where if you need to do an appointment or a networking event earlier in the morning or later in the evening, that that is part of what you do.
0:25:31.4 And obviously on the compensation side, that’s where you are remunerated based on that as well. 0:25:36.8 So we really do encourage that you basically look at the opportunity to pay the BDM as low as possible base income and then have your compensation and your incentives – as we also refer to them as well in Australia here, and in all different levels.
0:25:55.6 So if they sign up any new units based on areas that the business has invested in – so if the company is paid for marketing, if they’re paid for that BDM then to go to the networking event, you would pay them a smaller percentage versus what you would if they’ve gone out and personally created that relationship themselves or personally invested their own income in that opportunity to generate more units into the business.
0:26:23.1 So very much someone that is prepared to have strong KPIs in place and stick to them. Also sticking to a structure of spending a lot of time on the phone and in face-to-face meetings.
0:26:37.9 I joke with my clients all the time saying to them, “You need to have that phone duck taped to your ear and that you need to constantly be making calls all the time during the day. If that’s not the case, then you’re finding yourself sitting in front of the computer, fiddling around with marketing and emails and that’s very concerning for your long-term success in creating a strong prospecting pipeline.”
0:27:02.6 So very much a communication based person that’s always going to show a strong passion for the agency and know it inside out, be able to sell the property management team so that once they have picked up that new unit and it comes into the business and they’ve handed it to the property manager, then the property manager will be the main set of eyes on that property and the main communicator for that client ongoing.
Jordan: 0:27:27.9 Alright. That makes a lot of sense. So what goes wrong? 0:27:33.3 Just walk me through some of the key recurring mistakes that you see go wrong.
Surely you have people come to you and maybe they’re just down on the BDM thing altogether and the story is basically, “I tried. I hired the person and they never got off the ground.”
Or they were successful for awhile and then performance fell off. There’s all varieties and flavours of excuses, but what are the most common problems and failure points that you see?
Tara: 0:27:58.6 Accountability would be the first and foremost. You must, must, must keep that BDM heavily accountable for where they’re spending their time.
And if they’re focusing on activities that are going to continue to produce an income for them and also an income for the business as well, as I mentioned a bit earlier, the outbound prospecting would need to be at least 80% of their time invested in that area.
0:28:29.1 So if they’re finding themselves within the office focusing on a lot more inbound stuff, then they’re not going to be generating the results there that are required.
0:28:38.9 The business owner then needs to make that decision fairly early on and that can sometimes be part of the problem for many agencies, even here in Australia and New Zealand, is that we tend to hold on to this person when they’re not getting the results or they’re also not performing.
0:28:53.4 So the key performance indicators need to be set from the start. So the BDM needs to have a clear job description of where they’ll be spending their time, the results that we expect them to achieve and then have a weekly touch point to ensure that they are on track with where they’re spending their time and the results of growing that prospecting pipeline.
0:29:13.7 Review them at three months to see what results that they have achieved and the action that they have taken. If you see that they have demonstrated that they are on path but not might have quite gotten to those key performance indicators, but they have demonstrated that they are doing what is required.
Then continue on for another three months, but continue to review at least every three months. 0:29:32.9 Because if you let it go, and continue to be ongoing, it’s going to be quite a large expense for the business, because you’re – you’re continually going to be paying them out a wage as an area that they need to be, not only just paying back what they’ve been paid as a wage, but then also getting incentives based on that as well.
Jordan: 0:29:51.3 And of course there’s just the biggest cost, which is just the headache and the emotional process of managing somebody who is under performing on both sides. It’s a frustrating experience to be in, it’s a frustrating experience to be managing. And it’s basically just preventing you from succeeding. And there’s use in keeping somebody in a role that they simply don’t belong in.
Tara: 0:30:13.5 No. And we certainly – and I’ve found so far I’ve had a reasonably good hit rate. So I know that that will certainly change from time to time, but I get involved with the interview process with the business owners now as well.
0:30:28.0 Because I get to provide that second opinion of what they’re hearing from that person in the interview. So, you know, whether it be someone like myself or just someone that’s completely separate to the company, or someone that can just provide a second opinion, that’s really important when securing a BDM.
Don’t just leave it up to yourself to make that decision. Have another person, sit down with them and ask really, really direct questions about what do they know about the role, what do they expect that they’ll be doing.
0:30:54.9 And making sure that they are asking questions that are very directly related to that BDM role so that they can ensure that they are getting the right person. 0:31:04.7 If they are a strong sales base, they should be able to certainly sell that very well in the interview process and then the challenge, potentially, is to make sure that what they have demonstrated in the interview that they have put into action once they are employed as well.
0:31:16.8 And look, I can guarantee you that it’s not perfect here. We do find that that is an area that we have to look at and continue to improve. However, I think it’s something that we are now being a lot stronger on in the sense that if it isn’t working out, we are setting the benchmark of making that decision anywhere up to a three month period.
0:31:35.1 So you need to know where your cut off point is going to be and how long you’re going to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths within that area.
Jordan: 0:31:45.4 Before we go on, I want to mention our show sponsor, the PM Grow Summit, which is happening at the end of January in 2018. If you consider yourself a growth minded property management entrepreneur, this is the event for you.
0:31:58.9 And, we’re going to be having one of Tara’s cohorts, Kasey McDonald there at the event, speaking. I’m super excited to have her there, bringing some of this same thought leadership on the topic of sales, on the topic of BDMs.
There is a lot of interest, but there’s also a lot of frustration around this topic. So, if you’re focused on either growing your business through sales, through marketing, through acquisitions, whatever it may be, you want to be at this event.
0:32:29.4 You can get information at PMGrowSummit.com and you can use the coupon code: JORDAN. That’s J-O-R-D-A-N to get $100 off your ticket.
0:32:42.4 Give me a quick shoutout to Kasey. What is her background and what she’s going to be talking about?
Tara: 0:32:48.6 So Kasey, from the discussions I’ve had with her, she’s predominantly focusing about what the BDM should be doing as well.
So certainly some of the touch points that we have covered here today. She’s going to give a really good rundown 0:33:03.3 [Inaudible] so that the business owners that are there are making sure that they are not only employing the person based on those personality traits, but the activities that they should be doing to get the best results out of them as well. And the type of job description, how that can look for the BDM within the business.
Jordan: 0:33:19.4 That’s going to be a great talk.
0:33:20.9 I want to transition now to talk a little bit about objections as well as discounts. Let’s start with the latter. How much leeway do you expect that the owner should give the BDM in negotiating fees?
Tara: 0:33:35.9 That’s a fantastic question Jordan, I actually really enjoy being asked that one because it was an area that I found for me personally in the beginning, was challenging, but once I had got my head around it, and had certainly many in depth conversations with the business owner that I worked for, found that I became very comfortable with it because I was passionate about our brand and what we had to offer. 0:34:03.7 I didn’t want to negotiate.
33:55 So we were – the benchmark was set by Jade ((?)) , my business owner, that we were unable to drop on our fees and that in the beginning was quite an overwhelming experience because I found that we were the highest, and most expensive within our area.
However, I knew that we provided the best level of service, we had fantastic systems and procedures in place and were certainly a stand out across our two locations.
0:34:32.9 So what I found worked really, really well for me was, instead of reducing on the fee, because at the end of the day, as we all know, that is the value of our asset that we’re going to sell in the future when we go into the acquisition phase, I would offer complimentary management.
0:34:50.8 So they would maybe start the first month fee free, as an example, and then that would then give them an introduction to what they’re going to experience from our agency and our team and would also accommodate where they felt that they were wanting to have a reduction ((?)). They were having basically a small win.
0:35:09.3 So hoping that makes sense, Jordan, and I can explain that into further detail. But by doing that, I found that that was very valuable, and allowed the client to feel as though they have achieved some money back in their packet, they’ve been able to have a bit of a negotiation, but at the same time, we’ve kept them at our high-level fee rate and been – and obviously that was very valuable for Jade ((?)) when she went to sell the business in the future. 0:35:33.8
Jordan: 0:35:34.1 I think that’s a great balance and a great answer. So what I hear you saying is, you want to be able to have a give, you want to be able to satiate that ask, let people feel like they got something, but at the same time, you don’t want to – you don’t want to hit that lever, because that management fee is a gigantic lever in your business.
0:35:52.9 And any incremental downward pressure on your fee for the lifetime of the relationship, has a huge impact on overall revenue.
Furthermore, here’s a follow up question: I’ll have people come to me and say, how should I discount fees based on these various scenarios. And sometimes the fees are – sometimes the discount is related to how hard the other person is pressing you, sometimes it’s related to how many units or properties they manage. In the instance of what you just managed, was it universally no discounts? Or was any consideration given if this person had ten or 20 or 30 properties?
Tara: 0:36:38.0 I worked for a very firm business owner when I worked Jade ((??)), so I wasn’t allowed to drop on any.
And to give you an example, we had that one client that I mentioned before with the ten properties, and he was sitting within my CRM system in my database and I just thought, I really need to get him across the line. This is ridiculous.
As I mentioned, I was contacting him every month to encourage that opportunity to be a part of our agency and what it came down to, what I ended up doing, because he had the ten properties and he really wanted to have a negotiation in the fee, was I offered him two months fee free, however, I offered the first month in the very beginning, and the second month was at the end of 12 months.
0:37:24.2 And I had said to him, “At the end of the 12 month experience, I will be touching base with you to see how you feel about the process, the work the property managers are doing and making sure that you’re getting the best solution, you’re getting the highest possible return, that we’re increasing income for you in different areas, and also providing you that support and advice that you need to continue to grow your asset.”
0:37:46.1 So over that 12 month period he had ten months that he paid, obviously in full-fee, right to the office, as a BDM – and this is touching back on the area that we were talking about on the compensation side.
I was only paid for the ten months, not the 12, but that was based on ten properties, so I was pretty happy as you can imagine with that income for that month once we secured them across the line.
0:38:13.3 Once it came to the end of the 12 months, I then had a conversation with him. He was so grateful in the sense that the property managers had increased rents on – across all the properties, so he was already far better off than what he had been with the previous property manager.
0:38:28.9 And we have – within – it’s in Queensland — predominantly sometimes issues with termites where they can get into your timber and destroy it and make it a very un-delightful situation for some of our landlords.
He had one of those properties that did have some termite issues and we found that very quickly and that potentially may have been missed with the property manager previously if he had remained with that business and it could have been a very expensive exercise.
0:38:56.5 So by taking it from that angle, this particular landlord was just wanting to have a small win – wanting a bit of extra money in his back pocket and knowing that he took the opportunity to negotiate. He experienced us for 12 months and realized, wow he’s definitely made the right decision, has been a glowing testimonial for the company then as well, and all it took was giving two months free but encouraging him to experience at least 12 months with our property management team first.
Jordan: 0:39:23.4 So in that instance, you had some leeway and obviously the leeway was coming out of your own pocket. You were able to discount but you were directly impacted.
So there was an alignment of incentives and motivations between you and the owner in that regard. But on the whole, you were dealing with this recurring objection around fees and pricing because you were at the upper end of the market.
0:39:51.3 So let’s address that head-on. If we had sat down and you had put the paperwork before me and everything was great but I was hung up on the fee, and I tell you, “Hey, I’d love to work with you but the fees are too high,” how would you break down that objection?
Tara: 0:40:06.9 And I’m assuming you’re also referring to being potentially on the low end of the market where you don’t have the chance to be able to increase rents?
Jordan: 0:40:16.0 Yes, correct.
Tara: 0:40:17.9 Yep, ok. So in that instance, I would be going through different examples and one thing that we had as part of our listing presentation was showing where our breakpoint was as a business.
0:40:30.8 So we would then be able to demonstrate that through a graphing process where certain properties, depending on the rent that they were able to achieve – if we had to have a set benchmark on what we would be charging as our fee to the client.
If we had to drop below that, that would then be a property that would be come an expense to the business, where the property manager in time, could potentially be working for free and giving up their time for free for that client.
0:40:58.8 So my response would be to them, and I would demonstrate this through the graph and explain to them, “This is where our breakpoint is when we’re taking on properties and the commission rate that we charge here, our fee that we charge. We’re unable to drop it based on the return that your property is achieving and if we took on properties just like yourself, along with another ten, 50, 100 units, at that same fee, we would then go out of business, because we wouldn’t be able to afford to run our operation, manage yourself and provide you with that exceptional level of service that we know and believe that we can achieve for you.”
0:41:33.1 So I would use that as an example and then I would also add that my business owner would not allow me to reduce on that fee based on the return that property was achieving. We’d be more than happy to discuss different avenues of how that can look in the way of, obviously providing a free fee service being the month, or in other areas we would offer paying for their insurance on the property on the landlord protection insurance-side.
0:42:00.6 [Inaudible] are a big thing here as well, so we’d offer to pay on that aspect as well and we’d use those as different examples to work away from having that fee reduction.
Jordan: 0:42:11.3 Wow. So how common is that? That sounds really kind of novel to me to actually be transparent about your own margins. Is that something that you’ve found other BDMs doing? Or was that kind of unique to that firm?
Tara: 0:42:26.7 I think it is a confidence thing, Jordan, as well. And the fact that my business owner was prepared to sit down and have those conversations with me. I was able to work alongside her as though I was in ownership of the business myself, and really see that as a visual.
0:42:43.1 And because I got to see that, I was very comfortable in demonstrating that in my communication with them that we could – we were unable to afford to take on their property if we took it on at the rate that they were hoping to be able to achieve from us.
0:42:57.0 And once you can start to demonstrate that to people, that that is the expense that is involved, then it’s up to them to make that decision that yes they can have that fantastic level of service and know that they’ve got that expert looking after their property, but it’s going to come at a price.
0:43:10.7 I would always try and find a relatable example as well. So if they drove a fairly nice vehicle, I would ask them, you know, as an example, we’ve got a brand BMW here and Honda and BMW is obviously more of an alpha brand, so if they were driving a BMW, I would explain to them, “Would you take your BMW to a Honda dealership to be serviced?”
And they would say, “No. Absolutely not. I’m a part of BMW, I take it back there to make sure that I’m getting the best level of service, that my car is well-looked after, and it’s going to be maintained.”
So I was use that as an example and explain to them, “Well, this is something that you really need to think about with your investment property as well. You’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this fantastic asset, and you really need to make the best decision possible as to who is going to manage that for you. And to get the highest level of service, it is going to come at a price. What price you’re prepared to pay is a decision that you’re going to make today, but what you’re going to get in return for that price is basically coming down to what’s most important to you.”
0:44:14.6 And that was one of my main questions. I would always try to get in before having the fee discussion with the client, is what is most important to them. What are they hoping to achieve from the property manager and what is the best result they could possibly get from our agency.
And a lot of the time, they would never even mention the word fees. It would come down to making sure they have high levels of communication, to remove the risk and fear around being an owner of an investment property.
And once I was able to target that, and then it came into the discussion of obviously negotiation around the fee, I would throw that question back at them and say, “Do you remember, Jordan, that in the very beginning I asked you the question based around what’s important to you and I’d like to go back to that and have that discussion with you.”
And then I would go, as I mentioned before in that negotiation of fee process and how that can work and where our bottom line is – and I was just so confident that I guess it wasn’t a fear thing to me.
0:45:12.4 And I think that those that are listening today, is that if you demonstrate that to your client, how confident you are with the team that you work with, the property management team and the brand that you work for, it’s very difficult for people to say no, because they want to become a part of that. 0:45:29.4 They embrace that energy and they want to know that they’re a part of something that is positive and exciting and it’s going to give them the best experience.
Jordan: 0:45:39.0 Spoken like a true master. Part of what you’re talking about there makes me think about – it’s kind of like – it’s maybe a version of a tie-down. A tie-down being something that you get somebody to agree to, to use as a form of micro-agreement that leads to progressively larger agreement to leading eventually to the overall sale.
0:45:59.6 So you’re talking about discover. You’re talking about listening. Hearing the true fault needs of that person. Of course that matters, but also reminding them of those things when it comes down to the moment where they may be willing to make a decision that isn’t even in their best interest.
0:46:20.7 And when we talk about discount players in the market, that’s always what we’re talking about. You talked about looking at your margin and basically communicating, “Hey if I was to manage your property that inexpensively, I would lose money and eventually, I would go out of business, and that wouldn’t be good for you either.”
0:46:40.2 Well, there’s obviously a lot of companies that don’t do that math and as a by-product, they’re building what you might call a ‘toxic portfolio’. Or at least they have a subset of their portfolio that’s toxic and drags down the whole thing.
0:46:54.8 So that makes a ton of sense to me. I really like the way that you’ve approached that.
0:47:02.0 I want to transition now to talk – to go into the rapid-fire section of the interview, where we quickly go through some questions.
But before I do that, last question for this section is this: If a property management owner, or entrepreneur, is thinking about bringing on a BDM for the first time, and can only take away one piece of advice – if there was only one thing that you could tell them that they would actually put into practice, or action, what would it be?
Tara: 0:47:33.7 I would suggest absolutely doing your research first. Everything when it comes to property management starts from the very beginning.
And it’s what you do in the beginning that’s going to create that long-term growth and long-term opportunity within your property management business.
0:47:51.6 So, being very firm with your interview process. If there’s any part of you that is unsure and you think, “I just don’t know if this person’s quite right,” taking that opportunity to put them in front of somebody else to see if they’re seeing that same thing.
0:48:05.7 And not just hiring because you think I need to have a BDM because it would be a great thing for my business. There is a lot of time that is invested in making sure that they are doing certain strategies and activities and that the implementation is there.
So the last thing you want to do is to be stopping and starting all the time every three to six months, putting in that new person.
0:48:26.0 If it means that it’s going to take you up to six months to even find the right person to start with, take that time and make sure that not only they have the right energy and passion for your business, but they can also blend very well with your property management team as well.
And that they’re going to be a team player and work together within that group and see the vision moving forward of what can be achieved to help grow your most valuable asset.
Jordan: 0:48:53.1 The fruit does indeed come from the root and that is well spent time and effort to invest on the front side. I couldn’t agree more.
0:49:03.5 On to the rapid-fire section. 0:49:06.3 My first rapid-fire question for you is this: Who do you learn from?
Tara: 0:49:08.9 Who do I personally learn from?
Tara: 0:49:14.8 Ok. 0:49:15.2 I listen to quite a few podcasts myself, obviously. And I at the moment have been listening to quite a few sales trainers. I’m very passionate about my scripts and dialogues and that I demonstrate to my clients as well.
So we have a real estate podcast here in Australia that I quite enjoy with Tom Penoffson and John McGraw 0:49:38.6. I listen to those guys and that’s fantastic.
0:49:42.2 I also really enjoy listening to quite a few US speakers as well. So I’m a big fan of Anthony Robbins 0:49:50.6. I love his energy. I also enjoy listening to Richard Branson 0:49:55.0 who is in the background of Virgin Brand as well.
I follow different people like Emma Isaacs 0:50:03.0 That runs Business Chicks. So I have quite a different variation and I find that for myself personally more audio listening to them versus reading. That seems to be more of my area that I feel quite comfortable with in engaging.
Jordan: 0:50:18.3 Nice. So you’re keeping your own blade sharp. Ongoing education. Always good answer.
0:50:23.1 Next question is, what books have impacted you the most? And you basically just indicated that you’re more of an audio type person, but are there any business books you’ve read that have left an impact?
Tara: 0:50:36.1 I found that the book, Who Moved My Cheese was quite good. How to Win Friends and Influence People was another great book that I had read during my time, certainly as a BDM and the rent role growth side.
I’ve published my own book, which is pretty cool. Throw that one out there. It’s obviously predominantly based around the BDM side, and I did that in a sense after reading quite a few books myself, wanting to make sure that it was refined down to stuff that was specific for Rent Roll Growth and BDM.
I read quite a bit of what Richard Branson has in the marketplace as well. I just – I think for me, it’s certainly quite a bit about what is most important to me at the time and what is going to give the most value to my clients as well.
0:51:40.2 So I’ve read quite a few books purely based on networking and a lot of Zig Ziglar stuff. I know that he’s obviously passed now, but he’s got a lot of great books and audios out there that I’ve found have been very motivational for myself and also during my time as a BDM.
Jordan: 0:51:50.2 Yeah, I’ve read plenty of Zig Ziglar. He’s kind of the grand daddy of sales over here in the States.
0:51:56.2 Next question, what do you wish was different about the industry?
Tara: 0:52:02.5 I think from what I have seen in the last four and a half years in the training side, would be the passion behind the people that are within your business.
I find that we are in a world now that is very busy as everybody knows, social media is full of ads and full of communication from friends and family and people wanting to get in front of you to sell their product, and 0:52:37.6 [Inaudible] time we are you know coming into our businesses each day, we tend to be quite exhausted and I feel that there are a lot of high expectations from our clients.
We all know that. And the pace of the response that they’re expecting from us and that’s putting quite a lot of pressure on the business owner as well as the property management team.
0:52:55.8 And I feel that from – maybe I was just fortunate enough to work in a company that had huge amounts of energy levels and passion towards achieving the best end result for the client – I find now that the energy levels have certainly dropped off quite a bit. That people are going into their roles just to do the job, not actually go the extra mile.
And I’m saying that as a generalized thing. There certainly are many businesses that are quite exceptional out there in achieving amazing results in their overall growth. But I do feel like the pressure of expectation of the client is wearing quite a bit on our property managers and business owners.
0:53:35.2 And we’re losing that touch of celebrating our wins, weakening the property manager of the business as well. So I’d really, really like to see people getting excited again about who they are and the career path that they’re on and the journey that they’re taking. And enjoying it.
Because we spend more time in our jobs at work than we do with our friends and family. 0:53:58.7 So, we need to make sure that we’re doing something that we’re passionate about and that we put 100% into that role.
Jordan: 0:54:04.9 That’s a very thoughtful answer. Makes a ton of sense. 0:54:10.0 Here’s the final question for today, do you believe that entrepreneurs are born or bred?
Tara: 0:54:22.0 Well, if I looked at myself, I would say that I was bred into an entrepreneur. And I have never imagined that that would be the direction that I was going to be heading in.
Many of us obviously as kids we have our dreams of what we want to become and achieve, and my dream was to be a flight attendant, Jordan, and travel the world.
0:54:48.9 And do that as an international flight attendant, and that was my vision throughout high school. And then it came to, obviously finishing school, and then having the opportunity to go into the world of real estate.
But that changed for me very quickly and now I do spend a lot of time at airports and a lot of time on planes, and very fortunate to travel the world and meet so many amazing people that are talented within our industry. Yet I’ve done it now as an entrepreneur.
0:55:20.9 And I put that experience down to having the opportunity to watch a great leader and I know that I’ve referred to Jade ((?)) earlier on in this podcast and that was the business owner that I worked for as a BDM and not having to obviously have full financial ownership of the company allowed me to sit by her side and watch her in a, I guess a more comfortable space, rather than being the entrepreneur business owner at the time.
0:55:47.6 And seeing the things that worked really well and things that didn’t work as well and working on that together. And then once she made that decision to sell the property management business, I then had to make the decision on what my next stage was going to be.
And within the last 12 months of working with her, I had intentions of buying and being a partner but she had made that decision that she was ready to go on to her next venture.
0:56:12.5 So I don’t believe that I was born an entrepreneur, I definitely think it’s something that I had a wonderful opportunity that I’ve been able to be bred into.
And I think that by being able to do that, I have made some great decisions with my business. I’ve made some decisions that have not come out so great – we always do that as entrepreneurs because we get very excited about new ideas and things that we want to do.
But it has been, for me, the best way to approach it. And I think it’s been – I’ve had some very valuable experiences from that and by being bred into it, I suggest is probably more the path that has worked for me and worked for many others that I’ve worked with as well.
Jordan: 0:56:51.7 Everybody has a unique perspective and answer to that question that I end each interview with. I appreciate you adding your voice to the mix and I appreciate you coming on the show today. If listeners want to learn more about what you’re up to, where can they go?
Tara: 0:57:11.3 If they would love to go to the website, that would be amazing, which is BDMAcademy.com.au.
We’re obviously on social media as well, so you can follow our business page, which is the BDMAcademy page there and I also have my profile online, which is Tara Bradbury BDM.
So more than happy to connect and have those conversations and share different ideas. Kasey is certainly really enjoying and very grateful for the opportunities that you’ve put in front of her, Jordan.
She’s very excited to be coming across early next year and has started working with businesses within the US in the last couple of months, which is fantastic. So we’ve completely expanded our whole area of our resource center, where we’ve got a lot of our templates and now created a full US version based on the conversations that she’s had.
So yeah, if anyone is interested to find out more and just get a few different ideas, we’ve got great blogs and podcasts and everything on our website that they can go through, that are complimentary and listen to to help continue their rent, roll, growth journey.
Jordan: 0:58:17.8 Guys, check ’em out online. It’s worth your time. There isn’t anything like this stateside, in terms of a consultancy focused explicitly on the sales function within a property management business.
For that reason alone, it’s worth checking out the BDMAcademy, getting familiar with what they have going on. Again, thanks for coming on the show today, it has been a pleasure, stay in touch.