An open letter to the New Zealand Property Management Industry

Does this type of service benefit the industry in New Zealand?


Surely we are better than this? Maybe I am being naive, a bit too precious and even a little hypocritical, but do we really need to resort to these type of tactics as an industry to survive? Many years ago when I started in Property Management, I mystery shopped our competitors to get an understanding as to how the industry worked and who we competed with. It is part and parcel of what goes on and for someone new, it was a great way to learn. However, when I saw a post on LinkedIn by one of Australia’s largest Property Management personalities offering a ‘Mystery shop your competition service’, it caught my attention. Paying a third party to do this takes things to a different level.  I couldn’t help but think that at best it is very aggressive and at worst utterly unethical. I questioned myself as to whether such a service should ever be offered. After getting feedback from some of New Zealand’s industry leaders it appears I am not on my own.

One high profile business leader stated to me the following.

“With all honesty, I think it lacks integrity. And, further fuels the cannibalisation of each other’s businesses vs. working to convince the wider NZ market of self-managed landlords. Disappointing.”

Two weeks ago, we hosted a Conflict and Negotiation workshop in Wellington. In the room were three high profile Wellington Property Management companies. Throughout the day, we had them teamed up and working together, looking at ways to alleviate the pressures on Property Managers. The feedback was wonderful and the day was fun for all. Would that have been possible if these companies found out that they had been spied on by each other? Such tactics are the cause of immediate distrust between companies and sours relations when we should be collectively learning and supporting each other.

From my point of view, if you have to resort to such tactics, then you’ve already lost and your business never really had a soul. I am a great fan of Simon Sinek and his brilliant book ‘Start With Why’ sums up what being in business should be about. Yes, it is vital that you are profitable and we all want to make money. However, in my opinion, purely making money should not be motivation for starting a business. I suspect that most successful business owners are the same.

Is being a business owner easy? Absolutely not and I know that many may be tempted to resort to such underhand tactics. However, you have to understand your purpose as to why you exist and focus on being brilliant at what you do. To do this, you need to measure client satisfaction, learn from this feedback and constantly improve your customer experience. At the heart of any successful business are the people who work in it. If you are a business owner or a Department Manager, your team must be the number one priority, not corporate espionage of your competitors business. Ask yourself this, would I want to work for someone who would happily pay for a third party to spy on my competitors? What message does that send to your team and what does it say about your culture and values?

If Real iQ had to offer such as service to make money, I would close the doors and get a job. This is not what growing our industry should look like.

David Faulkner
Director Real iQ