Courting a New Association? How to Impress the Board

Courting a New Association? How to Impress the Board

This article started as an excerpt from our eBook, BYOB: Be Your Own Boss in community association management. In December 2017 we have updated the content to incorporate new information, and updated sample downloads.

In a highly competitive market it’s hard for your management company to stand out. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones and community associations are beating down your door looking for proposals, you still need to win the contract.

The way you present your company to a prospective board strongly informs your chances of success in winning the contract. One of the ways you can do that is in the sales documents you present to potential new association clients.

Examples of sales documents might include:

  • Your management company website
  • A brochure that describes your management services
  • Answers to frequently asked questions (typically on your website) about your company, qualifications, and how you will handle common situations, such as after-hours emergencies
  • A pitch deck (or sales presentation) showcasing your technology and qualifications
  • A management proposal to spell out the details of your plan for your potential new clients
  • A sample management contract so the board is not surprised by your terms or expenses schedule
  • Your sample monthly financials package that you generated from your management company software

Your Website

Your website is the first impression potential board members will get of your organization.

It’s important that it properly represents the tone and level of professionalism that you promise to deliver when managing their community. If your website is full of errors or outdated information, or an outdated design, you probably won’t even get that initial inquiry from the board.

Your Brochure

Your brochure is a visual representation of your brand.

Your branding is more than just the image you present in your logo, it is all of the design elements you use that act as a visual representation by which your company will be judged. That’s why it is important for your brochure to reflect the goals of your company, and present a consistent visual and written message with your website and all other marketing materials you have.

A professionally designed brochure can make you look like a larger company than you really are, or it can make you look like some guy running a business out of his parent’s basement. It’s well worth the investment to have your brochure professionally designed.

For an example of what a brochure might look like, see this brochure from TOPS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) cover the bases of all of the nitty gritty and obscure facts that don’t belong in your marketing materials, but are still important to help you win that contract.

FAQs are best when they are on your website, since your FAQ is a living document, which should be regularly updated.

Start off by imagining you are explaining to your mother-in-law, who’s on the board at her condo, what you do for a living. Write out all of the questions you can think of that she would ask to better understand how your business works, and how that applies to her community. Take time to write well-thought out answers, but don’t be afraid to inject a little bit of personality into your answers!

Your Management Pitch Deck / Sales Presentation

A community board of directors will want to meet you and have you discuss your services.

You need to create an impressive written and verbal presentation where you discuss the services and benefits of your management services. You can use PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Sway, or Google Slides to create an impressive looking and professional presentation.

(We have a great pitch deck template that you can customize to give you a jumping off point.)

Practice the verbal portion so you are comfortable when discussing your approach to community management, but not so much that you sound like you are giving a memorized speech. Your verbal presentation needs to sound sincere and spontaneous, not “canned”.

Do your homework on the community you are courting, and tailor your presentation to the specific community. In any sales situation you always want to find out what is causing them to consider a change in management. In sales speak, this is finding out their ‘pain points’.

Your management presentation needs to address how you would cure their ‘pain’ with your management services. If you can do this, you’ll increase your chances of a successful management proposal.

Key points to include in a management presentation:

  • Who you are
  • Your value proposition
  • Your key services
  • Benefits to the community (problems you solve for them)
  • Examples of technology & sample reports

Your Management Proposal

After the face-to-face management presentation, you will need to prepare a written proposal.

The proposal will itemize your services that are available to the association. The proposal is where you include the small details like your pricing model and optional services. If you allow communities to contract partial management services (such as accounting only), you may want to break out your primary functions into by the 3 main areas of your management services:

The management proposal is a great place to showcase the features your chosen management company software brings to the table. This is also where you confirm your management fees for the services the community wishes you to provide. It should look professional and use simple language describing your services.

Your Management Contract

While it is a legally binding contract, your management contract is also an important part of your sales package.

Boards are looking for a professional company to represent them for a reasonable price. Your management agreement demonstrates both of those features in one fell swoop.

You are the legal agent for the communities you manage. This agency relationship is established in the management contract. The contract describes the services you provide and the management fee for these services. The contract should also protect you from liability except in cases of negligence—which cannot be contracted away.

Depending on your pricing model, you may be using a pricing matrix (menu style pricing) or a low, fixed per-door fee with a schedule of reimbursable expenses, like postage, printing, resale certificates, etc. attached to it. Make sure that these are included as part of your management contract so that the board has legally signed off before you start providing services.

Sample Board Reporting Package

A prospective Board of Directors is going to want to see what a sample monthly financial report package looks like.

You can use the management software you purchase to create this package or get canned samples from the software company. Community Officers will be judging your performance as a management company largely based on what your software can do and how the reports look, so this is a key element in your sales package.

General Tips

  • You can use Microsoft Publisher (part of Microsoft Office) templates to create brochures and other professional-looking sales documents. For an alternative option, try LucidPress, or Powerpoint even works in a pinch, if you set the paper size to 8.5×11″ and save the completed version to PDF.
  • Another option is to ask the vendors you partner with for co-marketing documents. Promoting your selection of quality business partners (and all the great services you can offer because of them) can make a positive impression.
  • Save your brochure and your FAQ in PDF format so you can provide them as a free download on your company website. It’s useful for board members who prefer something physically in their hand, and it can help you when prospecting if you ask for contact information in exchange for downloading the files.

Your sales and marketing materials tell a story to your potential clients about the kind of company you are. So it’s well worth the effort it takes to make something that makes you look professional, competent, and the best choice for their community. I hope these tips are just the push you need to win that contract!

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