5 Ways to Stand Above the Competition as a Property Manager

by | BiggerPockets.com

A huge part of being a property manager is learning how to market yourself and your company.

You have to do it twice, after all: once to your client owners, the property owners who allow you to look after their buildings, and once to your client tenants, who live in those buildings. For all that, you’re no “middle man.” Most of the minds sharp enough to succeed at investing in real estate aren’t really the same guys who want to get their hands dirty underneath a sink or spend their time chatting up the old lady with the seven cockatoos to convince her to pay the rent.

Related: Property Manager Marketing: Can You Relate?

You’re the go-between who makes sure everyone gets as much of what they want as they can get.

Unfortunately, it’s rare that either side sees you in such a positive light, so mastering the art of marketing is part and parcel of the job. As you learn about marketing, you learn about a concept called the “USP,” or the Unique Selling Proposition. In short, it means, “What do you do differently than everyone else, and why does it make you better than them?” Or in even more easy terms: how do you stand out from the crowd?

Every business needs to have an idea of what makes them better than their competitors, but not many businesses actually have that idea. If you’re struggling to separate yourself from the crowd, here are four tips you can take to develop something outstanding.

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5 Tips to Stand Out From the Crowd

1. Create Something Exclusive

Exclusivity sells — if you can describe to your clients and/or tenants something that you do that very few other people are doing, you create a firm “anchor point’ in their mind to hang their thoughts on.

Everyone is constantly competing for “price” and “customer service,” so you’ll have to come up with something that isn’t part and parcel of either of those.For example, perhaps you could offer the opportunity for tenants to pay their rent via an app or a mobile website. This appeals to tenants because it makes paying easy, and it appeals to clients because it means tenants pay on time more often. It’s also not something that many property managers are doing yet, so it presents the air of exclusivity.

Related: How to Be A Prepared Property Manager in 6 P’s

2. Be Who You Are

When you sit down to brainstorm things you can do to stand out from the crowd, don’t try to become something you’re not. Consider your strengths, be authentic to what you (as an individual and as a company) do best, and above all, avoid insincerity.

If you’re not “green” by nature, don’t try to force-start a recycling program in your building. If you’re not tech savvy, skip out on the online rent payment. If you do something that doesn’t come off as genuine, you’ll end up chasing people away.

3. Build Anticipation

Whatever you create, spend the time to brainstorm some ways that you can whet your clients’ and tenants’ anticipation for that program. Oftentimes, the promise of a reveal is more effective of a marketing technique than simply laying out all of the details of a program or service up front.

In this case, you’re focusing mostly on the tenants — your clients tend to be more of the analytical, return-on-investment type who will respond better to a complete understanding of what you’re going to do for them.

4. Keep It Simple

A vast quantity of good ideas fail ultimately because they require too much effort. They sound good on paper, but when it comes time to actually implement some special program, it turns out that it’s more important to keep the normal flow of business flowing. Similarly, if an offering is going to be too challenging for a client and/or tenant to take advantage of easily, they simply won’t, and you might as well have never come up with the idea.

5. Be Consistent & Be Memorable

Very few property owners will hire you when they first encounter your marketing. The simple reason for this is that they’re usually contractually committed to one of your competitors.

So you want to be top of mind when they are thinking about switching companies. The only way to do that is by repeatedly exposing them to your company. They’ll more easily remember you, even with less repetition, if you can be memorable somehow. This is the reason people do crazy things in marketing!

If you can combine simplicity, authenticity, exclusivity, and anticipation consistently, while throwing in something to be memorable, your chances of standing out from your competition increase exponentially. Standing out means more business on both sides of the desk!

What steps do you take to stand out — as an individual and as a company?

Let us know in the comments!

About Author

Drew Sygit

While in the mortgage business, Drew rose to a VP position at the first broker he worked for and then started his own company. In the pursuit of excellence, he obtained several mortgage designations and joined mortgage & several affiliate association Boards. He also did WebX presentations and public speaking. It was during this time he started personally investing in single-family rentals, leading him to also start Royal Rose Property Management with two partners. He also joined the Board of a local real estate investors association, eventually becoming its President. The real estate crash led to an offer from the banking industry to manage a Michigan bank’s failed bank assets they acquired from the FDIC. The bank acquired four failed banks from the FDIC, increasing from $100M in assets to over $2B while he was there. After that, he took over as President of Royal Rose Property Management. Today, he speaks at national property management conventions and does WebX presentations.


  1. Drew – you are so right! The property managers that I have met so far in my area are less than satisfactory. I think that being authentic is the best route. I initially tried not to let the tenants know I was the owner. I told them I was the property manager and it didn’t feel right. If I didn’t live 3 hours away from my rentals and have a day job, I could make a killing, just doing everything you talk about. Thanks for the wonderful post!

    • Great post Drew, and timely! I’m planning to go into property management full-time next year. I currently manage my own properties but I also hired a property manager a couple of years ago when I had a vacancy and I was in the process of moving. Being a client for two years has been great research on what I can improve upon in the business.

    • KIM: thanks for commenting! We would challenge you on disclosing you’re the owner to tenants though. For over 10 years we’ve had a standing $100 offer to anyone that can logically prove to us ONE good reason for a tenant to know this! NOT letting a tenant know you’re the owner always allows you to play good-cop-bad-cop and say, “let me check with the owner and get back to you on that”, which buys you time to think through whatever the issue is and often make a better, business-based decision.

      Can’t tell you how many times a tenant has asked us to speak with a property owner solely because they don’t like the logic-based answer we’ve given them and they want to make a solely emotional-based appeal.

      Thanks again!

  2. Drew, Thank you for a great article.

    You really have the handle on what TRUE marketing is. For me the challenge comes in taking the time to do it well consistently. It takes discipline to shine in any arena and industry but if we don’t we are settling for mediocrity. Ugh!

    I keep a marketing journal and use it to brainstorm and to track ideas and their success. When I feel stuck or like I am not being “memorable” my journal is a happy place that brings me back to the very most important part of any business—–marketing.

    Huge Success To You

    • MELODEE: we agree it’s easier said than done! We finally took the step at the beginning of this year and hired a marketing person to be more consistent. I’m sure many here, including us, would be very interested in your ideas, so don’t be shy about sharing them:)

  3. Some property management companies talk too much promising heaven and the earth so they could please clients. I guess genuine and competent property managers just do what needs to be done and let results speak for them. That’s where you will truly stand out.

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