This episode of the Apartment Academy podcast features Brent Williams, the founder of Multifamily Insiders. Multifamily Insiders is a great community. It’s also a source of support for property managers, community managers, service managers, and regional managers dealing with multifamily management challenges.
Multifamily Insiders is a place to share and discuss what people who are working on site are struggling with, what their challenges are, and how they’re overcoming those challenges. It’s an unfiltered environment, because anybody who has worked in property management knows that it’s a fun and exciting industry, but it’s also very challenging. MFI is a place for people to share those experiences.
The Multifamily Executive Career Path
First, Daniel and Brent discuss a recent MFI poll asking senior Multifamily executives where they got their start.
The poll showed a surprisingly consistent career path. Executives started as leasing consultants, then moved to an assistant property manager, then property manager, then regional, and beyond. About 80% of respondents who are now regional managers or above started as leasing consultants.
Multifamily Management Challenges
They also talk about multifamily management challenges. For example, community managers often start out as salespeople. When they get promoted, however, they end up in jobs that require accounting skills. Managers also need to understand real estate law, marketing, investor relations, and more. A really great community manager has to have a tremendous amount of skills.
Another challenge is dealing with the human element in property management. Working in someone’s home and being there during highly charged or emotional situations is part of the job. Also, it’s important to remember that there are “problem residents” and “resident problems” and that they’re not the same.
Brent and Daniel also talk about guest cards and outreach, specifically the difference between a lead nurturing strategy and a basic follow-up.
The multifamily industry is unique in that you know exactly when prospects are going to buy again. It’s usually 12 months or 24 months down the road. Not a lot of companies are using that information in their lead pipeline. It’s an untapped source if they’re familiar with the community.
Responding to Negative Comments
Finally, the discussion turns to online reviews and responding to negative comments. Reputation management is essential in the property management industry. No one wants to lose great prospects because they see a picture painted of your community on a review site or social platform that may not be true.
Brent makes the point that if somebody is emotionally charged enough to leave a negative review, you can turn that person into your biggest ambassador. If you address their situation successfully and come to the rescue you’ll turn that into a positive experience.
In addition, if you log all of those reviews and comments, you can start seeing trends. The community might be falling short in different ways and you can address those multifamily management challenges.
Also, if you reach out and try to address a situation properly, people will typically give you an opportunity to do so. And when that discourse happens online, publicly, it’s heartening for potential prospects to see you address complaints in a genuine and empathetic manner.