Out to Put a Dent in the Multifamily Universe

Multifamily Monday: SBWA

SBWA Supervising By Walking AroundWhat are we talking about on this Multifamily Monday? SBWA. What is SBWA. Supervising By Walking Around.

How many of you get lazy and don’t walk your apartment properties as often as you should? How many of you get lazy and do not walk your market ready product? How many of you get lazy and do not inspect what you expect of your teams.

Don’t be shy.

If it helps, I will admit that I am as guilty of this as much as the next guy/gal. At times, it is simply out of a haste to get on to the next thing that is calling my attention. Other times, it is simply just being lazy.

I admit it not for the reason of calling you or myself out but simply as a matter of getting it imbued in your mind. You, we must do it. It is fundamental to our business. It is what keeps us all true to our standards. If you are not looking at what you expect those standards fall pretty fast. I think we would agree.

Supervising By Walking Around

I wrote a piece on this concept back in the Spring of 2011. At the time my posit was that you could not know your people and or your business if you did not spend any time wondering around in it. Not my novel concept but one made famous in the world of leadership and management by Tom Peters (side note: you could consider me a super-fan of Mr. Peters).

To the Point

Since the purpose of the Multifamily Monday series is to be short and to the point – here it is.

Get our of your office today and walk around your community. Walk alone. Walk with the people in your office. Walk with your service team. Walk with someone that might be moving in soon. Walk with the cable guy. Walk with the landscaper. Walk with someone that currently lives in your community. Walk with a police officer. Walk with a Mom. Walk with a Dad.

GET Up – Walk NOW

Your SBWA multifamily manic,


Multifamily Monday: What do to Today

It is another Multifamily Monday! And, it will likely be a crazy mad rush to get things addressed that came in over the weekend. In that mad rush of things to-do, don’t forget to foster a new relationship.

What to do Daily

Who could you reach out to today that would help your business down the road? A local community center? A local boys/girls club? A local restaurant? Any local business owner? Think about the eco-system that exists right around your community. The eco-system that is an extension of your community. Think about how you can create real-ationships with those people. Real – built on help them with real issues and problems they may have.

Don’t Ask For Anything in Return

Call anyone of these people up today and ask them what their number one problem is. Don’t try to solve it over the phone but do try to understand what it is. And, ask if he/she minds if you take a stab at offering up some solutions. Then take time during your weekly team meeting this week to brainstorm with your team. Come up with ideas that would be valuable to that owner. Then package those solutions in a brief, call ahead and then deliver via email. No strings attached.


Do it again.

Your reaching out and providing value to your extended community multifamily maniac,


Multifamily Monday: Introduce the Rest of the Team

My challenge on this Multifamily Monday. Get your service team involved in the program.

Unsung Hero

We could all debate back and forth over the fact(s) that if it were not for the service teams we would not have apartments to lease. And, if we did not have people leasing apartments we would not have any to turn. Can we all agree that both are important to the operation. And, both carry equal weight as it relates to keeping the teams moving along.

That being said, I must lean on the side of service this morning. A couple of reason(s): Air Conditioners, Air Conditioners, Air Conditioners. As we continue to endure the heat wave that has gripped and squeezed this country over the past three weeks, our service teams never slow down. They never quit. No matter the task, they go about getting it done. My hat is off to them.

Make them Part of the ProgramIntroduce the rest of your multifamily team to the people that you serve

If any one of your service team members is in or around your leasing office when you are visiting with a resident – take the time to introduce them to each other. If you are touring someone and you see the porter or service techs – take the time to introduce them. Edify them publicly. Speak in sound bites about what they mean to the day-to-day business. Manufacture events that honor the service teams.

You could have a service team function at the site whereby you invite the residents to celebrate them. Sure, you can expect some grumpy people but surely we all understand by now – they are just are just part of it.

Today is that day – take five minutes to give out some atta-boys, some public pats on the back, some, we value what you do and a good old-fashioned – thank you.

Your believing in the whole team approach to property management multifamily maniac,



Pic Props to Zeus Media

Multifamily Monday: Integrity

Remember the scene from Almost Famous where Penny and William are talking about how old they are? It went like this:

Penny Lane: How old are you? 
William Miller: Eighteen. 
Penny Lane: Me too! How old are we really? 
William Miller: Seventeen. 
Penny Lane: Me too! 
William Miller: Actually, Im sixteen. 
Penny Lane: Me too. Isnt it funny? 
The truth just sounds different. 
William Miller: Im fifteen.
Truth Just Sounds Different
Real truth be told - it sucks sometimes. But, it is the most liberating position on the planet. No matter how bad it might be,it is better to get it out there and get it out there early. 
Let me drive the point home with a quick story. I was working a commercial eviction case here in St. Louis and to cut right to the chase, I had racked up $8,000 in attorney fees attempting to get my client paid. The problem leading up to that point was that I had no idea that I had racked up that kind of legal bill. My head was on justice and getting this guy out of my space. The other problem - I was spending someone else's money. 
Moment of Truth
I received an invoice in the mail reading $5,000+/- so I picked up the phone and called our attorney. I think the conversation started with a loud "$5,000+/-??!! - Can you tell me how we racked up this much?" or, something to that effect. "Well, Mike, I hope you are setting down because the real number is $8,000, you just have part of the picture." Enter - fear and moment of truth. I had to tell my owner that I dropped $8k and after further discussion with my attorney - we had little to no chance of winning. 
It Does Sound Different
Fear in tow, I entered his office and asked for a minute of his time. Clear throat - I dropped $8k on an attorney and we have no chance of winning the case. Long pause - (I was taught to never fill the silence with noise). He got up asked me to bring the whole package into the conference room. I did and he entered the room to review. 
Fast forward, the owner says, "Consider this an $8,000 education for both you and me." I went silent and reflected for a minute - thinking I had maybe misquoted the amount lost. I was expecting much more of a tongue lashing (professional, of course) but much more intense. But, to him, it really was an education. And, for me in that moment - the truth just sounded different. 
Never Hesitate 
Honesty and Integrity - if we are all truthful with ourselves - is the hardest character related trait we will contend with. It's easy to misrepresent. It's easy to deflect. It's easy to avoid. Both Honesty and Integrity are hard work but they are the best work you will ever do. Do both today...
Your believing that the truth just sounds different multifamily maniac, 

Exaggerated Response

To the point: over-communicate

Do it in an Exaggerated Way

Quick story for your Monday morning reading pleasure. I can’t recall where and when I read this but it has been some time. The story made an impact on me because it was – in my mind – an exaggerated response to an otherwise routine request for service.

The story was about a plumbing company that made over doing it a part of their service routine. If they were called out to unclog a drain, they took the time to tidy up the space under the sink, mop the floor and vacuum the floor mats. And, get this – they cleaned up any and all dirty dishes in and around the sink. Whoa! #gameon

People are the Difference that Makes a Difference

If people are the difference then suffice it to say that their actions and behaviors are the tell. Are you acting and behaving in a manner that is exaggerated? Do you take projects beyond what is expected? Do you push your team to do the same?

The point after the point: do something today that rocks the socks off of the people who you serve.

Your looking to over-exaggerate my responses multifamily manic


Selling Apartments: The Six Must Haves


Selling apartments is an art and it is not for everyone. If you think about it, most sales people hear no, we will get back to you, we were just checking the price, we are not ready to commit, we – we – we – we…

The fail rate in selling is off the charts so it takes someone with a thick skin and a constant willing to go after it which brings me to a quick story before we list the six must haves. One of my real estate mentors told me that early in his selling career, he would go door to door trying to get people to buy his service. He would knock, give the pitch, communicate the features and benefits and wait for the answer. And, if the answer was no – he walked the end of the driveway – jumped in the air and when he landed – he would give a simultaneous fist pump and ‘yes’ shout.

Yes – he was excited that his attempt at selling failed in a sense. When I asked him for the punch line – he looked at me steely eyed and said, “Mike, for every no I heard, I knew I was that much closer to a yes.” I am certain that at the tender age of 23 – I exerted one of the smarty pants – really!? remarks. But, he was dead serious. And, I know that it worked for him as he was the hands down, award laden, captain master of the real estate sales world. At least in our small town. When I think of the six must haves I can’t help but to think Bob was the master of all them.


Start with the end in mind. You are selling a solution to a problem that someone has when they email, tweet, comment in the way of, text, call you on the phone or walk in your front door. Discern their interest and desires and marry up your best solution.


You must ooze success. Get your attitude right. Get the behavior right that back up that attitude. Dress the part. Talk the part. And, guess what you will experience success. Reason: people feel you as much as they hear you. Even the most analytical amongst us. They feel the frauds and they move on. Be the real deal, be the difference and people will buy you all day long.


Selling apartments should be an experience that gets talked about. From curb to commode you are an artist actor playing out a part in an award-winning real-time documentary. Your apartment selling is the feature of the film. Everything from curb to commode is the stage where you play out the acts of your selling. Make it a compelling one.

Dream Come True

Be the dream come true for the audience you are acting (Read: Real Deal) out for. When the time comes for the credits to role – expect a standing ovation for the fine work you have just demonstrated. Bask in the fact that you have just given the performance of a life time and the audience has no choice but to shower you with a – yes – yes – yes and one more yes for good measure.


Love is what you are after. Love is what you get when you are part of the solutions for other people. I am not suggesting that love should be tied to task – but, it should be tied to a genuine need to help others without expecting anything in return. If you do what you do because you love it that screams loud and clear in your being and your actions. And, it makes others want to love you back through their actions. In this case – signing leases and moving in.

Dramatic Difference

One could posit that apartments are a commodity and selling them is just a ho-hum part of the routine. And, that might be right. But, not for you. In the end, you are the dramatic difference. You are the one that brings compelling to the table. You are the one that ‘brings the thunder’ as they say. You are the difference that makes a difference when it comes time for someone to say – yes.

My charge to you today – Go for the oscar every time you get a lead…

Your, promoting the six this week, multifamily manic


Multifamily Monday: 1 = 1

We have all heard it before: K.I.S.S – The keep is simple saying that rings out in/across every boardroom, clubroom, round, square and oblong table around the world. Nothing novel here but that is the point of our Multifamily Monday blog post. We get right to the point of oft remembered but oft not practiced truths.

Get to The Point

When communicating information, we often think that backdrop or off topic analogies are going to really bring our point home. Not so much. Especially in an attention deficit economy. Few listen/hear anymore and often draw conclusions well before you have reached your second sentence. So start with the punch line and follow with the build up. Hit the crescendo and follow with the introduction.

Tell Them What You are About to Tell Them

There is a truism in public speaking that makes sense here; it goes something like this, tell them what you are about to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you just told them. It’s a frame of reference so that the audience knows what they are about to learn. It helps them track the broad topic as the stories unfold. The key being that they know what the punch line is well before it is communicated in length.

Take away: Keeping it simple starts with giving away the punch line…

Your, practicing brevity and clarity, multifamily maniac,


Multifamily Monday: Listen – Body Language

Good morning!

Very quick note this morning.

We could get really deep into the art of body language as it relates to listening. Speaking to things like bending your brow as a show of concern, thinning your lip to show you understand the anger , leaning in, unfolding arms and the king of them all – eye contact. While not exhaustive, all good topics and in the same respect not possible without the nugget we will put out there today.

The Most Meaningful Body Language – Listen Technique I Know

Front and center to the person you are talking with – Pick up your phone and turn it OFF. Not silence, not vibrate – OFF. Or, don’t bring it along at all. Put your what if’s to rest as we could debate that to death. If you want meaningful conversation – demonstrate willingness through action – the action of turning off and tuning in.

Your – working on listening through meaningful body language – multifamily maniac,


Multifamily Monday: Practice

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect –

If you read our blog regularly then you have no doubt read the story about my high school basketball coach and his perfect practice statement.

Go Out There and Work Hard For Forty Minutes

The story I have not shared up to now is the pre-game pep-talk. Every coach that I ever played for, from pee-wee leagues to AAU leagues and right up to Texas Tech University had a way with words during the pre-game prep. And, they range from semi-inspirational/motivational to down right in-your-face set the world on fire or else.

Nearly twenty years removed from the high of playing NCAA basketball, I can still recall some pretty cool speeches, the following being one of my favs –

Paraphrased: Every one of you look me in the eye – go out there and keep your eyes focused on playing the game. Keep your eyes off of the scoreboard and play every last second like it is your last second. Look at me – if you go out there and give everything you have right down to the very last second you are on that court – the scoreboard will take care of itself.

He otherwise meant that if we would just focus on translating perfect practices into hard-core results on the court. If we just focused on taking care of business – we would win the game.

Go Out There and Work Hard Every Minute

I would suggest that it is no different in the business world. Your organization awarded you an opportunity to come to work everyday in lieu of standing in an unemployment line. They gave you a chance to exercise your mind and your body. They gave you a chance to move the meter. They gave you a chance to make a difference. They gave you a chance to produce results. 

Everyday is your time to shine. Everyday is your time to keep your eyes focused on playing the game. [Read: perfectly practicing the fundamentals]. One who does so should never have to pay close attention to the plethora of reports that measure the success of an asset.

Work hard (and, smart) and the scoreboard will take care of itself.

Your – focused on the game – multifamily maniac,


Pic props: Raiderpower.com