Growing a rent roll (especially when you’re starting a rent roll from scratch) can feel like you’re at ground zero.
You’re faced with a blank slate, zero database, zero cashflow, zero landlords, and zero tenants.
It’s as if you need to make new landlord clients appear out of thin air.
I tell you, I’ve been down that road too.
When I started building my rent roll, I stood at the same starting line.
That ground zero.
I was new to the area, an unfamiliar face, and I had the challenge of attracting new landlord clients, with a very small budget.
It’s a bit like this: you’re standing in front of a vast desert of opportunity (which can feel overwhelming, and maybe a little deadly!) and you need to find the oasis of clients.
So how do you find that oasis of clients?
Especially when you’re standing in that desert.
And this is where I came up with a simple question to ask myself:
“Who interacts with these potential landlords even before they become my clients?”
It dawned on me that other professionals in my location held the keys to these landlords.
People like mortgage brokers, conveyancers, solicitors, accountants, financial planners, and even tradespeople, they all had connections that could lead me to potential landlord clients.
And that’s why, I set out on a mission to build relationships with these professionals.
Over time, I refined my approach and developed a simple yet effective blueprint for referral marketing.
This blueprint guided me in leveraging these relationships, generating leads, and mutually growing our businesses.
Here’s how the blueprint works:
- List all possible referral partners
I’d write down all the categories of professionals who “could” be referral partners for my property management business. Then under each category, I’d like the different names of businesses (or people) in that category.
- Research each business
Before I made a connection with the business (or business owner), I’d research them to make sure they aligned with my values and that I’d be happy to be publicly associated with the company (this is important, by the way).
- Look for common connections
I don’t like cold calling, so I prefer a warm introduction. I’d see if the owner of the business was a connection on LinkedIn, or if we had some mutual friends on Facebook.
- Ask for introductions
If I discovered that I had common connections, I’d ask our mutual friend to make an introduction.
- Cold connection (last resort)
If there wasn’t any mutual friend, or we weren’t already connected on LinkedIn, and I couldn’t find any other way to get a warm introduction, I’d make a cold connection. My favourite way to do this is to connect with the person on LinkedIn, and start a conversation there. The ultimate goal is to take the conversation offline, but LinkedIn can be a great way to start the conversation.
- Take it offline
Once you’ve had the introduction or made the cold connection, it’s time to take the conversation offline, and grab a coffee, or meet for a Zoom to talk about opportunities for cross-promotion.
- Cross promotion plans
Plan opportunities for cross promotion together. This might mean actively referring to each other, but it might also mean guest blog posts for each other, or featuring articles in each other’s newsletters, or sitting down and recording videos together. If you need content or video ideas for this, join The Content Club and get this month’s content strategy.
- Follow up
This might be the most important part of the whole blueprint: the follow up. Your new referral partner probably won’t send you a bunch of new landlord leads the moment you first meet each other. But if you’re diligent with your follow up, and you stay in regular communication, you’ll remain front of mind with this new partner, and you’ll build credibility with them. The best way to do this is to add them to your CRM so they receive your marketing emails (join The Content Club if you need content ideas that can go into your marketing emails and newsletters)
- Reward referrals
When you do receive a referral from a referral partner, you must thank them. Depending on the agreement you have with the partner, you may pay them a referral fee, or you might send a gift. You must thank them every time though.
This 9 step blueprint became the backbone of my rent roll growth strategy. It was seamless to implement, brought real results, and suited my personality style.
But it’s step 8 that became the most important part: The follow up.
Just like a potential landlord, most referral partners won’t be ready to start working with you from the first time they meet you. They’ll need time to build trust in you and see you as a credible market leader (especially if you’re a relatively new property management business).
This is where your content marketing strategy needs to shine.
You want to showcase your market knowledge, social proof, expertise and personality to your new referral partners… not just to your prospective landlords.
Here are some ways to use your content marketing strategy to build referral partnerships, without having to create additional content for them. This is how you can repurpose your content for your landlord clients and use it to build relationships with your new referral partners.
- Social Media
Get your new referral partners to connect with you and follow you on social media so they see your regular content. If you struggle to come up with social media content, join The Content Club for this month’s content plan.
Proactively engage with your referral partners on social media and look for collaboration opportunities on social media too (you’ll get collaboration post ideas if you’re a member of The Content Club).
- Email Marketing
You should be sending regular emails to your landlords and prospective landlords at least once a month (join The Content Club if you need a landlord newsletter written for you each month). Make sure to send these to your referral partners too (with their permission of course).
Your email marketing content should spark thoughts and conversations. It prompts professionals like mortgage brokers and financial planners to think, “Hey, this property manager really knows their stuff. I should introduce them to my clients.“
- Physical Newsletters
It’s so easy, in this digital age, to disregard the idea of a physical newsletter. And while it might not be cost-effective to post a newsletter to all your clients and potential clients, a property investor newsletter can be a great tool to give you the ultimate excuse for visiting your referral partners regularly.
Talk to any referral partner who has a reception area about if they’d be open to having your physical newsletter sitting in their reception area. This can be a perfect reason to drop in and visit your mortgage broker, accountant, conveyancer, and other referral partners (even your favourite café, hair salon, GP clinic) every month to swap out the new property investor newsletter (these are written and designed for you in The Content Club if you don’t have time to create your own).
As you navigate the journey of growing your rent roll (especially if you’re growing from zero), remember that you’re not alone in this journey.
Use this blueprint for referral marketing, and weave in your strategic content marketing, and use this formula to build your brand, grow your credibility and gain new landlord clients consistently in your property management business.
If you’re ready to level up your strategy and infuse content marketing into your rent roll growth plan, remember that each article, video, and social media post is a stepping stone towards building trust, fostering relationships, and creating a brand that resonates with your marketplace.
And if you need extra content ideas and support, join The Content Club today.