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Get Ready Multifamily, It's Time for Generation Z

Yes, it’s true. . . just when we were getting the hang of Millennials, Generation Z is upon us. To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the multifamily industry is the broad range of our clientele across the generations. Where else do you serve such a diverse group of target customers with something so personal and primal as the very home and community in which they live? With each new generation we face the challenge of blending what is important to the current generations we serve while simultaneously renewing our physical product and supporting services to attract and appeal to the new generation coming of age. Recently, I’ve spent some time researching the various statistics and opinions of what makes Generation Z unique and how that is expected to influence their behavior as consumers in the future. To that end, I offer the following few simple thoughts and takeaways of what it means for our industry to begin preparing now for what is to come. There are varying statistical references as to the precise makeup and definition of Generation Z. For the most part, it is agreed Gen Z consists of all those born in 1995 and thereafter. According to Forbes in 2015, this generation made up 25% of the U.S. population. They contribute an estimated excess of $44 billion to the economy and are further expected to grow to a full third of the U. S. population by 2020. This makes them a larger generation than both the Millennials and the Baby Boomers before them. As the first of Gen......
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LEASING TIPS AND DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!

LEASING TIPS AND DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!
  Leasing Tips & How To Follow Up’s: With so many online, social media, and other software’s out there now, how do you keep up with it all? Start out by keeping an inbox folder on your email identified as Online Leads. You will have all ILS and email leads centralized for reference if needed. One of the largest parts of your online presence will be how and where your community is presented. The largest part of your leasing tool kit is your People, Product, and Perception. Even down to the vendor who hosted a resident or staff party or luncheon.  You get your leads via email, or by looking on your ILS sites. First things first, enter them into your system. Don't wait!!! Again, I repeat DON'T WAIT! Enter them as a prospect by their online or email requests you will potentially know what their name is, their email, phone number, what size apartment they are looking for in addition to their price range. If their phone number is listed, guess what… they want you to call them! Call them from your office phone and not your cell. It takes out the confusion and prevents liabilities.    Smile when You Dial!  Smiling when you are dialing a phone number or answering a call, puts you in the mood to consult! Smile when you dial that phone number. At this point your greatest priority is to schedule a time for the prospective resident to see your community! Remember you are in control of th......
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Information Changes

Assessing the true risk of a lease applicant could become slightly more challenging for apartment operators this summer. On July 1, the three credit bureaus — Experian®, TransUnion and Equifax — stopped including a number of civil judgments and tax liens in their credit reports. While the overall impact on credit scores may prove to be modest, the changes to the reports are yet another reminder of the importance of a wide-ranging and comprehensive screening process. “When I’m renting an apartment, I want to take the best applicant — someone who is going to honor the lease obligation first,” said Michael Johnson, executive vice president at Memphis, Tenn.–based Alco Management. “That’s why operators need to incorporate a range of screening methods.” New CalculationsThe recent changes stem from concerns about insufficient identification information in credit reports, according to the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), which represents the three credit bureaus. Under the new standards, tax liens and civil judgments, such as evictions, are excluded from credit reports if their resultant public records don’t include the consumer’s name, address, and either a Social Security number or a date of birth. Additionally, entries on the liens and judgments were removed from credit reports if the public court records didn't check for updates at least every 90 days. According to the CDIA, the changes will not impact creditors’ ability to rely on credit reports. “Analyses conducted by the credit reporting agencies and credit score developers FICO and VantageScore show only modest credit scoring impacts and impact to predictive perform......
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A Tenant Signs the Lease and then Vanishes. What do you do?

The prospective tenant passed your background check, they were very welcoming in the showing, and really everything looked great when you signed the lease.  But then when move-in day comes, nothing happens.  The tenant is nowhere to be found.  Plans can change on a dime.  Below are suggestions on handling and preventing cases like these. Procedure: If you have already signed a lease with a tenant, it is a binding contract and you must go through the same legal process as any other tenant. This will be a unique circumstance since the tenant is not presently occupying the unit and may not see the notice on the door.  Post the notice there anyways.  You don’t know if the tenant will return or not.  You as the landlord need to make every attempt to clearly communicate the 3-day notice to pay rent or quit.  This means not only posting a notice on the door of the property, but also emailing, making phone calls, and any other possible form of communication you have at your disposal.  After this period of time, and you have established that the unit is vacant, you then will be able to go back to putting the unit on the market. Can I enter the property to check that the tenant is there? You must first provide a 24 hour notice before entering a unit.  This will simply extend the timeline to getting the unit filled with a paying tenant. If you haven’t received the rent payment on the day it was due......
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"And here is the apartment..." - Avoiding the Prospect Tour That Falls Flat

If you have shopped enough apartment communities, you will find some leasing consultants who take a "self service" attitude to showing the model apartment to a prospect.  They open the door, announce that "this is the apartment", and then just watch the prospect as he or she walks from room to room.  They expect the apartment to sell the prospect, not themselves, and it often leaves the tour feeling flat and uninspiring. Conversely, today I went to one of my favorite Starbucks, and saw a great example of the complete opposite of the "self service" sale!  It was just a few days removed from Hurricane Harvey, and they were running out of food, as they hadn't had a new shipment of supplies.  One of the customers came up, asked for something that they didn't have, and that's when the barista did something great.  Standing over the food case, he could have easily said that they were out of most things, and then point to the half empty case in front of him.  In fact, I would bet 90% of baristas would have just done the pointing technique and waited for the customer to decide.  But he didn't do that - he instead talked through all of the options available in front of him, taking the time to connect with the customer rather than simply waiting for the sale. That's the difference between an average salesperson and a great one - taking that extra step to make the sale, rather than waiting......
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Is it time for a new way to say, "My pleasure!"?

Is it time for a new way to say, "My pleasure!"?
A few years ago I wrote a blog post entitled “My Pleasure-What Chick Fil-A Teaches us About the Power of Elevated Language” that was one of my most popular posts on www.MultifamilyInsiders.com. Here is a snippet of what I wrote about Chick Fil-A in that blog post, “…Besides the food, I love the level of service that they provide, which is unlike most other fast food restaurants. Let me give you an example: at my local restaurant in Huntington Beach, California associates frequently check on all the diners and ask how things are going and if we’d like them to “refresh” our beverage. Notice, they don’t ask if you want a “refill?”  If you say “thank you” they will always respond with “my pleasure!” Not, “no problem.” Not even, “you’re welcome.” Always, “my pleasure…” In the years that have passed since I wrote this post I’ve noticed many more people saying, “My pleasure!” It seems that everywhere I go the baristas, the sales people, the customer service people, the wait staff etc. are all saying, “My pleasure.” Now, while I love the higher level of service that this denotes, I wonder now if it’s time to at least find other phrases to use, since now, instead of sounding different and unique, it may sound “canned.” (Especially from people who may have been trained to say it, but don’t really sound like they mean it!) Here are some suggestions… Of course! Here is why I love this phrase: it shows the customer that your being helpful, friendly, going the extra mile (or whatever it was you did to have the customer......
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Are Apartment Communities Using Texting Strategies to Follow Up with Prospects?

Using texts to follow up to prospects has continued its steady rise over the past two years.  In our 2017 Apartment Leasing Research Report (free download), one of the aspects we delved into was the prospect follow-up process, such as follow-up timelines, lead scoring, and follow-up methods.  Although phone and email follow-up continue to dominate follow-up strategies, texting has now grown to be used by 32% of responders:

 

Although less than half of apartment communities are using texting for follow-up, it does represent a 39% increase relative to two years ago, and appears to come at the expense of mailed follow-up strategies, which dropped by half to only 13% of responders. 

The complete research report can be accessed for free by registered Insiders (which is also free to join).  Just log in at the top of the page and click here to download.

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Marketing Automation Crucial to Increasing Revenue for Multifamily Communities

Asking an onsite team to track, nurture and follow up on leads without the use of technology is an exercise in futility. Staff simply do not have the time or resources for efficient lead management.   This is particularly true in the digital age. Renters expect immediate engagement through digital, mobile-based mediums. In fact, 88% of renters want to be reached via email, and 50% want to be texted.   The role of marketing automation in effective lead management. Many view marketing automation as a tool that only benefits marketers. In actuality, marketing automation is critical in the implementation of effective, best-in-class lead management. As such, it benefits leasing teams just as much as marketers.   Because marketing automation helps align leasing and marketing teams around a centralized database of renter information and integrated processes, both teams can work together to attract, engage and convert leads to leases. Leasing agents can spend more time on prequalified leads, closing leases instead of following up on leads that are premature. Then, not-yet-ready leads can instead be funneled into an automated marketing program designed to nurture renter interest until they’re further along in their search process and ready to engage with leasing. This approach creates efficiency across the entire funnel, accelerating demand and conversion.   Marketers who leverage marketing automation are more successful at generating a steadier stream of active leads for leasing. Additionally, this approach can improve conversion ratios by two to three times. Higher conversion rates mean greater spend efficiency and revenue c......
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Interesting Facts!

• Studies showed the longest term residents found their apartment through a referral

• Communication Skills are: 7% Verbal, 93% Listening

• 80% of Sales are lost because the salesperson does not ask for the sale!

• YOU HAVE SECONDS TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION!

• Studies showed the highest turnover referral source was a Locator

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5 Things Leasing Associates Can Do to Be Top Performers

5 Things Leasing Associates Do to Be Top PerformersOver the last few months I’ve had a number of conversations with multifamily executives about important areas of focus for their operations. It doesn’t take long for the subject of sales to come up in conversation. As we’ve shared over the last few years on this blog, sales in multifamily represents a unique challenge. Traditional approaches to improving sales are neither appropriate or effective. While it’s an important focus, I’ve seen first hand how operators, managers and leasing associates struggle to uncover and understand what it means to improve sales performance in this industry. Several years ago we shared the seminal research study on sales performance done by CEB, that became the bestselling book The Challenger Sale. We’ve highlighted the study as the model to apply to leasing when designing and implementing a leasing sales performance improvement program. In the challenger model, CEB highlights three things that top performers do continuously, that average and bottom performers either only do occasionally or don’t do at all. The study showed that top performers teach, tailor their presentation and take control of the process. When I explain this to executives, a common question I get is how this applies to leasing associates. Top leasing associates, or “challenger” associates, regularly do these five things: 1. They Ask Questions and Understand Before Advocating or "Selling" While all leasing associates have been taught the importance of asking questions, most associates behave in what we call the ask - answer - tell - ask - answer - tell mode. What this means is that when they......
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