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All I Really Need to Know for Sales Success I learned in Grade School! Part 1 of 3

Author Robert Fulghum's bestseller, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, encapsulated lessons for success in life from lessons we learned in Kindergarten.  Some of this wisdom included: "clean up your own mess" and "don't take things that aren't yours".  He helped simplify the complexity of being a successful adult. Remember these lessons, act accordingly, and ideally live a more successful life!   After giving this some thought, I realized that my entire grade school journey did something similar for me.  Lessons I learned from my 1st-8th grade teachers set me up for sales success, albeit indirectly, sometimes hilariously (and embarrassingly....)!  1st grade: Mrs. Kidd. Lesson: Show pride in your work!  Mrs. Kidd chose me as the first student of the month in 1st grade!  I wasn't exactly sure what that meant but I knew it meant I had to bring in a poster board with photos of me and my family and fill in a questionnaire about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Since I was the first one, I didn't have any reference points on how this poster board should look. I waited until the last possible minute to bring in my board and kept it in a trash bag until Mrs. Kidd finally took me and my board in a bag to the hall to talk.  She asked me why I waited so long to bring in the board.  I told her I wasn't sure if I did the work correctly and......
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Supersize Me: Scaling Multifamily Like McDonald's

Supersize Me: Scaling Multifamily Like McDonald's
Lessons from McDonald's What’s McDonald's Secret? Consistency & Repeatability McDonald's is a master at scaling their operations. The key is consistency. This is their process: Create the recipe Perfect a process that is consistent and repeatable Scale! All across the world... Think about this: the chefs who create these recipes have trained in their craft for years, sometimes decades -- but the crew that prepares the fries will be trained within three days! Now, that’s mastery of scale.     How Consistent Are Your Operations? When you think about scaling your own operations, are you able to identify areas which would benefit from this idea of consistency? For example, do you nurture your leads consistently? Do your prospects always receive a follow up? (From our surveys, we know 45.8% of 3rd party manager prospects do not receive any follow up.) Do your prospects receive nurturing emails that inform them about the neighborhood, the amenities or the features of your community? (From our surveys, we know only 12.5% of the 3rd party manager prospects receive nurturing emails.) Do your prospects receive a reminder on the night before the tour? (From our surveys, we know only 12.5% of the 3rd party managers sent a reminder.) As another example, is your resident renewal program consistent? Do your residents receive an offer to renew when their lease is up? Do your residents receive a friendly notice reminder? Do your residents receive a helpful move-out checklist, if they don’t choose to renew?   How to Scale Multi......
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What Causes HVAC Systems to Fail and How to Prevent It

What Causes HVAC Systems to Fail and How to Prevent It
Preventative maintenance goes a long way in keeping HVAC systems operating as they should be, but breakdowns can still occur. These complex systems are made of many components. Without being familiar with how HVAC units and their many parts work, diagnosing issues can be difficult. Especially when you’re managing large multifamily properties, it’s helpful to know about some of the most common causes of HVAC problems, as it can save you, your team, and your residents from a lot of frustration.   Swollen Capacitors  Air conditioners cannot run on their own when their capacitors stop working. The job of a capacitor is to start the motor and to help keep it running. It does this by sending jolts of the energy it stores to the fan. Without the jolts, the fan simply can’t get going. There are a few ways to tell if a capacitor has gone bad. A visual inspection is often the easiest, as a swollen capacitor is a problematic capacitor.   What causes capacitors to swell? Gas is created when the conductive electrolyte within the capacitor decomposes, which happens with time or damage. Capacitors have a lifespan that can vary but is definite. The HVAC systems that house them can outlive them, meaning there naturally comes a time when a capacitor must be replaced. Swelling is a sign that the time has come, as any swollen capacitor has reached its end. You can tell that a capacitor is swollen when its shape has become altered, usually resembling a can of soda ......
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How Not to Be a Bad Property Management Company

How Not to Be a Bad Property Management Company
There’s nothing special about bad property management companies. They ought to be literally a dime a dozen, because they usually end up costing owners far more than they can bring in or help keep. Bad property management companies provide much opportunity for great property management companies. They can snatch business away from the bad ones easily, as well as gain big through referrals. But, how can you know if your company is good or bad? Here are a few things that make it good: Care About the Residents Caring about the residents should be the number one rule. They are the ultimate source of profit after all. Ironically, the trouble starts when you think of residents more as numbers than people. A cold-hearted push to reduce costs and maximize revenue at the expense of your residents’ happiness will only undermine your goal. Think of your residents as a community and communities as families; serve them well and the benefit will be great. Care About the Property Generally speaking, the better the condition of the property, the happier the residents, the lower the repair costs, and the greater the potential to attract great residents who are willing to pay decent rent rates. To be a great property management company, go the extra mile in upkeep and maintenance. Get creative. Do what you can to make the property you manage a wonderful place to be.  Care About the Owner Besides taking good care of their property and its residents, how can property managers show the......
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Multifamily, We Have a Scaling Problem

Introduction First off, we need to explain what ‘scaling operations’ means. Operations are ‘scalable’ if they can use a small increase in costs to generate a large increase in growth. Let’s break it down further. Currently, when a property management company (PMC) gets more properties, it has to invest in more staff. This added cost of hiring new employees cuts into profits. But, with scaled operations, that’s not the case. An employee will can create a system for how to do things and then scale it.   Imagine you have a property management company with 5 marketers managing 50 properties. Now, what will happen if they get 50 more properties? With the standard operating system, the company has to double the amount of marketers. But, in a scaled operating system, the company may only need to add one more marketer.     So, we learned that scaling operations reduces the amount of capital needed for growth. Without scaling operations you are missing out on a few buck on the bottom line. No big deal, right? Wrong.    Let's take a look at the problems that arise when you are not scaling operations.       Symptoms of an Unscaled PMC Property management companies know they have inefficiencies in their lead-to-lease process. We know agents don’t have the tools or resources to spend their time efficiently. Their lead follow-up is weak, systems are not consistent, and scalability is difficult to achieve. Jake Meador, director of content strategy at Rentping, echoes our thoughts stating, “…leasing efficiency improves by improving the overall marketing and leasing system.”    Clerical Work Fills the Day Everyone in bus......
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The Cost of Untrained Leasing Consultants

The Cost of Untrained Leasing Consultants
Most of us have published an ad looking for “experienced leasing consultants” and received an array of resumes that may have included a rookie or two. Sometimes, we try our luck with first-timers; maybe because something sparked our eye, or maybe we’re just desperately in need of new talent. Sometimes, we find people with experience, and sometimes an impressionable candidate finds their way onto the top of the pile, regardless of their experience in multifamily. I’ve had the pleasure of training diamonds-in-the-rough a few times, but more often than not, due to time constraints and manager obligations, consultants are thrown into the fire, head first, and told to take an online leasing class or wait until a company trainer comes in. So smile, answer the phone, and lease. The number of leasing consultants that are on the front line that lack proper training is surprising. This is often because companies either don’t accurately assess the legal and financial ramifications of untrained staff, or they have not allocated the time or resources necessary. I preach an old saying that multifamily vets know all too well, “It costs money to make the phone ring.” And how much does it cost? Usually quite a bit. Even with a minimal marketing budget, you’re ideally still allocating funds for “curb appeal” i.e. flags, banners, signage. With larger budgets, allocation for ILS services for lead generation, SEO, answering services, chat bot, websites, and tracking systems are standard. Not to mention the presence of any outreach marketing, resident and employee events......
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Implementing Behavioral Assessments - What Will It Do For Your Company?

Implementing Behavioral Assessments - What Will It Do For Your Company?
Say no to interview intuition and use behavioral science to make an objective call.  Once upon a time, I was hired as a recruiter for a high-end employment agency. It was a positive experience and I did well in my position. I had a strong team of coworkers, so I was surprised to learn that they had implemented a personality test for new hires at our company. I was immediately curious and asked if I could take the test. Afterward, I was told I had “failed”. My manager laughed when I asked, “Failed what? Are you telling me I have no personality?”   She had no answers for me and simply said to stop worrying about it.  What was the meaning of this silly test? Turns out it wasn’t the job for me. I’m easily bored and need exciting experiences to keep my attention. Hunting for CFO’s and accountants wasn’t engaging for me unless I was able to steal them from another company and make a lot of money doing it. Yet, even that high was short-lived for someone who thrives under stress and excitement. This is probably why I love the always adventurous property management industry and find myself working in it now.  Over the years, we can perform jobs that are either perfectly suited for us or leave us wanting more and lacking in productivity as we become stale. The assessment I took back then could have given me the tools I needed to find my perfect position faster, and my employers th......
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Do You Think About Why You Don't Provide Good Customer Service?

Do You Think About Why You Don't Provide Good Customer Service?

Friends, I have been on a kick lately about asking why we do the things we do and why we don’t do the things we know we should do. For example, take a look at the video below. (Beware, it gets loud, so watch out if you’re watching in an office.) From what I could put together the Starbucks employee thought the customer was stealing an edible straw worth about a buck. Let me repeat that, a buck. One. Dollar. So she tells the customer that she (the customer) will not be served here and to “give me the straw!” Meanwhile, someone recorded the video, posted it to the Internet, millions of people watched it (including the employee’s bosses at Starbucks) and she lost her job. Interestingly when she was asked about it later, she felt she was justified in what she did; saying something to the effect of, “I was so tired of people taking advantage of us every day.” So this time, this customer was going to pay, even though, in the end, the barista was the one who paid with her job! Why? In watching the video I’m sure you asked the same question I asked…WHY??? I mean, what was she thinking? I’m pretty sure that 99.9% of the people who watched the video thought that what she did was NOT a good idea! Honestly, I bet if you asked her if it was worth it, away from the media spotlight, away from having to defend herself, away from the emotions of the......
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Career Advice: Don't Give Up Too Soon!

Career Advice: Don't Give Up Too Soon!
After about a little over a year in the multifamily housing industry I was done being a leasing consultant. Like, burned out, toasted, roasted, charred to a crisp done! It wasn't that I didn't enjoy my time as a front-line leasing consultant, I was just ready for a new phase of my career. (Okay, I might have also been done being on the front lines too!) Unfortunately the "powers that be" in my company had pegged me only as a leasing consultant and wouldn't have considered me for any type of promotion. I was stuck. I was facing a dead end. I was frustrated and angry and actively looking for another job since it was clear I wasn't going anywhere within the company.  Then one day I saw a job posting for the customer care manager position. I told my wife about it and she encouraged me to apply. I told her that the way the company worked, even though I was qualified for the role, I wouldn't even be considered for the position as it was a corporate-level job and I was still relatively new to the company. I figured that I shouldn't get my hopes up trying for something that was out of reach.  Before I had even tried, I had almost given up.  I decided that I would listen to my wife (always a good idea) and I submitted my request to apply for the customer care manager position. I closed my fingers and hoped for the best.......
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Turnover or Turnaround? - What You Can Do to Improve Your Company Leadership

How many times have we come across an article on social media that offers the answer to why employees leave? Often, these articles cite bad hiring at entry level, or poorly-structured work environments as the cause, leaving immediate supervisors and regional managers out of the equation. As a performance coach, I find that most companies don’t recognize the need for additional training in management and leadership.   If managers and regionals are having issues retaining employees or managing properties that aren’t performing, it’s not always due to bad hiring. Have we considered that many managers and regionals have never learned the skills to excel as leaders?  The worst offenders are often the most clueless. They don’t understand the severity of their actions toward employees and team members, often to the point of being a liability for lawsuits claiming a hostile work environment. Ever heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”? Anyone who has wanted someone they know to attend counseling will understand that if a person doesn’t realize they have issues, it’s extremely difficult for change to actualize.  So, do we need an intervention? Yes!  Self-realization is key. It’s difficult to coach people who don’t know they need help. Chances are, systems are not in place to identify employee deficiencies specifically. A yearly performance review is not the way to solve management and employee problems. While it can identify problem areas, a review does not provide solutions to those problems. Your company needs an intervention that ......
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