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Sian Carling The Hunter

With Sian Carling, Business Development Manager for Image Property

In property management, one of the most important parts of the business is growing the rent roll, and finding and converting future business. Business development managers need to have a killer instinct, determination and guts and one of Australia’s best is Sian Carling from Image Property in Brisbane.

In fact Sian is so good at chasing down leads, talking to clients, creating innovative marketing and providing outstanding customer service she has just been awarded the title of Business Development Manager of the Year 2017 from REB - Real Estate Business.

In one year, at just 24 years of age, she converted and leased 297 properties, creating an asset of $1.6 million and $530,000 in cash flow. They’re fantastic numbers in anyone’s language. Sian says, “We have three offices within Brisbane - West End, Camp Hill, and I am based in Aspley, which is north side. Those three offices carry over 2,300 properties, depending on the time of the day. I’ve been working, obviously, very hard within the business development role for the past two and a bit years, and to receive that recognition is really important to me, so it was really lovely."

Starting off her career in property management, very early on Sian displayed a talent for talking to clients over the phone. She had a lot of really positive client feedback so was placed into the business development role. Sian says, “From the moment I started within that role, it was the first time I really enjoyed coming to work every single day. It was really easy for me to slide into and it's been incredible ever since."

Why do investors choose Image Property?

Working within the marketing and communication machine of Image Property, Sian believes it all comes down to structure, conducting confident listing presentations and providing outstanding customer service. She says, “I think a lot of it comes down to the structure that we have within the business at Image Property. Being provided with the tools that I need to be able to effectively do my job is extremely important.” A user of Complete Data Essentials, its scheduled tasks capacity structures Sian’s daily routine. She says, “I use it every single day when I get into the office to see exactly what I need to do. That has played a very big role in the success that I've had within Image Property."

With many clients based in New South Wales, Sian has also mastered the art of online listing presentations and addressing common objections and concerns. She says, “I conduct 15 to 20 presentations a week – many of which are phone presentations. We're finding a lot of New South Wales people are purchasing within Brisbane, purely because of the affordability there, so a lot of those listing presentations conducted are over the phone, around a half an hour to an hour phone call depending on the client.”

Sian has been effective even though Image Property is not the cheapest option. With fees of 8.8%, they are at the top of the market. Sian says, “Some competitors are as low as around 5.99 to 6.6%.” What Image provides however is quality and unbeatable service. Lease renewal fees or tribunal fees are two of the costs that are included within the 8.8% GST inclusive. All the services Image provides to clients, such as the owner portal and tenant match, win them over.

In turn, clients then keep coming back because of Sian’s grit and outstanding points of contact and communication. She says, “Communication is really important within our role, specifically with the business development. We have a lot of clients that we speak to that come over from property management arms that they're not necessarily happy with, especially if their property is vacant at the moment, and this is bread and butter for me as a business development manager."

Sian’s commitment to chase, her confidence and instinct for addressing clients’ concerns has reaped many rewards. What will she chase next?

Winning Listing Presentation tools

1. Web Books

We generally send a new prospect an email of our Web Book, which is our proposal for the property management of their investment property. That Web Book contains all of the information that they need to be able to make a decision. Obviously, it's a financial decision that they need to make, so it will contain information regarding our fees and the owner portal that is on offer. It also includes something that we use called a tenant match so it provides all of the information that they need in order to be able to justify, potentially, the 8.8% and assess us compared to our competitors.

2. Detailed follow up phone call

After sending that information, a lot of clients have quite a few questions straight off of the bat because the Web Book really gives them an opportunity to sit down with their husband or wife and really assess their areas of concern or where they would like to know more information. We run through that entire document together. We can also run through the Form Six Management Agreement. I prefer to spend an hour on the phone with those clients and provide more information rather than leaving them not necessarily knowing particular information about services that we offer.

3. Address common objections or concerns

One of our common objections is definitely price point. A lot of our clients are New South Wales-based, and it tends to be a standard rate of around that 6.6%. Sometimes when we speak to clients, they're automatically taken back when they hear 8.8%, but once we can get into that conversation and run through all of the reasons why we do charge that rate, it helps justify their choice. Also, Sydney has a lot higher rental price points, so they are two very different markets. I wish they were comparable, but unfortunately, they're not, so running through all of that information and just educating the owners is a really effective way of bringing them on board and getting them to the point where they are happy to sign on with Image Property.

4. Great marketing, feedback and engagement

If clients choose another agency, I will always ask the reason as to why. I want to make sure that we are staying competitive so if I can get their feedback, that'll help me effectively put changes into place if needed. One of the most common comments that we receive is that they are really happy with the marketing. They may have chosen another agency because of a price point or they’ve gone with a local agent or it's a friend of the family. We do however receive a lot of return business, whether it's six or twelve months down the track because of our great marketing and because of, I guess, the communication that we keep in making sure that we give them a call six months down the track to see if they are still happy with the agent that they chose to engage.

5. Great software

Our software has just taken us to incredible lengths, so I think that has been one of the reasons that we have been so successful in converting a lot of business. With a lot of agencies out there, it's always ‘Press '1' for sales. Press '2' for property management’, so to take a sales approach to the property management side of the business - not a lot of agencies are doing that. Our clients really appreciate it because they understand that the focus is most definitely on the property management side of things and on their investment property, which is obviously some peoples' biggest asset.

A tool that we've received so much positive feedback on since implementing has been our owner portal run by PropertyMe. The owner portal provides absolutely all of the information the client could need, so the client can log on with their user name and password that they create themselves. They can see where their tenants are paid up to in rent. They can see any maintenance jobs that have been logged, completed, or that are outstanding, so it provides a lot of security to our clients, especially interstate, to make sure that we are doing our job correctly. It is just peace of mind when it comes down to it.

"Being provided with the tools that I need to be able to effectively do my job is extremely important."


6. Effective lettering campaigns

Any successful letting campaign should last no longer than a period of three weeks. In order to do that, we have three open inspections per week, so a Tuesday, a Thursday, and a Saturday. After each open inspection, I'll give the landlord a call to say, ‘We've had three groups through the property this afternoon. First group isn't interested purely because of the sizing of the bedrooms. The other two groups are very interested and indicated that they will be submitting an application’. So at least three times per week minimum, I am speaking to the owner and relaying that information on to them. At all points in time, they're kept as up to date as I am, so they know where everything is at and they're really comfortable, obviously, with the communication that's being provided.

7. Smooth transition

Once the property is leased, I hand over the property to the property manager. On that day, the property manager will basically be their point of contact moving forward, so they'll give the landlord a phone call to introduce themselves, let them know that they will be their point of contact moving forward and ask what is their best method of communication.

The most successful ways of generating business

1. Existing clients

One of the biggest contributing factors to my success has been basically our existing clients. As they have been so happy with their experience with Image Property and myself or one of the other staff members, they are very secure in recommending our business to friends or family.

2. Word of mouth

This has been very powerful for us.

3. Mortgage brokers

Mortgage brokers are speaking with investors who have already purchased homes, so if that process has already begun, the missing puzzle piece is often the property management side of things. If I can begin a relationship with a mortgage broker and if they send through a client for us to start with and we can knock that out of the park and make sure that they have absolute minimal vacancy and they achieve a great rental price point, that really cements that relationship. The mortgage broker can see the results that we are achieving. That then, provides a lot of security for them because they feel completely comfortable in the fact that we are looking after their clients.

4. Chase leads

Everyone that I create a relationship with is always stored in Complete Data Software. I will never let a contact go, regardless of whether they're happy where they are. It's just all of the chasing that has been done. If they've got a letting campaign where they're not necessarily successfully tenanting the property at this point in time, that's an ideal moment for me to have that chat with them and potentially look at bringing the property on board with us.

5. Know what makes you unique

Outlining the communication, the tools that we use with our plan of action in tenanting a property, so we have a strategy in place for absolutely everything that we do - that provides a lot of security for clients when we relay that information onto them. They know that we know exactly what we are doing. 

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Sian Carling The Hunter