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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

Resident Retention Lessons From the Presidential Election

Every Presidential election includes one important step of trying to personalize the candidate; make them relatable to the average voter, whether it is as a fellow parent, someone you would love to have a beer with, or someone you admire and aspire to be like.  At this year’s national conventions, both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney attempted to humanize their husbands and show that they went through the same struggles and similar values as others throughout the country.

So let’s take a leap back into property management…  There is a concept in leasing that prospects lease because of the leasing consultant more than anything.  And that is probably true – the leasing consultant personifies the community, by giving a “face” to the buildings.  A good leasing consultant will make the prospect feel safer, more comfortable, and the feeling that the prospect will like the others that live in the community.  But that personification tends to break down when the prospect imagines his or her fellow residents once they move in.  With the exception of maybe the very social, people are often wary of others around them, more likely to assume they are not like them rather than assume they are.  Think about it this way:  If a resident truly thought that his or her neighbors had similar interests, backgrounds, and values, they would have little difficulty in approaching each other and making friends.  But that clearly is not the case.  

So like the Presidential elections, we need to personalize our residents.  We need to show our residents that their neighbors are interesting and vibrant people, just like they are.  If Mary absolutely loves scrapbooking and finds out there are three other scrapbookers at the community, that will help her become more involved and feel connected to the community.  If Bill is a car enthusiast, he might like to know that there are 10 other people with similar interests right there within his own community.  In this way, we use our high density as an asset rather than a liability.  Obviously we must take care to maintain privacy, get permission, and be cognizant of Fair Housing, but showing other residents that yes, there are people just like you, could be a huge opportunity to help develop that elusive sense of community.

What do you think?

Brent Williams is Chief Insider of Multifamily Insiders.  For more resident retention ideas, become a fan of our sister site, Resident Events.

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