Great blog, Brittney. As we get better at our jobs, that means that it is easy to fall into the tra...
Teresa Maldonado
This is such a great read! Truly appreciated it!

Training Trivia

Incorporating social media into your marketing and resident retention efforts is good practice for all student communities.

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Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? While not exactly up there with Mother’s Day and the 4th of July, it’s actually a very important topic for all businesses today. Anybody who pays attention to this issue knows that the vast majority of data breaches are NOT due to failures of the “hard shell” of technology measures that protect internal networks and data but rather from the “soft” side of human factors. Almost every breach publicized was caused by a human mistake rather than a technology flaw and/or the impact was exacerbated by human mistakes. The September 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review has a great article suggesting that we can take lessons from the military on how they’ve transformed from a highly vulnerable IT colossus to a nimble and effective defender of its systems. According to the article, the military has successfully repelled 30 million attacks over a 10-month period ending in June 2015 with fewer than 0.1% compromising systems in any way. To do so, they embraced the concept and practices of “high reliability organizations” (HROs). HRO theory has its origins in places like air traffic control, space flight and nuclear power plants…places that combine complex interactions between people and technology with the reality that a single mistake can cascade into disasters with tragic consequences. At the heart of all successful HROs are 6 key principles: Integrity. A deep culture that not only commits to omit errors of commission but also to immediately notify supervisors of...

Posted by on in Property Management
Arguments VS Discussions Disagreements are unavoidable in any business relationship, and communication with your residents is no expectation. However, the disagreement itself is not the primary factor in the outcome. It is how you handle these conflicts that affect you, your reputation and your profit margins the most. If you approach disagreements with residents in an argumentative way, they will be less likely to sign a renewal on their lease. Also, unhappy residents are likely to write negative reviews that prospective residents will take in consideration before leasing with you. If you want to keep occupancy up, switch your style of commutation and have discussions instead of arguments. When you argue with someone, you have already made up in your mind that you are right, and they are wrong. Arguments are approached from a very one-sided point of view, and if your residents do not feel as if you care about their perspective, they are less likely to care about yours. In an agreement, we often take on an accusatory tone, and sometimes we are not even aware that we are doing it. This will likely result in the other party becoming defensive and reduces the odds of reaching a mutual agreement. Augments only serve to increase anger and bitterness. In a discussion, all parties involved maintain their composure. The disagreement is approached from a neutral point of view. The disagreement with your resident should be regarded as a problem that you are both working together to resolve. When someone sees...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
  The more closing techniques you know, the more likely it is that you will close the sale and get that lease today. Yes, leasing is a skill and Rock Star Leasing Agents are made, not born. Most successful Leasing Agents were at one time shy, insecure, and not awesome at leasing apartments but they became great by learning and practicing the essential skills of leasing, including how to close. So, as learning is growing, and sharing is caring, here are 4 “easy button” techniques for you to help you Rock your closing ratios.   Begin With the End in Mind Each step you take in your Leasing presentation should be leading you towards getting that lease today. With each prospect interaction and tour, remind yourself of where you want to go and focus your efforts on moving in that direction. Without knowing where you are going, you may find yourself taking steps that lead you away from getting the lease. Keep focused on your purpose (getting that application today) during each step in your presentation.   Build Value In a price-sensitive market, the winner is the one who is able to show more value than the asked for rental price. Value is determined not by the market, but by your client. Show them that your Community has more value than the rental price, and the lease is yours.     Be Nice To Your Enemies Face it, we all have competition in every Lease.  If you put down your competition,...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
A year ago RentSauce published an article called Timing Is Everything. This article identifies times of day that are correlated with higher and lower engagement rates on various social media platforms. While the information in that article is all still accurate, you may be wondering how well it really applies to your social media sites. If this is the case, here are some tools that will be useful to you. Facebook Insights Managing a Facebook page gives you access to insights about your engagement levels such as likes, reach and page visits. You can find the information about when your fans are online by clicking the Posts tab under the Insights tab. “Fans” is Facebook’s word for people who have liked a page. The following screenshot comes from a page I manage that has 38 fans (or 38 Page Likes). As you can see, Facebook’s Insights show me how many of my fans logged into Facebook on each day of the week and the average times that those fans were on Facebook during each of those days. Turns out that there is never a day on which all of my fans log onto Facebook. I can also see that on Tuesday and Saturday 8 of my fans didn’t log onto Facebook at all. By hovering over the times on the graph, I can see that 1pm and 9pm on average during the week tend to be when more of my fans are online. By hovering over a particular day of the week...

Posted by on in Student Housing
There's often a lot of focus about the luxury segment of the student housing market, which can sometimes overshadow other parts, such as sustainable student housing. While sustainable student housing doesn't share the same popularity as amenity-laden luxury student housing, there have been some very fascinating green-friendly projects popping up.   Here’s a look at some of the most creative and sustainable student housing projects around the world: 1. Mill Junction Student Housing by Citiq, Johannesburg We've never seen anything like this before. The Mill Junction is one of a kind - a series of stacked colorful shipping containers have been neatly propped up on old silos. Citiq put these old unused grain silos to good use, without having to demolish them and rebuild.  2. Crou Student Housing by Olgga, Le Havre, France The repurposing of shipping containers seems to be a trend that's catching on for green-friendly student housing. Crou student housing used 100 shipping containers, stacked in a pyramid-like fashion, with each container being a separate unit.      3. Grünerløkka Studenthus by HRTB Arkiteker, Oslo, Norway   While the Mill Junction decided to build on top of old silos, the Grünerløkka Studenthus was built directly into old unused grain silos. This 19-story student housing complex is a rather unique design with most of the apartments being round.      4. Charles David Keeling Apartments by Kieran Timberlake, University of California, San Diego Many of the leading green-friendly student accommodations are located in Europe, but the Charles David Keeling Apartments are by far...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Envision, for just a moment, your community associates as a beautiful spring garden. You’ve got the stronger veterans, the ones that planted themselves with your community long ago. They’ve gotten the necessary nourishment and now their career with your community is thriving. You’ve also got your seedlings, the new, eager associates that are just getting started. They’ve got a lot of growing to do, but they’re brimming with potential. Employee engagement is your garden’s fertilizer. It keeps weeds to a minimum, while incentivizing the growth of strong roots. The goal of course, in your workforce garden, is a productive and fruitful team! Unfortunately, like any garden, all the hard work of employee engagement can be squashed by some common managerial mistakes. Read on to make sure that these 5 common and pesky errors don’t kill your employee engagement before you can harvest it!  1) Changing and Erratic Expectations Managers need to provide their employees with consistent expectations. Nothing damages employee engagement quite like having the work environment shift under an associate’s feet! Your associates need to have clear communication regarding job expectations and the scope of their work. If changes need to be made, they should be well planned and communicated. This allows the employee to prioritize their work and to feel successful. If a manager needs to adjust an associate’s responsibilities, be clear about why and how the work should be done. Be sure to adjust other expectations as well. It is never okay to simply add to an individual’s workload....

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing

In 2013, Grand Theft Auto V broke six world records, including "Highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours" and the "Fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion".  Those are some big time numbers, making it one of the biggest game franchises in the world.  A few days ago I ran across a marketing video for GAS Coffee in Kursk, Russia, that was absolutely brilliant in its use of this popular game series to drive attention to its brand.  The video uses live action actors, but shot in a way to mimic the mechanics of early Grand Theft Auto games, and is titled, "GTA Kursk City", formatted just like the games.  It is uncanny how the video creates the video-game like feel, along with exaggerated motions from the characters.  Yes, there are "mature" elements of the video, including murder, which you would normally not associate with marketing a coffee shop, but the target market of this video won't care about that at all, and will find this video absolutely engrossing.  And not only is the concept incredible, but it also weaves the target company into the video seamlessly, as the character steals a car and makes his way to the final destination, GAS Coffee. From our industry's perspective, this type of marketing is probably geared most towards student housing, as it would completely miss the mark with conventional multifamily.  But for that student housing market, it would be a huge hit.  I hope you enjoy this unique marketing example!...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Everywhere I go to train, its always one question that remains the same, what's the most important aspect in playing the game,where, how and what needs to be done in order to win, win, win again, again, again and again   - N. Bean It's not the leasing professional in entirety that remains responsible for the outcome of the team's closing success, but it remains the responsibility of the team as a whole. Just look at it this way when it comes to the art of leasing: Your ROCK STAR Leasing Professional is Beyoncé in Dream Girls and your property managers, leasing managers, maintenance professionals, marketing material, product, etc. are all her background singers, dancers, musicians, etc. Simple, right? The facts still remain: everybody gets paid, everybody gets recognition, and everybody gets to shine - it's just the leasing professional that will always take center stage ... but just like in Dream Girls, the stage must first be prepped and set for your ROCK STAR to perform. So now that we understand that we are the "Dream Girls aka Dream TEAM", lets begin building off of that notion. Priority #1: Product If your ROCK STAR Leasing Professional is Beyoncé, then your product is the stage.Your product consists of your property's curb appeal, the appearance of your property's leasing office, your team's overall "welcome" upon entrance, the cleanliness of your amenities, the leasing "sale" path,  the overall appearance of the model and/or show apartment and the maintenance of the model and/or show apartment.Just because your grounds are superb and your Rock Star Leasing Professional's constant contact program is working magic doesn't mean...

Posted by on in Property Management
Empathy. It’s a noun. It means to have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  I was raised a military brat and then married/divorced into it. So I have a bit of gypsy blood in me. In the way that I’m accustomed to moving every few years. It’s part of who I am. And it’s a part of what makes me good at this job. It provides me the ability to empathize with those moving into our community.  Moving is hard. But if I thought that I had empathy before, I assure you, now, I have a whole different level of it. When I was young, it was our entire family moving, two parents, two kids. When I was married, it was two adults and one child.  As many of you know, I’m moving to Georgia soon. For anyone who has read my bio on here, I’m a single mother of two boys. So now it’s a move and one adult and two kids. Wow. Talk about hard.  Between changing move dates due to certificate of occupancy, out of anyone’s control; there’s the typical move responsibilities: notices to landlord and utility companies, registering two kids for school/preschool, scheduling movers, scheduling sitters for a futuristic weekend work day. Some of this requires out of state juggling with out of state requirements of school districts. And a lot of this, in recent days, has required a lot of rescheduling. Now mind you, I haven’t even mentioned work in all of...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
We know our multifamily leasing teams are typically the first point of contact for a prospective resident, and are the face of our community. And, it's important that we spend time coaching them to be their best. Here are five easy tips: 1. Create achievable goals. Leasing teams enjoy goals. They are, after all, sales people and are motivated to meet their target. However, all too often we set goals that are unachievable and thus do nothing more than de-motivate the entire team. It is important to set goals that are achievable, and don't forget to revisit the goals regularly to review progress. 2. Instead of telling teams about their performance...Ask. Taking the time to ask a leasing associate about their last phone call(s) or tour(s) seems like an obvious thing to do for leaders; but in reality we often find it much easier to jump in with suggestions such as "I heard you say x to Mr. Jones but in the future why don't you say y instead."  We do this with the best of intentions and are trying to help. However, instead of jumping in to 'fix' the problem, ask the leasing associate about what they think went well (or didn’t go well), and then pause to listen to their response. You will learn valuable information about how the leaser believed they performed, and they will learn more by reflecting on their own successes and failures rather than being “lectured.” As a bonus, often they will surprise you with ideas and opportunities for the future that you may not have thought of on your own. 3. First explain 'the why.'...