Love this! And it's a great time of year for this kind of post.
Excellent addition, Jen! Asking for the opportunity ties closely with being your advocate - it is im...

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 Resident Retention
Resident turnover is the one of the highest costs that a multifamily operation encounters.  We know that least a third of that turnover can be prevented through actions management takes.  Resident retention may be a stated goal of most owners and management companies.  But aside from being responsive to residents and keeping their property looking good, most have not focused much energy on creating programs and systems specifically designed to make it a little bit harder for someone to want to leave your property. While it is always critical to focus on the things that are important to your residents such as how the community looks and promptly taking care of maintenance requests, you will gain a competitive advantage by adding ‘sticky’ factors to your property.  These are items that will help make your resident stick with you longer and make it harder to disconnect from your community.  A management culture that focuses on community building is a great sticky factor.  Having a strong resident referral program is one of the smartest ways to spend your marketing dollars.  You incentivize your residents to have their friends lease at you community.  Not only do you get a new resident who has been pre-sold on the community, the resident who referred them is also now less likely to move.  Not only have they vouched for the community - who wants to move away from their friends if they don’t have to?  Getting the kids in your community involved in activities where they get...

Posted by on in Property Management
How many times have you traveled by air and heard the flight attendant say something like this..."We know you have a choice when you fly and we thank you for choosing our airline?"  I've always thought..."no, I don't really have a choice, unless it's based on price, flight times or if you are part of a rewards program."  I've never chosen a particular airline because I like them over another. It's not all that different when choosing where you want to live (which apartment community that is.) Most choose based on location and then price.  Then there is a chance that the sales associate might tip the scales and be the reason someone chooses your property over another.  I want to share a recent air travel experience that has completely changed my perception and going forward I will always try to find a flight with this airline when possible!   Picture this...I had to travel for work last month and when I arrived at the Delta gate I found it clean and fresh looking with newer carpet, new chairs and electrical & USB ports in between every few seats.  "This is awesome, I thought, because I'm a little early to the gate and don't want to drain my phone battery while I check my email and post to social media about my trip." The plane was newer and the flight attendants seemed especially friendly and helpful! Offering to help passenger with their bags etc.. The flight was non eventful and I arrived at my destination on time....

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
The ability to overcome objections is one skill that sets great salespeople apart from all the rest.  And in case you didn’t know, every effective leasing agent must be a true salesperson at heart. How well the objections of your prospects are handled has a direct impact on the occupancy rates of your apartments. In order for any objection to be overcome it must first be identified, as there are some objections prospects will voice, but others they might not communicate. It’s therefore essential to get to know your property from an objective point of view, identifying anything about it that a prospect could consider to be a drawback.  Even for those apartments that your leasing agent has struggled to fill can be leased simply by overcoming the objections that it often inspires. Understand that it’s not always about how much you invest in maintenance and improvement, but the sales strategy used that counts.  Educating Yourself on Your Property One of the reasons some find an objection so difficult to overcome is that it takes them by surprise. They become stuck, having no idea how to effectively satisfy the prospect’s concerns and move forward with the leasing process, instead losing their potential resident.  Proper preparation is what allows you to avoid unpleasant surprises, giving you a chance to come up with ways to handle the deal-hindering concern before the prospect ever even approaches you with it. This preparation requires you to get to know your property and its strengths and weaknesses...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
  I’ve been following the whole TWITTER phenomenon very closely. At first, I was VERY confused; who would use Twitter and why? More importantly, why would I use Twitter, and what would I tweet? After months of following fellow-tweeters, tweeting, searching tweets, reading tweets, re-tweeting, something dawned on me: Not all Twitter users are created equal! In order to best understand and utilize Twitter, I had to decide what kind of Twitter user I was or wanted to be. Most Twitter users fell in the following 4 categories: Tweeters – These guys have something to say, and they are out there sharing IT with the world, or at least, the twitterverse. In the real world, these are generally your authors, writers, politicians, radio personalities, teachers, educators, speakers, advocates, socialites, personalities, class clowns, etc. Instead of a book, magazine, stage, forum, class, radio, soapbox, etc. – they use Twitter to get their message out. Followers – are exactly that. They follow the tweeters. They are the audience. In the real world, these would be readers, subscribers, students, supporters, etc. In the twitterverse, there is more opportunity to INTERACT with their tweeters than in the real world. AND, almost more importantly, that INTERACTION is shared with all fellow followers AND the collective twitterverse. These are the TOP 2 types of twitter users. In the business world, and in our multi-family apartment industry, the following 2 lesser known types are KEY to marketing and sales: Listeners – these are not just followers – these...

Posted by on in Property Management
Rental rate. It’s a critical factor. It’s the reason you’ve picked this asset class as your investment, and ensuring it provides the greatest return is your highest priority. But raising the rent can be a challenge. People are sensitive about money and no one wants to pay a higher price for exactly what they currently have. The truth is, inflation happens. Just like property taxes and other associated costs with houses rise each year, so, too, does the cost of living in an apartment, and tenants should expect this within a reasonable range. So, when it comes time for lease renewals and you’re facing the need to adjust rental rates to correspond with demand, the market, and the economy, these helpful tips should help ensure tenants respond positively by continuing to pledge their loyalty to your property. 1.    Be strategic. Don’t just say “It’s time for the annual rent raising event,” and send out a notice. Do your research. What is the current rate of economic inflation? What are comparable properties charging for their units? What separates your properties from others that warrants additional rent? Do you have additional costs? Are there amenities that have been added that must be shared? 2.    Talk it out. Once you’ve done your homework, make sure you communicate what you’ve found directly to your tenants in a well thought-out letter that tells them not only about the rental rate increase, but also the specifics about why it’s occurring. No one wants to hear “your rent...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
How’s the health of your tenants? I once asked this of a property owner and received the strangest look in response. It may not seem like something an owner or manager would have any need to be concerned with, but there are plenty of reasons why it should. For one, when tenants are sick or in less than stellar health, there is an increased risk of absenteeism at work and life in general. Of course, missing work leads to missed income, and that equals hardship when it comes to paying the rent. Second, the healthier your tenants, greater is the likelihood of prolonged loyalty (longer life expectancy = increased chance of loyalty). Finally, there is the simple truth that showing your tenants care and attention is a good way to increase their loyalty. Luckily, this may not be an entirely uphill battle. Many people in our society have made the move already toward cleaner eating, organic and locally-grown fruits and vegetables, and even high impact workouts that are based on the activities we engage in every day (lunge, deep squats, lifting our children, etc.). Now, you can help your tenants stay healthy by leveraging these and other trends for overall community betterment. Here are five ways to make it happen: Spread the Word: Use a property newsletter, email, or old-fashioned bulletin board to start a conversation about health. This can be a simple callout box in a margin that includes a diet or exercise tip, or even an entire article dedicated...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Are you still of the mindset that video marketing is something only the big properties can pull off and/or afford? If so, you may be missing a very valuable opportunity to reach your target market. That’s because 90% of renters say they watch videos as part of the search process. According to an article on RentShout.com: “It's no secret that renters like to see what a property looks like before making a decision, and many times before they ever contact the property manager or owner. With video also becoming increasingly popular in online search, rental video marketingis a great way to bring extra exposure to your rental listings.” Why are videos so popular among renters? Here are just a few of the many reasons: Visual. Video allows the renter to ‘step onto’ the property without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but video is exponentially more powerful thanks to its allowance for going more in-depth with panoramic views, commentary, and effects. Informational. There is just something more appealing and personable about conveying information through video over having renters read a list of bullet-point items. You can also provide a lot more information and detail in the video to your audience than you may be able to in a paid advertisement or similar marketing collateral. Exposure. One of the best things about videos is their sharability. People just want to share the good ones with others, and, for this reason,...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
  Make the most of tours with quick easy summer leasing tips Studies show that prospects that spend more time in the display or vacant apartment home, are more likely to remember the property and much more likely to LEASE there! To help kick off your summer leasing season, here’s some tips to extend your prospects visits:   Keep cool beverages in the display/vacant frig!  Allow your prospects to slow down, take a breather and absorb the apartment surroundings with a break & a few sips of a cold beverage! Stock it with interesting choices & make it memorable!  Try raspberry lemonade   Have a Seat!  If you have a furnished display, let your prospects have a seat. Leasing agents should take the lead and be seated first, then ask your prospects to do the same!  This is the perfect time to engage prospect into conversation of how they would place their furniture in their new home and visualize living there!     Enjoy the great outdoors! Have a patio or balcony?  Make sure you’re taking prospects outside and as you linger, ask how they will enjoy their outdoor space once they get moved in! Make this popular space really inviting, with bright flowers & wind chimes.   GRAND FINALE!! FAV 3 close:  After the tour, ask your prospects to take one more look through the apartment on their own, and return and tell you their favorite 3 features!  This is a fantastic tool to use in your summary close!! It...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
I know it may sound weird and different to some of you reading this, but if I am honest, I feel the most confident and “professional” when wearing a blazer, collared shirt, dark blue jeans and dress shoes. In business situations that do not require my wearing a suit, the blazer/jeans combo is my “go to outfit.”   (In fact as I write this post I am sitting at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, heading back home from a speaking engagement on the East Coast and, yes, I am wearing my preferred outfit, and NO the picture isn't me. But you already figured that out.)     So you can imagine my excitement when I was in Denver for a speaking engagement and I ran into a few colleagues that I used to work with when I lived in Colorado and they told me that the company changed it’s dress code since I worked there. The new dress code?    Yep, you guessed it….blazers/jackets and dark blue jeans.    The associates told me how they asked the leadership of the company to consider the change, how the leadership said “yes!” and how excited they all were about it.    Now, some of you just had a conniption (is that how you spell it??) thinking about your people sitting behind their desks NOT in suits or traditional “business attire,” but in jeans! And I can understand why you might have some heartburn just thinking about it.    BTW: This isn’t about jeans!  ...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Ahh…summer. It’s that glorious time of year when people come out of hibernation, ready to socialize and enjoy the warmer, longer days. And nothing says summer quite like watching a movie under the stars. This 5-step guide can help you plan an outdoor movie night at your apartment community that your residents won’t forget.    1. Get Your Equipment Rent a DVD player, projector, speakers and a screen from a local audio shop. Be sure to test out the equipment before the night of your event. Next, choose a movie. Pick a summer classic like Grease, a popular movie that was filmed in your city, or a new release. Or, get your residents involved in the selection process. Offer three options and allow residents to vote.   Also, consider what kind of seating you’ll provide for your guests, whether it’s blankets on the ground or folding chairs. If you don’t have many chairs on site, ask residents to bring their own.  2.  Plan the Food What’s a movie without the snacks? Set up a “concession stand” with traditional movie theater fare like popcorn, candy and soda. Pinterest has some fun ideas for making things look fun and festive.  If you’re on a tight budget, ask your residents to bring a snack or drink to share and make it a potluck. 3. Spread the Word What’s a resident event without the residents? Promote your event to residents through a variety of different communication channels, such as: Social media Your resident newsletter A link to...