Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Are You Ready for 2020?!

 3 Habits of Highly Memorable Leasing Professional

When your customer walks out of your leasing office, they will often remember the smallest of details. Was the leasing consultant nice to me? Was the bathroom clean? Did I see any trash outside? Was the staff as pleasant to the current resident as they were to me? These are just a few tiny factors that can cause a person to feel good or bad about their customer experience and can help you shape your apartment leasing training. According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Regardless of how small, all experiences are significant and evoke emotions and responses in your customers. Customers don’t necessarily buy a memorable product. They buy from a highly memorable leasing professional. While there are many unique habits of a highly memorable leasing professional, here are three you can consider honing through an apartment leasing training program.  

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Friday, August 9, 2019

ForYour Apartment Community

OK, so I’ll bet there is a business that you not only go out of your way for but will recommend that business to your friends and family.  Think about it!  The same applies to the apartment industry.  We should create residents who will become advocates for your apartment community!
Here are some tips to help you get started:
  • Management team share the same common purpose & understand they are a service provider
  • How things are done, community appearance and how the team works together are the key  fundamentals
  • Maintain an attitude of admiration toward your residents & prospects
  • Detailed new-hire and on-going training for team members
  • Stand-up when a prospect enters your office and gives a warm sincere greeting
  • Listen!  Give your undivided attention, make eye contact
  • You are providing someone their home.  Remember this is personal and emotional!
  • Practice common courtesy, don’t keep people waiting, be honest and transparent
  • Show eagerness to help and assist
  • Promptly return calls and emails
  • Explain the processes
  • Seek out ways to help or assist residents
  • Be available
  • Communication, communication, communication
  • Do not avoid confrontation, head towards it
  • The Move-in day is the most critical for lengthy residency.  Make it perfect!
  • Support a charity
  • Keep the team motivated with themes, training, incentives and contests
  • Daily meetings- discuss tasks to complete, tasks completed and any problems or concerns
  • Cross-train team members
  • Treat people R.I.T.E.

·         RESPECT – Treat your residents, prospects and team members with respect and dignity. 
·         INTEREST – Listen and empathize.   Be interested in who they are, and what they say.
·         THOUGHTFUL – Be courteous and kind.  Very courteous and kind.
·         ENTHUSIASM – Be eager for opportunities to help and assist.
Simply, treat people R.I.T.E.!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Ok, so an apartment rental prospect visits your community for consideration of their new home.  A lot may happen before anyone says a word.  They may drive through the apartment community, get out of the car, peek into the common hallways and if there is access, look at the laundry area.  Often a rental prospect will decide if they will lease or not lease within seconds of their arrival.  This is before they enter the leasing office and before anyone says a word.  .  .   
Take a close look at what they will see.  Ask someone to go with you who do not work in the multifamily business.  They will look with fresh eyes.   Ask them to point out any imperfections.  Pay particular attention to:
Building and Curb Appeal  
·         Trash and weeds 
·         Colorful with flowers (seasonal)
·         Inoperative  cars
·         Items and other trash around the dumpster area 
·         Signage, straight and in need of paint
·         Hallways & laundry areas
Leasing office
·         Look inviting with color and fresh scent
·         Spick and span clean. 
·         The front desk should be clean and orderly
o   An unorganized desk gives a poor perception
Management Team
·         Eagerness to please
·         Lots of Smiles
·         Positive attitudes
·         Professional appearance
What happens when the rental prospect enters the leasing office is vital.  Treating people R.I.T.E. (Respect, Interest, Thoughtful, Enthusiasm) is about the experience your prospects receive. 
Before anyone says a word they will feel by the warm enthusiastic smile, “This is going to be good.”

The greeting begins with a word.  .  .
Linda Hansen

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


OK, so creating a great customer experience is vital to any business.  Managing and operating a profitable apartment community is no different.  In property management, the customer is the resident, and it is the residents who make the community profitable.  Whilst I understand the importance of reports, files and facilities, they are not a priority, and sometimes we may forget that.  I understand their importance in multifamily management, but the most important priority is The People!  Your residents, prospects, supply/service providers and the management team.  Management teams need a structured plan to help keep them on track to provide exceptional customer experience.

Qualified applicants can choose where they would like to rent.  If carpet is carpet and a pool is a pool, then it is the personal experience that keeps occupancy rates up and turnover down.

Treat people R.I.T.E.!





Make it simple to remind each other to “Treat’em RITE!”  

Respect people by giving them 100% of your attention.  Do not keep them waiting, smile and treat them as if they were a VIP.

Showing Interest in people will demonstrate that you care who they are.  Ask questions and listen carefully.

Show Thoughtfulness.  Let them know that you care about their situations and be proactive by anticipating their needs and wants.

Enthusiasm is necessary to bring the Treat’em R.I.T.E. program to fruition.  Show how enthused you are to provide your resident and prospects with great customer service!

Don’t you think we should Treat people R.I.T.E.??

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Planting Seeds of Resident Perception

The seeds planted on that day will have an impact on how they perceive you as an apartment manager. 
     Ok, so Reese and Tina have shown up for their move-in.  Their move-in day was the Friday after the 1st and you did not have an opportunity to check the unit prior to their move-in.  The make-ready board says it is ready so you’ll go with it.
     While going through the lease, rules and regulations and addendums you notice a page missing (seed 1), plus there is a blank page where a printed page should be (seed 2). You apologize and quickly return with the corrected documents.  Reese and Tina, although a bit stressed about this move, are excited and not concern about a couple of documents. 
     You begin the walk-through and show them where trash pick-up is and their mailbox. The keys to the mailbox do not work.  Reese & Tina tell you they don’t expect their mail to be Transferred yet so it is not a big deal (seed 3).
     As you enter their new apartment to note the move-in condition, you are embarrassed to see:
  • A dead bug on the kitchen floor (seed 4)
  • A drip pan is missing (seed 5)
  • A poor repair job on the living room wall (seed 6)
  • Two cover plates missing (seed 7)
  •  Light bulb out in bathroom vanity (seed 8)
  •  The cold air return vent is dirty (seed 9)
  •  Second bedroom is missing the mini blinds (seed 10)
  •  Dirt and debris on the patio or balcony (seed 11)

     For each of these items you apologize and Reese and Tina are forgiving and understanding.  When the move-in process is done, you part with smiles and a handshake.
     Let me tell you what really has happened. Each time Reese & Tina experienced a single “non-perfect” item happened a “seed” was planted. They do not realize seeds were planted, but the seeds are there.   
     Three weeks after move-in they experience a problem with their dishwasher.  Tina grabs her phone to call the office to report the dishwasher problem, and as she waits for an answer on the other end  .   .   .  the seeds grow!  Grow and blossom into her level of confidence in the management , on if they can fix the dishwasher correctly and timely.
If you have residents with low patience/tolerance, they may have had “seeds” planted at move-in.  If you couple that with a service request they needed a few weeks after move-in, and it was not completed to their satisfaction, then you may have created a monster!

The Treat’em R.I.T.E. program is a customer service program for apartment management.  Treating your residents and prospects R.I.T.E. will have a positive effect on your day to day community operations.

R.I.T.E. stands for Respect, Interest, Thoughtful and enthusiasm

Linda Hansen, ARM, HCCP, NALP, L.E.A.D., NAAEI Faculty

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today is National Have Fun At Work Day

January 28th, 2016 is National Have Fun at Work Day!  So let’s have some fun!

Get your team together for an impromptu meeting and ask for suggestions on ways to have fun today. 
If no time for that, and no time to even think about it??  Here is a suggestion, how about finding your 2 x 4 mailing stickers and use them as name tags.  Or, maybe you have name tags in your office.
Have each team member come up with a different name and title.  Like, “Grover” Lover of Dogs, or Blossom, Flower Child.  Be creative and let me know what you come up with.
When residents and prospect come in they will enjoy your name and this will be a great communication starter. 

Have fun today!

Linda Hansen

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stop, Stand, Smile and Greet

 Ok, so we were taking over the management of an apartment community in a couple of weeks.  The current apartment owner and property management company were gracious enough to let us go onto the community early. I was assigned to go take a look.  
As I drove onto the community grounds I was pleased with the appearance.  There was a little trash blowing in the breeze, but the shrubs were trimmed and the flower beds were weed-free.  I didn't notice any junk cars and the dumpster areas were clean.  I remember thinking, “Not bad, not bad”.  I parked and walked inside.  It was a little after 9:00 AM so I assumed everyone had a chance to get their bearings and start their day.
            The clubhouse/ office area was beautifully decorated.  There was soft music playing and it smelled of sugar cookies.  I could see two nicely dressed ladies visiting just inside an office door to my right. As I walked closer I could hear they were having a personal conversation.   As I approached the leasing area the two ladies stopped talking for a moment and they both turned my direction and looked at me and then, in unison, turned back to finish their conversation with saying a single word to me!  WOW!  Are you kidding me right now?!  They have no idea who I am!  I could be a prospect!  Or I could be the person who may have some control over their future employment!  Whatever the situation, that action was unacceptable.

When someone walks into the apartment leasing office you stop, stand, smile and greet!
They were at least already standing.

 Let’s think for a moment if I was a rental prospect looking for their new apartment home.  Odds are they would not have the same perception that I had.   The general public or in our case rental prospects and residents do not expect anything more than mediocre service.  
That is what they expect. 
That has become the norm.
That is very sad. 

 What if this was a Treat’em R.I.T.E community?  The situation would be different.  As I walked into the community club/office area the two ladies would hear the door and agree to stop their conversation.  One would return to her desk and the other would walk in my direction with renewed energy and a cheerful smiling face and greet me with, “Hi, how are you this sunny morning?”  

Treat Rental Applicants R.I.T.E.

How many prospective apartment rental applications have you processed?  Ok, so you may have no idea, but it may be a truckload and more.  You could run a rental application in your sleep or with one hand tied behind your back.

Please consider how many applications your rental prospect has filled out?  Rather it has been one time, twice or more, it is an uncomfortable situation. Explain the application process to them in detail.   For instance explain you will use a 3rd Party online company to process their credit report, criminal history, and previous landlord history.  Walk-through the application with them and confirm all areas have been filled out.   Review the Resident Selection Criteria with them and note the parts that show why applicants may be denied (this step helps with their acceptance of the denial and the reasoning behind it).
Treat’em R.I.T.E. communities have Respect for the applicant and carefully explain the process and how long it should take.  Treat’em R.I.T.E. communities have Interest in their applicant's questions and are Thoughtful to any issues that may arise with the application. Plus, they will show how Enthused they are to assist them in becoming a new resident of the community! 

Do you Treat'em R.I.T.E. ?      
Linda Hansen, ARM, HCCP, NALP

Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Missing the Boat" For the Affordable Audience

Ok, so I have been leasing apartments for over 30 years (yea, I started at 12 years old).  During this time I have seen a shift in the way we market our apartments.  The number one source for receiving traffic/leads is from an Internet Leasing Site or Service (ILS).  The apartment shopper will generally search for their new apartment home via the Internet.  No matter what the prospect puts into the search field, the search results will produce multiple ILS selections.

Don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of ILS’s, but as a Marketing Director for a portfolio of affordable communities, I feel the ILS's are "missing the boat" for the affordable audience
The affordable community office is typically busier than a conventional office, and this is primarily due to the additional paperwork necessary to stay in compliance with their state.  I train my leasing teams to know the value of great customer service with prospective and current residents rather it is in person or on the phone and doing some "extras" in an effort to keep the residents happy and thus reduce turnover.  SO when they get numerous calls, internet leads, and visits from prospective traffic who have seen our listing on one of the ILS sites and they do not meet the income guidelines, they begin to get discouraged and the quality of service declines.

I feel the big ILS’s target the conventional apartment audience.  I have suggested to my representatives from the ILS's I am or have used to design the affordable and senior listings so they look different.  For example, Apartments.com, ForRent.com, ApartmentGuide.com, ApartmentFinder.com, and even Zillow.com could design something that will set aside the affordable and the senior restricted communities, for instance, a watermark.  Plus, because there is a large number of the audience who is not aware of the affordable programs, I'd like the watermark to have a link to a page that will explain the affordable program offered by the community.  IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK?????

Some of our affordable communities have dropped out of the internet listing sites just because of the number of unqualified leads.  They do produce a lot of leads! But, in reality, most of those leads are unqualified.

The LIHTC database, created by HUD and available to the public since 1997, contains information on 39,094 projects and almost 2,458,000 housing units placed in service between 1987 and 2012*.

THAT’S OVER 2 MILLION UNITS!  Will that make the ILS’s revisit their page formats and create a format for the affordable and senior communities.  Who will be first??!!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Copy..of a copy…of a copy.

Ok, so let’s discuss the logic of the phenomenon of this issue that seems to plague leasing offices across the country, one of our top 3 biggest pet peeves; The infamous copy of a copy “original”.

It’s hard for me to understand the logic behind this pattern; oh that’s right because there is none! There is no economic label attached to this standard of operation as I have witnessed Class A – D properties do it. There is nothing and I mean nothing that makes ANY property look worse. There is no business reason that justifies who knows how many times it’s been copied “original”. What is a solid, good reason to justify saying “Please accept this slightly distorted and possibly slanted piece of paper that is either, A) Property Marketing material:   This level of laziness is what you can expect from us if you move here or,  B) Yes, this is a legal binding piece of paper we expect YOU to take seriously;  however, we obviously do not.”

There is NO reason for it. It’s one of the simplest acts we do all day long. If you no longer have the actual original copy, then take 20 minutes to re-create it. Nothing says more about a community than neat, clean and straight documents. I promise it would be the most productive and beneficial 20 minutes you could spend.

                 Tina Clauder and Linda Hansen

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Common Courtesy

Ok, so there is a great deal to be said about plain ol’ common courtesy; but I will save some time and not go into a great deal here and now.  However, I tell you, "Don't forget the manners your Momma taught you".  In case you want a refresher, here are a few:
  • Treat people with respect.
  • Say, “Please” and “Thank You”.
  • Give a warm smile.
  • Say, “I’m sorry” if you bump someone or similar activity.
  • Create a favorable impression, the first time and every time.
  • Do not interrupt when someone is talking.
  • Pay attention, Listen, use active listening.
  • Show interest by asking questions.
  • Do not text or talk on your phone when you are in the presence of someone.
  • Help someone who you see needs help, even if it is to hold the door for them.
  • Say, “Excuse me” and do not push to move around/pass someone.
  • Wave and say thank you to the driver who stops so you can cross the street.
  • Consider people’s feelings.
  • Respond to RSVPs.
  • Take advantage of an opportunity to give a compliment.
  • Keep commitments.  If you say you will do something or go somewhere, carry it through.
  • Wait your turn.
  • If it is empty, don’t put it back in place, throw it away (or recycle).
  • Do not take something that is not yours, ask permission to borrow it.
  • If you make a mess, clean it up.
  • Do not be late, or too early.

When dealing with a teammate or a resident, show your good manners and common courtesies. These actions will shout volumes about your character.
Here are some common courtesies your Momma may have taught you about the workplace.
  • Do not put callers on speakerphone and if you must, ask for their permission.
  • Your customers (our residents) should receive your smile.  They are the reason you receive a paycheck.
  • Return phone calls and emails
  • Under promise & over deliver.
  • Use their name in the conversation.

Remember common courtesy!  Treat people R.I.T.E. (Respect, Interest, Thoughtful, and Enthusiasm)

Linda Hansen, ARM, HCCP, NALP

Are You Ready for 2020?!

 3 Habits of Highly Memorable Leasing Professional When your customer walks out of your leasing office, they will often remember the small...