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What Is Your Business Strategy?

What Is Your Business Strategy?
When it comes to jeans, Old Navy is my “go to” store. I shop at Old Navy because I like the fit of their jeans and I love the price! The negative is that the jeans don’t last as long, or keep their shape and color (for me) as more expensive jeans I’ve had in the past.    If you’ve shopped at Old Navy you know there is a difference in quality between their clothes and those found in their sister stores Gap and (especially) Banana Republic. Yet, Old Navy has recently been more successful financially than Banana Republic and especially Gap. Through Q2 2018 sales at Old Navy stores increased by 5%; sales increased at Banana Republic by 2%; while sales at Gap decreased by 5%.* The poor performance of Gap stores resulted in an 11% decrease in Gap Inc. stock   What is wrong at the Gap?   I think Gap stores have performed poorly because they don’t have a sustainable business strategy. Why is this important for you? Because for your company to succeed you need a sustainable business strategy and it requires you to make a choice. Let me explain further…   There are three basic elements of business: price, service and quality. In my experience for a business to succeed it needs to choose two of the three to compete in, but it cannot choose all three, or the business will not succeed in the long term. Why? Let’s look at the Old Navy/Gap example I began this post......
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The Prospect Email Strategy Guidebook

Introduction Nurturing prospects is one of the most important steps to convert a lead into a lease. According to Hubspot, 47% of shoppers look at three to five unique marketing materials prior to reaching out to sales personnel. Lead nurturing campaigns can provide more frequent and consistent touches than a purely human workforce. Considering that nurturing emails average a 4-10% higher response rate than traditional campaigns, we think you are going to want to invest in it. So, we wanted to create a playbook that outlines how you should communicate with prospects during the 4 most important prospect journeys. Communicating with prospects consistently during these journeys makes prospects more comfortable and excited to sign a lease! Let’s explore the email options for communicating with warm and cold leads!   Pre-Tour Emails Why email prospects before their tour? Due to the introduction of big ILSes like Apartments.com and Zillow, prospects are overwhelmed with apartment options. Emailing your prospects before they tour can set you apart from the competition. Take a minute and think about how many recipes you have pinned on Pinterest. If you are anything like us, those new, tasty recipes are sitting untouched on our "Foodie” board. Even though we think these recipes sound good and we have to eat, we still end up making the same five recipes over again. Why? There are three main reasons: We forgot about our newly saved recipe. We slip into old habits because they are familiar. We don’t want to put in the work&......
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The Resident Email Strategy Guidebook

Introduction Resident retention is a hot topic in Multifamily these days. It is cheaper and easier to have a resident renew than find a new renter--- $2,811 cheaper to be exact. So why does multifamily still have a turnover rate of 53%? Most agents don’t have enough time to check in with residents regularly. We identified the five best times to connect with residents. Now, this can seem like more than your agents have time to do, but there are a lot of email schedulers that can make this a breeze for your team.   Settling the Pre-Move Jitters Before any big change in life, there seems to be a frenzy of emotions. Over the course of one minute, a soon-to-be resident can go from ecstatic to stressed to sad. With all that going on, it’s hard to remember things like when to pick up their keys or how to reserve an elevator. The last thing they want is to do is realize they needed a money order to pay the first month’s rent and all they have is a credit card. And to top it off, its a Sunday so the bank is closed. The worst part is that the leasing agent told them about the money order three weeks ago when the lease was signed. So, they only have themselves to blame. Let’s be real, nobody wants to blame themselves. So, they are going to blame you, the property management, instead. This is not how you want to start off a relat......
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Voice To Text - How Voice Commands Are Changing The Expectations in Multifamily and Beyond

  Technology is changing rapidly - and with the new rollouts from Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and all of the other companies using voice technology as a tool for automation, it’s safe to say that voice is the way that things are heading. When it comes to communication, writing, and note taking, verbal voice to text can help things be faster and more automated - allowing you more time for brainstorming, and less time spent typing.Interested in seeing how voice to text will be able to simplify your day-to-day? Check out these ways that we believe voice is going to change the multifamily industry - sooner rather than later.Voice to Connect:Feel like you already have your hands full during your day-to-day? That’s where voice comes in! Voice to text has already become a player in the retail and communication sectors - and now multifamily is benefiting from this tech-trend!Need to send a text message to building 3 after you’ve already left the office… during dinner? It happens! There are resident communication tools out there that allow you to quickly and easily send texts to your residents… and that includes a voice text! In times of urgency or emergency, being able to use your voice to send a mass text message or respond to a resident via text message (from your property’s unique text to chat number) is an essential and powerful tool.Voice to pay rent: Paying rent has seen some major changes over the last few years - once only possible by dropping a ch......
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Revitalize Cold Leads, Effortlessly.

Lead Win-back for Multifamily  Most CRM’s for multifamily ignore cold leads after a few months. The idea is that these leads have decided to rent elsewhere and aren’t viable prospects anymore. However, what these systems are ignoring is the high resident turnover rate for multifamily. 53% of residents do not renew their leases. Which mean 53% of the leads you ignore are going to be actively searching for a new apartment within the next 10 months. Call us old fashioned, but we don’t see why anyone would throw away perfectly good leads. Think about wine for a second. There are two approaches to drinking wine: There are the Barefoot wines that are ready-to-go. This is a popular choice for novice wine drinkers. Similar to how an basic marketing plan is only concerned with prospects who lease with you the first time around. Then there are true wine connoisseurs. They tend to be more experienced and patient individuals. They understand the value of waiting for a desired outcome. This reflects how a mature marketing plan is willing to invest in revitalizing cold leads. Before you get the wrong impression, we aren’t wine snobs. We see merit in both options. Which is why we suggest using an email marketing strategy that manages both warm and cold leads. This approach gives you more opportunities to turn leads into leases. Plus, gives you more money to buy more wine: Win - Win 🙂   How to Win-Back Cold Leads We recommend automating the cold lead communications. That way, ......
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Ultimate Inspiration – Apartment Community Photography

Ultimate Inspiration – Apartment Community Photography
As many of you may know, one of my biggest pet peeves is boring apartment community pictures.  Especially when we think about trying to compete for eyeballs on an ILS, is the picture worth a thousand words or just worth one:  DULL. I ran across an Instagram profile recently which I personally think is the ultimate inspiration album for what an apartment community photo album could be.  She actually isn't in our industry, and all she does is take pictures of her dog, apartment, and life, and yet those pictures do a masterful job of conveying emotion and telling a story through the images.  One of the most important aspects is that because she is not trying to "sell" the room, her pictures are never just a showcase of the apartment – they are pictures of life that exists within that apartment.  That is a key distinction to what normally happens with apartment community photography, in that we get so caught up with showing the features of the apartment or beautiful decorations that we don’t work to show what it could be like to actually live there. Let me share some of my favorite examples, and please share your thoughts in the comments below! View this post on Instagram A post shared by Brittany & Stella (@brittanyshmyr) on Aug 5, 2018 at 7:39pm PDT This one is actually probably closest to "standard" photography normally used in our space. It is a wide shot of a nicely-prepared room. It's perfectly nice, but as ......
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Protecting yourself against serial skippers

Many apartment communities face the challenge of residents who skip out on leases before they’re fulfilled. And every resident who skips out on a lease leaves an unexpected vacancy in his or her wake. Residents skip out on leases for many different reasons. Sometimes they’re the victims of an unfortunate circumstance (e.g., an unexpected job loss), but for some renters, it’s intentional — and they’ve made a habit of doing it wherever they go. Residents who consistently leave behind unfulfilled lease terms to bolt for the next community are known as “serial skippers.” Serial skippers are obviously bad for a multifamily community. They not only harm communities financially, but also require operators to spend money to turn unexpectedly vacant units. But fortunately, rental screening technology has come a long way over the years, and there are effective ways to identify whether a prospective resident is likely to be a serial skipper.  The best way to protect against serial skippers is to reject their lease applications from the start. But that’s easier said than done, because it can take months before rental collections are reported to the credit bureaus. To catch them before they strike again, operators need to know the limitations of certain screening methods and the opportunities available through newer screening methods. Limitations of credit reports and scoresChecking credit reports and scores is a routine part of any community’s resident screening process. Generally speaking, credit reports and scores provide a very good indication of how consistently an applicant pays his or her bills. But......
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Success Tip: Why Do Cokes Taste Better at McDonald's?

Success Tip: Why Do Cokes Taste Better at McDonald's?
Have you noticed that Cokes just taste DIFFERENT at McDonald’s? (Now for you more health conscious individuals I feel the need to mention that I don’t frequent McDonald’s much any more. Apparently the older I get the more my body tells me, “You can’t eat like a teenager anymore!”) Well, I did some research and it really is a thing that McDonald’s Cokes (and Diet Cokes) do taste different and there is a reason why. This excerpt is from the McDonald’s website: There are many reasons the Coca-Cola tastes so great at McDonald’s. We simply follow the guidelines set by Coca-Cola and take steps to ensure it tastes the same as when you buy it in a bottle.  The water and Coca-Cola syrup are pre-chilled before entering our fountain dispensers with the ratio of syrup set to allow for ice to melt. We also keep our fountain beverage system cold so your drink can always be at the peak of refreshing. In order to ensure our drinks are always meeting a gold standard, we have proper filtration methods in place.  There’s also our straw – it’s slightly wider than a typical straw, so all that Coke taste can hit all your tastebuds.  ____ My first takeaway is how intentional McDonald’s is in making sure that a soda from their fountain tastes just as it would as if it came from a bottle. Stephen Covey famously described this strategy as, “Begin with the end in mind.” By knowing where they wanted to end (making sure a Coke in their ......
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Money Worth Spending- Promotional Items Done Right

Money Worth Spending- Promotional Items Done Right
As far as partnerships go, the one that I have forged with a great promotional company has been one of my favorites.  Stephen McFadden and I collaborated for the first time many years ago, and that is when he taught me how much more there is to promotional items than what had always been done.  At that time, we started venturing into promo that was strategic and smart.  When promotional items were created and customized to a specific event or specific outreach, they had way more value to them. For example, when we were working on some student properties, instead of handing out generic stuff- the everyday koozie- we started creating ‘eye blacks’ that were branded for football games, and after a while, everyone knew we were the ones that gave out that material.  Next thing you knew, people were running around tail-gating with our eye blacks on.  The examples from there grew, and then Stephen started really thinking about how promo items can be a bigger value to ROI. There was an interesting pattern that he spotted.  Companies wanted to get his ideas on items that would showcase their brand and produce a converted lead, but they were not willing to invest the money.  Companies will spend $100ks of dollars on new branding and marketing/advertising material and then wind up getting super generic promotional items.  This creates the Brand Gap – How are future residents supposed to know you have a waterfall pool and $10,000 chandelier based on the $.50 stadi......
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Should Your Apartment Community Get Involved with Local Crime Watch or Neighborhood Watch Programs?

I am a big believer in being involved with your local crime watch or neighborhood watch programs. I’ve seen firsthand how it has positively impacted investments with apartment communities that we’re involved with. Here are just a few reasons to get involved: Deters criminal activity Many of the attendees will communicate issues they are having in their community, some of which may not have been reported or available in any other form, and that will in turn allow you to keep an eye out for such activity. Creates a greater sense of security If your residents know you have their interest in mind they will tend to feel more like it’s also their community and a great place to call home.  Many crime watch or neighborhood watch programs have flyers and stickers that you can place in your office, or on the building that shows you are an active member. Builds bonds with neighbors. People look out for one another. When your residents know you are taking steps to improve the community, other residents will also do their part to help.  A program gives them an opportunity to voice their concerns and to be heard. Stimulates neighborhood awareness Your residents become more aware of what’s happening in your community and will usually “step up” and help keep you informed. Reduces the risk of becoming a crime victim and in turn reduces the physical, financial and psychological costs of crime Helps to create awareness, and potential criminals may avoid your community if they know y......
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