Brand Acquisition

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Management Company:
Welcome to Brand Acquisition Week.

What sets you apart from the competition? Why do your clients stay with you? How do you deliver a world-class experience? In Brand Acquisition Week, we’ll help you establish value for your brand as you get down to the sale. 

Included Here:

  • Establishing Value
  • Creating your Unique Value Proposition
  • The Elevator Pitch
  • Presentation Techniques
  • Sample Presentation Deck
  • Is Print Dead? How to Advertise in a Digital Age

Table of Contents

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Chapter 1:
Establishing Value: What is a Unique Value Proposition (UVP), why do you need one, and how do you craft it?

What sets you apart from your competition? Why do your clients stay with you? How do you deliver a world-class experience? In the previous chapters of this series, we looked at how to identify your dream clients, and how to reach them where they are. Now that you know who and where they are, the next step is to figure out what to say. Your messaging starts by establishing value.
Are you Competing on Price, or Competing on Value?
When it comes to winning a client, unless you are the only game in town, your dream client is probably shopping around their options, looking at you and your competitors to determine who can give them the most bang for their buck.

Many management executives mistakenly think this means that boards simply want the most services for the cheapest price. This leads to management companies constantly looking for ways to increase the list of features available to clients while simultaneously cutting costs on every aspect of the business.

As you may have figured out by now, it’s not a healthy business model.
Going Up Against the “Big Boys”
There are a handful of very large management companies out there that can compete on volume. Unless you are one of them, you probably cannot afford to offer a kitchen-sink approach to community association management. These big companies make their money by reducing management fees to the bare minimum and making up the difference through high-profit add-on services such as their maintenance division, landscaping division, and insurance division. If you are trying to compete on the same level as these companies, you are almost certainly losing out – on clients, on profits, and on your sanity.

The irony is that you don’t HAVE to compete on that level. When you attempt to compete on price alone, you are lowering the value of your services by making yourself comparable to a bigger company which can win on price every time.

Simply put, competing on price lowers your profit margins and cheapens the value of your services.

Switching to a Value-Based Conversation

Directors come from every walk of life. As consumers themselves, they understand that low price does not equal best value. The trick is to move them into the right mindset by changing the conversation from price to value. Here are some of the ways you can compete on value:
  • Emphasize Quality over Quantity No board wants to be just another cog in a great machine. They want to feel special, like they matter to their management company, and that they will get higher quality service as a result. When it comes to quality over quantity, the advantage goes to the smaller management company who can offer a more hands-on, human level of service to their clients.
  • Focus on Benefits over Features Board members don’t go looking for professional management because they want an app for homeowners to log in and see their account. They go looking because they need to solve a problem. If you can show them how your homeowner app solves the problem they are experiencing, you are presenting benefits instead of features, and establishing instant value over your competition.
  • Capitalize on Reputation Hiring a management company is an emotional decision, as much as it is logical. The board is choosing a company they are willing to let into their neighborhood where they live. They are giving the management company power over the community’s money, which is the community’s future. This is a big decision that requires an ethical, trustworthy company known for its integrity and corporate values. Your reputation as a management company can give you a competitive edge in the board’s decision process.
  • Expose Your Process Like in real life, not all management services offered are equal. Sometimes, you will need to find a way to point that out to your dream client. Think about the services your competitor is offering that sound the same as your services. Are they really the same? Perhaps you both provide inspection services for CC&R violations, but your inspection process involves a manager walking the full community every week, performing a 12-point inspection of each property, and backing up every citation with photos and a detailed description being sent via email within 12 hours of the violation being cited. Unlike your competitor, who just lists weekly property inspections as a service, your detailed description shows the level of care and attention to detail that you put into the process.
  • Know Your Competition It’s hard to differentiate yourself from your competition if you don’t know what they offer. Take the time to explore your competition’s offerings to see where you can position your brand differently.
  • Provide Unique Service Offerings If you are trying to match service for service with a larger management company, you will always be struggling to keep up. However, if you can identify some service offerings that are unique to you alone, you can win over your dream client with offerings your competitor just cannot provide. These can include something as simple as a free annual board member training or strategic planning sessions. If you or a staff member have a unique skill, find a way to include it into your package, such as a beautifully designed website if you have a graphic design background, or a free investment consultation, if you come from an accounting background.
  • Showcase Your Niche In part one of this series, we discussed how to find your dream client by thinking smaller. The more narrow your niche is, the more targeted your messaging becomes. You can establish value by showing your dream client that you focus on services for communities exactly like theirs.
  • Establish ROI Choosing a management company is an investment in the community’s future. If you can make a case for the return on that investment that the board will see through hiring your company, you can push your company ahead of the competition. ROI is often established through examples of how your management company saved money, avoided loss, or created value for other communities you have managed in the past. These stories can make a big impact on a board who fears making mistakes that could cost the community in the long run.
Unique Value Proposition

Once you have determined how you intend to establish value for your dream client, the next step is to turn that into your Unique Value Proposition (UVP), also called your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Studies have shown that people make a decision about whether to stay or leave for a web page they visit in the first 10 seconds of landing there. A well-crafted value proposition can mean the difference between that person bouncing from your site to another site, and sticking around to see what you have to say.

Your UVP is more than just a slogan, although that can be part of it. Your Unique Value Proposition is a statement to let your dream client know why they should choose you over the competition. Your UVP is the platform on which your brand, your services, and your customer experience all stem from. For every touchpoint you have with a client, you want to embody your value proposition.

How to Build Your UVP

Unlike your mission statement, which is about you, and how you change the world, the Unique Value Proposition is not about you or your company, it’s about your dream client. So you want to tailor your UVP to them, not to you.

Tailoring your value proposition to your dream client means you need to get inside their head. Think about what their problems are (their pain points) that motivated them to look for a new management company. Ask yourself what they really want. (Hint, it’s probably something self-directed, like more time to play golf, or to get off the board without the whole community going to pot.)

A Unique Value Proposition has 5 components:

  • What Is It?
    Take your first answer, such as ‘community association management’ and consider it as if you were your dream client. Is this the language they will use to describe your product?
  • Who is this for?
    Describe your niche, using language and terms they would understand and use.
  • What are the Benefits?
    Your benefits need to align with what the board members are getting out of your services. Think about the benefits as the end result your dream client wants to achieve.
  • What’s the Value?
    By value, we specifically mean the areas that set you apart from your competition. Take the value differentiators that we listed above and come up with one or two compelling statements that establish your brand’s value.
  • What’s the Guarantee?
    Think of the guarantee as your promise or proof that the customer will get the benefit you are promoting.
UVP Template
UVP Template

Use this worksheet to write out your Unique Value Proposition.

The UVP Headline

Finally, you want to take your statement, and narrow it down to a headline. Your headline is the most important part of your UVP, because most people will read that and simply skim the rest of your copy. Your headline needs to convey the value you are presenting in the most clear, concise, and compelling way.

For instance, we might come up with a headline that says “Signature Management Services for Luxury Condo Associations”. But we can do better than that.

Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and brainstorm headlines. Go ahead and just write down every idea that comes to mind for a headline, using the thoughts and ideas from your UVP statement. Don’t stop until you’ve written at least 50 headlines.

As your brain lets go of the preconceived notions you have, you will start to make associations that make for a more compelling headline. For example, from the sample UVP statement, we ended with the headline, “Because Signature Living Deserves Signature Service”. Now that is a compelling differentiator that we can use for our brand!

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Chapter 2:
The Elevator Pitch: How to master a 60-second pitch about your company

Later in this section, we are going to be teaching you how to put together a compelling pitch deck. The pitch deck is a presentation that serves as a visual story-telling aid when you are meeting with a board of directors, the ultimate goal being for them to engage your services.

But before you can master your pitch deck, you must first craft your pitch. A pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you tell about your business to influence the listener to take action. A pitch can have different purposes, such as explaining to your mom what it is you do for a living, asking an investor to take a chance on your business, recruiting a new employee, or selling your services to your dream client. A pitch can have different purposes, such as explaining to your mom what it is you do for a living, asking an investor to take a chance on your business, recruiting a new employee, or selling your services to your dream client.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

The shorthand term we use to describe a quick pitch is the Elevator Pitch. Imagine that you get into an elevator on the ground floor with your dream client. It’s just the two of you in the car, and you have their undivided attention until you get to their destination floor (between 30 and 60 seconds) to convince them that they need your services. That’s an elevator pitch.

But elevator pitches aren’t just for elevators! You can use your elevator pitch on your website, on your company’s LinkedIn or Facebook profile, at networking events, and in press interactions just to name a few.

As a general rule, you should have several pitches prepared for the different scenarios you might encounter. If you are looking to take on a business partner, or hire a star employee, you should have a very different pitch than if you are trying to sell a client, or explain to a stranger what you do.

Crafting Your Pitch

A good pitch has several basic components:

  • The Big Idea
    The big idea (your value proposition) draws the listener into your story. If you can get them to buy your big idea, you are halfway to getting them to buy your services!
  • Problem and Solution
    Name a problem the listener can understand or relate to. Then speak to how your business solves that problem.
  • The Proof
    They say the proof is in the pudding, but today let’s just say it’s in the pitch. Your elevator pitch should tell the listener why you’re not just talking a good game. Introduce a quick and efficient success story using easy to grasp metrics like, “our communities save $XXX per month on average.”
  • The Differentiator
    Don’t forget that every business has some kind of elevator pitch ready to go, and the best ones will have everything we’re described. So how do you stand out? That’s your differentiator–something about your company that makes your services markedly different. Strong partnerships are a great example, like citing CINC as your technology partner: our years of experience and cutting-edge technology bolster your management company’s knowledge and expertise.
  • Call to Action
    Your call to action gives the listener a next step to take to move forward. This might be asking for a meeting or to send them an email, or asking them to visit your website, or just chat for a few more minutes. The call to action is what takes your pitch from a quick speech to a real interaction that can have positive consequences for your business.

Elevator Pitch Templates

Elevator Pitch Template
Like we mentioned above, you should have several elevator pitches prepared for a variety of scenarios. This can mean more than just swapping out some of the keywords and titles, though. Changing up the style of your pitch is an effective way to add variety and cover a lot of ground. Use this worksheet to develop a series of elevator pitches.
Tips for Giving Your Elevator Pitch

Once you’ve written your elevator pitch, it’s time to practice, practice, practice! You want to say it out loud, to the mirror, to your spouse, to your friends, get comfortable with it, so that when you are in a situation where you need to use it, it’s second nature. Here are some tips to follow when you are delivering your pitch:

  • Be prepared
    The key to a good elevator pitch is preparation. Not only should you have the details of what you want to say figured out, but you also need to have practiced your delivery, so that when you are caught on the spot and someone says, “So, tell me about XYZ Management?” you know exactly what to say.
  • Be authentic
    That being said, don’t appear over-prepared (and yes, there is such a thing). It’s important to be ready to provide a concise, clear answer when giving a quick blurb about your services, but you don’t want to sound robotic or like you’re reciting a mantra of some kind. Use language you use in your day to day life. Don’t get too salesy or overly technical. Be informative, but casual enough that someone you hook with your elevator pitch will feel comfortable engaging in a conversation after. Don’t try to posture or sell too much or you’ll risk losing your prospect’s interest before you’ve really even got it.
  • Be relatable
    In that same line of thought, use examples or references that just about anyone will understand. Industry examples or anecdotes can be great, too, but keep them somewhat general still. You don’t want to lose your prospect’s attention because they get pulled out of your pitch by an unrelatable story. The same goes for any quips or pithy jokes you want to throw in for some flavor.
  • Be confident
    The best salespeople have confidence coming out of every pore. That confidence is what will set you furthest apart your direct competitors or anyone with an elevator pitch as good as yours. That isn’t to say that you should be arrogant or braggy, but you should be firm and unwavering in your wording and in your attitude. The best way to sell a service or product is unabashed belief in it. Whoever is seeing or hearing your pitch can feel that enthusiasm and that confidence and empathize with it–they want to feel that confident about their management partner, too! Confidence is that little something extra that will elevate everything you say.
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Chapter 3:
What's On Deck: How to present your company to potential HOA board members in a professional and captivating manner

They say you only have one chance to make a good impression. That’s especially true when that impression can make or break a sale. Making sure you get it right is incredibly important, so the right tools are going to make the biggest difference between standing out or falling flat. A well-crafted pitch deck is one of the most useful tools any company can use to showcase their services and make the sale.
What is a Pitch Deck?
A pitch deck is a quick presentation that highlights your management company’s most important talking points, like your business model, important partners (technology, accounting, etc), cost explanations, and accomplishment metrics (how many happy communities you currently serve). You may have something similar you’re already using when showing off to prospective boards, but chances are it can be optimized to make you and your company look your absolute best.
Driving a Value-Based Conversation

This should be one of your top priorities when creating your own pitch deck. Focus on your strongest assets in terms we discussed earlier:

  • Focus on quality, not quantity. Bells and whistles are nice, but they can muddy the conversation. Don’t focus on the specialty services you offer (even though you should include them in some way). Instead highlight how the core offerings you provide–the ones that every other management company is going to be pitching them as well–will differ and exceed not only their expectations, but the promises of your competitors.
  • Positioning your services by their benefits instead of as features. Most management companies have all got the general necessities figured out. Like quality vs quantity, you’ll want to rethink how you pitch your services. Don’t sell the features themselves, but instead the benefits they provide to overworked board members and underserved homeowners. This will help foster that emotional response we talked about, too. People like features, but they react to the way those features positively impact their day to day lives.
Building a Great Pitch Deck

Greatness takes a little time to achieve, but you’re already well on your way to getting there. Knowledge from previous lessons and a little savvy sleuthing are all you’ll really need to create something impactful and sustainable.

Core Focus Areas:

Think back to what you learned about Brand Affinity: isolating and enhancing your brand identity, identifying and appealing to the right people, creating and upholding an inspiring Mission Statement. All of these concepts will help you develop a successful, succinct package of information to elevate your sales pitch and close more contracts.

  • Strong Identity
    A strong brand identity is one of the most effective ways to enhance your sales pitch, and here’s why: you look like you know what the heck you’re doing. And of course you do, but mismatched branding throughout your presentation can make it seem otherwise. If your presentation pages all use different colors and fonts, all of your impressive knowledge about your services will get lost in an unprofessional look and feel.
  • Targeting Your Audience
    Being aware of who you’re speaking to is going to be a strong foundation for your presentation. The Brand Affinity exercise that shows how aligned your brand is with your ideal clients will be a great tool for this part. Just like you want to align your brand and logo and imagery to your ideal prospective clients, you’ll want to apply all of that to your pitch deck and align your language to their needs.
  • Representing Your Interests
    The sales pitch isn’t the only focus of a pitch deck, though. Services provided are very important, but your company’s values and Mission Statement are equally valuable to the conversation. We’ve said before that partnering with a management company is an emotional decision, and it’s because the board you’re appealing to is searching for a company that can make them successful but that also aligns with their own ideals.
  • Showcase Your Differentiators Remember, at the end of the day, your pitch needs to convince the board of directors to hire you over your competition. Using the value differentiators you came up with earlier, showcase how you are different from your competition. One way to do that is to show the benefits the client will gain from your technology stack, such as what you gain as a CINC Systems user. We’ve provided a sample deck below that shows you how you can work your technology into the conversation as a differentiator for your company.

Sales Presentation Template

sample pitch deck

Use the attached asset to make your sales presentation your own for your community association management company.

General Tips
  • Keep it short-ish. Keep your deck between 15 and 20 slides. Too few slides and you risk missing key talking points or putting too much information on a single slide. Too many slides and you’ll lose your audience before you’ve had a chance to bring it home.
  • Consider your pacing. A pitch deck is more than just a package of your best selling points, it’s also a great way to keep the interview timed accordingly. You don’t want to fly through your presentation and cover everything in under 30 minutes (unless of course you have to!) because you risk looking unprepared or like you’re trying to rush them to a decision. On the other hand, you also don’t want the presentation itself to go over time because that can indicate that you don’t respect the time of the board members. That said, a lengthy Q&A wouldn’t be a bad thing as long as the board is driving that conversation through eagerness and interest.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Building a pitch deck doesn’t have to be a massive project, or even terribly time consuming.
  • Use a Template. You don’t have to start from a brand new, blank PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation. Both products actually offer a variety of templates to build a pitch deck for your management company so that you don’t have to start from scratch. We’ve created a sample pitch deck that you can use as your jumping off point.
  • Find Some Easy Inspiration. Do an online search for successful pitch decks. Well-known startups like AirBnB and Uber have shared their winning pitch decks for others to use as inspiration and to break down the techniques or tricks they used that they say won them the deal.
But don’t forget, the community association management industry is very unique, so a universal template can only get you so far, and as valuable as the tips Netflix has might be, they likely won’t directly apply to your needs. That’s why we’ve built an industry-oriented template pitch deck just for you! You can still benefit from trying out everything you find online or in your presentation builders, but our pitch deck template for community association management companies is a great support tool to get your deck up and running.
Nowadays, a stellar acquisition strategy requires a cohesive blend of sales and marketing.
With the right messaging, pitch, presentation and supporting advertisements, your portfolio’s growth can soar. In the final section of the Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Management Company, we’ll review how to make your newfound customers lifelong brand evangelists. In our final installment next week, we will review strategies to drive customer engagement, adoption, and long-term clients through a blend of customer service and product marketing initiatives to reinforce your competitive edge.

Next Week’s Topics:

  • Mobile First How mobile design and functionality improves homeowner communication and satisfaction
  • The HOA Board and Homeowner App What CINC’s apps offer to you and how you can promote the app to your clients Bonus: You’ll receive complimentary marketing materials to promote CINC products to your customers!
  • Your Portal to Success: How your management company can use the CINC portals to market your services and build brand satisfaction
  • Your Custom Web Page A step-by-step guide to setting up your custom branded web page from CINC
  • Using Mass Communication: Communication is what marketing is all about. Learn how you can adapt the mass communication functionalities in CINC to spread your message.

Don’t Miss Our Fireside Chat:

Relationships Matter
COVID-19 has changed a lot of business-as-usual norms in our world – including the sales process. It’s not about selling a product; it’s about selling a solution. It’s not about building rapport; it’s about building trust. And if you thought a virtual presentation was a temporary solution, think again. In this fireside chat James A. Bradley, MBA, LCAM, Senior Vice President of South State Bank, will sit down with Dawn Randall, Chief Client Officer at CINC Systems, to discuss the transformative nature of the sales relationship and how small business owners can focus on building a trusting, meaningful relationship with their prospects during the sales cycle. He’ll share with you his tools that he has built to help prospects understand their unique value proposition and proposal throughout the full cycle so they feel they are part of the process, not just a bystander.
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