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The Poor State of Lead Sourcing in Multifamily

The Poor State of Lead Sourcing in Multifamily
In many ways, the multifamily industry is growing more sophisticated every day. In recent years – and especially since the pandemic – operators have implemented a range of new technologies that have optimized the prospect experience. These optimizations have allowed prospective renters to trade in their own currency i.e., shop for an apartment home in exactly the way they want to. Examples of these solutions include self-guided tours, video tours, chatbots and online tour-scheduling tools. But one area where property managers need to up their game is sourcing their leads. An Anyone Home analysis of one large operator found the company's lead source accuracy was only 56%. In my experience, this stat is far from uncommon across the industry. Before we dive into the reasons for the inaccurate sourcing, it's important to discuss the dire consequences.  Stated simply, when you don't know where your leads are coming from, you don't know which components of your marketing efforts are working. You're not going to make correct ad-buying and marketing decisions. This can lead to spending lots of money in the wrong places and seriously undermining the performance of your community. Now, let's examine the factors that lead to inaccurate sourcing, which is basically rooted in three issues: One issue stems from the fact that somewhere between 18% and 40% of prospects do not lease at the first property in an operator's portfolio that they contact. The problem with this is that in the standard property management system, the original source of the lea......
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Listening to Calls is the Secret Sauce for Leasing Agent Training

Properties pivoting in the time of COVID require nimble responses and openness to change. This pivot also provides a perfect opportunity to get back to basics when it comes to leasing agent training.    Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a virtual chat with Katrina Greene, CAM, NALP Trainer, and Senior Regional Property Manager at Sheehan Property Management, about leasing agent training in a time of crisis, and why listening to leasing agent phone calls is an incredibly valuable coaching tool.    “During this time where everything feels uncontrollable, leasing agents seem more open to training,” she said. Katrina listens to calls to reinforce what’s working and identify opportunities for improvement — not only for the leasing agents, but also for the properties as a whole. She said it’s important to give your team permission to fail and permission to succeed while demonstrating ways to improve — not just telling them what to do.     Share Leasing Agent Calls to Benefit All   Listening to calls may feel invasive and certainly, if live, put a great deal of pressure on the leasing agent. With a variety of technologies available today, agents can record calls and submit them to their Property Manager for later review. Property Managers can review the calls using software that allows them to insert comments or break the call into segments within the conversation to make it easier to consume the feedback.   “I equate reviewing calls to something like judging figure skating, where there are two areas......
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100 Properties: A View into the Leasing Experience

100 Properties: A View into the Leasing Experience
I recently set out to visit 100 properties in 100 days. I wanted to get a truly informed understanding of the in-person experience that today’s prospects have. I wanted to see where the opportunities for improvement are and where leasing teams are knocking it out of the park. I genuinely went into it as a blank slate not quite sure what it would reveal. So often I hear people make broad, sweeping statements after visiting only a handful of properties - as if those limited experiences represent the industry standard. My intention in visiting 100 communities was to see what the industry standard really is.So I set out on my adventure and to say I was surprised at what I found would be an understatement. I was quickly and vividly reminded that the in-person leasing experience often is less than ideal for visiting prospects. I also humbly realized I had personally committed several of these leasing experience blunders myself. And while I understand today’s landscape has vastly changed our in-person touring options, it provides a great opportunity to discuss with your teams how to create a truly impactful experience whether virtually or in-person.  The properties I toured were all high-end apartment communities from coast to coast. These are typically the properties that are the early adopters of the latest and greatest practices and technologies that the rest of the industry eventually follows.   Here are some of the experiences and surprises that occurred on my visits:Greetings and First Impressions: About 10 com......
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Three Things "Temps" Should NOT Do!

Three Things "Temps" Should NOT Do!
Years ago when I was a community manager I had a season of time when I relied heavily on temporary associates to maintain the staffing requirements of my office. There were many times when my “temps” made my job easier and I was so glad that they were helping me. There were also many times when my “temps” either made my job harder, or were so difficult to be around in one way or another, that I didn’t think they were worth the expense! If you’re a temporary associate now I’d like to give you some advice on what to do when you’re at you’re assignment so that the company wants to keep bringing you back-or even offer you a permanent position! Tip #1: Don’t be Bossy! I had a temporary associate who started critiquing me on how we accepted checks and thought it was a good idea to give me his thoughts on what we should have been doing when collecting checks from our customers. Needless to say, that immediately irritated me as I thought, “Who does this guy think he is??” Regardless of the experience you bring into the office, remember as a temp that the client may not need your input on things…even if it’s great input! For those of you with a great resume this may be the hardest thing to do as a temp, and it’s a vital skill. As a wise mentor once told me, “Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut!” Tip #2: Don’t Say “When I worked at…”......
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The Boston Marathon, and Why You Shouldn't Pit Your Leasing Agents Against Each Other

This year's Boston Marathon was no joke.

It was cold. It was rainy. It was windy. It was in Boston! ("Boo Boston! Hiss!" said the Yankee fans.)

Professional runners dropped out of the prestigious race because of hypothermia symptoms. In April!

Desiree Linden, the winner of the women's title (and the first American woman to win the race in 33 years, which is neither here nor there in regards to this post, but is definitely awesome, and therefore worth a mention), almost quit herself. According to reports, she wasn't feeling well at the beginning. So when her teammate Shalane Flanagan had to make a porta potty stop in the middle of the race, Linden waited for her so she could help her get back to the front. (Because women always have to go to the bathroom in groups, right? I'm allowed to say it because I'm a woman.) She figured she might as well help her teammate if she couldn't help herself.

Despite that delay, Linden won. And, with her help, Flanagan secured seventh place. Not too shabby.

Look at that teamwork! Linden could have easily left her friend in the dust. Would she still have won? Maybe.

But maybe not.

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Leasingology 101: Learning Multifamily Lingo

Leasingology 101: Learning Multifamily Lingo
If you're new to the property management/multifamily housing industry, you might feel as if industry veterans speak a language all their own. And, they really do, don’t they? It reminds me of the scene in the movie Good Morning Vietnam where Adrian Cronauer remarks to his boss, who is fond of using military acronyms and jargon, “Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn’t we keep the PC on the QT? ‘Cause if it leaks to the VC he could end up MIA, and then we’d all be put on KP.” I remember in my early days my CM coming to me telling me, "Rommel, remember when you're filling out the MSR to get PTE...." WHAT????? So…if you are new to this whole thing, we wanted to give you a quick primer on the terms you’re likely to hear and what they mean, so that you can get up to speed quickly! And if you're an industry veteran please forward this to your new associates and add your own as well! Occupancy: This is a number, expressed in a percentage, that tells how full a community is. So, a 100 unit community with 95 apartments occupied is said to be 95% occupied. Availability/Exposure: This is a number, expressed in a percentage, that tells how many units are available for rent. This number is often confused with occupancy, but it is different! So, if a community has 100 units and there are 8 units available for rent (regardless of ......
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Customer Experience Matters: How to Get That Lease Renewal

Customer Experience Matters: How to Get That Lease Renewal
In life we are all customers of someone or something and we tend to always gravitate back to the places where we have the best experiences. If you have a bad experience while shopping at Walmart, but head over to Target the next day and have a positive experience while shopping there, you are way more likely to return to Target more often than Walmart. As you have good experiences you will become a loyal customer to that company or brand. You need to ask yourself what is it that has you coming back to the same places over and over again. When you think about it, what makes them the best or makes you the best at your job? It's more than just being good at your job, it has to do with the way you are interacting with your customers. I was recently reading a blog1 from customer service guru Shep Hyken, and he told a story about a doctor friend that he has and asked him what made him great. His doctor friend said "All the surgeries are pretty much the same, with the exception of the occasional problem. But, what’s not the same are the patients. Each of them are different. They are all people and need to be treated as if they are the only patient I have.” It is not that he is one of the best surgeons, but how he acts towards each person that he treats that makes him the best. We can take this example and really run with it. If you wan......
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How to Overcome Objections and Increase Occupancy Fast

How to Overcome Objections and Increase Occupancy Fast
The ability to overcome objections is one skill that sets great salespeople apart from all the rest.  And in case you didn’t know, every effective leasing agent must be a true salesperson at heart. How well the objections of your prospects are handled has a direct impact on the occupancy rates of your apartments. In order for any objection to be overcome it must first be identified, as there are some objections prospects will voice, but others they might not communicate. It’s therefore essential to get to know your property from an objective point of view, identifying anything about it that a prospect could consider to be a drawback.  Even for those apartments that your leasing agent has struggled to fill can be leased simply by overcoming the objections that it often inspires. Understand that it’s not always about how much you invest in maintenance and improvement, but the sales strategy used that counts.  Educating Yourself on Your Property One of the reasons some find an objection so difficult to overcome is that it takes them by surprise. They become stuck, having no idea how to effectively satisfy the prospect’s concerns and move forward with the leasing process, instead losing their potential resident.  Proper preparation is what allows you to avoid unpleasant surprises, giving you a chance to come up with ways to handle the deal-hindering concern before the prospect ever even approaches you with it. This preparation requires you to get to know your property and its strengths and weaknesses very we......
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Encrypted Communication

Encrypted Communication
For my wife and I, attending an hour-long session at Church with our three little boys feels like trying to stuff three hungry octopuses - each born with extra limbs - into a torn mesh bag. Unless we do something to keep our boys busy but reverent, we feel like we’ve spent an hour at the gym instead an hour in Church. One of our go-to bribes to keep our boys busy during this time is their own fresh pack of Crayons and a brand-new superhero activity/coloring book. Our boys’ all-time favorite games in these books (and the ones that keeps them the busiest) are the decipher-the-message pages. For those of you who may have forgotten these little gems from your childhood, they’re basically messages that are encrypted using unique characters; one unique character represents a single letter or a sound. The messages are important to decipher because they help move the story along, or allow one to help the hero save the day. Without the key to the encryption, though, it’s almost impossible to decipher what the encrypted message says. Understandably, our boys will happily sit for hours while they decrypt messages, and then go further to write their own encrypted notes to us using the characters they learned from the game. Thinking about these games my boys play, I learned a lot about communication, as well as about life. Communication is (and really people are) similar to these encryption games. Everyone has their own unique key to the way they communi......
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PBL and Training-More Than Just Peanut Butter

PBL and Training-More Than Just Peanut Butter
Have you ever wondered how you can make your training more effective without hiring a rock and roll band to entertain the students? Look no further than Problem Based Learning (PBL). PBL has been used and researched heavily in education and has found good adoption. Using PBL in a typical technology training environment is less common. Let me explain… Often times in training we assume that the best way to help our trainees learn is to simply tell them what we want them to know. But imagine training where instead of giving you the answers, you are given problems to solve instead. These problems must be related to the learning at hand of course, and a place to find the answers should also be provided. This is like turning a classroom upside down and making the student the teacher. Add small groups to the mix and you have a fun interactive treasure hunt that can yield big rewards. Why would I do this… One of the biggest rewards to using problems in your trainings is that the learning has a better tendency to stick when you have to search for the answer. When we are just told the information we have to find a way to attach that new learning to something we already know so that we know what bucket to store it in our brains. Without that association the learning has a tendency to go in one ear and out another. When you have to search for an answer you build you......
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