I have a standing desk. It holds two monitors, a few pages of paper, two pens and two highlighters. That’s it – nothing more.

Aside from the health benefits of a standing desk, it does something much more important. It keeps me from nesting. Nesting to mean – sitting in a nice cozy chair for very long bits of time moving busy work around my digital or analog desktop.

When people come in to see me – we don’t sit. We use stand-up meetings that get right to the point. They last long enough to move the business forward. We don’t get comfortable to the point of spending long bits of time engaged in chit-chat. Not that chit-chat and relationship building isn’t important – it is. But over a day filled with a fair share of got-a-minutes – managing it is key.

Stand Up Desk – At the Site Level

I’m thinking deeply about the Customer Experience in our offices across Mills Portfolio and stand up desks, information/data entry ports and designated collision points are front and center to my vision.


The traditional office is in strong need of re-imagining. The day of the big desk with cozy, comfortable nesting chairs is over. The day of a wide-open fluid office space is here.

Another Leasing Commission Rant

Drop leasing commissions – make them a thing of the past.

I have railed about commission based sales in the multifamily space for years.

It’s a worn out model. But people keep finding premise after premise to keep it alive and kicking. It’s broken

The article below clearly demonstrates that the model is broke:

Pricing and Sales: An Interesting Interplay in Multi-family – Multifamily Blogs

That’s an “elephant in the room” that we need to talk about. Most salespeople only benefit from sales going up; but our leasing associates can sometimes feel like they’re being penalized for their own success. They lease well, so the pricing system raises rents which makes it harder to lease. This is not “normal” in most of the sales world, so we should be purposeful and address this very real situation with our leasing associates.

But to keep things alive and kicking; it goes on and on with suggestions about how to make leasing professionals feel okay about it. Here is the cold-hard truth, they feel penalized because the business model is different yet the compensation plan is the same. Let’s face it, money in the bank is the only thing that makes a sales person Phappyrrell [Read: Happy].

We need to stop and think about the compensation system that makes sense in the context of the new model. It’s that simple. It’s that clean. But it’s not that easyReally not that easy.

Drop leasing commissions – make them a thing of the past. Raise base wages to offset lost commissions (take a two-year trailing average of all commissions paid and tally an average increase – tweak where necessary) and move on.

Your looking to push the edge with leasing commissions Multifamily Maniac,


1:1 Guiding Principle for 2014

Are you looking for a guiding principle for 2014? A guiding principle that relates to marketing and leadership? I have a principle that will have a real impact on your business?


Look no further than 1:1. Stop marketing to the masses and stop leading based on mass appeal. Instead look for ways that you can market 1:1. Look for ways that you can lead people 1:1.

We have so much information at our fingertips these days. Information that helps us understand people at a deeper level. You have everything you need to make a true impact.

Social media has given us a window into people’s lives. It’s up to us as marketers to use that information in an proper way and in a way that impacts their lives.

Stop trying to get 7,000 people to like your Facebook page. Stop trying to get 25,000 people following you on Twitter. It’s ridiculous. The real value of social media is not at the massive level, It’s at the 1:1 level.

Random Rant

It’s amazing to me how much of relationship marketing gets recycled by social media pundits. Gary Vaynerchuk (mad props and much respect) can create a slide deck of the most ridiculously obvious information and people think it’s the most amazing thing ever said. If we all stopped for just a second and thought about all those very cool things that we learned in kindergarten, things like:  please, thank you and excuse me; things like: waiting your turn to talk; actively listening to the other person and speaking respectfully when we disagree, we would quickly realize that one to one relationship is nothing new. In fact it’s old-school.

I bet we could sit down with a sales rep or customer service agent from 25 years ago and discern that the truisms are no different today than they were back then. The only difference now is the sheer efficiency with which we can communicate. And the forever captured record when we do.

Back to 1:1

Simple point – stop trying to scream from the giant social media megaphone. Instead – get real and get deep into 1:1.

Your getting back to 1:1 Multifamily Maniac,


The Anti-Pushy Sales Approach

Today’s guest post comes to us from Crystal Gluszek over at ZenRoommate.

Be Unforgettable

In my 15 Years of Multi-Family Management I have perfected what I like to call the “Anti-Pushy” sales approach.

I tour my clients like a best friend who is visiting from out-of-state. Not only do I show features and benefits of my community I also sell “that” feeling.

The feeling that I want them to live here but I don’t need them to live here because I am cool, confident and secure that my sales approach will close the deal.

I even like to add that “we don’t use any high pressure sales techniques here, because we don’t have to” which by proxy says that communities who do…need to for some reason and it’s not good. (Insert diabolical laugh here)

I feel the bond between the client and myself being made and I know that they’ll sign the lease now or be back tomorrow.  I send a quick follow-up asking about how their cat or dog feels about the apartments they have narrowed down.  Maybe even say “Fido called me and wants to live here” so I add a sense of quirkiness to what can be a mundane process and this becomes my approach.

I tell my agents to stay professional and stay fun and create an experience. After all isn’t everything we do about creating an experience your clients will relate to being home.

So my message is Be Unforgettable.

Crystal Gluszek

Zenroommate.Com Co-Founder and Multi-Family Fanatic


What we do is simple. We help you search for roommates using several different areas of compatibility, providing the opportunity for a more streamlined match.

We also allow Landlords and Realtors to list units that would be perfect for a roommate setting; condos, rooms for rent, house shares and more can be seen by people who may have an interest in filling that vacancy.


LIKE us at WWW.Facebook.Com/Zenroommate or Follow us at WWW.Twitter.Com/Zenroommate

Change Your Rote

A quick shout out to all you unbelievably over-the-top amazing leasing professionals in the Multifamily world – You guys and gals rock!

I have a question for you

Are the people who take time out of their busy days to tour your respective communities getting the absolute best experience that you have to offer? Or, are they getting a rote experience? In other words is the presentation a routine fixed by habits that are in place because of repetition over time.

Be remembered

Get your personalization act together. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful sense. I mean it in the sense that you must customize your routine to create a very positive and memorable experience. You’re asking yourself, how do I do that? I have a simple one for you. Look up, smile and say hello when people walk through the front door.

I can’t tell you how many times I walk into apartment communities and get the cold shoulder. The looking down, I am busy and I don’t have time for you routine. Or the can’t you see that I’m on my device routine. Or the sign that says – out to lunch until 1:15p when in fact it’s 2:30p routine.

It’s so bad out there, that you don’t have to try really hard to come up with something amazing. You can get back to the basics of service and be in the top 5% of superstars. You know – all those things you learned in kindergarten kind of stuff. Like looking people in the eyes, saying hello and please and thank you. It’s the small things that get remembered most.

You’re getting my personalization act together Multifamily Maniac,


Follow Up

Follow up with customers and earn more money.

Follow up can be equated to the gold mine of all gold mines in property management. Ask any leasing consultant worth his or her salt and they would all tell you that following up yields them some percentage of additional sales that they would not have otherwise booked.

It Matters

Two Saturdays ago I made an unscheduled trip to my local urgent care – yeah, pneumonia. Prescription – get more rest.

To the point – that was a Saturday; the following Monday afternoon I get a call from a strange number. I don’t answer and they leave a voicemail. Guess who; yes – a nurse from urgent care. Just checking in on me to see how I was feeling. Took all of 2 minutes to make that call and leave that message.

Two minutes that – god forbid I have to go back – insured that I will return to do business with them in the future. That is despite the fact that I don’t know anyone at the urgent care. Not enough to call them friend or otherwise.

Caring Matters

It boils down to Care. Now one could argue that it’s superficial. Okay – but it is effective.

Take away – pick up the phone and call someone you do business with and see how they are doing. Just check on them with no mission in mind. Work on securing some loyalty down the line.

Your follow up on someone today multifamily maniac,


Abolish Leasing Commissions


I am 100% convinced that leasing commissions need to go away.

They are a long survived sacred cow and serve no real purpose in the way of motivating people to lease more apartments or more importantly – serving people.

My solution – pay people a fair wage and tie 10% of that to your companies year over year same store revenue growth or some like kind metric.

Selling – One for All Apartment Professionals

Apartment friends and family, it is no secret that selling starts with the ability to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself then you haven’t the slightest chance of getting anyone to love you back. And, in my head, getting people to fall in love with you first and your content second is the master-key to riches when it comes to selling.

Master Key to Riches in Four StepsMaster Key Apartment Marketing Selling

1. Love your heart [Read: Stay away from those that would bring you down. And, get real close to those who amp you up].

2. Love your mind [Read: Think well enough of yourself to read literature that makes you think deeply. Talk to people who challenge your intellect and blow you away].

3. Love your body [Read: Eat well and exercise regularly].

4. Love your soul [Read: Find purpose. Find meaning. Find mindfulness. Find that deeper meaning that amps you. Find that deeper meaning that gives cause for you to wake without the aid of an alarm despite the early hour. Find that thing that keeps you on task and in motion despite any and all setbacks].

Bonus Step: Get clear on the definition of riches. Hint: It has nothing to do with money.

Your – in constant practice of the four steps – multifamily maniac,



Sales, or something like it

I have never been in a position where I get more cold calls than now.  I guess that is what happens in marketing.  I have to admit, I have been super busy and my patience level is incredibly short.  Probably the reason I have been furious lately when my phone rings.

However, some sales calls I get super excited about.  Here is my advice to sales people – not only in multifamily.  Some of them happen to apply to our leasing associates as well!

11 Sales No No’s.

(FYI, all of these things have happened to me in the last week or so)

  1. It’s about a relationship, stupid.  Please don’t be fake.
  2. Do not cold call me with no knowledge of my company or what we do.  At minimum, please use Google.
  3. I do not respond well to threats or super pushy marketing tactics like name dropping or insulting our current efforts.
  4. If we, or I, determine your product isn’t right for us (now or even in the future), don’t bully me to change my mind – that really ends the possibility of a future relationship.
  5. Don’t send pushy emails copying my superior, especially when I still don’t know why I should care about your product.
  6. Don’t request me on LinkedIn before we have had a positive conversation/interaction or any at all.
  7. Please be prepared.  I don’t want to wait on the phone for 2 minutes while you look for your earring back or listen to your uncomfortable pauses and sighs when you aren’t sure what to do next.
  8. NEVER ask me what we pay your competition for their services.   If you don’t know what your product is worth, I do – $0.
  9. Call a million times a day without saying why I should want to call you back, you will likely not get a call back if I have no clue why I am calling you.  Its super weird for me to call you and say “Hi this is Melissa, I have no idea why I am calling you but please, pretty please, sell me something.”
  10. By the way, NOT COOL, when I finally begin to try to have a conversation with you (warranted or not), that you berate me for taking so long to call you.  Give me a reason first and I will respond more quickly!
  11. This one is too hard to explain, so here is the actual email. Don’t do this, ever, and at least spell my name correctly!!!!!!!   I have never interacted with her (I think she left me some empty voicemails)…

“Haven’t given up Melisssa…

Certainly don’t want to be a  “thorn in your side,” so I’ll try & make this as painless as possible.

Eager to know your level of interest in our training offerings. Please check an option, promise no hard feelings : )

___ YES, send me a FREE DVD  preview of  your latest & greatest training programs,  __customer  service __leadership

___ I prefer to preview online, set me up with a FREE demo with your web-based platform.

___ Training doesn’t fall under my umbrella, try contacting ___________________________.

___ My plate is more than full, better timing would be  ___later this year,  ___ early 2012,  ____ never darken my
doors again.”


The Best do these things.  Short and SIMPLE and it doesn’t waste my time or yours.

  1. Interact with our company on our social media platforms in a meaningful way (not name dropping your company), we like that and builds trust.
  2. Start conversations, not sales pitches.
  3. Be an expert in your field and help us when possible – without our business at first.
  4. Go the extra mile.
  5. Help our company and teams increase efficiency.
  6. Use email at first then move to the more personal phone call.  Refer to number 10 above.

Final Thought:

Above all else, do us all a favor, and LOVE what you do and what you are selling.  If you don’t, why should I?


Thank you for listening to my rant.  I really want to like sales people (I will always love ours though :)), but for some reason only a limited few really get it.  Does your team?

I would love to hear that these things happen to other people, so please tell!