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Home Is Where Your Heart Is

Home Is Where Your Heart Is
Home is where your heart is, haven’t we all heard that or said that at one time or another?  What does that mean?  For many of us, home is where we feel safe and where we can just relax and chill.  Crystal Hadidian said it best on her latest blog entry Don’t Scare Leads Away: 5 Reminders for Leasing Agents, “A home is a safe place where someone feels welcome and secure.” Now the next question is how do you create an environment where your neighbors feel safe and secure and, welcome? First, a welcome sign, and a welcoming attitude with the onsite staff is a huge step in making people feel welcome.  A smile communicates so much to people and for many it is the only smile they may see all day.  A smile communicates happiness and comfort in the moment, a message that says everything is all right.  When someone smiles at you, they are making eye contact and they say the eyes are the window of the soul, so smiling, and giving full eye contact is a sure sign of welcome.  Add to that a greeting, like hello, or how is your day, and that communicates a message of caring.  There are some stores where I shop that each time I ask where something is, they escort me to the aisle where the grocery item is located, I don’t have to look for it, the store clerks greet me and ask “Are you finding everything you need today?”  Isn't that a ......
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When You Give Respect, You Get it Back

When You Give Respect, You Get it Back
I haven’t blogged for quite a long time, with other projects and opportunities, I haven’t made the time to do so, however, something happened that I feel passionate about; I had to write about it. There is something about respect that all people need and crave. I want to talk about two types of respect, professional and personal.  Professional respect is something that is given before it is earned.  Whenever you have a professional title, that title earns you a level of respect to people in your organization, in and out of your industry, and in most areas of your public and private life.  When you meet someone and they are introduced to you as Mr. or Mrs. so and so, president of xyz incorporated, you respect the title without ever really knowing the individual, the respect is pretty much a given.  This respect is often broken after the person has been found doing something wrong, whether criminal or otherwise, the respect or lack of it, is already tangible and present. Personal respect is something quite different and less apparent. We practice personal respect in all areas of our lives through our associations with our families, friends, and colleagues. Respect on this level is more earned, given freely, but over the benchmark of time, it can be cultivated with deeds and words and actions. With personal respect the way you treat others can reflect greatly on you and this can color or change the way others see you as the way you......
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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
  In the multifamily business, what you say can be taken quite seriously, and it can be shared with many folks. Be kind, be forgiving, and be careful about what you say. Whether you are late, or your dog is barking, your music is being played too loud, or the door slammed shut too many times, someone parked in your spot, there will always be complaining and conflict. That is the nature of life. However, while this is all small stuff and will be forgotten quickly, your reaction to it could be remembered for a long time. I attended a meeting last night and showed up 6 minutes late. It was raining and where I live, people forget how to drive in the rain; it took twice as long to get to where I wanted to go. I apologized to the people who were waiting for me, and then someone followed right behind me and stated she didn’t have an excuse at all, she just forgot the time. I heard later after the meeting that those waiting for me were heard uttering under their breath, “its 6:29 and she isn’t here.” After another 6 minutes, “Well, she is 5 minutes late.” Really, are we that conscious of the time and that unforgiving of those who arrive late by six minutes?  Perhaps we are. I am writing this for two reasons, and my number one is, don’t be late for meetings that you are chairing, it is rude and for some, unforgivable. But really, it ......
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Welcome Means So Much

Welcome matWelcome means so much.  Have you been to a Wal-Mart recently?  If their greeter is out to lunch, and not replaced, you haven’t been greeted properly by their standards and you have missed out.  It is normally a senior citizen with a warm and friendly smile who goes out of their way to grab you a buggy. How do you greet your new prospects? Does your property say, live here?  First impressions are huge in every industry. Have you noticed that the sales force for pharmaceuticals, copy machines, and real estate are always dressed to perfection with big smiles, bright eyes, and ironed shirts with ties for the men and perfectly coifed ladies from hair to make-up and business suits, every detail in perfect order? So, how do you rate onsite? How about your community? Is your community dressed for success? Are your leasing specialists looking their professional best? Clothes make the man and woman, otherwise, would there be so many fashion magazines out there?  I hardly think so, something to think about. Swept sidewalks, groomed grass and flowers when in season, impeccably clean glass windows and decorated lobbies are all a factor when you want to put out the welcome mat. And speaking of, is your welcome mat clean and vacuumed?  Do you have a candy bowl or fruit available?  A kid friendly snack for children keeps little hands busy and bottled water is always welcome. How about courtesy and kindness upon entering the leasing office? Are you standing up......
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Ten Ways to Make People Feel Like They Matter

What Three ThingsWhat can you do to show you appreciate someone, your residents, your family, your friends, or the person on the street you just passed?  As we learn and use the wonderful features of technology and social media, we tend to not interrelate like we once did.  We have all emailed the person in the next cubicle or office, and texted someone when we could have called them. What three things can you do on a daily basis that makes a difference in how people connect and react to you? Everyone has three things they can do to let others know they matter.  I recently sent an email about this to my fellow teams. Incidentally, I received more replies than normal and I would like to share some of the unedited feedback. Smile and compliment them. Make them feel welcome; tell them they have been approved for their new home. Ask them “How can we help”? Tell them you appreciate them, maybe bring them a coffee and tell them one nice thing! Or just give them a big hug.  Listen, people want to be heard and know that what they have to say matters, and it shows you value them, as well as what they have to say.  Speak directly to them, look in their eyes, and be attentive.  Use their name when you talk to them, it makes them feel important and gets their  attention.  A simple acknowledgement, “Great Job”.  To a stranger driving and trying to get in your lane, “Just wave......
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Effective Communication is Key

Keys to the communication kingdom are sometimes hard to grasp.  Nothing in business is more important than communication.  You can have the best plans, the greatest ideas, but if you don’t have effective communication, your results won’t be stellar.  I recently received an email from a property manager sharing with me her response to a resident about an issue where the resident wasn’t clearly informed, and I quote, “I let her know (the resident) that we have a web site and a face book fan page, I also let her know we send out newsletters every month on top of crime watch meetings. She does not want a computer at home, she said that the newsletters are a waste of good paper and she doesn’t have time to attend any kind of meeting. Aside from staying after work and waiting for her to get home, I do not know how she would like us to communicate with her”. This is definitely a tough nut to crack, so, how is a property manager supposed to communicate with someone who doesn’t utilize technology? How about going low tech, a notice laminated and posted at the mail box kiosk, everyone gets mail and has to pick it up at some point, and of course there is the laundry area, there is usually always a bulletin board for postings there.  Did we ever ask the resident how she would like to be communicated with? I think in this age of new technology, we forget about......
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The Trust Factor

Do you trust your residents

Do you trust your residents?

Do you trust your residents

Do they trust you? 

Trust is something that you have to constantly work on and prove worthy of. Trust is also something that can be broken in an instant.

Trust is important and vital to relationship building and nurturing.  How to do that? Show up when you say you will. Provide the level of service that you promised at lease signing. Speak with respect and empathy in every situation.  Acknowledge your residents daily and without fail. 

Residents matter to your bottom line and their opinions matter too. Social media is beginning to become what we used to call word of mouth.  Now, whatever you do or say could be posted on YouTube in a matter of seconds with someone who has a smart phone.

Never underestimate the power of your “word”. You have seen it on film, where the actor states, “I give you my word”. It’s timeless, and timely, and has never gone out of style, giving your word, evokes trust especially if you keep your word.

Never settle, give your word, keep your word, create high trust, and watch your success skyrocket.

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Planting Seeds of Motivation and Encouragement

I just returned from a trip to my family’s farm in S. Dakota last spring time and I was struck by how much comes from such a small seed. I was helping my father plant some potatoes and onions and it occurred to me that in a few weeks with lots of water and fertilizer, these small seeds will bring forth plants that will provide so much more, it is amazing to me. Planting seeds is a very noble act.  You dig dirt, lay in the seeds, water and fertilize regularly and expect these seeds to bring forth a bounty of harvest. Just ask any farmer, it isn't that easy. Like anything in life we lay seeds, hoping for them to flourish and grow but without a little bit of encouragement, they can, and often do, wither and die. Isn’t it much the same with our teams? In business, much like life and farming, we lay seeds of motivation, and encouragement for our teams, hoping they will become the water and nurturing agent to make our ideas perpetuate and grow into fruitful opportunities. In the multifamily industry, we have so many opportunities to motivate, and understanding the value that it offers is vital to success. It is important to understand the responsibility of motivation and encouragement, everything we say, and do, provides another opportunity to set the example, to show how things are done and to find excellence within our teams. If you miss the excellence part, you miss a very......
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The Value of a Mistake

     Have you made a mistake lately?  What did you do with that?  Did you hide it, or were you forthcoming and go to your boss and say, hey, I made a mistake, and it cost us X amount of dollars.  If you hide it, how much do you think that cost is?  The cost is horrendous, not only in time, but possibly in your integrity. How about your personal character?  Lots of cost there.  Last I checked we are all human, with the propensity to make mistakes and fall very short of doing everything right. But, I haven’t met a mistake yet, that I haven’t learned a great deal from.      Mistakes are learning opportunities for all of us.  Yes, we make mistakes, and yes, we correct mistakes all the time.  When you make a mistake, as a leader it is important to own up to it and learn from it. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the possibility of creating an even larger error.       Who has needed a property manager and there wasn’t anyone really qualified to hire? Or their personality wasn’t quite right for the existing team onsite. If you hire someone that doesn’t fit or isn’t qualified, you run the risk of setting them up for failure and worse, having to let them go and find another to take their place.  Again, it’s the cost of making the mistake of hiring the wrong person.      When you learn from a mistake and admit to making it......
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How do I love my residents? Let me count the ways.

It’s Valentine’s Day, the day of love and courtship with the bonding of relationships through the gifts of flowers and candy. Husbands and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, sons and daughters, neighbors and property management are celebrating this Hallmark holiday all across our great land. Did I just say neighbors and property management?  Yes, I did, is there a more important relationship with those of us in multifamily communities? Not if we want to keep working there isn’t. Below are 10 of my thoughts on how to love your residents in your community and maintain the relationships because without those wonderful relationships, well, who knows where we would all be. Giving treats, coffee and donuts, at least a couple times a year, stand outside where they are leaving for the day, usually at the entrance and provide a donut and a cup of coffee as they are leaving for work. Chocolate in any size shape or form given at the mail kiosk declaring your love and gratitude that they call your property home. Excellent communication, question, your staff, the residents, everyone, find out what is going on in the community, stay current, talk with your residents, walk the property and make yourself available. You will hear all the gossip and probably more than you want to know, but at least you will be current and know who loves who. Keeping the pool clean and the property litter free is a no brainer. Nothing says I love you more than a properly maintained......
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