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The New World Order - Getting the architecture right in property management

with Sarah and James Bell Real Estate Academy & Brad Bell Real Estate

One thing is for sure – if you can provide an outstanding customer experience in property management your business will survive but you have to get your business’ core architecture right if you want contented clients.

James and Sarah Bell are on a mission to help property managers transform their businesses into agile entities equipped for the new world order. They have revolutionised their property management business and seen profits almost triple from having a disciplined and structured approach. Sarah says, "Get the design and architecture of your property management department right before you go and see it grow. Too often we see businesses and property managers put on big numbers only to lose them or fail to deliver on promises to their existing clients."

The first step to building yourself for growth Sarah and James Bell believe, is one central place for all your information to be stored and an architecture that reflects all aspects of your business. Wanting a whole of business approach, across sales and property management, Sarah and James use Dropbox and created 12 digital folders to capture data for all aspects of their business.

This system has been the foundation for the Bells’ success and it has also enabled James and Sarah to continue to oversee their real estate business Brad Bell Real Estate plus work as Real Estate Systems Trainers with Real Estate Academy.

James says, “Obviously it's given us the confidence to move nearly 1000 kilometres away from our business and confidence allows you to move forward in different areas of your business. For me, one of the big things for this was recruitment - that we were able to say to a potential agent or even property manager or whoever, it is in our business; 'This is the way that we basically run our office', and if that person can see structure in the way that you deliver not only to your clients but to your team, you get better assets in terms of your staffing.”

The 12 Folders consist of:

Folders 1 - 3 - Lead generation, Lead conversion and Client fulfilment

Sarah says, "They're the three areas of practice - it doesn't matter if you're in sales or property management or admin in our business, that's where the work happens." So prospecting letters are in the Lead Generation Folder, for example and within that folder will be separate sales and property management folders, and each agent and manager has a folder as well.

Folder 4 - Customer re-engagement

This is the folder for all initiatives for the legacy clients - a concierge service.

Folder 5 - Onboarding

Everything to do with starting in real estate - the initial training, orientation and induction and the activation plans and working effectively in the business - is in this folder.

Folder 6 - Reporting

Sarah says, "This is the whole of business reporting. We have a horizontal reporting system particularly in property management where it's P2P reporting and what it allows us to do, is have visibility over our numbers, how they track, how they track historically as well. Capacity is across the teams, so we can allocate work if there is free capacity. It is all there, nice and transparent."

Folder 7 - Strategic plan

James says, "It's our business plan and enables staff to buy in. It’s visible and explains what we're all there trying to achieve."

Folder 8 - Live listings

James says, "The live listings for us is anything that is on the market in either the rental sphere or the sales sphere and any of our agents can go into any of the individual folders. If you were to click on folder 8, you can go in and see the address of the property potentially and in that you've got contracts, title searches, the relevant documents in terms of the appointment to act, all the photography, all the floor plans. Any single one of those documents can be sent with basically two clicks of a button once you're inside the App. In each of the folders, for each individual property there's another tab that says correspondence, so when you get that property under contract, the contracts sit there, contract file forms, and solicitors letters."

File 9 - Training

All reports on lessons learned from training are stored in this file and materials for internal and cross training between the sales and property management teams.

File 10 - Special projects

Sarah says, "That's my baby - in our strategic plan there were certain strategic projects that were going to drive the business from where we were to where we wanted to be and special projects is a place for those to live. We had a digital project that was about our website and another for social engagement as well, that sit in special projects and new listing presentations, and marketing plans sits in special projects too."

Folder 11 - Live docs

Sarah explains, "They are spread sheets that are just constantly live and constantly updated. For example, the appraisal spread sheet is there and it gives us complete visibility about how many appraisals are going and how your agents are listing and we can gather a lot of information from that. Things like the mail register is there and it is very important - we've got a record of when we did send a lease out and when we did send out insurance renewals and things like that. Any spread sheets that are truly working documents, they're in folder 11."

Folder 12 - Marketing

Sarah says, "This is where our final marketing calendar for the year sits and all of the marketing assets as they're developed. Again, it would normally sit in the marketing department and no one would see it, but with this system, we want to have that culture of cross fertilisation and we want the sales team to be leaning on the marketing department in a really constructive way."

As the old quote goes, ‘For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned’.

Sarah Bell is now an expert trainer in Property Management for Real Estate Academy.



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