Tag Archives: Real Estate

Increase Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control


When I first created my Twitter account, I hated it.  The posts were too frequent, too confusing and there was way too much junk floating around my news feed.  For months, it sat with that infamous egg as a profile picture.  My home page would have jumped for joy at the sound of a cricket.  Just when I thought I’d never log in again, a friend planted a seed that wouldn’t stop growing.  I started out simple at first, but it soon turned into a full blown obsession.  I was determined to lease my first apartment via Twitter!  It was that obsession that now allows me to share how to effectively increase occupancy via Twitter Mind Control.

  1. Did you know that you can search for people hunting for apartments in the city of your choosing?  You can find people who might be looking for apartments but they don’t even know it yet, they’re just putting signals out there to their friends, family and anyone else who may be reading their post at that particular moment in time.  Are they looking for someone to comment and say hey I love where I live, go there?  No.  They’re looking for some kind of engagement (as any person is on any social platform) and most times, if you look at the post, they really don’t get it!  Now this doesn’t mean that you should only search apartment hunting or looking for apartments.
  2. Create a list of keywords to search daily.  The key here is not only to find those actively searching, but also to discover and engage those that are giving off passive buying signals.  Some of my favorite searches are high electric or gas bills, noisy neighbors, long commutes and horrific roommates.   Once you find a relevant post, should you comment on that and try to sell them?  Absolutely…NOT!
  3. Never, ever sell your community on your initial contact!  Instead, scroll through their tweets over the last week and find a relatable post.  This could be something as simple as a movie they just saw, a restaurant they just ate at, or even a sporting event they are tweeting about.  Comment on that.  Be human.  Your community will sell itself.
  4. Don’t get discouraged if people you’re contacting don’t respond.  How often do you entertain a cold call?  That is essentially what you’ve just done.  The difference is, everyone looks at their @mentions, EVERYONE!  The connection you just made has now subliminally put your community at the top of their list.  When they start looking and you pop up on an ILS or Google, they’ll say “hey that looks familiar, I think they tweeted me….about a … movie?  I’m sure it’s still in my twitter mentions somewhere…..”  Now hopefully you’re twitter page doesn’t look like a bunch of cold calls all lined up like ducks in a row.  You need to have other content as well.
  5. Search for your community often.   Tweets can be the best form of testimonial money can buy.  Why?  Because they’re FREE!  There’s this wonderful little button called “RETWEET”.  Learn it, love it and live by it.  When you’re searching your list of keywords every day, throw in your community name.  See who’s talking about you.  Give yourself the opportunity to retweet the positive and reply to the negative.  This will paint a vivid picture for anyone looking at your page.

There was an amazing segment at Brainstorming that focused on transparency.  You may have seen the ChapStick fiasco…yikes.  That is an epic transparency #fail!  How about  live reviews for Dominoes Pizza flying across the jumbo screen in Times Square?  Can you say #winning?!  The growing trend of word of mouth marketing is making and breaking businesses as we speak.  Attention spans are shortening and tolerance for conventional marketing is dwindling.  Today is the day we look for products our friends and family endorse.  We look for the product with the highest rating or the most positive reviews.  A well maintained Twitter page can help.  Start searching today or yesterday’s tweet could become tomorrow’s lost lease.

We’ll be coming out with part 2 soon.  It will focus on the importance of your Twitter design, relevant content and a special feature on the ins and outs of following/followers.  Don’t want to wait?  I don’t blame you.  The Training Factor has an excellent social media course with some great Twitter tips to get you started.

Here is a real Twitter example…

If you get a bad review, you take that in your stride. – Anish Kapoor



In order to sell your community, YOU must be sold!


Earlier this week a new employee, who we’ll call Jack, started in the office. I was under the assumption that Jack was familiar with the sales process as he started at a sister community several months ago so I asked him to follow up on a few guest cards.  The calls were more than horrific.  He began raising objections after I offered some advice on follow up techniques. His objections indicated to me that he definitely needed additional training. I began a conversation to essentially overcome his objections. He cut me off in mid sentence with “why are you trying to sell me?”. Through the shock and awe on my face, I managed to get out “In order to sell your community, YOU must be sold!”

When I was first hired on, I was asked to create a feature benefit analysis. During this process, I sold MYSELF on our community. Kudos to my manager, she knows who she is 🙂  Do you have your employees do a feature benefit analysis on the first day? If not, I suggest you implement this before any of them are allowed back on the phone. Something so simple may be the difference between a dead guest card and a new lease. Now this particular situation was based on follow up, but any person involved in the initial prospect interaction MUST be sold on your community to effectively sell your community.

Have you ever asked a simple question and been told “you will need to speak with so and so about that”? One community I call for a market survey each month has several employees to answer the phone, but they are not allowed to answer questions! They take your name and number EVERY TIME to have someone call you back. At a recent housing fair one even told a prospect to stop by tomorrow because no one in the office could help them that day. WTH?! This seems quite counter productive to me. Everyone in your office should be on the same page. Questions should always have the same answer and anyone who is interacting with the public should be able to help!

The moral of this story is two fold. You must be sold on your employees ability to close the deal and your employees must be sold in order to sell your community. Whether the above references are due to managers not confident in their employees ability to close the deal or simply that these employees are not sold on the community shouldn’t matter. Tomorrow starts a new week and new training opportunities. On the agenda should be a feature benefit analysis, market survey and maybe even some roll playing… Not sure where to start?   The Training Factor has courses you can‘t afford to miss!

~ Angela

“It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”- Patricia Fripp

4 Ways to Add Excitement to Your Marketing!


How do you view marketing?  Do you get excited about your creations?  Do you even attempt to create anything?  It’s the most amazing feeling ever!  Looking back on your work and saying ‘I did that!’  Think it’s too hard?  It’s NOT.

Social media makes it easier and easier every day to express yourself in your marketing.  Even if you don’t have the approval to implement anything immediately, consider just doing it anyway.  I don’t mean hijacking your company website or even their facebook.  Design a ‘test’ page and ‘test’ new ideas!  Apps and rules are ever changing, so staying current is key, but here’s some starting points for you.

Custom HTML:  For anyone who isn’t really computer savvy, this may seem like an impossible task.  It’s really not.  YouTube tutorials for beginners are a huge help.  Once you get the basics down, you can launch just about anything.  With some basic HTML and FREE apps I did this:

Flash banners, buttons and text:  Take it up a notch!  Look for free sites that allow you to create fun flash text, functional buttons and maybe even flaming banners.  Here’s an example I created from a free site (the finished product is interactive and moves) –

IWIPA: THE most AMAZING thing since sliced bread!!  Don’t have a budget for web hosting?  Create a website INSIDE your Facebook page…FREE!  I haven’t tried the paid version, but the FREE version is just peachy.  Check out this or this as examples.  You can block items from people who don’t like your page, make more tabs than you know what to do with and utilize the basic HTML you just learned by watching how to YouTube videos.  You will not be disappointed I PROMISE!

Attention Grabbing Pictures:  How’d they do that?  Well, I’ll give you a hint.  It has a lot to do with Word, Paint and this wonderful little thing called ‘snipping tool’.  Want more info?  Let me know, I’d be happy to help!  Didn’t know Word could do such things?  Check out The Training Factor’s Word course.  It ROCKS!  (Note:  The following picture was created using the newest version of Word.  The above mentioned course is for an earlier version of Word.)

 <~ He’s never seen a palm tree…EVER.

The more excited you are, the more exciting your marketing will be!  GET ENTHUSED!


“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”  – Bo Bennett

Safety…A Dirty Word?


Just a few days ago I was stunned by someone’s perception of our community.

A little background – We are located just steps from a large University.  Students get more privacy and freedom without compromising location, security features or the college experience.  Leasing is per bedroom and you must be a student to live here.  The community features were designed with that in mind.  Anyway, here’s what happened….

Parents and students often express their concerns about the safety of off campus housing.  It would then stand to reason that describing the precautions we have taken would be a good thing…right?  In this case we were wrong!  This particular prospect graciously declined to lease because “I found another option…in a safer area.  After staring blankly in disbelief at the e-mail, I started formulating a response.

“Dear Mr. Doe,

I’m sorry to hear that!  Your feedback is very important to us.  Is there anything in particular that gave you the impression our location is less safe than others?



I figured that repeating our security features would be useless without additional information.  Not expecting a detailed (if any) response, I went about my day.  Unfortunately, this was one of those moments you just can’t shake.  It ate at me.  I wanted to know why!  Just when I thought I would never have an answer I received this –


I really respect the heightened security.  It’s just that the electronic locks and the 2-out-of-3 inaccessible (electronically secured) rooms left me feeling both

A. that the security is necessary (and therefore the risks are present) and

B. Alienated in “my own home” by not being able to access two out of three doors.

It’s a great system, just not for me.  I hope that my feedback is helpful and not offensive, as I did not intend it to be.

Kind regards,

Mr. Doe”

Ok again I’m a little dumbfounded by this response.  I mean come on, does he really expect his roommates to be so trusting that they leave their doors wide open at all times?  Is there really an area where security features are unnecessary?!  I know that nothing I can say will change his mind, but maybe a response will eventually pay off.

“Mr. Doe,

Your feedback is not offensive at all.  I appreciate your honesty and do understand your position.  Many parents and students have raised concerns about safety in off campus housing.  All of the precautions we have taken were simply to satisfy those concerns.  If we can be of any assistance in the future, please let me know.



This was the end of our conversation.  Will he recommend us to another student that may not feel the same way about locking bedrooms and security precautions?  Only time will tell…

The moral of this story is to identify with your prospect!  Discovering needs and wants, focusing on THEM and being careful not to feature dump are some of the most important things to remember when touring a prospect.  If they walk out the door without taking out a checkbook, find out why!!  Feedback truly is important.  Don’t miss out on opportunities to learn from your mistakes.


“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.” ~ Al Franken

Teach ’em To Reach For The Stars!


The worst thing we can do for someone’s development is to discourage them; especially to discourage someone who makes progress, no matter how slow it is. –MMD

The way you look at someone and the tone of voice you use may be discouraging your staff and causing damage beyond repair.

Perceptions lead to, stem from and essentially are opinions and while inevitable, can be damaging on so many levels if made public.  You are who you are, you do what you do, you say what you say and that’s why this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Artists push boundaries, scientists imagine the unimaginable, comedians identify the humor in in everything and why should you be any different?  Why do we obsess over what other people think?  What good would it do if we conformed and masked our true self?

I agree that not all behavior is appropriate for the workplace so please don’t misinterpret the meaning behind this post.  Don’t lose sight of your customer and the level of service necessary to keep them.  On the same token, don’t lose sight of who YOU are and the level of acceptance YOU need to keep growing.

Bob Dylan, Jim Carrey, Lady Gaga, Jeff Dunham, Eminem…I could go on for hours.  Do they offend you?  People’s perceptions dictate popularity.  No wait, they don’t.  Ok well technically they do.  Majority rules right?  I’m sure many of you reading this will answer yes to the question above and many of you may answer no.  Whatever you perceive something to be, someone else will perceive the opposite.  Are you willing to lose a good employee because you perceive them a certain way?

This post was inspired by several people I encountered this weekend.  I’m not going to put anyone out there, so take me for example.  I have no concept of an inside voice, I subconsciously (most times, but occasional have done it on purpose) push boundaries, sometimes I fall off my shoes, and I refuse to be fake.  What you see is what you get.  I take things and run with them.  I’m not doing it to one up you or throw you under the bus.  I don’t do it to make myself look good and I’m definitely not trying to take someone’s job.  I do it because it makes me feel accomplished.  It gives me a sense of pride.  (No not the voice or clumsy tendencies, those just come as a bonus.)  I’m kidding…wait no I’m not.

Sure I’ve come across people who don’t care for me and that’s to be expected, but please don’t look at me with disgust, talk behind my back, or treat me like I’m less of a person than you.  If something I’ve done truly is offensive to you, tell me.  If I’ve done something wrong, teach me.  Please, please, PLEASE, don’t discourage me!

Employees – Find your niche!  Grow from your experiences.  Learn to ignore the ignorant.  Be yourself!  I promise not everyone will judge you.

Employers, managers, trainers – Stop judging the book by its cover!  Explain your position. Teach them the right way.  Encourage creativity.  I promise your staff and their performance will thank you.

Ask yourself – Are your perceptions, discouraging your staff?

3 Reasons To Master All of Your Claims to Fame and Stop Jacking Around


I find it difficult to watch people fail at something they are supposed to be an ‘expert’ in.  If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.  You CAN do ANYTHING.  Shoot for perfection EVERY time!

Do you claim to be proficient in something, but you really just know enough to fake it?

Stop doing that!

Look at your resume.  Are you pretending to be someone you’re not?  How many things do you claim to be proficient in, but just know the basics?  I’d be willing to bet at least one.

So why shouldn’t you exaggerate even a little?  I’ll give you 3 reasons.

Prove it:  The phone interview went great, you met with the corporate office and finally you have to take a skills test based on the claims to fame you included on your resume.  What do you think the test scores are going to reveal?  Do you see the offer letter slipping away?  Be true to yourself and the company you are trying to become a part of.

I need this at 9am:  So you faked it well enough to pass the skills test and fool your new boss.  Now comes the real test.  A huge project is due at 9am.  Your boss comes to you at end of business and says ‘I heard you know ______ really well.  I need you to finish this project so I can present it in the morning.  Thanks Jones, you’re a real life saver!’  Fortunately, you’ve got all night to figure out what you’re doing.  Google and YouTube how to videos here you come!  Oops you didn’t hear the alarm?  You probably shouldn’t have stayed up so late trying to learn that program you know so well.  Good thing you have e-mail!

Can you help me?:    Ok so you’ve managed to fake it well enough to pass the skill test and were smart enough to e-mail the project on time.  You’ve learned a lot pulling that all-nighter, but are you prepared to show someone else how to do it?  This just isn’t your week is it?  Lucky for you, the meeting was postponed, but now your boss wants you to present it!  Can you take the heat?

Maybe you can, but are you willing to risk it all and potentially look like a fool?  People talk you know.  Imagine the Facebook and Twitter posts during and after your public epic fail.  Are you revamping your resume yet?

Wait, don’t do that…

Instead of revising or removing some of your skills, take some time and actually master them.  You CAN do it!  Find training online, pick up a ____ for dummies book.  Test yourself!  Make sure anything you say you can do, you can teach someone else to do.


Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” – Oscar Wilde

The Reason Why Your ?’s Aren’t Getting Answers


I don’t like to talk at people, I like to talk to them…In my head you’re answering the questions as you’re reading.  How do you engage your audience?  Do you ramble on about your fitness centers and spacious floor plans?  Descriptive wording can capture the reader, but to keep them reading you have to make them think!  Creating Home, I dedicate this to you and your inspiring posts 🙂

They say you should end all e-mails with a question because it will entice a response.  That’s absolutely true, but are you really taking advantage of the ? and it’s uncanny ability to engage your reader?

Consider this – A prospect sends an e-mail with a blank comment box obviously using the contact button on your website or an ILS system.  Since they were just on the website, they know many of the amenities and features your community offers.  They receive the following response:

Dear Sam,

Thank you for contacting ABC community!  Our apartments are filling fast!  Your rent includes:

  •  All inclusive utilities
  •  Wired/Wi-Fi internet
  •  Cable with HBO
  •  Leather living room furniture
  •  Coffee table, end table and blah blah blah
  •  blah
  •  blah


  •  blah
  •  blah
  •  blah
  •  blah

Would you like to come in for a tour?

I already know all of this!  The ? wasn’t effective because I lost interest at bullet point #5, stopped reading and more than likely deleted your message.  Don’t feature dump.  Let your website do the selling so you can focus on the closing!  Take a different approach.

Thank you for your interest in the ABC community Sam.  We would love to have you here!  Is there anything that you are unhappy with at your current place?  We’ve done some things differently than other communities in the area and I would love to show you around.  Are you available for a tour today?

Hi Sam!  I see that you just visited our website.  Were you able to check out the virtual tour?  Some of our residents helped us make it!  Would you like to stop in and see what else we have to offer?  I’d love to show you around!

Imagine your e-mail is an actual conversation.  Talk to your reader not at them… If you wouldn’t say it face to face, don’t send it!


Boredom, after all, is a form of criticism. – Wendell Phillips

Four Ways to Triumph Without Berating your Competition


Competition is everywhere.  Your co-workers compete for promotions or the next atta-boy.  Companies compete for the newest and best product.  Apartment communities compete with other communities, condos and homes.  That’s all fine and good, but shouldn’t it be friendly competition instead of cut throat?  Granted, we all want to end up on top, but what does it say about you if you lie, steal and cheat to get there?

When a prospect asks you about the neighboring communities, what do you say?  “We’re better than them?”  “What other communities?”  “You’ll have to find out on your own”?  WRONG!  Creating value for your community doesn’t have to end with amenities or price.  Information can add an immense amount of value to a prospect.

Now don’t go giving a list of the neighboring communities and their phone numbers, do your due diligence and provide information about what you’ve done differently.  Names need not be mentioned.  If your prospect is truly interested in finding out more information, they will find it.  When they do, make sure what you’ve described is correct!  Here are four ways to manage the competition mayhem.

Market Surveys: Do you do them?  Are you asking the right questions?  It’s not just about occupancy, price and unit size anymore.  With an increasingly demanding society, you need to know everything about everyone.  Compile a list of amenities and find out who offers what.  (Again, names need not be mentioned.  Use ‘another local community’ instead.)  Include unusual ones like dry cleaning pick up, bark parks and pet restrictions if any.  Is parking a problem in your city?  Ask what kind of parking your competitors offer.  It’s important to know if it’s covered, how many lots and spots are available, if visitors can park on site and how much if any they charge for a space.  Update your information often!

Feature Benefit Analysis: You may not be the leader in amenities and your price may be, in your opinion, bordering on ridiculous, but you have to sell it!  What can you use as value?  Construction type is a huge selling point.  “Block is better because your neighbor noise is minimal.”  Of course you could spin that the other way.  “New is better and we’ve done ____ to help minimize noise.”  “We have an amazing fitness center that’s open 24 hours a day.”  “We offer a discount to the local recreation center.  They even have a lazy river!”  A good way to start is with your friends and family.  Have them sell you an apartment at your community.  Their unbiased opinions may come up with some pretty amazing features, benefits or both.

Online Rating Sites: Who’s at the top?  What is being said about your community?  Sometimes you will find that your community isn’t even listed or worse, all the way at the bottom.  Most sites allow you to respond to reviews and not taking advantage of this is doing your community a great injustice.  Suppose the reviews are old or clearly not about your community.  You could be missing out on leads because someone from Kent, Ohio complained about something that happened at your community in Kent, Washington.  Keep on top of this!  Subscribe so you are alerted when a new review or comment is posted.  Time is of the essence and every second you wait to respond, you could be losing another lease.

Most importantly…ask questions: What does your prospect want?  What do they need?  What can they do without?  The answers to these questions will allow you to use your market survey, feature benefit analysis and knowledge of your online ratings to create value and get the sale.  No lying, cheating or stealing necessary!

Even if your prospect doesn’t lease, you gave it one hell of a try!  Learn from your mistakes, ask why they didn’t lease and tweak your presentation accordingly.


A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. – David Brinkley

Can you hear me now? Will you hear me later?


So often, we take for granted the very people who pay our paycheck.  Truth is, it’s not the owner of the company or the head of your payroll department you should be brown-nosing, it’s your customer.  Without them you would have no paycheck.  It is important to take time for yourself so I’m not saying you should become a workaholic robot, but you should consider taking your level of customer service up a notch.

Jen Piccotti’s recent blog got me thinking.  As a paying resident, what do I expect?

Some people believe that having emergency maintenance is enough.  I don’t think that’s the case.  Instant gratification is no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation.  When I have a question, I want an answer!

On site professionals know that being available isn’t always the bees knees.  Residents know where you live and some don’t hesitate to impose.  What if they could just send you an e-mail knowing you’ll respond?  They would probably rather do that anyway, but they have been trained to believe that office hours and email responses end simultaneously so they seek out other methods for a faster response.

If your community has a Facebook page, you may have noticed this already.  Residents don’t get an instant response from sending you an e-mail so they make their complaint public.  The Apartment Expert – Lisa Trosien posed the question “Do you think people use Facebook while browsing and shopping for an apartment?”  –  Probably not intentionally, but word of mouth marketing is huge. People retain what their friends say about everything including their living situation. Comments by friends can cause them to migrate towards or pass over your community due to something they heard months before. It’s important to make sure your current residents are praising you not bashing you.

Making yourself available doesn’t mean that you will be inundated with silly requests or questions all the time, but it will instill a sense of confidence in your residents that I can almost guarantee, your competition does not offer.

~ Angela

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages. -Henry Ford

Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement. – James Cash Penney

Is Your Face Costing You Leases?


I often listen to a local radio show on the way to work.  Today, the host was talking about his recent trip to Europe and something called “face control”.  This sparked one of those dangerous brainstorming sessions…you know the ones you come out of wondering how you got from point A to point B without crashing.  Then, because that wasn’t bad enough, I called a good friend of mine for some input.  She had never heard the term either so I looked it up.  To my surprise, it wasn’t at all related to any of my brainstorm tangents.

From “feis kontrol”, a Russian klub colloquialism of the English words “face control.” Your “face” is your level of wealth, beauty, power, social standing, and overall desirability. – Urban Dictionary

Deep right?  Here’s how I see it…

How does this apply to the multifamily industry, specifically your leasing office?  You might…no should be…familiar with the importance of body language and it’s effect on prospect buying tendencies.  So what about your face?  Could your facial expressions be losing you leases?  Are your facial expressions a violation of fair housing?  Very possibly yes.

We have gut reactions to many things and people are no exception.  The way someone smells, the clothes they wear, piercings or tattoos they have, something they say or just their overall appearance can cause gut reactions – very visible ones at that.  This is not to say that you should become desensitized to appearance, but just gain control of your reactions.

Have you ever walked into a vacant with a prospect, had it smell not so fresh, found dead bugs or cobwebs in the corners and tried to redirect their attention somewhere else?  Your face control or lack thereof could  have been the reason they leased with you or went with the property down the street.

Visual ques aren’t the only things to spark a facial reaction however.  I mentioned smells before, but how about words.  Test your reactions with these descriptions:

-A man, clean-shaven with piercing blue eyes and golden blonde hair wearing a freshly pressed black suit and shoes you can see your face in walked into our office today for a tour.

-The apartment I showed him had fresh carpet lines, smelled like that Febreeze I love and the floors were literally squeaky clean.

-A man with a ten o’clock shadow, horn rimmed glasses and a lip ring wearing a sweat suit and dirty tennis shoes walked into our office for a tour.

-The apartment I showed him had a musty smell, cobwebs everywhere and someone tracked mud all over the carpet.

Just imagine if a co-worker was describing something and then a prospect walks through the door.  You may have to change your facial expression pretty quickly.  This can be a great team building excercise!  When the office is closed of course…

If you would rather discover your level of face control in private, do a Google image search for some of the things mentioned above, turn on your webcam and click away.  You’re going to see a myriad of different photos that may cause gut reactions.  I urge you to watch and record yourself.  You may be surprised at the face(s) you make.

Still wondering about the term face control?  Well here’s all I could find on the origin:

Feis kontrol is the power of the velvet rope, originally referring to the surly bouncers at the most exclusive Moscow klubs. It can literally refer to club door personnel, or it can be used figuratively to refer to some ideal social arbiter.  A sophisticated addition to bouncing at night clubs. Usually performed by a designated host(s). Face control persons are there to decide which individuals in the line are privileged to get in without having to wait in line and sometimes avoiding cover charges/lists/frisking. If you get picked out from the line at the club it means that you’re privileged! – Urban Dictionary

Oh and if you’re not familiar with how important body language is, stop by The Training Factor.  They have a course for that!

Thank you to Melanie B. for your help on this!  I love our morning phone calls 🙂


“Expressions of disapproval are on a level of vulgarity that cannot be tolerated. The way to express disapproval is to do without applause.” – Rudolf Bing