Whether you are trying to win the business of a potential community association client, or you are in danger of losing a client you already have, developing a strong understanding of why associations look for new management can provide the insight you need to gain a competitive advantage. These are the reasons why community association boards look for a new management company:
They think they can get it cheaper elsewhereMost management companies believe the reason why most community associations leave is price. The scenario goes like this: a new board member gets elected on the platform that they will reduce assessments and bring financial stability to the association. Once they get in place, they start cutting costs in all the wrong places, especially the management company. While this story certainly happens, it is more likely that cost cutting is the story that management company executives tell themselves so they don't feel that they are at fault for losing a client.What to do: If the association is truly just focused on price, ask yourself if they are worth expending effort on attaining or keeping them as a client - after all, there is nothing to stop them from flipping to the next management company that comes along and offers a lower rate.
Turnover in the management teamWe already know that people naturally resist change. If there is a turnover in your organization and a key representative of the management team is lost, the community may opt to go for a big change since they are facing change anyway. More than likely, boards that go this route have one or more of the below reasons to leave already, and the turnover is simply a convenient excuse.What to do: As much as possible, manage the employee turnover process in your organization to ensure that affected clients are comfortable and confident that your entire team is still on board to support them, and they will be in good hands.
Management team is not visible enoughRegardless of how much work your management team may be doing, good management is as much a matter of perception as it is good work. If your management team is not frequently visible to community members, or always seems rushed when thy are seen, community members may perceive that they are getting shortchanged, especially if they know that their manager has more than one community association in her portfolio.What to do: Good marketing can easily help prevent this issue from ever happening. Put magnets on your cars with your company logo, Have your entire management team wear branded shirts, and visit the community several times a week at varying times during the day. Another great tip is to organize social events in the communities you manage so community members have an opportunity to get to know the management team in a friendly, social setting.
Poor communicationsGood communications are key to every good relationship, and community association management is no different. Dropping the ball on even the most simple communications, like failing to return emails or phone calls can lead to a perception by community members that the management team simply doesn't care.What to do: Take care not to overburden your management team so they are too busy to perform simple communications. If managers are frequently unavailable due to meetings or other business, set up a call center or receptionist that community members can contact at any time to get a speedy response. You should also consider mass emails or mailings at least once a month to touch base with community members and keep them informed of pending projects, important events and relevant news.
Too much effort on the board's partAbove all, a community association board hires a professional management company to take the burden of management off their own shoulders. If at any point in the process the board begins to feel that they are expending a lot of effort to maintain the associations affairs, they may begin to question the purpose of paying for a professional management company.What to do: Check in with board members throughout the month to see what you can do to help. If they are tasked with a large project or big decision, it can quickly become overwhelming. Offer them helpful resources to reduce the effort they have to put forth to achieve success.
If a community assiciation is considering new management, they may have more than one of the above reasons for doing so. Identifying these reasons and addressing them can help you win or save a client.
What reasons have you seen that community associations look for new management? Tell us in the comments!