Management Advice

How To Turn Your Staff into a Marketing Secret Weapon!

How To Turn Your Staff into a Marketing Secret Weapon!

Photo: DueProps

In the world of marketing it is widely known that you have to get the word out on many different platforms to have the success you are looking for.

The multi-family housing industry is no exception. A property has to market themselves in a way that makes them stand out from the competition and develop a brand identity in the community.

What most properties don’t know is that the BEST marketing tool is sitting right in their leasing office everyday…their own staff!

Let’s say you have 4 people in your leasing office and 3 people on your maintenance team. If each of them has 250 followers on social media and they all re-post a marketing link for your property you are instantly exposed to 1,750 people on social media without ANY advertising dollars spent. These are all very modest numbers too!

Below we explain how to turn your employees into your new marketing secret weapon!

Basic Social Media Training

The first thing you will want to do is make sure everyone understands the platforms you will want them to share on. Facebook is a pretty safe one to start with because it is the most widely popular social media out there.

Gather your team together, perhaps at a happy hour to make it fun, and let them know you want them to help in the marketing efforts for the property. Ask them how they feel about sharing social media posts from the property with their followers. Also find out if anyone has any questions about how to share posts. By starting with the basics you ensure there won’t be any confusion down the road.

Set Up a Monthly Posting Schedule

Make your marketing efforts super efficient by putting a calendar in the leasing office of the posts that are to be shared for that month. Asking your staff to share monthly posts will ensure their profiles aren’t taken over by your marketing content. You can also take suggestions from the staff of what that month’s post should be. Try to have them involved in the process as much as possible, you want to make sure that the employees stand behind the posts they are sharing.

Make it Easy!

Let your employees choose when to share your marketing post throughout the month. You will know when they share because you will tell them to tag your property’s profile in the post. There are also great apps, such as this one from HootSuite, that will send a post to your employees and give them an option to share with a push of a button. Another great way to get the ball rolling is to set up posts from the property’s social media pages giving praise to an employee and tagging them. This gives the employee an easy post to share on their pages so they get used to sharing work-related posts. Something along the lines of:
———————————————————————————————————-
“Suzi did a GREAT job closing a lease today with a wonderful new addition to our residential family! Bravo to you Suzi (tag the employee)!”

In the world of marketing it is widely known that you have to get the word out on many different platforms to have the success you are looking for.   The multi-family housing industry is no exception. A property has to market themselves in a way that makes them stand out from the competition and develop a brand identity in the community.   What most properties don’t know is that the BEST marketing tool is sitting right in their leasing office everyday...their own staff!   Let’s say you have 4 people in your leasing office and 3 people on your maintenance team. If each of them has 250 followers on social media and they all re-post a marketing link for your property you are instantly exposed to 1,750 people on social media without ANY advertising dollars spent. These are all very modest numbers too!  Below we explain how to turn your employees into your new marketing secret weapon!  Basic Social Media Training  The first thing you will want to do is make sure everyone understands the platforms you will want them to share on. Facebook is a pretty safe one to start with because it is the most widely popular social media out there.   Gather your team together, perhaps at a happy hour to make it fun, and let them know you want them to help in the marketing efforts for the property. Ask them how they feel about sharing social media posts from the property with their followers. Also find out if anyone has any questions about how to share posts. By starting with the basics you ensure there won’t be any confusion down the road.  Set Up a Monthly Posting Schedule  Make your marketing efforts super efficient by putting a calendar in the leasing office of the posts that are to be shared for that month. Asking your staff to share monthly posts will ensure their profiles aren’t taken over by your marketing content. You can also take suggestions from the staff of what that month’s post should be. Try to have them involved in the process as much as possible, you want to make sure that the employees stand behind the posts they are sharing.   Make it Easy!  Let your employees choose when to share your marketing post throughout the month. You will know when they share because you will tell them to tag your property’s profile in the post. There are also great apps, such as this one from HootSuite, that will send a post to your employees and give them an option to share with a push of a button. Another great way to get the ball rolling is to set up posts from the property's social media pages giving praise to an employee and tagging them. This gives the employee an easy post to share on their pages so they get used to sharing work-related posts. Something along the lines of: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Suzi did a GREAT job closing a lease today with a wonderful new addition to our residential family! Bravo to you Suzi (tag the employee)!”  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Make sure you are constantly getting feedback from your staff to make sure everyone is excited to share!

Photo: Giphy

———————————————————————————————————-Make sure you are constantly getting feedback from your staff to make sure everyone is excited to share!

Posted in Management Advice |

5 Questions Your Leasing Professionals Aren’t Asking

5 Questions Your Leasing Professionals Aren't Asking

No matter what our jobs are, it can be easy to switch to auto-pilot when performing repetitive tasks the occupation requires. In the world of the leasing professional, one of these instances could be when signing on a new resident. The common questions get asked over and over and the goal of getting the paperwork done and the keys in their hand gets accomplished, then you move on to the next task of the day.

However, signing on a new resident is a golden opportunity to find out about what type of resident they will be and what the human face of your community is shaping up to be.

We suggest asking the following 5 questions to new residents and keeping the answers organized so they can be referenced when making decisions about everything from what improvements you will do to the property to what kind of community events you will plan in the future.

The questions below are conversation starters, so make sure you are asking them face to face instead of just handing them out in survey fashion.

  1. Why Are You Moving?

Sometimes the answer to this question is a simple “for work” or “they raised my rent”, in these cases there isn’t much to learn. However, in other cases you can dig into why they are choosing your property to live in. Perhaps they didn’t feel safe in their last area of the city or they were in the suburbs and wanted to have a more urban lifestyle. These tidbits can help you target your marketing efforts towards others that may be living in the same area they were, but are looking for a change.

  1. What Was Your Favorite Thing About Your Former Residence?

People are usually happy to answer this question. For the most part, people will readily provide answers to positive questions and by finding out their favorite things you can identify and reinforce what they will love about your property.

  1. What was Your LEAST-Favorite Thing About Your Former Residence?

This question can be a little trickier to get a honest answer to. People don’t like to complain and they do not want to be judged as a needy and dissatisfied potential resident in their fresh new home. However, the answers you get from this question could be invaluable in determining issues your own property may be having and not aware of. Explain to the new resident that you are asking for the improvement of your own property and their feedback is important.

  1. What Are Your Top Three Wish List Items for Your New Home?

Perhaps the resident wants a garbage disposal or blue walls. There could be something in their wishlist that you could easily accommodate but they were too afraid to ask for it. You could greatly increase their level of satisfaction by making sure you know what they want, no matter how small (or big).

  1. What Type of Community Events Would You Participate In?

Planning community events that have high attendance from residents can sometimes be a daunting task. Most of the time when you ask for feedback from the current residents, they are too busy to think about what they would like to participate in. While you are signing a new resident, you have a captive and excited audience. Take this opportunity to record what events they would like to do and implement the ones you get the most requests for. Make sure you keep a record so you can personally reach out to the residents that requested the event. That will not only help with attendance, but it will show them that you were listening!

Sometimes signing new leases or renewals requires you to go beyond the obvious tasks.

These 5 questions can help the leasing professional dig deeper for the information that will improve their closing ratio while also increasing the team’s renewal rates and overall resident satisfaction.

Posted in Management Advice |

What the Apartment Industry Can Learn from Japanese Customer Service

japanese customer service apartment industry

Japan is famous for many things, however it isn’t Godzilla or sushi that the apartment industry should be paying attention to. Japan exports something that multifamily professionals should be buying in bulk and it’s called Omotenashi.

Omotenashi is defined as selfless hospitality to one’s guest. During Tokyo’s winning 2020 Olympic bid, spokesperson Christel Takigawa promised that Tokyo would offer athletes and tourists alike a “unique welcome … One that dates back to our ancestors, yet is ingrained in Japan’s ultra-modern culture. ‘Omotenashi’ explains why Japanese people take care of each other and our guests so well.”

So how can America’s apartment industry translate Japanese hospitality into their leasing practices? Below we have listed five easy ways!

1. The Welcome

When you walk into a Japanese store or restaurant the first thing you will hear is an audible welcome from the staff. This style of greeting is completely Japanese in it’s nature because it goes far beyond the typical American “eye contact” and quiet greeting” most customers get state-side. While the boisterous Japanese-style greeting may seem out of place in a leasing office, you may be surprised at the impression it can make on potential residents. After they visit multiple apartment communities during an apartment hunt, which office will the remember the most?  That is correct, the one that was overly excited to see them walk in the door!

2. Make Each Encounter The Best It Can Be

Ichi-go ichi-e” (“one time, one meeting”) is a Japanese saying that refers to making each and every encounter with a customer be the best it can possibly be. In the world of Japanese business transactions there are no small events, every encounter deserves the business person’s best self present. This includes paying attention to tiny details such as professional dress. cleanliness of the office and property curb appeal.

3. Ambiance

When you go into a Japanese business one of the first things you will notice is the pleasant feeling that you get in being there. Ambiance is something Japan takes very seriously. Sometimes it may seem as though a professional artist was hired to make the space look accidentally artsy and modern. And, the truth is there probably was an actual artist involved. A visit to your local home decor store may not be enough to achieve that perfect leasing office ambiance that will make your potential residents feel great when the walk into the space. Hire a professional to get your ambiance just right.

4. Make it Count Outside the Office

The maintenance team plays as much importance in Omotenashi as the leasing staff does. In Japan there are traffic wardens standing outside of all the shops making sure customers make it safely to wherever they want to go, even on the slowest of traffic days. Train your maintenance staff to interact with residents and future residents in a friendly and enthusiastic manner. Sometimes they are the last person from the property a potential resident sees as they are walking back to their car.

5. The Goodbye

As with the Japanese verbal greeting, the goodbye is also given much attention. It is not out of place to see a shopkeeper carrying bags out of their place of business for the customer. “Bowing” is also customary after a transaction is made in Japan. While “bowing” would be a bit off-putting in an American leasing office, you can still find ways to acknowledge with gratitude the exiting of a potential resident. Make it a positive experience to the very end.

The apartment industry employs some of the best individuals in customer service. However, even the best can stand to benefit from studying the hospitality habits of the Japanese. Consider adding these little influences to the training of your leasing professionals and maintenance staff and see big returns in resident happiness and new leases!

Sayōnara!

Posted in Management Advice |

Top 5 Austin, Texas Experiences in December 2016 and January 2017

Things to do in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is a great place to live for many reasons. Besides the Tex-Mex and live music, Austin also offers many unique and fun events for its residents and visitors to enjoy.

Now that the weather has turned to non-sweltering temperatures in central Texas, you will want to get outdoors and experience all that Austin has to offer!

Below we have listed the Top 5 Austin Experiences in December and January!

1. The Trail of Lights in Zilker Park (2100 Barton Springs Road, 12/10/16-12/23/16)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous Trail of Lights in Zilker Park! There you will find dazzling holiday lights to walk through with your family and friends, along with yummy food vendors selling everything from hot chocolate to tamales! You can spin yourself into a dizzy stupor under the Zilker Christmas Tree located at the entrance and pictured below or just take numerous selfies with all the holiday characters you will find there!

Things to do in Austin, Texas

2. The Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Barton Springs (2201 Barton Springs Road, 1/1/17)

Barton Springs is a perfect 68°-70°F year-round that is refreshing on a hot summer day and cozy on those frigid winter mornings, but that doesn’t make jumping in on New Year’s Day any less impressive! Join other Austinites as they start their 2017 off shivering from the magical waters of Barton Springs. Be ready to warm up with free coffee and donuts right outside the gate after you take your plunge!

3. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (900 Barton Springs Road) and the Blue Genie Art Bazaar (6100 Airport Blvd) (11/25/16-12/24/16)

We admit it, we cheated a little on this one because it’s two events…but you can’t mention one without including the other! It is the ultimate holiday shopping experience that is quintessentially Austin. At the Blue Genie Art Bazaar shoppers can browse thousands of original works ranging from serious art to fun and kitschy items. A great way to buy hassle-free holiday gifts and support local artists. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar also features local award-winning artists along with with live music and two full bars making it the ultimate shopping experience.

4. Free Week (Various locations, 1/1/17-1/8/17)

The first week of January might be the best time for a music fan to visit Austin. Why? Hundreds of Austin bands participate in this annual FREE event that encompasses multiple venues all over Austin. Plan to be out and about to take part in a music tradition that showcases why Austin is just so darn great!

5. Ice Skating on the Plaza at Whole Foods (525 N Lamar Blvd, 11/27/16 – 1/7/17)

Just because you live in central Texas doesn’t mean you don’t need to brush up on those ice skating skills! Spend an afternoon on the ice rink at the Whole Foods flagship store on North Lamar. Then head inside for a cup of cocoa or cider and live, local music on the weekends! You can also plan to eat a delicious lunch or dinner at one of the pop-up restaurants in the store and enjoy a glass of wine or a craft beer at the sit-down tasting bars. The PERFECT date night!

2017 is going to be another GREAT year to live in Austin, Texas…but 2016 isn’t over yet! Get out there and enjoy all this city has to offer!

Posted in Career Advice, Featured Jobs, Hiring Tips, Management Advice |

How To Turn Your Staff Into a Team!

How To Turn Your Staff Into a Team! Now Hiring Management Advice

Identifying and maintaining a company culture is becoming a modern-day necessity for managers to be concerned with. Having an office that feels like a team can mean the difference between employees wanting to show up to work every day or wanting to shut down mentally when they clock in.

Below we explore ways you can ensure your employees feel like they are more a part of a team instead of just another member of the staff.

Collaborate on Core Values and Goals

Does your company have a mission statement? Most do, however a paragraph that was written years ago by someone your employees don’t know isn’t going to rally them around your flag. The best way to establish goals and core values is to collaborate with your team and come up with points you all feel strongly about. A great way to do this is to check in with them late in the fourth quarter by asking them how they feel the year as gone and what goals were being achieved. Ask them if the current set of core values are serving them and the company correctly. Listen to their feedback and adjust accordingly so you can start the new year off fresh with renewed enthusiasm.

Start a Company Charity Initiative

Getting your office involved in a charity can be beneficial beyond the obvious community outreach it offers. Employees want to be involved in a cause that makes them feel like their efforts are going to something bigger than themselves and the company’s bottom line. To turn a charitable effort into a team building exercise, get your employees involved in the project from square one. Have them make suggestions for a favorite charity and research how your office can contribute. Organize a round of presentations and then hold a vote on which charity to get involved in. Lastly, give each department or staff member a specific job so they are required to “team up” to get the good work done.

Compete Against Other Offices

What do teams do best? Compete against other teams of course! If your company has multiple branches you can get some friendly rivalry going on with a competition. Perhaps it’s sales goals or maybe even a trivia bowl! Nothing brings people together like a desire to win.

Concentrating on turning your staff into a team of motivated individuals will ensure success year after year. Happy team-building!!

Posted in Career Blog Categories, Management Advice |