Ester T. Famy
really agree with you Shellie!

regards, ETF
Elesa Kassoff
I don't do much blogging(no time) but when I do I usually comment on your blog. You do seem...

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 Property Management

It’s been awhile since a shared a blog post with recent videos.  So here you go.  Episodes 32-36.  Enjoy!   Episode 32 – Things are heating up on Instagram   Episode 33 – What’s the Future Look Like for Your Marketing?   Episode 34 – Live Streaming for Local Businesses   Episode 35 – and some other stuff   Episode 36 – More on Social Ads and ILS TV Commercials Competing    ...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
I’ve written before about how credit checks, pricing, property management systems and marketing have all been radically changed in the past 10-15 years; yet most operators still model, coach, train and measure sales essentially the same way they did 20 years ago. This is despite the fact that everyone agrees that renters don’t shop and buy the same way they did 20 years ago. Why is this so? I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I believe that one of the key reasons is that sales and sales approaches are just not really part of the conversation—in the industry or in the C-suite. I go to a lot of conferences each year. There’s plenty of content on pricing and even more on marketing. There are various technology sessions and plenty of discussions on different ways to improve operations. There’s even plenty of conversation these days on data breach risks. But there’s almost no content focused on sales! And I think the conversations in the C-suite are equally bereft of this focus. CEOs and COOs talk about revenue growth, occupancy and rent growth. They may even talk about the need to “sell better,” but this conversation usually stays at a simple level with questions like “How do we hire better salespeople,” “How should we change our bonus system to drive better sales” or “How can we train people to close better?” The industry and C-suite conversations need to be more plentiful and get to some deeper truths. Here are a...

b2ap3_thumbnail_toni-and-jackie-for-employee-engagement-for-NAA-2015.jpgUnderstanding the work force and the unique combination of multiple generations working together in one office is challenging enough. But getting your employees to actually use their discretionary efforts, meaning their own choices to be actively involved in decisions for the company’s best interests seems to be the ultimate challenge in today’s overly demanding world. Employees don't check their personalities at the door when they come to work. Knowing that they are respected as individuals at work can have a significant impact on how employees view their overall lives. Balance between personal and work life are crucial to gaining employee engagement. If an employee has issues in their personal life it will drift into the work environment. The line between “home and work” has been very gray for a number of years. According to, the definition of employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals. The Gallup Business Journal indicates that there are three types of employees: (see attached graphic) A.     The Engaged Employee who works with the company and feels a passion for the company and its future. These are the employees who excel in their performance and whom the company looks to for solutions. B.     The Not-Engaged Employee who has essentially “checked out” and is literally...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology


When it comes to managing business pages on Facebook, it’s easy to type in a status update and just hit “post”. And, while the process for drafting a Facebook ad may seem just as easy, time and again those carefully crafted ads are being denied. Facebook has come a long way in terms of advertising since its early days of simple banner ads but changes in layouts, algorithms and advertising terms have made creating and managing your community’s ads a much more complex proposition.

Don’t worry – a quick primer on how to manage the ins and outs of Facebook’s advertising system will have your ads approved and posting in no time. Here are some dos and don’ts of Facebook ad posting to help get you started.

Posted by on in Property Management
The rent is due on the first and late on the second and we don’t make any exceptions, right? We don’t make any exceptions because of the Fair Housing Act, correct? Well, not exactly, because the Fair Housing Act actually requires us to consider requests for exceptions based on the protected class of Disability. Must we consider and approve a request for a different rental payment due date based on someone’s disability? In certain situations, yes! The most common situation is when a person with a disability (PWD) requests a rental payment due date other than the first of the month, because their only source of income is from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments that arrive on a date other than the first of the month. Does this meet the test? The Fair Housing Act requires us to approve any request that meets the definition of “reasonable” and if the request does not meet the definition, we are required to offer any reasonable alternative that exists. So the first question we must answer is, “How does the Fair Housing Act define reasonable”? HUD defines “reasonable” as anything that would not impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or would not fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations. HUD also requires the housing provider to make the determination about a request being reasonable on a case-by-case basis; in other words, no “one size fits all” rules here! The next question we...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Has this happened to you … you’ve spent a good amount of time with a prospect, you’ve developed rapport and built a good relationship. You think you have a handle on what s/he wants and know that you’ve just offered your client the perfect new home, when s/he looks at you and says,    “Wait…your rent is $1,250 for a two bedroom apartment. The Willows across the street is renting a similar place for $1,100. Why are YOUR rents higher than their’s?”    I dreaded this as a front line leasing associate and I’m not alone! Whenever I do a training seminar on closing the sale and overcoming objections, this specific question regarding specials   So what do you do when a competitor has lower rents, a better special and/or more attractive incentives than you can offer?   I would encourage you to use, what I call, the “Chuck Norris Response”        This can also be referred to as the “Most Popular Guy/Gal at School Response,” the “George Clooney Response” or the “Kate Upton Response” (and no, I’m not putting in a picture of Kate Upton…nice try, folks!)    The basic gist of this response is to turn the negative (“Why don’t you have specials like those guys??”) into a positive.   As Inigo Montoya said, “Let me ‘splain….”    Somehow I imagine that if Chuck Norris were asked why he chose to double park his car outside, he would say, “Because I’m Chuck Norris, that’s why!”  If you...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
apartment-websites-ctr-adwords-1 Ginny Marvin reports on interesting news from Bing over at Search Engine Land: Bing ads has released more research on the much-debated topic of whether advertisers should bid on their brand terms in paid search. Following up on a study published last year, the new studies focus on the retail and travel verticals specifically. The team analyzed 3 million desktop impressions on results pages for retail brand terms and 400,000 desktop impressions on travel brand results pages and looked at where people click when brand ads were and were not present. Did clicks go to the brand or a competitor, and is there incremental benefit when brands own both the top ad and organic listings? We’ll dive into the data, but in short, as it did in its prior research, Bing Ads found that when an advertiser bids on its brand terms they receive more clicks overall and keep more clicks from going to competitors’ listings on their brand results pages. In other words, Bing ran a study looking at companies that ranked well in organic search that ran ads targeting their brand names and other companies that ranked well in organic search but did not run ads targeting their brand names. Those with the ad got 91% of the clicks on that page. Those without the ad got 60%. In other words, the group with the ads generated ~50% more clicks than those without ads. Why does the presence of an ad make such a big difference? To understand this point, you need to understand that...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
A little different spin on the blog this time. Please enjoy some light and levity with the following "Tales from the Front Line" These are some great tid bits that happened in our industry recently across the nation.  Pied Piper? On her first day at a newly acquired community, the newly promoted property manager was greeted on her first day of the new role in a most unexpected way. Waiting for her was one of the residents with the most unusual gift- a bowl full of garden snakes.”Welcome to our community” the resident exclaimed, “we are so happy you are here” The resident promptly placed the bowl on the stunned managers desk and left. No late fees for me! One resident, determined not to get charges late fees again, decided to make a statement by driving his truck into the leasing office door at 11:59pm the night of the 5th and left his rent check on the leasing desk using a piece of glass as a paperweight Something's fishy..  A very upset resident called the leasing office saying that she was convinced that someone on the staff entered her apartment, went into her freezer and stole one piece of salmon. She explained that she was sure she has wrapped  4 pieces together and today when she opened the foil there were only 3. She wanted immediate compensation for the missing filet, as well as her locks changed due to the violation. Not satisfied with managements response, she contacted the local police...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Have you ever tried to run along the deck of a ship in a storm? I don’t recommend it—between unexpected waves, slippery puddles, and a continuously-moving surface, you’re liable to get hurt. A ship in a storm is a chaotic, ever-shifting ride. In many ways, Search Engine Optimization is the same way. We’ve mentioned before how search engines and their algorithms are constantly changing, which is why SEO is an ongoing process. But the changes in the realm of the internet aren’t always unpredictable—sometimes, it’s possible to see what’s coming ahead of time. Here’s a few developments that will soon alter how we all market and find information on the internet: Twitter and Google’s new friendship A few months ago, Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. struck a deal1 that will allow Google to index posts from Twitter and show them in Google search results. What does this mean? It means that Tweets are going to be a whole lot more visible to a wide audience—even people who don’t use Twitter will be able to see what’s going on there. So if your apartment community or company maintains a corporate Twitter account, your posts will be a lot more visible. And if you’re not engaging in marketing on Twitter, now may be a good time to start! Mozilla and Google are taking a break Mozilla’s Firefox browser2 is one of the most popular internet browsers available, partly because it was the first browser to allow users to run internet searches straight from the address bar at the...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
The first things that come to mind when people think of a company’s brand is the logo, and then probably the tagline. While those are certainly important elements of a corporate identity, your brand is defined by much more than graphic design and key words. Your brand is the story of your company. It’s who you are and what you do; it’s your history, your narrative, and how the world views you. Your brand is your reputation. What makes a good story great? Simply put – the characters and the voices that shape and deliver the message. The people that work for your company are a critical element to telling your story and shaping your message. Your employees are the storytellers, and it’s their words and actions that people remember when they think about your company. They are your real-life logo; the personification of the values that your company promotes. They create your history and shape your reputation. When your people act as your day-to-day brand champions, they constantly reinforce the tangible image of your company that your brand portrays. With their leadership and hard work, your brand becomes more than just a logo, website or Facebook page – like a cast of Oscar-winning characters, your brand and your people become a part of your customer’s lives. Do you want your brand to personify customer service? Empowering your employees to solve customer issues the first time goes a long way to reinforce that story. Think of Southwest Airlines – you may...