Month: November 2017

7 Key Tips to Add Value to Your Virtual Tour Presentations

You have probably had the opportunity to perform quite a few virtual tours by this point, but there may still be places you can polish to really step up your game and outshine the competition. Before we discuss the 7 key tips to add value to your virtual tour presentation, let’s look at some of the common traps that can really deflate a successful tour.

  • Rushing Through the Presentation – You still need to make time for your prospect and make a connection, especially with virtual tours!
  • Skipping Critical Parts of the Process – All of the same steps you take during an in-person tour still apply with virtual tours; they’re just applied differently. One important step that many leasing professionals miss is asking for the lease. Passively telling the prospect they can apply online is not the same as directly asking for the sale.
  • Being Generic or Boring in the Presentation – Even though you may be on your last presentation of the day, remember it is the first virtual tour for your prospect. Work to keep your presentation fresh and customized to the person you’re talking to right now.
  • Running Down a Checklist – Avoid going down the list like a robot. When you do this, you allow yourself to become nothing more than an “order taker” and this minimizes engagement and depersonalizes the encounter. Today’s customers expect more.

Once you’re aware of and avoiding those stumbling blocks to success, you can focus on these seven key tips to add value to your virtual tour presentations.

  1. Style Points Matter – You can perform all the technical pieces of a thorough tour, but the style you use matters, especially for virtual leasing tours. These presentations require added emphasis to flavor the experience and make it “more”. Remember you are the one in charge of the presentation and you are in control of what the prospect can and cannot see.
  2. Treat it Like a First Date – Treat each prospect interaction the way you would treat an eagerly anticipated first date. In that scenario, you put your best foot forward! You dress your best and display your best behavior and personality. You are doing everything you can to make a great first impression. Apply that same mindset to your virtual leasing tour interactions.
  3. Bump Up the Energy – You will need to use a lot more energy on a call or video tour than you would in person. In fact, if it feels like too much in person, it will be just about right through the virtual experience. Beware, this does not mean to talk FASTER, just more expressively. This idea of elevated energy also includes conveying a friendly welcome through your facial expressions and body language. It may feel silly in person, but it’s crucial for video interactions! Be sure to smile a lot, even when you’re speaking, and try to sound excited with your tone of voice.
  4. Use Landscape Mode (Except on Instagram) – Landscape mode this gives the prospect a wider view so they can see more of what the apartment and community have to offer. The exception to this rule is Instagram, which uses a square frame.
  5. Check in Often – Keep the prospect engaged by verbally checking in frequently. Ask if there is anything more they want to see, or ask how the apartment looks or what they think. This will allow you to make sure you’ve shown them everything they need to see to make a leasing decision.
  6. Manage the Transitions – The tour is a story and you are the narrator, so don’t forget to narrate the experience. Let the prospect know where you’re heading and what you’re doing. You should still use the same descriptive words you’d use in person as you show the amenities and apartment. You can use the FORM formula (family, occupation, recreation, message) to help minimize dead air when you’re having trouble making conversation. These topics can give you insights into what is important to the prospect.
  7. Keep the Conversation Going – Right now, most of your interactions are taking place on the phone or virtually. This means you’ll need to plan to spend more time on those conversations than you did before in order to add the same value you would get from an in-person interaction.

Don’t worry. Virtual leasing does not mean you’ll need to become someone new! Instead, you only need to learn how to be a magnified version of yourself. Avoid common traps and focus on these 7 key tips to add value to your virtual presentations and you’ll meet with great success.

Click here to access additional COVID-19 Multifamily Training Resources

Read more like this from Edge2Learn

Contributed by:

Rommel Anacan
President
The Relationship Difference

Rommel is an award-winning motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and strategist. He powerfully impacts people, companies and organizations by providing the clarity, motivation and education they need to break through their limits and achieve the success they desire.


Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With over 30 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and also reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.

6 Ways to Manage Stress Effectively During COVID-19

These are stressful times; everyone has had to adjust, and we all have new things weighing on our minds each day. Many of us have had to step in as teachers for our children on top of managing our work responsibilities. That being said, stress is nothing new! Here are some common signs to help identify stress:

  • Increased headaches
  • Stomach or digestion problems
  • Having trouble with focus, memory or staying on track
  • Faster heart rate
  • More irritability
  • Tight jaw
  • Interrupted sleep pattern

There are several areas in your life where you can invest time and attention to be the most successful in effectively managing stress and maintaining productivity. Try these 6 ways to manage stress effectively during COVID-19 and everyday.

1. Sleeping

High stress can make sleeping more difficult, but a good night’s rest can allow us to approach our day with less stress and more productivity. Most adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep per night! Five habits you can employ for the best sleep are:

  • Routine: Try to follow sleep routines to get the most out of your night. It’s easy to fall into bad habits as you deal with this crisis, but try to avoid late nights binge-watching TV, no matter how tempting it is! This will only create a cycle of being sleep-deprived during the week and then crashing on the weekend, trying to catch up.
  • Wind Down Time: In addition to getting sufficient sleep, try to make some time to calm down before bed. Sometimes a warm bath or shower can help, along with aromatherapy or other calming techniques. Take a few minutes of quiet to gather yourself and release the stresses of the day.
  • Turn Off the Worry Light: Try to sort out your worries and concerns during the day BEFORE you start getting ready for bed. Acknowledge your worries and give yourself some time to sort through them but try not to take them to bed with you. If you find they are still swirling around in your mind as you get into bed, consider writing them down on a notepad at the bedside to “set them down”.
  • Declutter: At the end of the workday, take a few minutes to clean up and declutter your workspace. Clutter is definitely a contributor to stress.
  • Attitude of Gratitude:  Making note of the things you are grateful for WILL help ease stress.

2. Eating

There are actually certain foods that can help you manage stress effectively. Some stress-relieving foods you may want to work into your diet include:

  • Carbs:  Carbohydrates help release serotonin, so consider adding complex carbohydrates.
  • Oranges: Packed with vitamin C, oranges can work to reduce stress as well as boost the immune system.
  • Leafy Greens:  In addition to nutrients and antioxidants to make you feel healthier, leafy greens are also rich in folate to help boost serotonin production.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These can help prevent surges in stress hormones, boost concentration and improve mood.
  • Black Tea: Black tea might help you recover from a stressful event more quickly. A study found black tea helped lower levels of cortisol, a known stress hormone.
  • Pistachios: Pistachios have been found to help lower cholesterol and can also help lessen the effects of stress.
  • Raw Veggies: Eating raw vegetables can help ease stress simply by forcing you to relax a clenched jaw.

3. Exercising

Exercise can go a long way to help you manage stress effectively. Even though it will feel hard at first, the more you do it, the easier it will become! In fact, you may even find yourself depending on that physical exertion to help you stay calm and focused. Try to make time to get up and move during your workday. Some helpful tips for exercising while during shelter-in-place include:

  • Music: Try listening to your favorite music and have a dance party with the kids.
  • Strength Training: Try simple strength training exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups or lunges.
  • Resistance Band: You could consider starting a competition with the family for fun!
  • Virtual Training: Find workout videos online that you can do at home. You can find just the right one for what you like and what you need.
  • Chores: Heavier household chores are another great way to burn calories and get moving! Try to spend at least 10 minutes at a time working on chores. Some examples include gardening, mowing, window washing, etc.
  • Yoga: Yoga is another wonderful option as it can be done just about anywhere and does not require any special equipment – all you need is a mat and some comfortable clothes! Yoga helps teach meditation and a focus on breathing!

4. Breathing

Speaking of breathing, many times breathing can be the key to calming yourself after a stressful event. There are many different breathing techniques you can find with Google. One great one is the Flower and Candle technique. To practice this technique, breathe in through your nose like you’re smelling a flower and then exhale through your mouth like you’re blowing out a birthday candle. It’s easy and can be repeated until you feel calm.

5. Focusing

Remember that your focus should remain on the areas in your life where you have control. Some areas you can control are:

  • Exposure: Consider limiting your exposure to COVID-19 news to only what you need.
  • Routine: Try establishing a routine for your day, including getting dressed for your workday even though you are at home! You will have a more productive day if you have a routine. You will know what to expect and will feel more grounded.
  • Separation: Think about making a separation from your home life and your designated workspace. Don’t eat meals at your computer and allow yourself to STEP AWAY at the end of the day.
  • Connection: You can stay connected with others, even amid social distancing. Remember to call a friend, start a video call with your family, etc. Don’t forget to help your kids stay connected with friends and family as well.

6. Creating New Routines

How can we adjust to our new normal? Think about new ways to stay connected with your team and try to build in fun! Consider an incentive or a fun weekly theme to keep your work team engaged and happy. It’s also important to keep your team up to date by sending information regularly. If you can do so on a set schedule, it will help everyone feel like they have routine and order in their work lives. Remember, this crisis is far from over, so it’s crucial for us to learn how to adapt and manage stress effectively as we navigate this new world.

Click here to access additional COVID-19 Multifamily Training Resources

Read more like this from Edge2Learn

Contributed by:

Julie Doss
Director of Training and Customer Experience
Gene B Glick

Julie Doss is the Director of Training and Customer Experience for Gene B. Glick and oversees the education and training initiatives for the company. Julie is a recent graduate of the Customer Experience Executive Academy and is helping to lead her company in a customer service revolution. A graduate with majors in Speech Communications and Marketing from Ball State University, Julie has 20 years experience in the training arena and ten years at Glick and within the Multifamily Industry.


Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With over 30 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and also reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.

4 Phased Strategies for Reopening Your Apartment Communities Post-COVID-19

As we make our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, there are so many things to consider in order to successfully maintain business in the multifamily industry. This is especially true as we move towards phasing in reopening of our apartment communities. 

The Accountability Loop

A great starting place to get into the right mindset is the Accountability Loop, as discussed in the book “Making Yourself Indispensable” by Mark Samuel. The Accountability Loop suggests that when we encounter a situation, our intentions can either go towards the productive place of personal accountability or the non-productive path of the victim loop.

You’ve probably already made modifications to your operations to reduce the number of leasing staff in the office and limit in-person interactions with residents, as well as enabling your team to work from home. You have also had to determine how to transition business from the physical to the digital threshold by defining what “virtual tour” means for your company. Perhaps that means professional tour videos created at the corporate level or “homemade” tour videos made on-site, Facetime appointments, self-guided tours, or guided virtual tours online.

If you have not already done so, you’ll want to leverage your website to extract all it has to offer.

  • Announce virtual tours prominently on the site and adjust the terminology in the appointment scheduling so that it nudges visitors toward virtual appointments.
  • Enhance your amenities page with additional photos.
  • Consider adding photos of current vacant apartments and include those on the live availability page.
  • Create video tours for each floorplan, load them to YouTube, and then attach those tour links to the floorplan site.

Believe it or not, most of these features have always been available with the major software platforms and just were not being utilized! Don’t forget to consider whether your posts and pages are mobile-friendly as many prospects will view on phones first. Also, make sure to have presence on social media – even TikTok!  

Implementing Daily Activity Reporting (DAR) can be very helpful in managing day to day business operations. It promotes:

  • Accountability for leasing agents and assistants
  • Transparency for leadership
  • Ownership of daily activities
  • Structure for first time Work from Home (WFH) employees.

DAR also allows agents to communicate tasks and statuses such as delinquencies, renewals, etc.

When it comes to communication with residents, keep it simple.  Provide information in clear, concise bullet points and be sure to reach out at least weekly. Try using empathy questions for residents such as ‘How are you holding up with everything?’,  ‘What can I do to make your situation better?’ or ‘What has been the hardest part?’ Sometimes the ability to talk, connect and vent is just what your residents may be craving.

Pricing

Another point needing your attention is pricing. What strategies can you use to help residents through this difficult time while maintaining reasonable business? Some workable options include new lease pricing freezes or various renewal offers such as the ability to extend at same rate or with a modest increase or the option to extend month-to-month leasing. Be mindful of the opportunity to save yourself from a Notice to Vacate! Keep calling to ask what you can do to change their mind.

Related to pricing is collections. What are workable strategies for this during the COVID-19 pandemic? Some communities are offering deferred rent over time, waivers of late fees, or flexible payment arrangements. There are NAA Addendums available which may be helpful. Another tip is to brainstorm with your team to come up with scripted responses for how to address deferred rent discussions with residents.

Service Requests

Another important area needing modifications during COVID-19 is maintenance. Some communities are allowing emergency work orders only while others are continuing with business as usual with enhanced protections before entering an occupied apartment, such as a 3-question survey asking if any occupants have traveled in the past two weeks, if anyone has a fever, and if anyone has been taking care of someone who is sick. Either way you will want to take steps to ensure the safety of your maintenance team. Maintain weekly inventory on PPE (mainly gloves and masks) for your team and consider ordering two months of supplies at a time to avoid running out.  You can also give thought to incentives such as increased hourly pay, a one-time bonus or added sick leave for the essential employees that make up your maintenance team.

Operations and Communication

Adjustments also need to be made at the corporate office level. Work to create the alignment of departments and properties through weekly calls and reporting with property managers and each department head. This will work to unify goals and create better understanding of each job role. Encourage team members to check in daily with supervisors to communicate daily activities to help effectively plan for managing prospect traffic.

Team meetings are important for goal alignment and continuity. It is helpful if you can send a meeting agenda in advance and allow time for each person to share how things are going and discuss ideas. Take a moment for recognition of accomplishments during each meeting; unexpected praise and acknowledgement, even for little things, can go a long way towards boosting morale.

Here are some additional options to consider.

  • A COVID-19 Employee Check-In survey by Swift Bunny. This is a free survey to help gauge employee sentiment during this difficult time.
  • Join with other people within your company and outside it to create a pool of resources to help everyone.
  • Reach out to other local managers or even vendors. We’re all in this together!

When it comes to executive level reporting, anticipate questions and practice self-accountability for your position.

  • Proactively report collections, evictions, expenses, etc. to team management on a weekly basis or more often as requested.
  • When you have a problem or issue that needs to be discussed, try to come prepared with possible solutions instead of just presenting the problem alone.

Phased Reopening Plans

As we move towards reopening our apartment communities, work on creating phased reopening plans. Anchor your plan to Federal or state guidance (i.e. the White House/CDC Reopening America Plan). Create specific criteria for the leasing office/team, maintenance team, and residents. Be prepared to develop physical adaptations/adjustments at the property level to foster safety for everyone and create documentation of the progress as you go. Check out these 4 phased strategies for reopening your apartment communities post- COVID-19.

1. General Phased Reopening. After a 14-day downward trajectory of reported illnesses/new diagnoses, follow a multi-phase approach. This will give you time to transition from one mode of operations to the next in a calm and orderly fashion and will allow you to plan ahead. Remember the importance of facilitating regular communication with your team at all levels to get feedback and answer questions as they come up. Secure all the essential supplies to enact the physical adaptations in your community. Order signage for common areas, entrances, bathrooms, desks, amenities, etc. Post large “We’re Open” signs once you’re ready to have physical visits again. Have and maintain a steady supply of hand sanitizer, gloves, wipes and soap. You may even think about investing in a sanitizing misting system to efficiently sanitize indoor areas.

2. Phased Reopening for Guests. Before opening the office for visitors, prepare by installing acrylic shields at desks and ordering and displaying distance marker signage and floor decals. Post and enforce a rule for maximum occupancy in the office to limit the number of people present at any one time. Provide visual reminders of 6-foot distancing guidelines. Encourage scheduling tours rather than walk-ins and limit the number of people on each tour. When possible, consider self-guided tours. You may even consider asking the prospect to sign a waiver before an in-person tour.

3. Phased Reopening for Onsite Teams. Create and maintain a COVID-19 Daily Log. This is a daily log for all team members to check temperatures and log how each person feels each day, as well as for sanitizing efforts reporting. Don’t forget to order thermometers! One person should be responsible each day for the log. This also gives you an opportunity for contact tracing should any team member become ill. The contract tracing will consider a history of all work orders for any test-positive team members. Rearrange the office to ensure spacing of team members 6 feet apart and enforce daily sanitizing procedures with high-touch areas being sanitized more than once a day.

4. Phased Reopening for Residents. A phased reopening plan for residents could include COVID-19 waivers to be signed before the use of amenities, as well as a sign-off sheet for residents to confirm they are not ill before use. The resident plan should also define package pickup procedures, encourage use of an online portal for service requests and rent payments, and adopt digital lease/renewal signing (if not already in use). It is vital to communicate with residents about the details of the reopening phases for maximum success.

Click here to access additional COVID-19 Multifamily Training Resources

Read more like this from Edge2Learn

Contributed by:

Jamin Harkness
Executive Vice President, Partner
The Management Group, LLC

Jamin currently works at The Management Group LLC, a southeast-based multifamily development and management company.  He is an Apartment All Stars speaker and has led national and local seminars on topics ranging from operations to technology and marketing.  Recently he has started a weekly Multifamily Leadership Huddle with industry leaders (C-suite) with an average attendance of 120 per week. He is an active mentor, educator and fundraiser with Junior Diabetes Research Foundation. 


Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With over 30 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and also reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.

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